Many of our users, and most probably many other website owners are eager to some search engine traffic. Well, I guess I can just say Google instead of search engines. Bing and Yahoo are not a big source of traffic anyway, and it’s shorter:). Most of the users are not familiar with SEO and no idea what they should do to rank better.
Many people are using it to sell innocent website owners all kinds of SEO services that can eventually do more damage than good. These services usually go by cheap, and they are sold in many sketchy approaches. In some cases, the sellers rap the offer with a nice website, and sell it in a higher price. The service and its effect however stay the same.
Some of these services are techniques that used to work in the past, but Google had found the loop hole and closed it. Before purchasing any shady SEO service, read through this list and you might be able to save some time, money and the headache that follows dealing with the not-so-forgiven Google.
1) High PageRank links
I see that all the time. I get emails about it and I see it in almost every webmaster forums out there. Once upon a time, Google released something called PageRank and every page on the web got a rank from 0 to 10, and you could check that rank using the Google toolbar. It was once a signal of how strong and popular a site is. The notion was that the more links you get from websites with high PageRank, your site gets stronger and its PR increases. The higher the PR, so it’s easier to rank. Without getting too much into details, that doesn’t work now. Now relevancy and authority rank (which is not shown to the public) are much more important, and many websites with high PR are dead as far as Google is concerned.
2) 100’s of directory submissions
Directories were how the internet used to work before web portals, that were before today’s search engines (Google). It how people used to get traffic. They submitted their site to tons of web directories, and traffic would go from one to another. Remember that time?. Anyway, a few years back that was still a legit way to promote your website and those directories were even ranked in Google. These days, most of the directories are dead (by dead I mean got a penalty from Google and get zero traffic). Since it doesn’t make sense that you will promote your website in these god forsaken places, in Google’s eyes it seems spammy. Avoid these services even if they offer you 5000 directories for $15. It’s not worth it. The only ones I could still say are safe are Yahoo’s directory and BOTW.org (not sure about the latter).
3) 1000’s of forum signature links
Not sure how many of you are still visiting forums, but if you used to do that you probably remember that each user could add a link to his signature. Whenever this user would post something on the forum, his link would be found at the bottom. That’s also something that used to work but Google is now looking at it as spam. Especially if the forum has nothing to do with your website. BTW, the number in the above header is just for the sake of amusement. Even 50 of those links from different forums could hurt.
4) 100,000’s of blog comments
Again, something that used to work. People used to say it’s a signal that will tell Google you are taking part in the online discussions and naturally linking to your site. A few years ago Google started devalue those links. They aren’t any good, and getting huge amounts of comments can only hurt.
5) Billions of .edu and .gov links
People used to say that .edu (site.edu) and .gov sites are Google’s favorites and any link from those sites could push your site up the rankings. While a real, natural link from the US government to your site would still help, these SEO services usually mean they will get you comments in late 90’s university or government blog about nothing. The same as general blog comments, that wouldn’t work.
These days, and I used to hate it not so long ago, SEO is all about creating something that other people would be interested to link to and share on their social networks. That actually works. There are a few things could do to help them, but that’s a story for next time kids.