In light of Google's recent major updates, Penguin and Panda, it's a shame to see how many questionable Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) "experts" and agencies are still risking their reputations and doing more harm than good to clients by attempting to use dodgy techniques to boost site visibility and traffic. They are demonstrating precisely the kind of behaviour that Google and other search engines have been aiming to eliminate.
To avoid ending up in search engine black books, steer clear of dubious schemes and methods, and use only genuine, tried and tested means to enhance your website's SEO credentials. If looking for ideas and inspiration, visit blogs and forums with a good reputation in the marketing world, such as Econsultancy, SEO Moz, and Graywolf's SEO Blog.
If you have the budget, don't hesitate to hire a team of professionals for the best results. This form of marketing is worth investing in so don't be tricked by low prices. Quality services don't come cheap.
In brief, the Google Panda update was launched to penalise websites that look and feel "spammy", while Penguin deals with sites showcasing an unnatural looking backlink profile.
Long gone are the days when websites stuffed with keywords outperformed others in search engine results pages. This will actually damage your website's performance rather than improve its chances.
To help realise the severity of this faux-pas, put yourself in a site user's shoes. It's very easy to tell when copy has been written for search engines rather than the human eye. This really doesn't leave a good impression on most customers, and is likely to result in a high bounce rate.
Diversity has never been as important, and natural diversity at that. Paying for links and getting involved in link farms is to be avoided at all costs unless you fancy getting penalised by the likes of Google who can now smell dodgy scams from a mile away.
Instead, time should be invested in developing relationships with bloggers whose backlinks can mean a lot to sites of all proportions. Though a somewhat aged method, it's also still worth submitting sites to credible business directories.
Social media strategies can greatly assist in acquiring natural backlink profiles as people share content according to their interests.
SEO must also consider internal linking structures. Similarly to keyword stuffing, internal linking musn't be exaggerated either. Again, put yourself in a user's shoes to see whether a link seems natural, and whether the anchor text fits the context. Awkwardly positioned internal links stand out like a sore thumb to both users and search engine spiders.