SEO should be part of any marketing campaign. Moreover, it should be a long term strategy. SEO takes some time to have an effect on your rankings and search traffic.
All of us would love if we could take a shortcut. Shortcuts are great if they work out. Unfortunately, in almost all cases, shortcuts mean that you lose value. In fact, they could potentially be harmful.
If you’re running a legitimate business, you need to pursue sound tactics. These tactics will take resources and time to implement but will be consistent for years to come. By avoiding shortcuts, you can help to guarantee the long term future of your business.
Why short cuts won’t cut it in SEO
What we now call ‘shortcuts’ in the SEO world, used to be tactics that many agencies would use. However, in the past few years, most SEO’s have recognized that the only sustainable tactics are the ones that take the most energy and resources.
Google wants to show the best results to the people using their search engine. They figure this out using a sophisticated algorithm that very few people know. However, we do know that it takes into account links pointing to your website and the content on each page.
Of course, Google wants to prevent spammers from using these shortcuts to rank pages that don’t offer value to searchers. Therefore, they’ve gone to great lengths to make shortcuts useless and in some cases harmful to your website.
By the nature of a shortcut, it’s designed to cut down the amount of time it takes for you to get to your goals. Spammers have built thousands of tools to allow them to automate parts of their SEO.
However, Google has introduced factors into their algorithm that help to prevent people from using automated tactics. For example; they consider whether the content is unique or not, they also can track patterns in backlinks and punish people for automating blog comments.
‘Private’ blog networks
Private blog networks or PBN’s have become one of the most popular tactics used by SEOs. You take an expired domain that previously had links pointing to it and register it as your own.
Then, when it becomes re-indexed by Google, you hope that the existing links will retain their value. This website it then used to publish content that includes links to the websites that you want to rank.
This tactic is obviously a way to game the system. Links are supposed to represent a thumbs-up or a vote from another site, helping to suggest that the content it links to is of high quality.
However, when you’re building links from your own PBN to your website you’re gaming the algorithm.
Google introduced a ‘thin content penalty’ which many SEO’s believe penalized sites that used PBN links.
Fake social signals
Some SEO’s believe that the algorithm takes into account signals from social media websites. The theory is that pages which are shared and liked on social media are quality pages that searchers will want to read.
As with any tactic, spammers have tried to automate this and use it to their advantage. ‘Fake’ social signals are created by using your social media accounts to like and share posts en-masse.
These social shares are apparently engineered and shouldn’t represent a real popularity on social media. If Google does factor in social signals, it should be easy for them to figure out which are fake and which aren’t.
When SEO’s began to realize that PBN’s and automated links were useless, they moved onto buying links on blogs.
In theory, these links should appear as natural links and Google won’t be able to figure out that they were purchased. However, because most websites don’t sell links, they have to be placed on obscure internet sites.
These websites are usually not in the same industry as the business receiving the link. Over time this will form a pattern, and without niche relevancy, they will likely suffer.
Too often businesses treat their blog content as a corporate ‘checkbox.’ They believe that just putting up any content is enough.
Unfortunately, publishing boring content that is going to have little effect. Your content needs to be quality, it must be able to secure backlinks, and it needs to target keywords. Without these three factors, the shortcut directly leads to you publishing worthless content that wasted resources.
SEO takes time. It’s easy to be swayed and attracted by the claims of these shortcuts. But like with anything, shortcuts will let you down.
You need to commit to a long term strategy of sustainable SEO if your want you business to grow. This strategy will need to involve; publishing high quality content on a regular basis and using outreach to market your content to relevant industry websites.
Having the patience and fortitude to stick to avoid shortcuts will lead to better results, more sustainable results and less sleepless nights.