The Effects of Bad Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We’ve all read articles and websites informing us of how invaluable marketing is to a website. The same articles invariably bestow on us the fact that SEO is one of the most important techniques of online marketing you can undertake. In fact, if I were to hold my hands up, I could honestly say I’ve written a lot of similar articles, because they’re useful, factually correct, and if written well they’re helpful. However, it is not as common to see articles that inform you of the effects of a poor Internet marketing campaign.
Poor SEO Can Lead To More Than Just Poor SEO Results
I know you’re probably sat there thinking to yourself “it’s simple, it won’t work” and to an extent you’d be quite right. A poor Internet marketing campaign wouldn’t increase the traffic to your site and you wouldn’t see any positive effects. Or, at least, you won’t get the results you would have with a better marketing campaign. However, the problems run much deeper than mere ineffectiveness. A poor marketing campaign can seriously and adversely effect your online presence to such an extent that your website can become completely useless. Yes, you read that right. You could see your existing search engine traffic completely disappear.
How A Website Gains Search Engine Traffic
Search engines index websites that they believe give some value to visitors. That value can be a little or it can be a lot and your eventual position on the search engine result pages will essentially be determined by how useful the search engines deem your site to be. It’s important to note that the search engine’s view doesn’t necessarily correlate with how useful your site actually is. When most people set up their first website they partially fill it with useful information that naturally contains terms relevant to the topic in question. Sometimes, although usually after a couple of months, this will result in the search engines indexing the site and sending a little in the way of search engine traffic to the site.
And So, The Problems Begin
Problems arise at the next step. The webmaster of this site believes they should have better results and attempts to act accordingly either by themselves or by employing the cheapest SEO they can find that promises a number 1 ranking in all major search engines within 26 minutes. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s not that far away from the truth. Aside from the fact that no legitimate SEO can guarantee top rankings, good SEO takes time. In fact, in a competitive market, good SEO takes a lot of time. There is no shortcut to fame and fortune.
Black Hat Techniques Lead To Blacklisted Sites
Black hat SEOs, a term you don’t want to become too familiar with, use underhand methods to quickly achieve good results. The search engines don’t always pick up on these techniques immediately but they strive for the best results and eventually they find out. When they do find out they not only ignore the black hat techniques they begin to penalize websites that use them. In many cases this will mean the complete removal of a website from their index. All of a sudden, the site that was ranking number one is nowhere to be seen and not only has the webmaster lost that top spot they’ve also lost all the search engine traffic they had previously. And, more importantly, it is unrecoverable. Search engines like Google do not listen to appeals often and when they do it is highly unlikely they will look favorably on these types of website.
Ignorance Is Not Bliss
Not all SEOs or webmasters intentionally use underhand methods to gain that elusive top spot but, in the eyes of search engines, ignorance is not an excuse. Google even go to the pains, apparently, of ensuring that sites do not fake their own popularity by gaining too many links too soon after their inception. SEO judges are still out on the actual effects of the Google Sandbox but the premise is this. Google use the links into your site as a guide to how popular your pages are. If you set up a website and within a week you suddenly have two thousand links pointing to your site this looks irregular, to say the least. On the back of this, new sites rarely get the search engine results they might deserve within the first weeks or even months of inception.
The inclusion of keywords within the content of your site is important, but nowhere near as important as it once was. Actually, that’s not strictly true. The inclusion of keywords is equally important but keyword cramming (including too many keywords in your content) is frowned upon. Once upon a time, it was possible to set up a site containing garbled text that had no relevance except that it contained a long list of repeated keywords. This site would often gain very good search engine standings because of its high relevancy. Search engines are turning their attention to websites that contain relevant, useful, informative and most importantly natural content. The inclusion of keywords is important but including them too often will quickly have your site labeled as keyword SPAM. Again, this is a quick route to index exclusion.
Other Black hat Methods
Other SEO tactics that lead to exclusion include keyword cloaking, keywords placed in white text on a white background and so on. If you think you’re tricking the search engines then there is a very real chance your site will soon be demoted to the pile of SPAM sites that are blacklisted from the search engines.
Good SEO Practice Summary
Keep your site clean, your content informative and your intention honorable. This really is the only way you can be sure to get anywhere near the results you deserve. Living by these rules will mean it will take longer to get your site higher up the rankings, but it also means that when you do get there, you will stay there. A lifetime in the top 5 after a 6-month wait is better than a week at top spot after a 2-week wait.