There have been many techniques over the years from SEOs who have received “ranking presents” from Google. However, it doesn’t take long for Google to turn these presents into a lump of coal. You see, just like with Santa, it takes years of good behavior to earn a spot on Google’s nice list and be rewarded accordingly. During this season you’ll be giving away gifts to family and friends. Pay close attention to the 9 SEO ranking techniques of Christmas past and make sure you’re not one of these guys:
The Hidden Intentions Gifter
We all know the gifter that gives you something, but you know they must have an ulterior motive. Well, some SEOs use a technique that uses hidden text so users can’t see what’s on the page, but Google can still find and index the hidden text. This means they can stuff keywords or spammy content in hopes of achieving higher rankings without ruining their professional image to their users. You might get lucky and get a few rank increases from this, but it definitely won’t last long.
The Fake Gifter
We all know the gifter that makes the receiver think they’re getting something great, but turns out to be something unexpected and disappointing. Well some SEOs use site-cloaking to show Google one page and users another. This is used sometimes to show Google pages stuffed with spammy keywords and content again while showing users a more usable page in order to get an increase in rankings. Sometimes it’s used to rank for a popular search but shows users content that is completely irrelevant to what they were originally searching. This gifting technique will last as long as most people’s New Year’s resolutions.
This gifter will give you a present they have received and don’t want, or even worse they’ll give you something lying around their house. This SEO technique gives search engines the image that they have lots of fresh new content when in reality it’s just spun content or content “repurposed” and taken from someone else. The worst thing about this content is that it’s unoriginal and not made for the person it’s being delivered to. The receiver doesn’t want the content either because it adds no value to their life.
The Cheap Gifter
This gifter notoriously gives you the cheapest thing they could find and expects you to be surprised, amazed and grateful. This SEO technique uses lots of new, but low quality content in order to seem bigger and “fresh” to search engines. It doesn’t end up getting them much praise and is meaningless at the end of the day.
The Stocking Stuffer
This gifter stuffs, and stuffs your stocking with tons of cheap goodies to make their total gift look more impressive. Some website owners think that the more they use a keyword or phrase in their content the higher they’ll rank for it. Focusing on a keyword is not a bad thing but stuffing keywords winds up being a whole bunch of fluff that doesn’t add any real value to the user. Not to mention search engines find it spammy and can penalize you for it.
The Reciprocal Gifter
This gifter only gives you something if you give them something first. Some websites will promise to share links with you, that is, they’ll give you a link from their web site if you give them a link from yours. This holds to the idea that the more external links you have pointing to your website the more authoritative search engines will think you are. However, this is something Google has been cracking down on and can lead to some serious penalties. The reason is that links should be earned and the person giving you a link should want to do so for the right reasons, not just because you gave them one first.
The Repeat Gifter
This gifter uses the same gift over and over, year after year, for everyone he or she knows. Sometimes in hoping to rank for a specific search term SEOs will use a term over and over, as anchor text for their links pointing back to their website. Google looks at these links as unnatural, since users linking to your site would probably not use the exact phrase over and over again. SEOs can balance their anchor-text portfolio by realizing that different people relate to their product or service in different ways. Search engines and users alike will appreciate a little bit of variety.
The Christmas Wish List
This person makes a giant wish list full of everything they could ever want and sends it out with hopes that they’ll receive everything on that list. The keyword meta-tag has been around as long as search engines but in most cases is completely and entirely ignored (except for news agencies, according to Google). It’s nice to have a wish list of terms you want to rank for, but by simply placing them in the meta-tag area isn’t going to get you there.
The Gift-Card Gifter
This gifter gives you gift cards instead of a more thoughtful gift that actually means something to the receiver. As SEO evolves it takes a lot more thought to be truly effective and earn rankings. Simply optimizing your website for keywords isn’t enough anymore. Now SEOs have to think about how socially shareable their site is, how they can answer potential customer’s concerns and how they can convert users into buyers through conversion optimization. Simply doing the bare-minimum isn’t enough and now SEOs have actually think about how the user will experience their present.. err website!
Whether you’re an SEO or not, you should always try to be a real gifter! Be genuine and real, don’t take the easy way out and you’ll be rewarded accordingly.