Search engine optimization (SEO) is something that is critically important for a business to integrate into its digital marketing efforts. But without a calculated and ethical implementation plan, SEO efforts can actually do more harm than good to your business and online reputation.
Here’s we’ll describe the strategies that work and are ethical, as well as some of the strategies that could have you banned by different search engines.
Let’s start with what NOT to do.
Don’t trade links with random sites. You used to be able to swap links with just about any website, and the more links you had pointing to your
website, the better your SEO would be. But if you are Google and your goal is to direct people to quality content, the best content in this case obviously wouldn’t be the content that has the most links pointing to it. So, search engines got smart and figured out how to tell when quality links exist to a site, and they actually now penalize websites when they have multiple random links pointing to them.
Don’t use popular keywords that don’t relate to the content on your site. Sometimes people will use keywords that are more popular in order to entice people to their website. For example, using the keyword ‘One Direction’ might get you attention in search results, but if your website sells weed killer, search engines will not be pleased with this lack of relevance. They will ding you because you are tricking people into visiting your site.
Don’t duplicate your content on your site. Duplicating content is a big SEO no-no – having gratuitous keywords at the bottom of your site in the same font color as the background of your site so that people can’t see them? We call that SEO amateur hour, and search engines will most definitely frown upon that.
Here’s what you SHOULD do.
Write great content. Great content is the key to driving traffic to your site. Why would people come to your site, and better yet, return again, unless
you have dynamic and interesting content to share. That includes photography that relates to your topic, products, or services, as well as well-written content. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-optimized blog for SEO.
Utilize those keywords. You need a great keyword strategy to ensure that the right people are finding your site and content in search engines.
Smarta.com has an extremely helpful tutorial on determining what your keywords should be and why.
Be active on social media. Tell people about your blog, your products, your business. Promote yourself. Have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, among other social media sites. Make sure people have a reason to share the content you write, so that it gets exposed to your fans friends, and their friends’ friends, and so forth. This is the viral effect in full effect.
Be patient. As you build good content on your website, blog, and social media, and as you get press and guest blog for others, quality links back to your website will start to proliferate. So will traffic. This is not something you can force but something that over time will naturally grow as you stay persistent and consistent in your efforts.
In short, patience is a virtue when it comes to SEO. Good SEO doesn’t happen overnight – it happens through ethical content and link building practices, and intelligent strategy. The businesses who do it right don’t look to cut corners, because in the end, that can really only hurt your optimization capabilities.
Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from digital marketing strategy to business tips for entrepreneurs.
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