Manipulation is an integral part of our society and of our world, whether we are manipulating numbers on a tax return, manipulating our children to go to bed on time or we are being manipulated by advertisements to purchase the latest gadget.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is not immune from manipulation and while the goal is to improve the position that one’s website appears at in organic search results, this can still be achieved without the need to ‘trick’ search engines into increasing the visibility of your website.
Trying to place a false high value on your low-quality website is not going to get the results you are trying to achieve. While working at an SEO company in Austin, I was quite surprised to see how many of our clients were using manipulative strategies in order to get their site to rank. The fact is, you can only pull the ‘manipulation SEO card’ a few times before the search engines catch on and push you down the ranks. So let’s take a look at some manipulative SEO techniques and the difference between doing it the right way or the sly way.
Links are an excellent measure of a website’s popularity and most search engine algorithms use links and link parameters in order to calculate the relevance of a particular site. In fact, links are an essential part of the Google PageRank algorithm.
But let’s be clear, there is a big difference between high quality and low quality links and if you are simply engaging in mass reciprocal linking, or accepting any links from other websites, you are doing your own website an injustice. Google is quite clear about this in their Link Schemes terms where they clearly outline that the ratings of your site will be negatively impacted if you use links which are intended to manipulate the PageRank as well as use excessive link exchanging.
Many companies are quick to employ link building services and while I am not knocking these services, you have little or no control over the off-page optimization process.
If your links are created too quickly or with the same anchor text, the search engines will detect this unnatural growth and will penalize your website for it. So the bottom line is, you can improve the search engine results for your website dramatically when you implement good linking practices.
Your website needs content and a lot of it and we all know how easy it is to go online and scrape content from other sites without their permission. The fact is Google likes high quality, original content which is placed on authoritative websites. So if you have taken the time to produce good quality original content that contributes to a subject, you need to be aware that there are ‘scrapers’ out there who could be dropping your content all over the web which could impact your ranking negatively.
Despite this, there are some ways to turn this SEO risk into an opportunity and one way is to use the Rel=”Author” Tag in your page which shows Google that this content belongs to you and when a scraper decides to grab your content, you have already claimed your property, plus this also helps you to build an authoritative profile on Google+.
There are also ways to block scrapers from your site, but either way, Google has become increasingly better at identifying the original content producer and assigning credit to that site so take the time to ensure that the content on your site adds value.
While it is easy to get caught up in manipulative techniques to boost your site’s ranking, set clear goals and turn to a quality SEO company who can assist you in providing various effective online marketing services. At the end of the day, you must not lose sight of maximizing the true potential of your website by building value-added areas and becoming a true leader within your niche.