Right SEOs, we all know the good old Black Hat techniques that circulate around the world, but these aren’t the only problem. There are also those that really make a hash job of SEO. I recently heard from several clients some techniques that they had learnt from other SEO companies they had previously worked with, and thought I would share them with you.
I will not name any of the companies, but hopefully for those that are relatively new to SEO, this will shed some light on some techniques you should avoid. It may also help some to recognize when a bad SEO comes forward and gives some bad advice, and when to walk away from such shady black hat SEO methods because they can (and will) hurt your Google rankings.
1. “It’s a good idea for us to begin by building toxic links to your competitors, this is a good way to damage their reputation and force them down in the rankings”. I couldn’t believe this when I first saw the e-mail but it was a genuine suggestion. Building “toxic links” is somewhat of a gray area, and is difficult to show that it does a lot of damage to your rankings. I would never recommend building toxic links (these are like comment links or links from “dodgy” websites) to your site because there is every chance you could get noticed, and then penalized by Google. However building links to a competitor is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard. There could even be a chance that they get some benefit out of them, not to mention that no work is being done on your own site!
2. “Put as many keywords in your Title and Meta Tags. This is a great way to show Google that your site is relevant to specific key terms”. I don’t even understand this proposal very well. Spamming your Meta Tags! Wasn’t that something that worked 230 years ago? Seriously, Google pays barely any attention to the Description Meta Tag, and absolutely none to the Keyword Tag. These have no benefit to your site, but you can be sure that if you put 500 words in each one, your site isn’t going to rank very well in Google. The Title tag is one of the more important attributes on your site. You need to use this wisely. There is a character limit set at 70 for the top optimized Title tag, and you should stick to this, only use 3 keywords that work best for each page, spamming this, will get you penalized.
3. “Your site is quite dull and we have evidence to show that a lively site attracts more visitors. So we recommend using Flash, and this will help to bring the site into a more favorable and aesthetically pleasing view”. Right, *Sigh* having a lively site will help with fresh content, but I promise you that there will be no SEO benefit what so ever from adding Flash to your site. Google and I hate Flash, it can’t be easily read, and Google’s Bot actually disregards most of it. Not only this it is also filled with so much messy code, slowing down your website (which has now been confirmed as a ranking factor). Bringing fresh content onto your site is a good thing, Flash is one of the worst!
4. “We strongly recommend that you buy at least 15 domains, preferably with some age and power. We can send you a list if you would like, we would then redirect them to your site”. Excuse me for saying this but “OMG”. Satanic Black hat devil worshipers, this is what is known as Parasite hosting in the SEO world. The redirect they are talking about is called a 301. It is quite literally where all the power from these older domains is passed through to the new one, to give it a boost. It is extremely easy to identify, and even easier to penalize. Google isn’t stupid and neither are you guys, don’t fall into these traps!