Good, Bad and Ugly SEO
SEO is commonly mistaken as a way of ‘cheating’ and ‘tricking’ search engines into giving one website a higher ranking than another in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), but this misconception couldn’t be further from the truth…
Most of the stigma of bad SEO comes from poor SEO practice carried out in the early years of the internet. Keyword stuffing, spammy posts, link buying, cloaked text and other techniques were used by poor quality SEO ‘experts’ in order to boost a clients website up the SERPs. This worked wonders for many of these websites up until a few years ago when Google especially cracked down on poor quality SEO with the release of its ‘Panda’ algorithm update. This update resulted in many thousands of website disappearing from SERPs literally overnight and caused widespread panic throughout the world of ‘Black Hat’ SEO.
In truth, as with any industry, you will always find the good, the bad and the ugly with SEO. Let’s take a closer look at what good, bad and ugly SEO means…
The Good (White Hat SEO – << That’s us!).
White Hat SEO focuses on providing a quality optimisation service, quality content and quality relationships.
Quality on-site optimisation not only benefits website visitors, it also helps search engine spiders gain a better understanding of what your website is about. This is then reflected in increased visitor numbers and better SERPs rankings. This can only be achieved by auditing a website thoroughly to gain a better understanding of what needs to be improved on any given website.
Quality relationships come with the territory. By providing a quality service and building strong relationships with clients and customers, valuable backlinks can be gained through referrals and shares on social media.
Quality content is a key driver of traffic to any website. If the content is good then visitors are more likely to link to it and share it with others.
The Bad (Black Hat SEO).
Black Hat SEO is still practiced by some SEO companies and consultants and should be avoided at all costs. If you’re offered an SEO package that guarantees to get you onto page one of Google for less than the price of a cup of coffee per week then walk away. If it sounds too good to be true it invariably is! The simple truth is good SEO costs money but ultimately the cost should always be less than the returns.
The consequences of buying cheap black hat SEO can be ten times more expensive than the original cost of employing a white hat SEO company or consultant. Common black hat SEO practices include:
Buying links. This practice is still carried out despite its obvious serious violation of Google’s terms of service. Don’t do it! Cleaning up toxic links is time consuming and expensive. Many website owners have found it more cost effective to ditch their original website and start from scratch following Google penalties.
Acquiring poor quality links. Gaining hundreds and thousands of low quality backlinks through directory submissions, blog comments and spammy blog profiles. This is a sure fire way of flagging your website up to Google who will act accordingly.
Poor quality articles or article spinning. This involves writing articles for the benefit of the search engines instead of the user or re-writing the same article over and over but using slightly different words or formatting. Again, these are easily picked up by Google who will demote your website as a result.
The Ugly (Spam SEO).
Spam is a big issue for Google and it is constantly striving to filter spam from is search results. Unethical SEOs and hackers have thought of everything in an attempt to gain links to a website from another. These tactics will get you flagged and could get you thrown out of Google’s index. Spammy SEO tactics include:
Fake accounts, reviews and comments. Not only is this ethically wrong but it can also result in lawsuits and fines. Be warned!
Content spam. If your text is the same colour as your background, your content is stuffed with keywords or you have any other method of hiding text on a web page then be warned. Google can see it and it won’t do you any favours with manual penalties being the end result.
Spammy blogs. These often contain thousands of useless posts with duplicate content which provide absolutely no value to the visitor to the site and primarily exist for monetisation.
Good SEO is actively encouraged by Google and benefits the site visitor, the site owner and Google. This symbiotic relationship is the one constant in an ever changing landscape of SEO. As your SEO experts it’s our job to protect our clients online assets and adhere to Google’s and other search engines terms and conditions. It’s something we take pride in and something you can rely on.