As a business owner, you likely know that search engine optimization is crucial to your success online. However, effective SEO can be tricky to implement and is constantly changing. Certain tactics, such as keyword stuffing and link buying, can even harm your site’s optimization instead of helping it.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to avoid common SEO mistakes. The first step is knowing what the potential pitfalls are. This knowledge will make it clear what not to do, so you can focus on the strategies that will benefit your site.
In this article, we’ll explain what ‘black hat’ tactics are, and how to avoid them by bringing in a team of digital marketing experts to help out. Let’s get going!
A Brief Introduction to ‘Black Hat’ Tactics
Black hat SEO tactics are methods that are considered unethical. The term refers to the black hats that villains in old Western movies often wore.
Some malicious website owners use black hat tactics to trick the search engine algorithms, without adding any actual value. For example, they may try to copy content from other sites, to appear as if they are generating new content regularly. In response, search engines have adapted their algorithms to limit the effects of black hat internet marketing.
On the other hand, white hat methods improve your search rankings, by adding actual value to your content. This might include providing genuine fresh content, such as by running a blog that updates weekly or updating your old content.
5 Search Marketing Blunders You Should Pay Attention To
The differences between black and white hat SEO techniques can be subtle. It’s important to know the distinction, however, so you can focus on the strategies that will benefit your site over the long term. With that in mind, here are five damaging search engine marketing mistakes to avoid.
1. Keyword Stuffing
Working keywords into your site’s content is smart. However, you’ll want to avoid keyword stuffing, or unnaturally using a keyword over and over again:
Using keywords is beneficial because search engines use them to determine what queries your content should be ranked for. If you can use relevant terms that have a high search volume, it may drive more organic traffic your way.
However, it can be difficult to strike a balance between keyword stuffing and using too few keywords. A good rule of thumb is to use keywords only where they fit into your content naturally. That way, it won’t look like you’re overusing your keywords for the sake of catering to search engines.
2. Link Buying Schemes
If you try to research ‘DIY’ SEO, you may come across services that offer link buying schemes. This is when a company promises to build ‘backlinks’ for your website by adding those links to their own (irrelevant) sites.
Backlinks are URLs on other sites that lead back to your own. They’re necessary for search engine optimization because they’re a way of measuring your site’s value. Search engines tend to assume that if you produce valuable content, other people will want to link to it.
Linking buying programs may promise a quick return on marketing optimization for cheap. However, they can actually harm your SEO over the long term. Search engines have begun to penalize link farms, by lowering your rankings when you have too many backlinks on low-value or unrelated sites.
The correct way to build backlinks is by first creating high-quality content. Then, you can reach out to other relevant sites. You might offer to write guest posts with links back to your site, or ask for link exchanges. Either way, building backlinks takes time, persistence, and strong content.
3. Spam Comments
Another mistake that’s easy to make is ignoring spam comments. These are low-value comments that are often written by bots and are used as vehicles for backlinks. As we explained earlier, backlinks are valuable, and some marketers try to plaster their links all over the internet to raise their search optimization:
However, search engines may penalize your site for having too much of this type of spam content, even if you didn’t create it yourself. Having lots of low-quality links on your site can confuse search engines into thinking it’s a link farm.
Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to implement software that can stop spam comments. To do that, you can download and activate an anti-spam plugin for WordPress, such as Akismet.
4. Hidden Text
‘Hidden’ or ‘invisible’ text is content that’s on your website, but that human visitors can’t see. This could include white text on a white background, for example, or simply content that’s located outside of the viewable area.
This text can damage your digital marketing optimization because it’s seen as manipulative behavior. It’s often used to fill a site with hidden, irrelevant keywords in the hopes that its pages will rise in the search engine rankings. However, the point of SEO optimization is to help users find relevant content, so search engines penalize this tactic harshly.
Your website shouldn’t try to trick readers into thinking it contains content that’s not actually there. Fortunately, this is an easy mistake to avoid, since there’s no legitimate reason to add hidden text to your pages.
5. Duplicate Content
Finally, search engines also penalize sites that have duplicate content. This is any content that’s significantly similar to what’s on another site. Some websites purposely duplicate content, such as by rewording another site’s text or outright plagiarizing it.
Unfortunately, there are also some situations where duplicate content may be accidental. For example, having multiple copies of your own website can result in penalties. You can avert those penalties by using redirects and making sure that you follow other best practices for avoiding duplicate content.
The Advantages of Hiring Search Engine Marketing Experts
If the above list sounds intimidating, you may want to consider hiring experts to manage your digital marketing strategy. There are many potential SEO traps you can fall into, but avoiding them is much easier when you have help.
Another reason to go pro is that digital marketing strategies can be time-consuming. There is no shortcut to effective optimization – the surest way to rise in the search engine rankings is to create strong content that follows proven best practices.
If you’re thinking about getting professional marketing services, or are just curious to learn more, feel free to let us know! We can help you achieve long-term success for your website through smart search engine marketing strategies. You can reach out today for a free digital marketing quote and phone consultation.
Breaking Down Key Takeaways and Insights
It may be tempting to implement ‘DIY’ SEO methods as a way to save money. However, the wrong techniques can actually damage your site. It’s important to avoid ‘black hat’ shortcuts that promise quick results for little effort. Unless you can devote considerable time to the optimization of your website, you may even want to consider hiring search engine marketing experts to help out.
To recap, five of the top SEO errors you’ll want to pay attention to include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Link buying schemes
- Spam comments
- Hidden text
- Duplicate content
Do you have any questions about search optimization, or how we can help increase more traffic to your website? Let us know in the comments section below!