Search engine optimization (SEO) is an intriguing subject to much of the Internet community. Many people try to game the system to rank their websites for niche keywords and generate more traffic leads and sales. However, these same tactics make their SEO campaigns fall flat before it even gets off the ground.
Here’s a look at seven deadly sins to avoid in your next SEO campaign.
1. Page Rank Lust
The biggest desire, or lust, for website owners when it comes to SEO is to appear on page 1, position 1 for their desired keywords. While this is an attainable goal, it shouldn’t be done at a high cost whereby engaging in unethical SEO tactics that can get your website penalized. Actions such as keyword spamming, over optimization and keyword doorway pages are a few of the ways lusting over page rank can gain you hefty penalties.
2. Content Gluttony
This refers to the overindulgence to the point of waste when it comes to content creation. In the hope of earning more rankings through content development, many business owners create an abundance of content that actually spams search engines.
They hire SEO “specialists” that produce meaningless and irrelevant content that doesn’t offer strong value to readers. Instead, they should focus on quality, not quantity. Website’s that create long-form content with valuable information tend to perform better in organic search results and engage readers to take desired actions.
3. SEO Greed
In online marketing, there is always this insatiable need to get more. More web traffic, more leads, more sales and more revenue. Tapping into market opportunities is great, however greed can set your SEO campaign on a destructive path. Many people aim to reverse engineer a competitor’s online marketing activities to mirror or exceed their tactical execution.
Others may even go to great lengths to engage in unethical activities. This was highlighted when Interflora was outed for black hat SEO tactics in 2013. They were caught and penalized for purchasing links to manipulate SEO rankings.
The result: “Previously, the florist was easily one of the most high profile brands online in terms of search – as [a result] Google has effectively wiped it off the internet, removing it from search results for common search terms like ‘flowers’ or ‘flower delivery’, and even for its own brand name.” Inter flora’s SEO nightmare was widely publicized and led to their SEO
agency being fired.
4. Strategy Sloth
Sloth, also eferred to as laziness, is one of the biggest contributors to unethical issues in the industry. Developing an SEO strategy and discussing SEO tactics is quite easy. Get the right links from the right websites to link to your website’s relevant content and you should improve your SEO ranking.
The catch is this: the execution of SEO strategy is difficult since the implementation of links is at the discretion of other website owners. Because of the difficulty in executing the SEO tactics, people tend to engage in unethical tactics such as:
Blog comment spam
Web forum spam
Social media spam
Private blog networks (PBNs), rented and owned
Companies that work hard to develop high quality content and earns legitimate links should be rewarded with positive SEO rankings.
5. Ranting Wrath
On the web, people are known to troll, rant and vent their feelings and frustrations. Even though the objective is to destroy others, it often more self-destructive to the person doing it. Your competitors may engage in activities that you feel are unethical, however it shouldn’t be an excuse for you to vent and risk harming your brand reputation.
6. Rank Envy
Many business owners may envy their competitors SEO rankings to the point where it persuades them to engage in unethical SEO activities. Rather than build an authority website with high quality content and earning links from relevant websites, they are driven to undertake actions that are against Google’s terms and conditions. Steer clear from rank envy that leads you to auto-generate content, participate in link schemes, create doorway pages, scrape other people’s content and more. Envy is costly.
Pride is behind a lot of black hat SEO practices. In fact, one webmaster boasted to Google’s Matt Cutts so much that the webspam team actually took action on his website. The moral of the story is this: “Don’t think you are better than Google’s search engine.”
Avoid falling into these traps and perils that lead to unethical SEO behaviors. If you’re guilty of these SEO sins redeem your site and guide it on the white-hat way to long-term success.
This article has been edited and condensed.
David James is the founder of digital marketing agency Business Growth Digital Marketing, specialising in content marketing, SEO and digital lead generation. He writes for digital marketing publications and has consulted for major global brands including Mazda, SAP and Lynx. A keen travel explorer and gym junkie, you can connect with @BGD_Marketing on Twitter.