Site owners can no longer practice questionable SEO techniques without repercussions. Over the last few months we’ve seen a search engine, Google, which was quick to take action against these tactics. Today, site owners must drop the sneaky tactics once employed to gain the upper hand in the search engine results pages.
In the early part of 2012, Google used its Webmaster Tools to alert site owners about unnatural links to their websites. A drop in the site’s rankings quickly followed those warnings. Those who experienced decreased rankings were luckier than those whose sites were completely removed from the search index. If you think for a moment that Google is going to take a break, think again. Now, it’s even more important to be vigilant and implement the following techniques to avoid Google penalties.
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Stay Away From Paid Links
Paid links might have worked in the past, but it’s time to leave that strategy behind. Stop paying for links to improve your rankings because you will be penalized. If you’re selling links from one of your sites, you need to take those links down too. Take note that paid links are quite different from directory listings or advertising that you’ve paid for. Those are used for business purposes to increase traffic to your site. It’s the paid links from sites unrelated to your own or links in spam posts that you need to be concerned about.
Clean Up Link Anchor Text
Another technique that was severely abused in the past is the use of the same anchor text in links to a website. Webmasters used and abused anchor text to boost their rankings for certain keywords. Today, unnatural links with the same repeated anchor text makes you stick out like a sore thumb. A balanced and natural link profile will have diversity in the anchor texts. A Use Open Site Explorer or a similar program to identify your site links and repair the ones that look unnatural. Going forward, make sure that you balance your link building too stay out of trouble.
Review all the content on your site to make sure that it is completely original. Site owners would have taken shortcuts in the past and populated their sites with duplicate content. Sadly, these were the very sites that were among the first to drop completely out of the search index. Remove duplicate content from your site, and update regularly with original content.
Follow Google’s Guidelines
If you’ve never read Google’s guidelines before, there’s no better time than now to open it up and read thoroughly what it says. To succeed online and get lots of traffic from the search engines, you’ll need to clean up your act and your website. Inspect your internal links, backlinks, title tags, content, images, advertising, affiliate products, site code and any other site element that has the potential to affect your rankings.
Finally, if you plan to outsource your SEO make sure that the company or consultant uses unquestionable tactics. It is the only way you’ll survive online.