How To Identify Bad SEO from the Good One
By: Patrick P. | January 23, 2017
You probably have heard about the three magical letters of digital marketing, S, E, and O, and have heard stories about how it turned someone’s struggling business around, or how startups played with keyword search that they got on the first page of search engine results.
But SEO or Search Engine Optimization isn’t as easy as a magic trick nor as complicated as rocket science. It is the process of “optimizing” a website to make it discoverable by search engines such as Google (which holds the largest search user share), Bing, Yahoo, AOL, etc.
Any SEO management company would consider optimizing your site first for Google rather than the rest of the search engines even if you become number one on all of them together. It is because Google holds the most number of end users and it has the best environment for SEO to become fair for SEO practitioners and healthy for end users.
Google, without bias, has the best set of the algorithm that determines your site’s ranking factors.
If you are a businessperson who has second thoughts about having SEO management for your website or business blog, here’s one thought you should consider: We live in the age of the IOT- Internet of things. No longer will people call for 411 to get information about you or your company. They are going to just “google” it, simply put, to search things online.
Internet of things means that most of the devices will be connected online, so people will no longer rely on anyone else, apart from the internet, for them to get information. And because of this, search engines have been challenged to improve their algorithms for better reliability.
Search engines are also constantly trying to make their sites better for them to retain their share of users. More users mean more business for them, and for everyone who
feeds on the internet for a living.
However, before delving deeper into which SEO tactic is right or wrong, you should know first what SEO management is all about, what it consists and the people that spearheaded this.
What Is SEO Management?
SEO management or SEO campaign management is the process of controlling, moderating or managing SEO techniques efficiently that would soon result in better online visibility and dominate the first pages of any SERPs or search engine results page/s.
SEO managers employs three amazing skills:
- In-depth understanding of SEO
- Knowledge about internet marketing
- Integrity and strict adherence to search engine guidelines
Based on the three skills, you will be able to identify already what good SEO and what is not, and unless all of them are present, you can pretty much tell your SEO manager won’t be doing a good and clean job of rewriting your site.
Your chosen SEO campaign manager has to have a good background in marketing, because it is simply an offshoot of marketing management, but is focused on internet optimization rather than TV, radio or other media. And for the most part, the SEO campaign manager and his or her team will be looking at how to make your site attractive and reliable and how to convince people and the search engine, such as Google, that it is.
The first thing to look at is the quality of your website. Does it look like people are going to visit it? Does it have valuable content people are going to come back for? Is it reliable and updated? Is there enough information about you on your page?
Your Site’s Role
Although SEO managers aren’t necessarily trained for website design, they would first consider the quality of your site before anything else. There should be some sense of “linkability” to your site. Search engine ranking factors are based on traffic or the number of people that visits your site, and backlinks or the number of websites that you have links to or have linked to your site.
Needless to say, the reason why you have an SEO manager is probably that you want to have maximum website traffic, but perhaps they are geniuses who can work it all the way through the first page of SERPs. Nonetheless, your site should be attractive and full of information, that it can be referred to as an “authority” to a certain topic or niche that other sites would naturally just link to it.
There are three main factors that would determine your site’s attractiveness:
Original, Reliable and Updated Content
Content is not a prerequisite in SEO, but it would be better if your site had ample content that is all-original, reliable and most updated for people and other bloggers or sites to link to you. As much as possible, you would want to make the process of link building natural with your site, of course to some healthy extent.
Your SEO Manager will employ a team of various skilled experts that would work in different fields to achieve results. And one of the key team players is writers, who would be responsible o n maintaining your site’s content and articles shared to other sites in your niche or related niche.
Website design or anatomy
Website design is also an integral part of SEO; again this is not a prerequisite, but it would be important to have a website developer or a WordPress expert that can help maintain your site’s physical look.
Take note that your site should be user-friendly, comprehensive and built with clarity for your visitors to bookmark you and refer to you. It should be sophisticatedly created but simple to use. This will not be an article about the basics of website design, but if you have a web developer or designer in the house, then you can make this happen.
Quality can mean as the total reliability and usability of your website. Your website should offer quality content, and it should be built around quality links that are not spamming across search engines to cheat your way up to the search results page.
