Search engine optimization is not usually the top of the list to think about for business owners who are seeking to establish or grow their web presence. The objective is usually to simply increase their business’ exposure on the web, and sometimes the question of how to increase it with quality doesn’t come up. This is the job of a truly good SEO professional: develop their clients’ web presence with quality.
Because the question of quality consistently doesn’t come up, we see a lot of missteps when it comes to a business trying to grow its web presence. Here’s a short list of what not to do.
Don’t have multiple duplicate websites for your business.
This is a common tactic from businesses targeting aggressive growth. The primary pitfall from this tactic: Google encourages sites to avoid duplicate content, since it can confuse the algorithm when it comes to figuring out which one to list, and which to ignore. Further down the road, tracking your total web traffic (which you’ll want to do) becomes tedious if you have five websites from which to collect data.
The better way to leverage numerous URLs for your business is to establish redirects in your domain registrar. Redirects will push users from the extra URLs you’ve purchased to your primary website. No worry about duplicate content or spam, and you can easily track your total traffic numbers.
Don’t buy spammy links.
It’s true that Google’s algorithm looks to links as a ranking factor. But the evaluation of a site’s link profile has matured since the early days of web search. Now, the raw number of links is only part of the picture; quality of those links is just as, if not more, important.
All that said, buying links in bulk from link-farms and spambot runners can be an effective way to link-bomb and get a boost in the rankings. Google is savvy to this, and in April of 2012 released a search algorithm update codenamed Penguin, which penalizes sites that have been detected as abusing link farms.
These are the two most common missteps from businesses trying to break into a long-established web market for their industry. Aggressive practices can pay off, but these two will not; one may actually get your site removed from search engine results pages for months at a time. The highest priority guidelines for growing your web presence can be distilled down to two ideas:
DON’T try to exploit Google’s algorithm (they’ll fix it);
DO be a partner in Google’s overall mission (deliver quality content and browsing experience to web users).
There’s a good amount of technical and strategic knowledge required to make best use of these rules; and that’s part of the value of professional Search Engine Optimization.