Monday, December 02, 2013

All the wrong ways to approach online marketing

Wouldn’t it be great if marketing were a science? We could test different methods and discover what worked, then we could apply it over and over again and watch the dollars come rolling in. Unfortunately our work isn’t that simple. It’s amazing how many marketers at top companies fail to realise this simple fact and implement the same marketing plans year after year, wondering why sales continue to decline.

When it comes to online marketing, it’s not the change in consumer attitudes and habits that we need to be wary of, it’s changes to Google’s search algorithm. Google’s engineers are continually working to refine this powerful engine to ensure that it returns only the most relevant search results. This means that old online marketing techniques can no longer be used to improve the ranking of your website in search results. In fact, not only are these techniques a waste of time, they can actually harm your business. If Google believes that your website is employing one of these techniques, they’ll punish you by burying your site way down the list.

The best way to ensure that your online marketing is performing as best as it possibly can is to hire a highly experienced SEO agency. Here are some of the search engine optimisation techniques that any decent search engine optimisation agency shouldn’t be going anywhere near in 2013.

1. Reciprocal Linking and Link Exchanges

Way back in 2004 this was all the rage, not any more. The technique involves contacting other website owners and asking to place a link on their page in exchange for you doing the same in return. Sites called Link Farms are set up for this specific purpose and host hundreds or even thousands of links. Unless the links you are exchanging are highly relevant, Google will pick up on this straight away.

2. Duplicate Content

One of the best ways to generate links and drive traffic to your site is with Content Marketing. This involves writing insightful articles and submitting them to blogs and news websites, who will hopefully allow you to include a link in return for providing quality content for free. It’s tempting to write one article and submit it to as many different sources as possible, however if you repeat the headline or substantial sections of the body copy, it’s a big red flag to Google and your hard work will got to waste.

3. Hidden Text

A classic old-school SEO technique, the hidden text trick involves stuffing lists of keywords into a website and making them the same colour as the background or hiding them behind a picture. Modern search engines are able to tell the difference between natural language and meaningless lists and can also detect when words have been obscured, rendering this trick completely useless.

4. Keyword Stuffing

Sure, it’s important to include relevant search terms in your website text, but words that are heavily repeated or out of context are easily picked up these days. Write your content for the reader’s eye, not Google’s.

5. Cloaking

Cloaking refers to showing different content to search engines than your website users. For example, this could be a page that is only accessible via a hidden link.

Ivy Delfin is a leading SEO Practitioner

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