Search Engine Optimization is the single most frustrating, hair-pulling, patience-testing part of web site ownership. If your business is dependent on first-page placement and your business is in a very competitive keyword niche, you will need deep pockets. Moreover, if you need your site listed quickly, you may be tempted to use SEO techniques that could result in website penalties.
Some website owners may attempt to build their website search engine rankings using techniques know as Black-Hat SEO. This is like flying down the freeway at 90 MPH. You may get to where you are wanting to go quickly, but you may get a ticket. Enough tickets and you probably will not be able to drive for quite a while. In addition, if you are endangering the public, you might just spend some time in the clink, and not pass go.
Why would you get a Speeding Ticket? Let’s step back a bit and look at SEO history.
Back in the day, the major search engines were Alta Vista, Excite and Lycos. Obtaining top placement on these engines was relatively simple compared to today. Using the right keyword density on a webpage, adding keyword rich title tag, keyword meta-tags, and your results were pretty good. Then something called Google entered the market, and SEO changed forever.
Google approached search engine rankings differently than all other previous search engines. Google allowed the internet community to influence which websites would have more importance than others. They did so by tracking links from one site to the another. For example, if Site A had a link to Site B, Site B received value for the incoming link. Think of this value as a vote. The site with the most votes wins ranking. Of course, there is much more to Google’s algorithm than this, but for our conversation here today, the principals hold true.
As Google gained more market share, and SEO specialists started to understand Google’s algorithm, new techniques were implemented to take advantage of Google’s algorithm. An entire new business category was created dedicated to link building solely to influence Google’s search results. Companies were breaking the core reason for Google in the first place, they were cheating! OMG!
Google Webmaster Guidelines
Google did not take lightly to this practice. Google modified their algorithm and even penalized sites. Dropping some from their index entirely. OUCH! Subsequently, improper link building practices came to be known as Black-hat SEO.
So where am I going with all this? Sometimes trying to explain to clients time frame versus proper techniques is difficult at best. We all know everyone wants their site listed in the TOP 10 and listed NOW! Trying to get a site listed faster is riskier, riskier SEO techniques equate to penalties, and some of those penalties can be severe. Some penalties can be so devastating it is easier to simply ditch your domain name entirely.
The other day, another SEO specialist and I were talking about a client needing a quick listing and how to explain time versus risk. He had a great analogy.
Think of SEO techniques this way, you jump on the freeway heading home for the day.
Speed limit is 60mph.
You know that if you go 90mph you are probably going to get a ticket, maybe two. If you get a ticket, you will not get home sooner than you would have going 60mph, plus you have to pay a fine. Again, you may not get a ticket, you may be ticket-less, today.
You could go a little less, maybe 75mph, chances are less you will get a ticket. You get home a faster than if you went 60mph, but you may receive a speeding ticket or a warning.
However, going 60mph will always get you home safe without a ticket, although a little slower than you may like. But you get home each day safe-and-sound, and without a ticket.
Your SEO campaign is your daily ride home; Google is the cops. Should you find a company that uses Black-hat SEO techniques that may get you listed faster, but may result in penalties from google? Alternatively, you abide by the Google guidelines and take that ride home slow and steady each day, you will get home safe and sound, ticket and penalty free.