In my fourth and final segment of my Quick and Dirty SEO fundamentals series I’m going to touch a subject that is very important, don’t try to cheat the system.
I know that it can seem tempting to get traffic by any and all means necessary. However, there are quite a few means that can and will get you in trouble. No matter how smart you think you are being with it you must keep in mind that at Google there is probably someone who is smarter than you. So when they catch you it will hurt far more than if you had just tried to gain traffic by legitimate means.
Let’s take the most recent example. This week it was reported that Expedia’s shares have dropped 4% due to a loss in search traffic. A third party company revealed that many of the website’s backlinks appeared to be paid links and not organic. This being something that Google now considers more link spammy and thus penalizes for.
Another more serious example happened late last year with a start up website called Rap Genius. They were completely removed from Google’s Search index for violating their policy by creating an affiliate program that essentially paid people to put links to their website in blog posts. They have since closed this program in order to be reinstated.
The moral of these stories is that you can’t buy better search ranking. If you try, it can even end up hurting you more than it helps, so you shouldn’t bother. Spending money to get ranked higher in search results is always going to be frowned upon, unless you are buying an advertisement. That’s the fine line to cross, but in the opinion of a search engine an advertisement should not affect your ranking positively or negatively. So when looking to spend money to boost traffic you should ensure that the advertisements are implemented correctly as to not hurt ranking.
Now this shouldn’t turn you off from guest posting. In fact guest posting is still a great way to gain a bigger audience. I recently read a very good article about guest posting on Forbes titled Guest Posting Isn’t Dead: Google Just Raised The Quality Bar. This article digs into the same subject matter as the first post in this series. In order to make a beneficial guest post you need to go for the same things that would make for a great post on your own site. You need to keep the quality good and you can do that by keeping it targeted and professional. I would highly recommend reading the forbes article as it provides more tips for writing quality guest post content.
That completes this series on some Quick and Dirty SEO Fundamentals. It is by no means a complete list and doesn’t try to be. The goal of this series was to simply focus on a few things that have the largest impact on SEO performance overall. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly.