While no one outside of Google officially knows the exact algorithm to make a website rank well, SEO professionals spend countless hours hypothesizing, testing, and implementing strategies where they see success. Many of these are obvious: original content, correct business information, and meaningful backlinks, to name a few. But what is there beyond these best practices that might help give your website an advantage? Let’s take a look at which SEO risks are worth taking, and which you should avoid.
Risks to Take
- Testing out big and small changes – As we’ve already mentioned, there are some established best practices for SEO success. These strategies might be working for you or they might not. The goal of SEO is to be seen and get conversions. If you’re looking to improve your current status or are struggling to establish it and need a kickstart, testing out some changes is a great way to do it. Put together a plan for website changes– meta description updates, content updates, page titles, etc.–and put them in place to test them against what is already there. Why is this risky? Because it may take some time to find the right changes to get the results you are looking for.
- A two-way backlinking strategy – If you have Sesame SEO, you have no doubt heard our specialists discuss backlinks. Backlinks are links from other sites that direct back to yours. This tells Google that your site is reputable and also sends actual visitors to your site which can lead to more business and better SEO. To take this strategy further, start creating links on your site to other businesses. This could be community organizations you are a part of, referring doctors, or any other relevant link. What’s the risk? Well, you are literally sending visitors away from your site. While this is not something we want to do, creating links to these other entities is a great way to earn more backlinks back to your site which is a big factor for SEO.
- Website update – How long have you had your website? Websites are changing so fast that if you have had your site in its current structure for more than a few years, you are already fighting a losing battle. Mobile-friendly, responsive, secure site– this is just some of the new technology that has become available in the last few years that Google takes into account when ranking websites. If you don’t have updated technology, you’re not going to rank as well as you could with a new site. The risk here is that your rankings are going to fluctuate while the new site is launched. While you might see a dip in the beginning, this is the best long-term strategy.
Risks to Avoid
- Not having or not keeping up with Google My Business – You might be thinking “I don’t have time to keep up with another page or social site.” Google My Business is no longer a “if I have time” network for your business. Google My Business pages have become one of the most prominent ranking factors in recent years. By not having one and/or having one with incorrect information, you’re basically throwing in the towel before the fight starts. We highly recommend you take the time to set one up and verify that the information is current and correct.
- Keyword stuffing – It’s no secret that keywords play a big role in determining SEO success. This leads many people to believe that putting those keywords in as many places as possible on their site is going to give them an advantage. Not only is this an outdated strategy, this will also hurt your website. Google is looking at much more than the keywords on your website and in your code. They are aware of older tactics like this and they will penalize you for it.
- Going for immediate increases – Our team gets calls frequently from members saying they got a call or email telling them someone can get them to the first page for multiple keywords within the first month. This may sound tempting and if it were possible, why wouldn’t you do it? Here’s the problem: it isn’t possible. Companies that make claims like this will typically implement “black hat” tactics to see immediate gains followed by big penalties from Google which can take year to crawl out of. Any SEO professional with good intentions will tell you that good SEO is going to take time and work. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to be taken to the first page. Don’t sacrifice long-term success for immediate jumps.
These are just a few of the risks to take and to avoid in SEO. The Sesame SEO Team is always here to guide you through the process and to make sure we have the best strategies in place for your long-term success.
—Phil Horton, Search Manager, Sesame Communications