How to Catch Bad SEO

SEO is, hands down, one of the best ways to get your website noticed on the Internet. This is why several site owners choose to hire experts to handle their SEO strategies.

    In fact, there are many companies that offer ample SEO services at low cost, but the only problem with that is we don’t get the credible results we are offered. Here are 10 signs that you may not be getting the most out of your SEO firm:

1. Making promises that aren’t kept. A lot of SEO firms will guarantee results in so many days or less and get you to the top in search engine results. The reality of SEO practice is that it’s a gradual process which involves lots of time and effort, and it usually takes a good few months before you see a dramatic increase in your site’s rankings and views. Furthermore, the purpose of SEO is to continually help your website grow and evolve to its fullest potential. Anyone promising fast results in a short amount of time is probably using questionable SEO techniques. Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOMoz, explains that site rankings are unstable and should not be used for measuring website progress. The important results are who and how many people subscribe, visit, or share your site.

2. “Black Hat” SEO methods. Common Black Hat techniques include, but are not limited to:

Keyword Stuffing:  Typically there is no substantial content on a web page with listed or repeated keywords. Loading your page with as many keywords as possible only hinders your website.

Doorway Pages:  These contain keywords that are made only to rank highly in search results, but they automatically redirect site visitors to another page.

Invisible Text:  The color of the text is the same as that of the background so that search engine spiders are fooled into ranking your site with irrelevant terms.

Linking Schemes:  This is basically the same as Keyword Stuffing, except with links instead.

3. Focusing on the wrong keywords. A good SEO firm should focus more on long-tail keywords to drive more relevant, quality visitors to your site. Again, it’s not the page ranking that matters most, but the kinds of visitors who visit your site and will interact with your business on a regular basis.

4. Cheap linking. Here are the most common bad linking techniques:

Email link prospecting:  Sending hundreds of emails out to webmasters requesting that they link back to your site.

Link Trading:  Offering to post links to others’ sites in return for them posting your site’s link on their sites. This could actually be a good SEO strategy, but only if you don’t go overboard with links and the sites you are trading links with are relevant to your business and website.

Automated Link Building:  Using specific programs to automatically send link requests to other sites or to post generic messages on blogs along with a link to your site requesting the blogger to visit it. This screams SPAM. Blogs will mark you as spam, and search engines will penalize your site.

Rapid Link Building:  A site’s links will be discounted when search engines notice that suddenly thousands of links have been added to it.

Same Anchor Text For All Links:  You should have links directed towards other areas of your site, but don’t use the same anchor text. Otherwise, this will be seen as spam, and once again, these links will be discounted.

5. Promising to list your site in several online directories. If you’re going to list your site in online directories, make sure they are well-known and credible and that you do not add your site to too many of them. Small, foreign, and low-quality site directories aren’t worth promoting your site. Directories like the business listings on Google, Bing, and Yahoo are great places to list your site. You can also list your site on major blog sites like Blogger, Technorati, or WordPress.

6. Redesigning your site/creating new pages  without 301 Redirect. Using 301 Redirects is important because the traffic and search engine rankings are preserved when visitors are redirected to your site.

7. Focusing on metadata instead of on-page SEO. Metadata is the html information that displays the title of a page, description, and keywords. Nowadays, search engines barely pay attention to metadata for page rankings, so it’s worthless to be stuffing your site’s metadata with keywords. Instead, focus on optimizing the content on your site.

8. Posting bad content. Your site’s content should be relevant, updated, and interesting for your visitors to read. Here are some strategies that bad SEO firms will use:

Content Scraping:  Copying content from other credible sites and posting it on your own site without credit.

Keyword-Stuffed Content:  Low-quality writing that is loaded with keywords to attract search engine bots.

Posting Fake Reviews:  Self-explanatory. You’ll most likely get caught and be fined thousands of dollars.

9. Directing insignificant traffic. As previously mentioned, quality, relevant visitors are worth more to your site than the amount of visitors you receive. Keep up with your website’s metrics, such as bounce rate, lead generation conversion rates, time spent on site, etc. These numbers can be tracked on Google Analytics.

10. Offering a one-time services with no long-term maintenance. SEO is a process; a continuous project; a constant focus. One installment of a few keywords and links won’t do the trick. Don’t trust any agencies that offer a one-time opportunity for SEO.

Bad SEO vs. Good SEO

Quick, one-time SEO tactics will increase your site rankings, but the progression will not last. Continuous SEO practice will keep your site’s rankings gradually improving.

Check back next Wednesday for a new SEO Tip of the Week!