Did you know that Google banned its own division Google Japan with an 11-month penalty for buying links from blog reviewers?
Is your SEO provider engaging in unsavory, black hat SEO tactics frowned on by Google?
You may be experiencing more traffic to your website, but are people engaging with your brand? If you’re noticing a high bounce rate (a lot of visitors but short durations), and generating little feedback or response from visitors, your SEO provider might be attracting the wrong kind of traffic using strategies scrutinized by Google.
Google’s algorithm reviews over 200 factors to determine a website’s relevance to a search. Knowledge of Google’s webmaster guidelines are essential to avoiding a penalty, which can reduce the ranking of your page or site, and, in rare cases, can even result in the removal of your content from the search index.
Some SEO and marketing professionals employ strategies that are frowned on by Google, manipulating search results artificially to gain an unfair advantage. Black hat SEO tactics, as they are widely referred to, pose a significant threat to the quality of search results. If businesses can manipulate Google’s search engine, users will find the search results repetitive and limited to a few dominant players.
Misleading backlinks, false content, and other forms of spam can quickly proliferate across the web if they are not rigorously addressed. Reducing spam from search results has become a top priority for Google, which wants users to discover the best, most relevant, qualified, results based on their search terms.
By introducing guidelines and general practices for web administrators, Google hopes to generate better organic search results. Using a very complex series of mathematical calculations, each page in a SERP generates a score that can be compared and measured against other pages, ranked from greatest to least relevant.
If you’re SEO provider is suggesting any of the five following practices, take your business elsewhere:
- OBVIOUS PURCHASED LINKS
Trusted SEO services and experts never advise a client to pay for a backlink. It’s not only unethical, but if repeated enough times can actually generate a penalty from Google. Some services pay third-parties to host your link, using a portion of the fee they’ve been paid by you. They advertise on online job boards and pay very little but it’s an easy way to quickly build your page’s authority and ranking as web crawlers index take note of the increased backlinks. High bounce rates are a sure sign of suspicious backlinks, which could prompt a penalty.
- LINK FARMS
Some SEO services will offer a backlinks package, promising front page search results in a short time. Stay away! By proliferating your links indiscriminately across the internet, you’re sure to gain the attention of PageRank, which will make sure you don’t show up in search results. A link farm can be created by an automated program to produce a website (or websites) that feature hyperlinks connecting to one another. The owners of these sites can post content for a fee, along with hyperlinks placed strategically to link back to a desired site. The content, however is usually irrelevant or non-existent. Users who arrive at the site after clicking the hyperlink discover they’ve been duped, and bounce to another site.
- LINKING ONLY TO YOUR HOME PAGE
Links that lead visitors back to your home page might sound like a great idea, but it’s the easiest way to earn a penalty from PageRank. By directing links only to your home page, you’re actually diverting traffic from exploring deeper into your site architecture. Internal links that point to archived content, product pages, or other sources from your domain keep visitors to your site longer, which is a positive indicator to web crawlers of your relevance. Make sure to link to deeper level pages in your site in addition to the links pointing to your homepage.
- LINKING TO A PENALIZED SITE
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Of course, you won’t know a site has been penalized unless you make a point of checking for yourself. Good SEO services will perform an audit of all backlinks regularly to ensure that there are no harmful sites affecting your domain authority. With so much content online, rankings can change overnight, which means sites you may have linked to for months or years can suddenly be penalized if they fail to operate within Google’s guidelines.
- LINK SPAM
Phony content, irrelevant content; links posted in forums and chat rooms that lead to tacky sales offers or questionable online opportunities. Hyperlinks designed to divert traffic are annoying in whatever form they appear on your screen, but make sure your business isn’t among them. Online directories can be a graveyard of spammy links, used by shady SEO services to artificially increase traffic to a desired site. By registering your business information in forums or directories that lack context or relevance, they hope to fool web crawlers into thinking your business has been endorsed by others. PageRank, however, analyses links for their relevance as well.