Avoiding SEO Disasters

Guest Post by Simon Barnett from Search South |

Time and money invested in SEO can certainly pay dividends, but there are some pitfalls that you need to be aware of. When SEO goes wrong, it can cause damage on a large scale.

A great example of this occurred back in 2006. BMW hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The German car manufacturer was found to be using cloaking to try and fool the search engines. Google responded by removing BMW from its listings. It was a high profile mistake and one that many SEO experts still like to refer back to.

It demonstrated that a multi-national company could fall foul of the search engines by trying to trick the system. The obvious lesson here is that Google definitely doesn’t like it when you attempt to fool them.

It’s important to remember that all of the major search engines employ human editors to constantly check on individual websites. If you’re trying to use cloaking or black hat techniques then it’s not going to take too long before you’re found out. You may get away with things for a short while, but is it really worth the risk?

Every time that you make a change to your website you should be concentrating on the user experience. If you’re making changes simply to trick the search engines then you’re heading down a dangerous path. It’s the same when it comes to building links to your site.

Spamming a large number of other websites may actually give you an initial boost in the rankings. But it’s a tactic that’s especially easy to spot. Once Google picks up on it, you’re on the road to disaster.

If you’re looking to gain long-term rankings then your best approach is to play fair. Concentrate on all of the old SEO basics.
Write great content and create a site that others like to visit. If you do so, you’ll naturally gain links from other webmasters. Embrace the online community too. There’s no doubt that building relationships is the key to getting both links and visitors.
These are the techniques that have worked for years. They’ll work for years to come too.

The biggest mistake that many people make when it comes to SEO is looking at trying to get a quick, short-term gain. The key to your success will be to establish a strategy that ensures that your website will maintain great rankings long into the future.
Your aim should always be to focus on producing high quality content that will attract links from similarly high quality websites. Always consider whether you are building a sustainable business. Would you be happy to have your website examined by people that you are meeting for the first time?

If you’re ashamed of the quality of work that you’re producing, or of the techniques that you’re using, then that’s a good sign that you are not creating something that is built for the long-term and that will rank well.

Good SEO is all about keeping things simple and playing by the rules.

Simon Barnett is an SEO consultant. He is recognised as one of the UK’s leading search experts and has helped many businesses, of all sizes, to build successful SEO strategies.