Your website should also not force other visitors to sign up for your email newsletter or anything of the same nature before they can proceed to your freely offered content. This practice can already be called spamming, and you are only going to waste time trying to get their emails and sending them stuff that they won’t be interested in the long run.
Your website plays a vital role in SEO unless you have this checklist completed it will be difficult for your site to thrive in the long run, even if you get to the first page of SERPs.
How does SEO management work?
SEO is a series of carefully planned actions that are collectively cohesive but individually independent of its function. There are many strategies for SEO but most of the most widely used are:
- Content Optimization or Content marketing
- Blog Outreach
- Keyword Research
- Market analysis
- Social media marketing
- SEO Analytics
- Search Engine Algorithm
And since SEO is a dynamic field because search engines are ever changing, it is a continuous process of learning and strategizing. Google, for example, being the most widely used search engine, changes and updates its algorithms regularly to maintain quality user experience.
Algorithms are ranking factors and Google has since surprised SEO professionals and managers about the many things that an algorithm update can change. Google has a set of rules or SEO code of conducts that must be religiously followed by SEO practitioners or else their sites may be penalized and will lose the chance of getting seen over their SERPs again.
If you get penalized, it means you will never be found by any keyword used by any user in any searches they made. You will only be found when they know your site and type it directly in the search box. All your SEO efforts are thrown to waste.
Google has been known to penalize websites which are:
- Spammy links or “bad” links
- Poor Quality Content
- Spammy Queries
- Heavy Ads
Google’s penalties can be definite or indefinite, depending on the gravity of the mistake and the amount of time it takes you to update your site and correct your flaws.
Google’s priority is to give the right content in all of its search results. For your page to get to the first page of Google’s SERPs, your SEO manager should be able to identify the right keywords to be used in building back links.
Keyword research is a pillar of search engine optimization management, unless you get a good set of keywords that would best relate to you, then you are doing SEO wrong.
The keywords that should link to you should be:
- The most used keyword used in your field or niche
- Keyword relevant to your site’s content
Your SEO team should be familiar with Google Adwords keyword planner or Google Trends for you to have a better look at keywords that work and those which don’t work for Google. Identifying the value of the keyword accurately is the key to getting higher chances at ranking number one.
Now that you know the basics, you’re now close to knowing what’s bad and good SEO, so read on.
Good or Bad?
SEO practitioners do not use bad or good in labeling themselves nor their strategies in handling SEO. Their tactics can be labeled into three different categories:
- White Hat SEO
- Black Hat SEO
- Gray Hat SEO
So what’s the color of the hat got to do with all these SEO strategies?
White Hat SEO
The word white will probably give you an idea what White Hat SEO is all about since white can mean all the purity and integrity in the world, and yes it is. White Hat SEO religiously follows Google’s webmaster SEO guide, and it employs optimization strategies that are focused on end users rather than its purpose of getting on the first pages of Google.
Its main characteristics are the quality content, optimized use of images, better and accurate anchor text and appropriate tags, effective use of robots, mobile- friendly sites or mobile site is indexed by Google, promoting the website right and using free webmaster tools.
Black Hat SEO
This is the total opposite of White Hat SEO as you can very well tell and as the name suggests, it is a total disobedience to what Google suggests is right in SEO. They have misleading article titles, cloaking sites, stuffing too many keywords, slicing and dicing content to cheat on clicks, duplicating or plagiarizing content, hidden links, doorway pages, spam blogs, blog or comment spams, trackback spam or pingback spam, etc.
It is spamdexing, an intentional exploitation of search engine indexes.
There are too many bad things that a Black Hat SEO manager can do. It’s cheating your way up to the first page of SERPs. It takes lesser time compared to White Hat SEO, but if Google finds out you were doing SEO wrong, you may not be able to redeem yourself forever.
Gray Hat SEO
As the color itself suggests, it is halfway between being totally bad and ultimately good. Gray Hat SEO isn’t covered by White Hat SEO nor Black Hat SEO. These are the strategies Google haven’t seen or detected yet or probably stuck in deciding whether they are right or wrong.
Nonetheless, if your SEO managers strategy is a Gray Hat, you are still at risk of being penalized by Google. You will never know when they would update their algorithms again.
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