There are plenty of claims about ‘tricks’ that can take your online marketing to the next level. However, these tricks are often the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Some stunts actually hurt your online presence significantly. Others are just expensive and relatively useless.
This blog will expose the mythical shortcuts that actually hurt your online efforts, and could even get your website blacklisted.
There are 3 Kinds of Search Engine Marketing Strategies
White Hat – White Hat tricks include writing good content, optimizing Local Search, writing good code, etc. – strategically employing tools, provided by Google and others, in a way that will maximize your long-term and short term goals. White Hat tricks help you work smart and serve your intended audience with integrity. Google is continually getting better at rewarding good practices (White Hat tricks), and penalizing bad ones.
Black Hat tricks have a risk of working against you. When search engines catch on to a clever hack, they rewrite the algorithm and penalize it. Here are two examples of Black Hat tactics:
· Forging good reviews for your Local Search page.
· Buying a URL that is very close to a popular site, like “Gooogle.com”
Grey Hat is another term coined by some. If a trick is not immoral or illegal, and is not yet penalized by an algorithm, some call it Grey Hat. This category could be compared to “Miscellaneous Expenses” on your financial statements - It’s reserved for rare things you can’t quickly categorize. For example, repetitive use of words and phrases because they are popular on search engines (aka Keyword Stuffing) might have been considered Grey Hat at one point, but now it’s just a really bad idea.
“Stupid” Hat – There are dozens of Black Hat tricks that used to be considered clever, but they are now being penalized by a specific change to Google’s algorithm. These are the harmful hacks we wanted to warn you about. They should have gone away a long time ago, but they still persist, and they are still being sold as good ideas in our movement.
When you employ a strategy that actually hurts your website, you’re pulling a ‘Stupid Hat trick’.
Here are some examples - poor practices that you should avoid:
· There are STILL firms out there willing to sell positive online reviews. Just say no! When Google and other search engines discover this—and they will—they’ll penalize you in search results, and it takes a year or more to recover. An algorithm called ‘Panda’ is doing a good job of finding and penalizing these type of reviews.
· If a firm tries to sell you dozens of backlinks, run away. Jagger was released in 2005 to reduce the benefit of low-quality backlinks. Then, Panda came along in 2011 and started blacklisting sites with low-quality backlinks.
· If your web content writer says you need to excessively splash certain words and phrases all over your pages to win online, they are 15 years behind the times. This is called keyword stuffing, and it is a very bad idea. An algorithm called Florida began penalizing this trick in 2003.
· If someone offers you a clever domain name, claiming it will give your online marketing a quick boost, splash them in the face with whatever you’re drinking. They are obviously misinformed: They’ll thank you later.
Domain names used to be a big market. Some domains were worth millions! Then, an algorithm called EMD (aka Exact Match Domains) was released in 2012, and it destroyed the domain-name market overnight. Some still hold certain domain names with the hope that the market will come back, but I believe their value has gone the way of the Beany Baby.
I hope this article successfully explained what NOT to do. Please refer to our blog series titled SEM Setup Kits for positive tips on how to win online.
Google (and others) have one primary goal – They want to provide relevant search results to their customers. If you employ smart SEM strategies, write great content, and provide terrific service, you will win the day.