If you have a website, you probably think about your search engine rankings a lot. Getting on the first page of Google for your main keywords is pretty much what everyone online wants, including me!
The thing is that this doesn’t happen overnight, and the waiting game is a killer. But you must! If you fail the waiting game and you try to push too fast and too quickly you could kill your website altogether, and here’s why…
Since I started working in web about 10 years ago I noticed a pattern: new website owners get their brand-spanking new site, they’re super happy: It looks good, it works a treat and they’re very excited about the new avenue of customers and revenue. It’s a great feeling, and that’s how it should be.
A brand new website can seem like a golden cash cow. And eventually it can be, but if you’ve got a new website (and not too much budget to spare) it’s going to take a bit of time to get noticed by Google. And that’s ok. It takes time to build consistent traffic and achieve online success.
But there is a real danger when you’re in the heady rush of love for your new website to get impatient. You want everyone, especially Google, to love your site. You get upset when not much happens in the first month or two. You start to feel disillusioned.
This is the danger period where you could end up doing something really bad for your website.
It’s around this time that you might randomly get a telemarketing call from someone in India who tells you that your site is bad and there are cheap shortcuts they can give you to improve your traffic. And they’ll probably start talking about how they have a fantastic system for getting you a higher search engine ranking. They promise they can ‘turn your website around’ and make you rich. Do you smell a rat here?
Firstly, let’s start at the beginning…
What are search engine rankings?
When you search for a term online using a search engine like Google, it will deliver results to you. The top will show sponsored links (per per click) and directly underneath that might be some localised listings and THEN after that will be a list of websites that Google has decided will be the most relevant and most closely answers your query. The higher up on that list your website comes the more clicks you’re going to get… which means more visitors to your website. So search engine rankings are VERY important, that’s why SEO companies exist; to get your search engine ranking position (SERPS) as high as possible.
Why ‘Black Hat SEO’ is death for your website…
What a lot of these cheap SEO companies are offering is something called ‘black hat’ search engine optimisation (SEO). Black hat SEO is when you do a number of ‘dubious’ online activities to get quick rankings. It’s also called spamdexing, which is the deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes. Basically unethical or deceptive optimisation techniques like keyword stuffing, article spinning and using link farms, etc. These things used to work great in 2009. Nowadays, Google has wised up and is on a search and destroy mission for any site that’s trying to buck the system. If you do any of these things, your website could become collateral damage.
Google’s head of Webspam, Matt Cutts, recently said his biggest surprise of 2012 was the amount of people who still believed you can buy a ‘product’ or an SEO ‘cheat’ that will rocket you to #1 on Google. His basic message was: if something looks too good to be true… it IS too good to be true.
So think twice whenever you get a random phone call telling you they can give you 1000’s of links to get you top page rankings. It’s a crock! This is black hat tactics and if Google discovers it they could decide your website is really webspam and it could ban your site or push it so far down in the rankings that you might as well have been banned!
Your Site Might Be Seen As Webspam If…