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Top 5 Shady SEO Sales Tactics

Don’t get duped! Here are the 5 most common shady sales tactics — and simply put lousy marketing.

We believe in “white hat” marketing. The term “white hat” refers to SEO tactics that follow the terms and conditions of major search engines, such as Google. “Black hat” SEO refers to techniques and strategies used to get higher search rankings, and breaking search engine rules.

Auto Dialing (Cold Calling)

Auto dialing, also known as cold calling, is not targeted marketing. Cold calling is wasteful — indiscriminately dialing through a list of numbers to give a generic sales pitch. Old-line salespeople who cold call are not looking at statistics. It is bad marketing, bothersome, and spam.

Unverifiable Google My Business Listing

Have you answered a call, then had an automated voice telling you, “You have an unverified Google My Business listing. Press ‘4’ to talk to Google”? An unverified listing is an issue — but these sales calls don’t connect you with Google.

What Does Unverified Mean? Unverified Means Your Invisible, And Defenceless.

Any user or third party can claim an unverified Google My Business (GMB) listing at any time. This means any user can change your location data with a simple click on “Suggest an edit” in a Google listing.

How To Get Your Listing Verified

Getting your listing verified is pretty easy. To start, you need to claim your business on GMB. At the top of your screen, or your business name, a “Get your page verified” should pop-up. After verifying it, you should see the representative shield icon near your listing name.

GMB is an essential asset for any local business owner. This establishes your presence, for free, on the search engine, and it means your business will also show up on Google Maps. It’s a great way to get your business listed multiple times on Google.

Google Is Penalizing You

So, What Is A Google Penalty?

A Google penalty is a punishment against a website whose content conflicts with the marketing practices enforced by Google. There are 2 types of penalties. An automatic, algorithmic penalty results from updates to Google’s ranking algorithm and a manual penalty suggests one of your web pages used “black hat” SEO tactics.

Google Search Console and Google Analytics are the tools used to monitor and penalize websites. Only the owner of the website has access to these tools. No general access means a cold caller can’t possibly know if you’re being penalized.

Poor Rankings Report

This is a big one, and so understandable why cold callers commonly use this tactic. The No. 1 spot is extremely valuable. Research has shown that the first link on a search results page can get around 30% of the traffic for a given search, and that’s massive.

However, it’s very hard to measure exactly how many people reach your website. By far, the most accurate source for this information is Google Search Console — which, again, only the website owner has access to.

Bad Links

What Is A Bad Link?

Backlinks are links on other sites that point to a page on your website. Good links positively impact your search performance, while bad links can potentially harm your site. What’s more, the longer you use bad backlink techniques, the harder and more expensive they are to remove.

A bad link isn’t merely a link from a low-quality or banned web page — there’s more to it. But generally, it’s a link to a site with random and incoherent articles. Anyone with links gained unethically through “black hat” SEO tactics, such as overuse of affiliate links, paid link building, and duplicate content to get to the top of Google, now find themselves faced with a penalty.

What Is A Good Link?

It’s not possible to give an all-encompassing, single definition of a good link, because there are various factors involved. Similarly, a bad link isn’t merely a link from a low-quality or banned web page — there’s more to it. However, a general principle to keep in mind is that the harder it is to get a backlink, the more value it likely has. Good links aren’t easy to get.

Backlinks serve as a ” vote of confidence” from one website to another. For example, imagine the cost of an authority backlink from Business Insider, CNN, or the White House. There are many ways to get backlinks. Most come from writing in-depth, authoritative articles that are published on other sites that reference and link to your business’ webpages.

What Is A Backlink Analysis?

At The Ad Firm, we monitor links monthly. All of our monthly reports include a full backlink analysis. When analyzing backlinks, it’s essential to use the right tools. There are many tools out there. The purpose of any backlink analysis is to show you the links, keywords, and authority of sites you link from.

