Website owners are always looking for little tricks and hacks to improve search engine optimization. Below are 3 hacks we can promise will not work.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a full time job depending on your goals. Keeping Google, Yahoo, Bing and countless other search engines happy requires constant evaluation and re-evaluation in reaction to updates and current trends. As the search engines work to provide citizens of the web with relevant and authentic content, we are working just to keep up.
If you search for SEO tips you will find pages and pages of information all claiming to know the secret to a successful rank, but in truth not all the information you find will lead you to search engine success. Some websites even encourage readers to “cheat” their way to the top. Google and other search engines also know this, and cheaters are punished rather than rewarded.
Creating an effective SEO strategy is important for any business both large and small. Google is a major avenue when potential customers are looking for goods and services, and SEO can help lead them straight to you. Shoppers are now taking advantage of the services search engines provide and use them to compare prices and results before making purchases; a large portion of the traffic to your site will come from a search engine compared to their visits from your domain name directly. This makes your SEO efforts even more important.
Below are a few tips on what NOT to do when optimizing your website for the search engines:
SEOmoz reports that cloaking is the worst SEO offense there is, making it a major no-no. Cloaking is the act of attempting to hide or mask content. Cloaking results in search engines seeing one thing, while site visitors see something else entirely. Cloaking is actually very difficult and complicated, but the examples given by SEOmoz are the following:
- Serving a page of HTML text to search engines, while showing a page of images or Flash to users
- Inserting text or keywords into a page only when the site visitor requesting the page is a search engine, not a human visitor
It is important to make sure that you are being completely transparent when dealing with search engines. If they perceive anything different from your website visitors, you will be heavily penalized and your site will be blacklisted (insert dramatic music here).
Search engines reward sites that contain relevant and honest content by pushing them to the top of search result pages. In years past, search engines looked for popularity as a way to judge great content, with popularity being gauged by the number of links to and from that specific website. A website that was linked to and from in abundance were generally given a gold star from Google. That is until website admins took advantage of the situation and began what are called “link farms”.
Link farms amount to a group of websites trading links in a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” situation. The only problem was that Google quickly saw that the links were not credible or relevant. Link farmers would also create empty websites full of links back to their main website. Search engines soon caught on and created specific software to look for such dishonesty, thus equating to link farming as the number two no-no in SEO practices.
This is another dishonest method used to “trick” search engines into increasing rank in search engines. Keywords are used to look for informative content within websites. For example, plumbing companies use words like “drain” or “clog” to be helpful to website visitors. Some websites have taken this method to an extreme that would look something like “drain clog drain clog drain clog” for an entire web page, even disguising this keyword stuffing in the background of their site.
You can imagine that this is frowned upon, and that search engines have found a way to uncover keyword stuffers. Using keywords in a natural way is more than enough to show Google that you are offering helpful content to your site visitors. Any unnatural amount of keyword stuffing will be penalized, and eventually blacklisted.
If search engine optimization is still foreign territory, we can help! Our Website SEO Guru tool will scan your website free of charge and report back exactly how well your SEO efforts are doing. After your scan Midphase can provide you with helpful step-by-step tips to get your website to the top of search engines.
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