As a legal marketing professional in the current internet-dominated society, you probably know already, that most of your target clients are avid or at least frequent internet users. This means that having a website for your firm should be top of your priorities if at all you want your products or services to reach out to as many people as possible. However, creating a stunning, user-friendly, and fast website is just part of the journey nowadays. This is because there are dozens if not hundreds of others selling the same thing online. But how exactly can you stay ahead of your competition? Well, this is where search engine optimization or SEO comes in.
Well, as a concept, SEO is based on the fact that when internet users seek information online, most of them are drawn to the first few results displayed on the search engine. This means that if your site contains optimized content with information that best relates to what your target clients search online, there’s a big chance that it will be listed among the results on the first (few) pages of Google niche, topic, subject, or keyword. The guys at Media Fortress, one of Melbourne’s leading providers of SEO services, internet marketing, web hosting, and website design services point out that the key to getting more leads, increasing your customer base, and staying ahead of your competition is to have a strong search engine optimization strategy that is customized to your needs. In essence, a good SEO practice will improve your search engine rankings, boost traffic to your website, and consequently, improve your conversion. However, it’s not always that simple. It all depends on the SEO approach you take and the strategies you put in place.
To achieve the best results from SEO, there are several things that you ought to do. Some of these include providing quality content, using the right keywords in your content, employing a great link-building strategy, using social signals, including meta descriptions, and using H1, H2, H3… tags in your content, as well as including images, infographics, and videos. This often takes some considerable amount of time (and money), but people do get there in a few months or weeks depending on their aggressiveness. However, literally everything has a shortcut and people always have a way of going around things in pursuit of success in the shortest time possible. This is why many consider investing in paid ads, PPC campaigns, Facebook advertising, and other search marketing approaches. But we’ve also heard of sites being penalized, shut down, and banned by Google and other search engines as a result of what is known as Black Hat SEO! So, are there any illegal ways to do SEO? Well, the answer is a big YES. Some of them may not exactly land you in jail, but here are some of the things you should steer clear of from when doing SEO.
You’re selling a particular service or product online but instead of creating content about it, you decide to copy a page that covers it from a competitor site and just replace their links with links to your products or include your own keywords. Even if it gets your site’s ranks high in a matter of weeks, by so doing, you’ve not only duplicated/plagiarized content, but you’ve also committed a copyright offense. As a result, Google and other search engines will flag or ban your site from the internet completely.
Keywords are an essential ingredient in any successful SEO strategy. After all, it’ keywords that attract search engine crawlers to your site once a search is performed. However, unlike in the past where search engine bots used to favor web pages based on the number of keywords included, it’s more about quality these days. Google’s algorithms have advanced over the years and among other things, the overuse keywords in your web content could spell trouble for your site. Panda and Penguin are always watching! This is because overusing keywords often makes content to look, feel, and sound unnatural, forced, and overly promotional, if not meaningless. Even if an internet user ends up making a purchase, it feels as if they were coerced to do so or the seller used trickery to make them.
Some website owners, especially the tech-savvy ones have another way of duplicating content so that it doesn’t look duplicated. They copy web pages from a live site and run it through a spinner software, which re-words the site to avoid detection by online plagiarism and duplicate content scanners. The worst thing about these spinner software programs is that spun content never comes out clean. It comes out with multiple errors, sentences that sound gibberish and don’t make sense at all. But it’s all in the advantage of the site owner since all they’re after is to rank higher for organic search. They then place advertisements for information or products and services closely related (or unrelated) to the searched content all over the page so the internet user can click hoping to get more meaningful content. Unfortunately, most of these sites do not go beyond a few weeks or months before getting banned and penalized by Google.
Also known as veiled text, this is yet another form of content spamdexing that involves including web page text that is hidden to internet users or website visitors but visible to search engines. In most cases, these texts contain clickable URLs that end up leading the user to destinations they never intended to visit in the first place. The text may have the same color as the background of the web page or the font may be too small for the average visitor to use. It may also be concealed behind an image or a pop-up page that covers it. Using veiled text in your SEO may also get you in trouble eventually.
Other common illegal SEO tactics include link farms, using doorway pages, and the misuse of redirecting links. To get the most out of SEO, it’s best to be conversant with the various applicable ranking factors, regulations, and best practices. The above are just a few of the things to avoid if you’re looking to do SEO the right way.