If you’ve been in business for any length of time, chances are you’ve hired people along the way to help you perform SEO (search engine optimization) strategies on your site.


SEO was all the rage a number of years ago, with everyone jumping on the bandwagon and calling themselves an SEO expert. Many carry over today and offer SEO packages as a part of their service agreement. The problem with SEO, however, is what worked months ago may not be the best strategy for today. And in some cases using those old strategies can cause your website to be penalized in the eyes of Google (not good if your overall strategy is to improve your ranking in Google!)

Bad SEO Practices


Here are a few strategies that, while they worked in the past, are now considered taboo in the online world. Are any of these impacting your business? 


Buying and Selling Links


Think about if for a minute. Would Google want to give great organic search results to a person knowing that someone could buy their way to the top? Of course not. Google calls it organic search results because they naturally fall into place because of the quality content on the site, not by how much money they’ve paid out to other sites. If you want pay for performance, consider using Google Adwords. But if you are looking for higher placement in the natural search results, the only way to do that is to build quality content on your site.


Article Marketing


If you head back to the mid 2000s, a popular way to get links back to your site was to write articles, post them to article directory sites with the hopes that other sites would pick them up and use them either on their sites or in their ezines. If they chose your article, they had to print it intact with your bio and a link to your site in place. It was a great way to gain exposure – but Google figured out that it was also causing a lot of spam and heavily came down on these repository sites. If you want to get your content shared, its better to build relationships with other sites in your niche market and write quality guest posts instead.


Comments, Pingbacks and Trackbacks


One common practice in the past was adding comments to high ranking blogs.  As you wrote up a comment, you would include your URL so a link was formed back to your site. That link would help drive your ranking up. Today, the vast majority of blogs have “no follow” links from the comments section. And if you do find blogs that allow link building, Google will penalize heavily. While commenting on other blogs and linking to posts that you enjoy within your own content is a great way of building relationships, it won’t provide you with SEO love. 


Keyword Stuffing


I’m sure you’ve seen those old web pages where someone lists out all kinds of keywords at the bottom of the page. They go on and on with cities, counties, services, products – all kinds of things interrelated to their business. Keyword stuffing worked many years ago, but Google caught on and now bans sites for this practice. You don’t need to worry about keyword density or using keywords specifically for Google. Google is smart enough to recognize your content and give you the appropriate ranking for the content you offer. Think quality. If a reader could fall in love with what you have to say, Google will respond appropriately.


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