The SEO industry developed due to the inexhaustible potential of the internet. Whether used for business or personal promotion, SEO is the practice of getting found in the search results that are proving to be more and more critical to web visibility with each day that passes.
However, like many other situations within the economy, within SEO there are good practices and there are bad practices. Certain strategies, albeit finding certain levels of success in the past, hamper the integrity of the contemporary industry. Some of these approaches are listed below, with some progressive alternatives that can be used to mitigate the negative trends. If you are practicing SEO, these are some issues to think about in order to keep what you do important in both our society and economy.
1. Keyword Stuffing
Sometimes it feels like it’s Thanksgiving every day when the SEO industry is analyzed. People stuff content with the search terms they want to rank for. The sad part about this strategy is that although Google and other major search engines have been cracking down on this approach for a while now, it’s still prevalent across many facets of the internet. Stuffing content with keywords doesn’t work, and it shouldn’t work. It’s not natural.
Keyword stuffing is the epitome of a practice that hampers the optimization world. For one, SEO is meant to help search engines guide users to desired information, not tricking them into irrelevant material. No one wants to read an article where 10% of the content is filled with the same word. Give it up, or the search algorithms will help you do so.
Progressive alternative: If you’re creating content, keywords are surely necessary to increase optimization. It’s important to remember, however, that they aren’t the most vital component to optimization. Take the time to fit keywords into your article, rather than fit your article into a mass number of the same words. This is more difficult and takes more time, but it’s better for you and the end users around the globe to make the effort.
2. Creating irrelevant content
Whether it’s for link building or as a sub-plot of another SEO strategy, the act of producing irrelevant content strictly for SEO purposes is questionable at best. For one, search algorithms aren’t only catching on; they’re caught up on this trade. The scanning robots of Google and other major search engines are becoming more and more on point when it comes to recognizing sketchy content.
If you’re link building and you write a fly fishing article with an in-content hyperlink to an ice cream shop website, you’re wasting everyone’s time. Doing this type of thing strictly for a link is lazy at best and straight up manipulative. Someone who is reading a fly fishing article doesn’t want anything to do with an ice cream link, at least not at that moment. Similarly, links that don’t match content or site theme draw the ire of search algorithms. Any participator will be knocked down the rankings quicker than a page refresh.
Progressive alternative: It’s critical to do your best to always try and put SEO second in importance when relevancy is considered. The content that you create, whether it’s on your own site or another one, should be relevant to your audience. Without this relevancy, your content won’t be useful to help you get ranking or assisting an end user in gathering the information they’re looking for.
3. Link farm connections
Due to links being a strong rating factor when search engine rankings are considered, many people lean towards quantity over quality. This is far from the ideal strategy in 2013, however, as search algorithms have made the tactic virtually useless.
Submitting links to content farms with the goal of having your desired URL spewed into the online abyss doesn’t help anyone. While this practice did used to yield immediate and often fairly successful results, the act diminishes SEO to a manipulative industry. If you are building links with an SEO motive, do it genuinely and with goodwill. From there, you’ll be rewarded.
Progressive alternative: It’s important to realize that in the modern optimization world, a few extremely high quality links are far better than many average ones. Links that carry high authority, relevancy and user experience are the ones that can and will push your landing page upward in the search results. Link farms do not house anything quality, and even if they do, the legitimate content will be buried in the endless list of “resources”.
SEO is often associated with sketchy practices. Fair enough. The profession works exclusively online and any success in usually translated into financial gains. This in itself leads to sketchy practices because everyone wants to make money and in the past, any strategy to gain traction on the competition was the way to go. Now, algorithms and users are demanding more. They want an SEO industry that brings users to the information they’re looking for, and quickly. To do this, SEO professionals need to step up and take accountability. It will take extra effort, but the reward is well worth it.
Clay Christeson is an SEO writer for Local Splash.
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