Recently, I read a post recommended by a very influential person in the Lifestyle Design industry.
The question the blog writer asked was, Is Guest Blog Posting dead? ... and then he went on to give some AWFUL advice that I want to make sure you don't follow! ...
As I said, the writer I am referring to asked the question, "Is guest blog posting dead?" (This is a question many of us in the SEO industry asked after Google's Matt Cutts came out with a video and blog post telling us to "stick a fork in it.")
Matt's comments shocked a bunch of people and sent a ripple through the SEO world, but that's not the main point of this post. (You can watch Matt's video for yourself, and read two excellent follow up articles here and here to get the whole scoop)
The main point of this post is that I think the guy writing about Matt's comments got it all wrong and gave out dangerous advice, and I want to help you avoid a costly mistake.
Now, I don't want to point fingers or make anyone upset, so the blogger in question will go unnamed. After all, it's not really important who he is. What is important is that you, as a website owner, get the right information about SEO and how to approach it — because the wrong information can and will get your site penalized.
So, what did this mystery blogger write that has me so fired up?
I can sum it up in four simple words. He wrote...
"Make it look real."
In other words, he was saying that you don't actually have to do things the right way as long as you make it look like you did things the right way. Are you kidding me? Look...
Having the appearance of using good SEO is not enough
As you can imagine, I have a problem with this guy's "make it look real" approach. And, if you take his advice - instead of working hard to give the search engines what they are looking for, you will have a problem too.
When it comes to safe SEO — that won't get your site penalized — you can't just make it look real — it genuinely has to be real. And by real I mean honest, quality and worthy of being shared and linked to. In other words, you can't trick Google into giving you better rankings by taking short cuts that appear to be quality work. That's called black-hat SEO and you need to stay as far away from that kind of thinking as possible.
We get calls on a regular basis from businesses that have been penalized by Google - and often the story is the same; They hired an SEO company to help them build links and that company used tactics (shortcuts, cheats) in an effort to fool Google into better rankings. Now they have a huge mess on their hands. Some have gone from tens of thousands of dollars in revenue each month to a fraction of that because of devastated rankings. By the time we get the call, these business owners are desperate for solutions. And, here's the truth...
Recovery from a search engine penalty is not usually cheap, quick or easy!
In case you haven't noticed, Google hires lots of smart people. You might fool them for a while, but not for long. And, penalties can be extremely difficult to recover from — not to mention time consuming and expensive. Often they can take months, even a year or more to recover from, if you can afford to even hold on that long.
So, what's the answer? What is the best way to approach SEO?
Let me reiterate that the wrong way to approach SEO is attempt to make it look real, when it really isn't. We think the best way to approach SEO is to be above board and transparent in everything you do. In short, the best approach to SEO is to clearly understand what the search engines are looking for — and to give it to them. Let me say it one last time because it can save you thousands of dollars and lots of sleepless nights; The right approach to SEO never includes attempts to "trick" a search engine into a higher ranking.
Your SEO efforts need to be 100% real — 100% of the time — if you want to avoid penalties. Here's another way of putting it; if you wouldn't be proud to show Google (or Yahoo or Bing) your SEO strategies then you are probably headed for a problem. My advice is to stop what you are doing immediately and rethink your approach.
Is it harder to work on your SEO the way I am suggesting?
Yes, it probably is. But, like most things in life; doing things the right way is the only path to great results. If you want to see your site around for the long haul, don't waste your time (or money) trying to fool search engines. Write good content and focus on providing an authoritative website and you'll do fine.
I hope that helps!