Let’s take a look at six SEO strategies used by unsuccessful WordPress site owners, including paid links, link spamming, and cloaking.
WordPress is popular because it makes it easy to create a blog or business site. It attracts users who are not experts in online marketing and search engine optimisation. Moreover, the lack of expertise can lead them astray. For example, the web is full of advice about how to market a website, and much of it is complete nonsense.
It can be difficult for new site owners to filter out the lies, misunderstandings, and speculation. So, let’s look at six commonly touted SEO techniques that are likely to do more harm than good. This article aims to provide an inoculation that will protect site owners from the worst of the counterproductive flimflam that they may otherwise fall prey to.
1. Paid Links
Backlinks, also known as incoming links, are vital for ranking well in search engines. It might seem that getting links in any way you can is a good idea. If you Google for “backlinks, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to pay someone to link to your site, often in low-grade article directories, spammy guest blogging programs, link exchange schemes, or any other less-than-salubrious strategies.
These are to be avoided at all costs. Buying links, by whatever convoluted route, is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google and other search engines are only interested in editorial links freely given. Those are the links that reflect a genuine interest in the linked content.
If Google catches you buying links — and they catch people regularly — at best, the links will be ignored and at worst, your site will suffer a penalty that makes ranking well unlikely.
2. Link Spamming
For the same reason that buying links is frowned on, link spamming is strongly discouraged. There are various ways to spam links: forum posts and blog comments are popular options. It might not work, and it’ll harm your ranking in the long run. Moreover, some websites do benefit from leaving constructive comments on other relative websites. The idea is to be thoughtful about the nature and content of the comments, which will link back to your website.
Try and be sustainable about building links to your website. The good old-fashioned route of publishing great content and promoting it seems to do the trick.
3. Keyword Stuffing
Keywords can be tricky to get right. A keyword is a word or phrase in content that reflects the search queries you want to rank. If you pay no attention to inserting relevant keywords in your content, your site is unlikely to rank for the queries that interest your business. If you put too many keywords in your content, your ranking will suffer because your content will be junk. There’s no “perfect keyword ratio,” but anyone with basic competence in English can read a piece of content and determine whether it’s been written for humans (good) or search engine bots (bad).
4. Content Spinning And Pagejacking
Original, relevant, high-quality content is good. Stolen, plagiarized, low-quality content is terrible. Content spinning is the strategy of taking existing content, changing it a bit or a lot, and republishing it. Often the process is automated, and the results are garbage from the perspective of a human reader.
Pagejacking is the strategy of taking someone else’s well-performing content, possibly changing it, and then republishing it on your site. It’s a bad idea.
The best way to achieve a sustainable rank is to create content people are interested in. It’s more expensive, but it works and keeps working over the long term.
5. Cloaking And Hidden Text
Search engines don’t like it when sites display content to their crawlers that isn’t displayed to human visitors. The simplest way to do this is to hide content from human visitors with CSS; the more advanced method — cloaking — uses server-side processing to serve different content depending on the user agent of the visitor.
Neither is a good idea, and both will result in poor SEO performance.
6. Fetishizing Search Rank
Ranking well is excellent, but it’s not the sole goal of search engine optimisation. Search engine optimisation intends to generate traffic for your website. A good SERP position often leads to more traffic. Your site might rank number one for various queries, but if those rankings don’t convert to traffic or, ultimately, revenue, then they’re nothing but a vanity metric.
Focus on the measures that matter. Search engine optimisation is complex; so many people write so much nonsense about it. Unless you want to actively sabotage your SEO efforts, avoid these “strategies” like the plague.