Be very careful when choosing your marketing firm. The SEO world has always been a place for snake oil salesmen. A lot of marketing companies will promise you the moon when they don’t plan to follow through. There are two types of marketers to watch out for: The scammers who use illegitimate “get rich quick” tactics that can get you penalized and the incompetent marketers who are still using outdated practices that just don’t work in today’s digital world. This is especially true of the legal SEO industry, which is cutthroat and probably one of the most competitive spaces.
Watch Out for Phony SEO Scams
There are a lot of dishonest SEO marketers out there. They’ll promise you fast results and high rankings, but they aren’t very clear about how they’re going to do it. They may try to impress you with a lot of fancy jargon, even if they can’t explain what they’re doing in simple, down-to-earth language.
If your marketing company acts secretive about their marketing strategy, there’s a good chance they’re using black hat SEO tactics. These are illegal and ultimately ineffective practices that may (or may not) provide short term results, but the consequences for your business can be severe and long lasting.
Google doesn’t tolerate cheating. In the past, they have penalized major corporations for using black hat techniques, including BMW, Expedia, Volkswagen, and The Washington Post. There’s no reason for marketers to think that they can get away with shady practices, but a lot of people still try.
Black Hat SEO
Google has gotten a lot more sophisticated when it comes to detecting black hat tactics, and the penalties are often harsh. If your marketing company gets caught using black hat practices, you could see a steep fall in rankings or you might be dropped from Google altogether. Examples of black hat SEO techniques include:
Article spinning. Some marketers will write a single piece of content on a given topic and then superficially rewrite (spin) it over and over again, basically selling the same article to several different clients.
- Link swapping or link selling Backlinks, which are legitimate links to your site from websites and web directories, are an important ranking factor that can help improve your rankings and domain authority. But buying links, exchanging them for gifts or services, and swapping links are not in line with Google’s best practices.
- A Private Blog Network (PBN) is a network of websites used to build links to your website (and thereby passing authority), for the sole purpose of manipulating your rankings. PBNs are ineffective and easy to detect. They simply aren’t worth the risk.
Outdated SEO Practices
Search engine optimization is a highly dynamic field, especially in law. Because SEO is constantly changing, a lot of things that used to work won’t work anymore. For example:
- Redundant content. A few years ago, marketers tried to post as much content as possible on websites, and they didn’t worry about saying the same thing over and over. But today Google will penalize sites that are redundant, so it’s important to organize your information in a coherent manner and don’t repeat yourself.
- Isolating one keyword per page. The Panda update in 2011 created a penalty for overusing keywords. And since the Hummingbird update in 2013, Google has been using more semantic searching strategies that base results on user intent instead of relying so much on keywords.
- Keyword stuffing. When used correctly, keywords are an important and effective SEO strategy. But some marketing companies overuse keywords, keep repeating the same blocks of keywords, or add keywords that are not relevant to the content of the page.
- Exact Match Anchor Text – Anchor text is a useful tool when used correctly. Exact matching of your hyperlinks to a specific page is no longer effective or suggested.
Trust the SEOs Who Give It to You Straight
Getting your website to rank is hard work, and there aren’t any shortcuts. Period!
White hat practices include legitimate, above-board strategies to increase a website’s position on a search engine results page (SERP). This basically means earning a high rank for your website in Google searches without breaking the rules. Legitimate Internet marketing companies use only white hat tactics such as:
- Writing effective content
- Generating fast loading times
- Gracefully including keywords in the body of your content
- User Experience (UX) to make your site attractive to users
- User Interface (UI) to make it easy to navigate
- Effective meta tags and meta descriptions
We Do Things the Right Way
No matter how SEO changes in the future, the marketing team at SLS Consulting, Inc. will always play by Google’s rules, while getting the job done!
Call SLS Consulting, Inc., at (323) 745-1806 or toll-free at (877) 565-3302 for a FREE consultation today. We know SEO.
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