Over the past several months industry news stories have shown us several high-profile examples of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that should be avoided by every small business.
First stories about JC Penney duping Google through black hat SEO techniques emerged, followed by stories about Overstock.com using black hat practices to trick Google. This certainly isn't the first time that a business has been penalized by Google but they should serve as a reminder to the rest of that, when it comes to SEO, there is a right way to do things and a wrong way.
If a small business wants to improve its website's search rankings, it should avoid the following dirty SEO tricks:
' Cloaked Content The most offending SEO technique is commonly called cloaking, which refers to designing a website so that search engines see one thing while human visitors see another. This dirty trick got BMW booted from the Google index back in 2006.
' Paid Links JC Penney just got busted for paying a link broker to increase its rank. Paying for links or participating in exchanges, whereby links are placed on non-relevant websites, is a direct violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines, and it can get you severely punished, as JC Penney learned.
' Duplicate Content When the same content is presented on multiple pages, sub-domains, and/or domains, it can result in higher rankings, but it can get you kicked out of Google's index.
' Keyword Stuffing A website's keywords can be a major factor in that page's ranking, but it's wrong to use them indiscriminately or deceptively.
There are many dirty SEO tricks out there, but these are some of the worst. If you handle your company's SEO campaign, don't be tempted by these dangerous practices. If someone else handles your SEO for you, manage them carefully and make sure they don't use any of these practices.
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