Examples of Bad SEO Practice and Things to Avoid:

  1. Traditional SEO Techniques– with an everchanging landscape it is important to understand and develop your SEO techniques. To stay relevant, you need to keep up with the changes and apply the most up to date SEO techniques. It is bad practice to keep applying traditional SEO techniques.
  2. Not updating yourself– as previously mentioned, SEO is as everchanging as the digital field. If you miss an update, your website could be affected and you could possibly lose very valuable traffic.
  3. Unsatisfied search intent– if your content is well-targeted to the audience you are trying to reach, your website might be deemed not useful. Search intent is at its core the intent behind the search. Your website needs to provide an answer to the searcher’s query.
  4. Ignoring Google mandated guidelines– it is bad SEO practice to ignore structured data and search features. Structured data is essential to stand apart from your competitors; especially when you are on the first page of Google’s search results. By using structured data, your search result could be featured above the other search results.
  5. Keyword Stuffing– don’t do this! Keyword stuffing per Google refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or not as natural prose.
  6. Not Being Optimized for Mobile- if your website isn’t ready for mobile users, Google will automatically ding your site and consider it “unfriendly” for searchers. Mobile-friendliness and page speed are considered the top ranking factors of Google search. Do not ignore mobile!
  7. Having Unclear SEO Goals- if you don’t know what your end goal is and what you are wanting to achieve from doing your website’s SEO then you will more than likely never be able to grow your online presence. An unclear strategy will not get you far.
  8. Not focusing on brand searches and branding- SEO is definitely becoming more brand-centric. SEO today is not just about getting traffic but also about making your business trustable. Increasing brand searches for your business will help you rank toward the top on Google. This is what people in the industry call an evergreen strategy and focusing on branding helps to grow and establish your business as an authority.
  9. Not Focusing on Branded Anchor Text- to go with the previous point, anchor text is extremely important and makes up a significant portion of your link building strategy. By ignoring branded anchor text opportunities, you will not be able to improve your brand’s authority. Branded anchor texts also look more natural than popular keyword-optimized anchor texts. By ignoring branded anchor texts you are also missing an opportunity for much-needed brand recognition.
  10. Ignoring Optimization for Conversions- at the end of the day, the main goal of every business is to get customers. To do this you have to generate leads and then convert them. Many businesses make the mistake of ignoring conversion optimization and only focus on the top of their funnel. By ignoring optimization for conversions, you could end up losing a lot of customers and by default revenue.

 Is Black Hat SEO Illegal? No, But You Should Avoid These Black Hat SEO Techniques

While black hat SEO is technically not illegal, it does violate webmaster guidelines set out by search engines. In layman’s terms, it’s against the rules and you should avoid black hat SEO techniques at all costs. Willingly engaging in these black hat practices will land you a nasty penalty as punishment.

These are the most popular black hat SEO techniques:

  1. Keyword stuffing- this involves overusing the same keywords throughout one page in order to maximize your page’s visibility and organic traffic.
  2. Cloaking- per Google, cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to human users and search engines. Cloaking is considered a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines because it provides our users with different results than what they expected.
  3. Doorway page- these are web pages that are created to deliberately manipulate search engine indexes. A doorway page will affect the index of a search engine by inserting results for particular phrases while sending site visitors to a completely different page.
  4. Hidden text- this is the practice of using computer text that is displayed in a way that is invisible or unreadable. Hidden text is most commonly achieved by setting the font color to the same color as the background, making the text invisible unless the user highlights it. Using hidden text can improve the ranking of a page, however, this is another violation of search engine guidelines.
  5. Content Automation- is a branch of content marketing automation that includes processes that remove the need for human intervention in the natural content lifecycle. Content automation means using tools or scripts to generate content automatically and publish it on your site without human intervention.

The Ad Firm ❤ Google 

Think of Google — and its search engine users — like a child that needs to be fed. Your targeted audience has to benefit from your content, keywords and links if you ever want Google to reward you. At The Ad Firm, we know this. Partner with our SEO tactics and watch your rankings grow, along with your business.

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