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Make sure you aren’t succumbing to these dubious “black hat” SEO practices

As conscientious Luke Skywalkers of the internet, we know that, if we want our websites to score highly in Google’s search rankings, we need to make sure we’re crafting our sites to please the users first and foremost. However, it’s crucial that, like Luke, you resist the lure of the “dark side”…

Metaphorically, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine might tempt you to resort to “black hat” techniques aimed at tricking Google – but don’t fall for it! More to the point, don’t do the following…

Buying batches of unnatural backlinks

It wasn’t too long ago that crafting good SEO was basically synonymous with building backlinks. There’s much more to it these days, but it was once possible to strengthen your site’s authority by getting an article published on an online directory that would then feed SEO juice to your own site.

The higher the number of such links, the more SEO juice your site would be fed, leading to a flourishing market in the bulk-buying of backlinks for SEO purposes. However, as even poorly-designed sites could benefit in this way, Google countered by overhauling its algorithm.

That update, called Penguin, slashed the previously high search rankings of many sites which had amassed unnatural backlinks. The right backlinks can still do wonders for your site’s standing, and we can source such links ethically for you when you opt for our web marketing Advanced package.

Sloppily rehashing articles from elsewhere

The internet is a treasure trove of genuinely useful and informative content, even if you have to watch out for more dubious material which was probably cobbled together by “black hat” marketers. It’s Google’s job to make sure that the good material rises to the top of its search results.

Given the considerable amount of time and expertise required to write truly original content well, you might assume that Vader and Palpatine meet their match here. However, they probably reckon that, if they simply reword existing content, you wouldn’t be able to tell.

There’s one entity that can definitely tell, however – and that’s Google. After indexing one well-written article, Google will recognise when it has been spun and so will penalise the offending piece.

Stuffing keywords excessively into your copy

What does your company sell? If it’s cases for smartphones, there’s nothing wrong with inserting keywords like “Samsung phone cases” and “iPhone cases” into the copy. You could even include the likes of “Samsung screen protectors”, if they match up with what your company genuinely offers.

However, resist including irrelevant keywords, like “ice cream” or “bathroom fitting services” if your company doesn’t offer either. It’s not good for the user experience, and neither is turning huge portions of your copy into what are essentially lists of keywords.

That’s an instance of keyword stuffing, which might have worked once in an SEO sense but will now see you punished by Google. Include keywords, but only where they read naturally – in other words, where it comes across as though you would have mentioned them anyway.

Make sure you aren't succumbing to these dubious "black hat" SEO practices

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