Learn how to Spot Shady Search Engine Optimization practices, and keep them from destroying your online marketing efforts.
Have you received an email recently, probably from an obscure email address, possibly based in a foreign country, offering you a GUARANTEED, 1ST-PAGE, OR TOP-3 POSITION, search engine marketing program for your website? Was it really cheap, and required little to no effort on your part aside from providing your billing information?
Have you received many of these emails over the past few years, and wondered ‘is it really too good to be true”?
Well as you’ve likely already assumed, yes, this is too good to be true. In fact, these services are the online marketing equivalent of ‘lose half your body weight while still eating donuts and sitting on the couch’ diet schemes.
But what’s more threatening, and confusing, to many business owners and marketing managers, are the less obvious, but nearly as harmful, shady SEO and SEM practices. So to help clear things up, we’ve compiled a list of the issues we run across most often, and the ones that seem to confuse business owners most often.
If you have a concern or question that was not answered here, please ask in the comments below and we’ll be happy to answer it for you.
- Issue: You have a list of keyword phrases that you integrate into nearly every page of your website, and all blog posts, regardless of whether that page or post is specifically related to those keywords.
- Concern: You may be over-using keywords (a big SEO no-no) and/or cannibalizing other pages of your own website. Or your keyword strategy may not match up to your actual on-page content, which can hurt you in the eyes of search engines.
- Resolution: First, request a review of your site from a well-respected and successful SEO Consultant or Online Marketing Firm. If all is well with your overall content throughout the website, then don’t continue using those exact same keywords in your blog posts and new pages. As long as the words you use fit your overall strategy and the topics/conversations that exist throughout the rest of your site, then the search engines are advanced enough to index your posts along those topic and keyword lines. At this point in your content development, it’s about maintaining and supporting the strategy you’ve already executed throughout your website.
- Issue: An SEO Consultant or Web Developer optimized the meta data throughout your site (ie: page titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords), but your on-page copy was not edited throughout the site to incorporate your keyword strategy.
- Concern: This is old-school SEO at it’s finest, and will do little, if anything, to enhance your indexing or overall credibility. Search engines are concerned about the content on your website matching the search terms their users are seeking. SEO Consultants trying to game the system without putting in the effort of optimizing the actual content within site pages are not helping your online marketing strategy.
- Resolution: Check the content on your site. If it’s been a while since it was updated, or if your site’s copy doesn’t flow well with the keywords you’ve identified as important, it’s probably time to rewrite those pages.
- Issue: You don’t have a regular, ongoing, strategy to add new content pages to your website.
- Concern: Search Engines (and your visitors) want to see new, fresh content regularly added to your site. If it’s not updated regularly, your site will start to lose ground (ie: search engine positioning and exposure to new visitors), and there’s little that can be done to organically promote a website with no new content.
- Resolution: Blogging (within your site’s primary domain, ie: site.com/blog or blog.yoursite.com) is one of the best and easiest ways to regularly add new content. If you already have a blog, try setting up an editorial calendar to be sure it is updated regularly with fresh new content.
- Issue: You don’t have an inbound link-building strategy.
- Explanation: An inbound link-building strategy generally consists of a combination of: email marketing with links to pertinent pages of your site, profiles on directories and social media channels, online PR distribution, publishing articles and blog posts on external sites that link back to you, online conversations/comments with bloggers and online publishers linking back to you, securing links from organizations you belong to, publishing and sharing content on social media channels, getting your visitors to share content for you on social media channels and bookmarking services, etc. etc.
- Concern: Without inbound link development, you are seriously limiting the opportunities for new visitors to stumble on your website from other/referral sources, and search engines place a high priority on the quality and quantity of your website’s inbound links when determining your search engine positioning against your competitors.
- Resolution: Start building up your inbound link-building efforts by working through the list of opportunities published in this post.
- Issue: Your inbound link-building strategy consists of an SEO Consultant “pushing hundreds or thousands of links to your site”
- Concern: This is a trap we’ve seen many business owners, especially those who don’t have a strong grasp on SEM or don’t have time to manage their online marketing efforts, fall into. While there is a certain amount of ‘directory distribution’ that should be included in your online marketing efforts (see details of inbound link-building above), there are many shady firms out there who do nothing but post spammy comments to blogs with your links embedded in them, or worse, setup ‘link farms’ with thousands of links pointing to different websites. These two issues are some of the most harmful to your site, and could potentially cost you credibility, positioning, or even cause your website to be blacklisted.
- Resolution: Be sure you have a detailed understanding of what your SEO firm is actually doing to market your site, and that all ‘distribution’ is being handled manually, rather than via automated (ie: spam) methods. If the response you receive is questionable, request screenshots of some of the actual posts or profiles.
- Issue: This post is completely new to you, and you don’t know where to start.
- Concern: Your website marketing strategy may be lacking vital positioning and lead-generation strategies.
- Resolution: Request your FREE SEO Review from Grapevine Marketing. We’ll pinpoint the areas of highest priority and provide insight into efforts you can make to start developing your strategy.
If your issue wasn’t addressed above, or you still have questions, we’d love to hear from you. Please post a comment below or contact us to learn more.