Social media platforms will come and go, but SEO will dominate online marketing for years to come. In short, SEO is structuring your website and your content in a way that makes your site attractive to search engines. Search engines, like Google, are basically algorithms that study user behavior and decide which websites do the best job of answering a user’s question.
In the early 2000’s, search engines were primitive. They used markers like keyword density and number of links to determine which websites were the best. However, the algorithms behind search engines have become much more sophisticated, and it is impossible to fake quality content. This has not stopped some vendors and service providers from trying though.
In this article, I want to teach you how to spot “black hat” SEO tactics so you can avoid hurting your website.
Never Take Shortcuts: Easy “SEO” Will Hurt Your Website
When someone approaches you and claims they can make your website rank on “page one,” they are probably a fraud. First, the only surefire way to push your website up the rankings is by writing content that your clients want. Writing, by its very nature, takes time and thought.
SEO scam artists will often pitch “buying links” to promote your website, no matter how terrible that practice is. Buying links will, very literally, kill your website. Another bad practice is buying content. When you post content that is identical to others’ content, you are hurting your website. Google notices duplicate content, and they will punish websites that are using content that was published on other websites first.
You Cannot Buy Instant Results
To rank high on search engines, you need to play the long game. Getting a good ranking means doing the following:
- Using schema markup in your website code
- Making a website that is mobile responsive
- Writing unique content regularly
- Avoiding ads that violate the better ad standards
- Writing content that answers your users’ questions
- Updating your website often
- Distributing your content on social media
There are many more steps you need to take to improve your website’s ranking. These steps aren’t something that you can do all at once. They are incremental steps that add up in the long run.
If you are really interested in helping your website, you need to invest in a good website developer first. Have them build a website that is mobile-friendly and has the correct coding. The former can be hard to understand, so it is a good idea to get a second opinion. The first is easy to verify, just pull up your website on a mobile phone.
As for the rest, this is something that will require an investment of time. This can be either your time, which is valuable or the time of an employee or contractor.
Quality Content Will Keep Your Website Alive
Writing is one of the hardest, and time-consuming things you will do. However, writing and content are important for the health of your website. If you do not have the time to write for your website, you need to outsource this task.
There are many ghostwriters out there who are more than happy to write for you. Ideally, you will find someone with knowledge of your business or service. If you have a staff, you can also task them with writing content.
Create a content schedule. Shoot for one new article or blog post a week. After your website has reached the desired location in search rankings, you can modify that schedule.
Show Up in the Local Pack by Staying Consistent and Getting Reviews
The easiest part of SEO is modifying your local listings. This means keeping your online profiles consistent. You should have one phone number that is featured on all profiles; this includes social media, Yelp, Google, and other directory websites.
Keep your business profiles updated. Check on them twice a year if nothing changes. If you move or get a new phone number, make sure to update these profiles as soon as possible so potential clients can contact you.
Finally, make sure you are asking your clients for reviews. A good review profile will mean your website shows up well in organic ranking. Obviously, your reviews should be genuine. There is no faking reviews, just like there is no faking good SEO.
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