It’s Friday the 13th and the Bright Design team is getting ready for the notorious Eve of Hallows! Halloween is always a fun time of year, no matter how old you get – and if you don’t like dressing up (like boring Michael from Sales), at least there’s the sweets to have a go at! Here at Bright Design we love a good excuse for a party, and Halloween is the perfect opportunity.
It’s that time of year again and in the spirit of Halloween we have some spooky SEO stories to tell…
Once upon a time there was a black cat -sorry, black hat- SEO who liked to deal in all sorts of evil and devilish deeds, desperately trying to cast a spell on Google and trick the wise old search engine into thinking their site was noble and strong. In the days of our ancestors, these foul conjuring used to work, successfully casting a smoke screen over the internet until much of the web was in darkness.
But along came a knight in shining armour – or should be say, knights! Sir Penguin and Panda of the Realm of Algorthmia came striding in and found a cure to many of the terrible spells cast across the net, even expelling some of the offending culprits and their sites, never to be seen again. The internet was good again! But not for long…
Just as the late terrible plague of ‘FakeNews’, the black cats -sorry, black hats- weren’t really gone. They were still lurking. It is down to us to ensure that we find them and stop them clouding the internet with bad spells until finally the internet will be good forever. And you can join the fight! Our team of SEO gladiators have put together a list of black hat -got it right!- SEO spells to look out for to help save the web from evil ranking techniques. Watch out for these and you’ll never be steered to the dark side…
Swapping links can seem innocent enough in the sense of you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours – but Google’s algo now knows better. Black hats over the world have overused this technique in the past, so reciprocal linking no longer works. If anything, you might get slapped with a nice juicy penalty. Run away from this link strategy as fast as your trusty steed can carry you.
Even worse than reciprocal linking, buying links is not only a total waste of money it will also likely land you with another penalty. This is the stuff net nightmares are made of.
Hiding links is overtly manipulative, and whilst you may think no self-respecting SEO would still be trying this, you’ll be surprised: there are still some fiends lurking in the shadows. This linking technique is another waste of time since Google’s algorithms are continually improving and getting increasingly better as spotting this sort of thing. And when they do (it’s not a question of ‘if’), this hidden link will certainly come back to haunt you.
Purposefully Duplicating Content
This can be your own content or somebody elses, but always ensure that you content is of a good quality and is unique. Otherwise the Panda Knight has a very particular set of skills. He will find you. And he will kill you.
Another outdated SEO tactic, it’s madness to think that footer links are still being used to increase link velocity to a site, but they are. If you spot a wicked wizard tampering in this way, save them if you can or if not, feed them to the dragons.
Is a black-hat black cat redirecting lots of websites to their money website? This way to drive authority through to a site is an old spell that certainly spells trouble. Rediects can of course be used when needed, but use sparingly or risk a scary penalty.
Most of us know that if lots of pages link to a site, it shows that page is good and has authority. But Google Bombing is taking advantage of this and ballooning out pages just to drive them back to the main page, often with over-optimised anchor texts. Be wary of this; supporting pages are fine, but when you are building pages for the sake of it, you need to watch out for the Mighty Wrath of Google.
Over optimising alt texts
On the note of over optimising alt texts in the Google Bombing spell – over optimising alt texts is a naughty spell on it’s own. Link naturally and don’t over-optimise for your keywords – instead mix up your anchor text with natural partial matches, naked URL links or brand names as you would expect to see across the nice net.
Some other spells to watch out for are Creepy Keyword Stuffing, usurping the net by Using Automation to Write Content and Lousy Links from Sites in Another Language. So there you have it – some seriously spooky spells that could turn the internet into a very dark place. In the meanwhile all we can do is fight these tactics valiantly and if all else fails, we can dress up as terrifying as we can and simply scare them away!
On that note, watch our space on social where the team will certainly be posting some creepy Halloween costumes, courtesy of our dress-up friends in Milton Keynes, Crazy Wizard Fancy Dress – we’re looking forward to getting the team looking spooky again since it’s been a while since our last photoshoot…!
If you and your team is dressing up as this year, we’d love to hear what you’ll be going for, so do message us on social too! Or if you hate dressing up, perhaps just focus on slaying some sneaky SEOs…