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For some it’s the Holy Grail, the big shining beacon of success, the only way to prove that they’re the best in the business. For others it’s a nice to have, an aspiration, the hope of more business and credibility.

What am I talking about?

That coveted front page listing on Google.

Now, here on this blog I’ve said before that a front page listing isn’t the be all and end all of promoting your website, but let’s be honest, it’s what most website owners want and strive for.

Which is why it saddens me to see some of the tactics being promoted and sold as ‘ways to help your SEO’.

Here are just 3 ‘no fail ways’ that I’ve been emailed about recently, all aiming to part me or my clients from their money in the disguise of being ‘the one thing you need to do to help your SEO’:

Get lots of links fast!

It’s been an obssession for a while – get loads of links into your site and your search engine positions will rise like mad. There are many companies out there offering to get thousands of links in a very short time for $50, and that’s before we start on the people offering this service on sites such as Fiverr.

Unfortunately, while this sounds very tempting, it really is too good to be true; now more than ever.

In the first instance, getting loads of links in such a short time will look suspicious to Google. If it looks as if you’re gaining a lot of links in an unrealistic time, you run the chance of being penalised.

Secondly, you’ll find that a lot of these links will be on unrelated sites and so will do you no good at all, and may even do you harm. Do you want links to your website from obscure Indian sites selling pharmeceuticals or worse? Russian adult sites? I’ve seen clients hit by this and more and the aftermath and cleaning up operation isn’t pretty!

And of course, let’s not forget the recent Google Penguin update, which is now looking at links into your website and deciding whether they’re ‘natural’ or not. Lots of sites were hit by this and lost rankings, traffic and sales – do you want that to be you?

Action point: If you’re considering doing this, don’t waste your time or your money. Build links naturally and organically and forget about the fast track – there isn’t one. If you’ve done it already and have been hit with a drop in rankings or are worried about it, get in touch with us now and we’ll see what we can advise.

Post comments on every blog you can find!

Apart from being blooming hard work and taking up a lot of time unless automated (and you know that’s wrong, right?) posting comments on each and every blog post you find will more likely than not do you no good at all.

Most blogs these days have ‘no follow’ links on their comments section, which means that Google doesn’t even take notice of them.

Plus, in a lot of cases when you buy this service from a company (and i’m talking about thos ‘we’ll do it for a tenner’ type companies again) then they’re just spamming out pointless comments with links in them to blogs that have nothing to do with your industry. Which means that not only are they useless, they’re probably getting deleted as fast as they’re being posted, and your reputation is taking a hit at the same time.

Action point: Find a handful of blogs that you can read regularly and comment knowledgeably on. Don’t litter your comments with links, post well though out comments (‘great post’ ‘I agree’ and ‘yeah, me too’ don’t count) and comment a regularly as you can. You’ll build reputation, credibility and become known within those communities. Encourage comments on your own blog too and take the time to repond to them.

Add more doorway / landing pages

This is an oldie but a goodie. The idea is that you create a number of page, all with almost identical content, the differential on each page being the search phrase targeted. You can even buy software to generate these pages for you and save you all the hard work!

So you may be a recruitment consultant operating in a number of different areas; one doorway page would be focused on ‘recruitment Northampton’, another on ‘recruitment London’, yet another on ‘recruitment Manchester’. In theory this allows you to optimise each page quite specifically, and people will enter your site through the relevant page, giving you all the traffic you need.

In practice, it can get your site penalised by Google. Google has become better at finding these pages and penalising accordingly. They’re usually quite obvious and pretty spammy in their setup. Which also means if someone does visit your site via those pages, you look pretty unprofessional too.

Is it worth it?

Action point: Instead of creating spammy doorway pages, add more content to your site that is linked from the rest of the pages and adds value. Blog posts are great for this so it’s worth considering how you can use your blog in your SEO efforts. We’d be happy to advise on this so feel free to get in touch.

There are many more ways that you’ll be encouraged to spend your money when it comes to SEO, but as the saying goes; if it looks too good to be true then it probably is.

A decent SEO company will be happy to advise you on any approaches you get, as well as offering you advice and ideas that will help you to get that coveted front page listing in an ethical and honourable manner. Most of all, they’ll be able to avoid penalisation from Google and keep your reputation intact.

If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck…

Chris is a Search Marketing Executive and has an expert knowledge in SEO. As a creative writer, his role is to create content for our clients' websites.

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