I’ve spent the last few days on online communities reading webmaster and SEO-marketer comments and opinions concerning the most recent Google updates (April 2012). I came across a post on a community website written by an SEO-Marketer. The person was offering SEO services of what they claimed to be White Hat. Their method: guest posting on multitudes of blogs (their network of blogs), each blog post containing the client’s URL. The person also said that this method was compliant to the recent Penguin and Panda updates. If you are reading this and you’re finding ways to promote your site then pay attention: DO NOT USE SUCH SERVICES! I checked, and their network of blogs have been de-indexed.
Remember that SEO-marketers do not care about your website. They do it as a job and they are doing it for the money. So if you care about your website then you really need to re-think about giving your URL to people or spammers who might put you on Google’s blacklist.
Here are a list of what many SEO service providers will consider White Hat:
- Link and Article Directory Submissions
- Social Bookmarking
- Forum Signature Links
- Public Profile Account Backlinks
- Press Releases (incl. backlink)
- Classifieds Submissions
- Free Websites & Free Blog Hosting (e.g. Squidoo, Weebly, Blogspot, WordPress.com, etc.)
Google: Unnatural Means Black Hat
If you have been participating in the above methods of link building but not to an extreme, then chances are it was considered okay by Google. You can convince yourself it’s White Hat but it really isn’t. It is Grey Hat. If you have been posting your URL using such methods and on a very large scale then you probably got penalized or have had your site de-indexed on Google search engine. But if you use the Goldilocks concept and do it to a ‘just right’ extent, then chances are your site was not affected by the updates.
“White Hat SEO Services” is simply a marketing campaign
I do believe that there is no such service as “White Hat SEO”. If someone is actively building backlinks to your site then they are not providing White Hat services. Because that would be considered unnatural linkbuilding and wouldn’t that literally mean Black Hat? What most White Hat SEO services actually provide is Grey Hat SEO services. Which means they are trying their best to actively build backlinks but using the Goldilocks concept.
Rule of Thumb
Forget SEO. Think: “what would a beginner do?” You have a website and you would like others to know what you’re up to or you would like to drive in targeted traffic to get others to buy your products or pay for your service. What anyone would do is to promote their site on social networking sites and anywhere else they could, but on a “normal” scale.
SEO-Marketers Are Now Defined As “Spammers”
After the Google updates, I think it’s pretty clear that smart “SEO-marketers” would have started to consider other career options. Because any form of active linkbuilding would probably be considered unnatural and not okay with Google. It’s a scary place to be in, because Google has successfully eliminated what used to be a rapidly-growing online occupation.
Do We Have To Revert To Traditional Methods of Website or Product Promotion?
Believe it or not, it’s probably wise to use traditional offline methods of advertising! Not necessarily reverting back but integrating it rather; into your website promotion plans.
Although it’s important to not let Google get into your head about online promotion, it is also important to make smart and informed choices. If you spam your links all over the internet, with the intention of growing your business then spamming is not the way to do it, especially if you believe in your product or service. This is because in the long run, it will not do you any good because you risk losing the traffic that you might have been receiving off the search engines.
Having said that, you will go nowhere if you hope and wish that quality content alone is enough to get the word out. It would be like building a fast food restaurant in the middle of the dessert and hoping that people in the city and residential areas will somehow find it, and then tell people about it, etc. NO. That just won’t work. Promotion is important. Focus on promotion, rather than SEO.
Keep your backlinks away from low-quality content websites
Some websites are full of useless or random content used to drive in traffic from their keywords or keyphrases. Many of these are actually “review blogs” or a large network of article directories created by cheap SEO-marketers. Google don’t like these types of sites so if you’ve got your link on these types of networks then you are hanging out with the bad guys and you should expect to be punished.
Promote your links at a slow but steady pace
Patience is key right now. You want to be the tortoise and not the hare (you know, the one that finished the race).
Do not be a sucker for “too good to be true” SEO offers
The other day someone asked me if they could promote their site here and I charged them $xx amount. The person said “but I got it a lot cheaper from someone else, and plus they gave me PR5 & PR6 backlinks!”. What are you, STUPID? Don’t be stupid. Anyone who has a legit PR5-PR6 website would not have even accepted the advert he wanted placed.
Offer quality content!
Creating quality content will help you in three ways:
1 – Google will fall in love with you
2 – Your site visitors will want to share your links to everyone they know
3 – You’ll gain returning visitors because they won’t be able to stop thinking about you.
Promote your site offline
Google and the internet cannot control offline advertising though (well, not yet). So don’t ever limit yourself to online advertising. People you meet everyday are the same people who surf online. Offline advertising includes methods such as:
- Billboard ads
- Pamphlets, Flyers, etc.
- TV, Radio and Newspaper adverts
- Website / Blogger cards / Business cards, etc.