Which advice should you heed, and which should you avoid? It can get murky. That is why today we are going to look at some of the strategies that will and will not work for your site. First we will look at a thing you should not do, then we will move onto one that you should do.
Don’t be shocked if some of the dos and do nots seem very similar. Bad SEO advice thrives by looking like good advice.
Bad Strategy One: Putting Any and All Outbound Links on Your Site.
Good Strategy One: Choosing to Link to External Sites Carefully, but Generously
In general, creating outbound links from your site to another site is a very good thing in the world of SEO. The quality of the sites that you link to, however, can make a big difference in the effect that it brings you. If you choose to link to sites that fall into the headings below, then you can end up reversing all of your work thus far — or at the very least, not helping your rankings.
In general, there are a few key areas that you need to be worried about when you are choosing which sites you should link to and which you should pass on by. What are these target areas?
1. Sites that have been categorized as a bad neighborhood by a search engine. These are sites that have been penalized for over linking – for using links inappropriately. How do you spot one of these sites before you link? The simplest way is to search for the domain name (not the URL) in an engine. If it does not show up, it has been blacklisted. You may want to try this with a few engines.
2. Adult sites. Aside from the fact that you may offend your readers and lose them, you run the risk of getting your site moved into that category if you have too many links to this type of site. There is no magic number here, where you can link to the sites and get jumped. Each search engines formula works differently. Just be aware that you need to have less of these to fall into that category if you have more related keywords on your site. This means that unless your site is truly meant for adults only, you need to be very cautious with these links.
3. Black holes. This is a term for sites that get links without giving them in return. Sure, it will not really damage your SEO, but it does not get you anything. Be wary of sites with no outbounds, or only “no follow” outbound links. One of the biggest in that category is Twitter, which does all links as no follow, as well as some major news sites. Yes, Twitter has a lot of great uses, but SEO is not one of them.
What about inbound links? Don’t they matter?
Yes, they do. You can’t do anything about it if one of the sites in this category chooses to link to you. If, however, you do not link to them, you can steer clear of one of the biggest problems possible, the reciprocal link. These links count heavy in a lot of formulas, and having them to the wrong sites will drag you down. While we are talking about links, let’s look at a sub-category of bad linking ideas.
Bad Strategy One and One Half: Using a Paid Link Service or Link Trade Site to Get Links for Your Site
Using a paid link or a link trade service can get you into one of the situations above. Most owners of decent and reputable sites prefer to get their links in other ways. So, be aware that these communities often have at least a few of the sites that fall into the categories above.
Bad Strategy Two: Using Any and All Related Keywords That You Can Think Of
Good Strategy Two: Choosing A Few Highly Relevant (and hopefully researched) Keywords and Using them Naturally in Your Site
Keywords are a great way to get a search engine to bring you visitors that are looking for exactly what you have on your site. They are great when they are relevant to what is on the site and only used naturally. If you load up a piece with every keyword that you can think of, you will not get anywhere. It is best to choose two to three keywords to use in a 300-word piece, or five in a longer, 700 word or above piece. Always keep them extremely relevant, and that means words that you would have probably used naturally in the piece anyway.
That having been said, be aware that text behind any kind of a log on or protected area will not count toward the rankings, no matter how keyword-rich it happens to be. If it is not accessible to a normal user, then a search engine can not get to it to factor it into the rankings.
Sorry, but if you have a pay for content model going on, then you will need to attract visitors another way. This will put you at a distinct disadvantage in the SEO game. Just try to build a lot of links to the freely available content on your site or to your main page. You may not think that this is fair; after all, you have put a lot of work into that content. The position of engines is that this policy is fair to end users. They do not want links to content that they can not access.
While we are on the topic of things that will not count, your menus and sidebars will also generally fall into this category. Sure, you may have designed a great set of menus that are extremely useful to your human end users. When it comes to search engines, however, they may as well not exist at all. They will not be counted at all. They are not considered part of the keywords on your site, so don’t bother trying to cram in extra ones here.
On the bright side, you can easily remedy this with a site map page on your site. So think of it as a mixed blessing. You will have to do some extra work on your site, but you will get better indexing in general if you site has a site map on it.
This should go without saying, but all keywords should be visible. There are some people who suggest that you hide invisible keywords, either in a meta field, or embedded into your site. These are always a bad idea.
This concept is called keyword stuffing, and you should never do this. It can result in your site being lowered in the rankings or worse, banned from the search engine. This includes tactics like putting words in your footer that are the same color as your footer or background.
Bad Strategy Three: Getting Content from an Article Bank or Submitting Yours to the Bank for the Link
Good Strategy Three: Creating Your Own Best of Breed Content and Keeping it On Your Site
Using duplicate content, or letting yours be reprinted, reduces your value. Search engines place a high premium on sites having unique content. This means that you need to take the time to write it, and don’t let people copy it freely. Do not share your content freely.
Letting a site reprint a section with your permission (and a link back) is one thing, but reprinting whole pieces is not OK for any reason. To that end, you cannot take the content that belongs to anyone else. You need to have all original content on your site in order to get good rankings. Also, your readers will be annoyed if they find the same pieces over and over again.
Good Strategy Four: Do Not Believe the Rumors About AdWords or AdSense
There are a lot of crazy rumors that float around about using Google AdSense for your advertising and how it impacts your organic rankings in Google’s indexing. Having an account of paid ads with Google AdWords does not affect your organic rankings in any way. Sorry to tell you this if you were planning on it as a part of your strategy.
Yes, if you use Google AdWords, then you may get some extra views, but that is not because of a higher ranking in the search engines. It will be because of clicked links, and an increased visibility on the whole.
On the bright side, it also means that you do not have to pay to get your rankings. Organics and paid listings are always kept separate from each other. If you need to see that for yourself, just go to Google and do any search. Paid listings are kept to the side or top and are clearly marked as paid.
The same thing applies for having Google AdSense ads on your site. They will not give you a ratings boost. Google is already paying you to place them. Don’t expect to be rewarded with a rankings bonus.
Now that you have a sense of what is a good idea, and what is a bad idea, you can enjoy working on your rankings safely.