Webmasters Living in the Past
A lot of webmasters (or SEO companies vying for your business) may disagree with my take on modern-day SEO, and that’s fine. The more people that just don’t get it, the less competition there is for my clients and me.
I am sure you can still find people who will say this is all rubbish and that they can get your pages ranked for your search terms (depending on the level of competition, of course) by heavily back-linking the page using keyword-rich anchor text.
The process they’ll describe is eerily similar to the process I told you about in the section on how we ranked pages before 2010. It´ll go something like this:
1. Keyword research to find high demand, low competition phrases.
2. Edit your web page so that it uses the desired phrase several times.
3. Get lots of backlinks using that keyword phrase as anchor text (the clickable text in a hyperlink).
4. Watch your page rise up the SERPs.
If you don’t care about your business, then follow that strategy, or hire someone to do it for you. You might get short-term gains, but you will eventually be penalized and lose all your rankings. Google will catch up with you, and probably sooner rather than later. I have seen spammy link building tactics catapult a web page to the top 3 in Google, only to find the listing gone 24 hours later.
To lose all your rankings on Google does not take a human review, though Google does use paid human reviewers. The process Google created for this is far more “automated” since the introduction of Panda and Penguin. Go over the threshold levels of what is acceptable, and the penalty is algorithmically determined and applied.
The good news is that algorithmic penalties can just as easily be lifted by removing the offending SEO and cleaning up your site. However, if that offending SEO includes low-quality backlinks to your site (especially to the homepage), things become a little trickier.
Remember the SEO expert you hired that threw tens of thousands of backlinks at your site using his secret software? How can you get those backlinks removed? In most cases, you can’t. Google does provide a “Disavow” tool that can help in a lot of instances, and I’ll tell you more about that later in the book. In extreme circumstances, moving the site to a brand new domain and starting afresh may be the only option.
In the rest of this book, I want to focus on what you need to do to help your pages rank better. I will be looking mainly at white-hat strategies, though I will venture a little into gray hat SEO as well. Don’t worry; I will tell you whether a technique is risky, so you can choose to avoid it. I won’t be covering black-hat SEO at all. It’s just not a long-term strategy. Remember, Google can and will move the goalposts without any notice, leaving you out in the cold. Is it worth risking your long-term business plans for short-term gains?