Why does almost everyone prefer Google over any other search engine ? Well, maybe it has to do with Google’s goal to provide the end user with the best possible results when using their search engine. Over time people like myself were able to use black hat SEO tactics to get their websites an advantage. I even know someone who runs a large SEO company in Toronto personally who used what was considered black hat or unethical tactics to rank higher. But Google is smart and eventually figures out a way put an end to those who use these practices which result in websites becoming de-indexed and having to spend more money and time just to fix the problem.

Outsourcing overseas to optimize your website was a great idea while it lasted but my advice now is STAY AWAY! I get emails daily from some person in India and Pakistan using a gmail account with a subject line such as “Get Ranked #1 in Google” – rank for what exactly ?

1. Domain name optimization

I didn’t even know what the exact term was until I took an SEO class but I had being using this method for years. Basically all it is was purchasing a domain that had keywords you’d like to rank for. So let’s say I wanted to rank high for “WordPress Toronto” then I would pay $10-15 dollars and buy the domain www.wordpress-toronto.com or www.wordpress-toronto.ca and there was a good chance my site would rank high for those keywords. In my affiliate marketing I would use this for almost every product I was trying to drive traffic to. Google eventually caught on to this tactic and it no longer works. You can see by searching the term “WordPress Toronto” that despite there being sites for those domains they do not rank high for those keywords.

2. Build multiple landing sites, microsites, landing pages for the same product/service

I was in a meeting once where someone said why not build multiple sites that rank for the same keyword so you can push your competitors down in the search engine results page. This was a lot easier to do but is almost impossible now however I do know some sites that still pull it off but this requires A LOT of effort. I used to do this when I was a very active affiliate marketer. If I had a top selling product then I would create 5-10 sites just for a specific product but Google is smart and eventually will catch one and your site will be delisted.

3. Backlinks, Backlinks and more Backlinks

One SEO was all about backlinks. If a lot of sites pointed to your site that meant you were a popular website and Google would rank you higher for the keyword that was used in the anchor text of the link. To an extent backlinks still matter however they need to be quality backlinks and relevant to your sites content. This was not the case 10 years ago when this method of black hat SEO actually worked. This actually created a big industry for a short while as you could get away with paying someone offshore to build thousands of backlinks for next to nothing. I remember paying a company called WL Marketing $20 and they would provide lets say 250 backlinks.

4. Repeating Keywords and crappy content

I remember reading something like you should repeat your target keyword 3% of your overall website copy. So if I was targeting the keywords “WordPress Toronto” then I would write a very long blog and the target keyword repeated multiple times or what is referred to as keyword stuffing. This actually worked. I would even hire WL Marketing to write content for me with my target keyword and a few days later I would get a 1000 word article that was painful to read but managed to rank for my targeted keyword. Don’t try and do this. I should have taken the advice of write for the reader and not for SEO. Focus on quality content and not quanity. I would recommend staying away from hiring anyone oveseas or someone who isn’t fluent in English or whatever language your website is in. Try and build quality content that is useful and that readers would want to share.

5. Article submission and press releases

I also dabbled in this as well as I paid WL Marketing to submit my new articles or product pages to hundreds of mostly made up directories for the sake of business. This was a very lucrative industry as some of these companies would charge in the thousands with the promise of sending traffic and optimizing your website with valuable backlinks. Press releases are great when they come from major online news sources or credible websites but not the crap sites that these companies had in their network.

SEO still exists to an extent. Google has made it so that companies or webmasters must focus on building quality websites, having quality content and looking at social signals coming from major social networking platforms like Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. Do things ethically! It may take longer but in the end it will be worth it.