High Risk SEO: The Quick Fixes That May Cost You Your Rankings

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Posted on Aug 24th 2018

With the competition for organic traffic tougher than ever, what kind of risks are you willing to take to secure your hotel’s website a better position in the SERPs?

For marketers, the temptation to disregard search engine guidelines and draw on black or gray hat tactics as a quick fix to boost rankings is ever present. But what exactly are the risks and rewards, and most importantly, is it worth it? In today’s blog, we’ll take a look at some of the most common of these SEO practices to see if they’re worth the effort.

Negative SEO

While most search engine optimisation tactics are focused on building your own online presence through technical and content-based best practices, negative SEO is a little more cutthroat. In essence, it’s all about sabotaging your key competitor’s campaigns by creating spammy, low quality backlinks to a site, duplicating their content or even hacking. Those particularly hell bent on sabotage can even pose as a competitor and set about removing links to their website.

Not only are these practices morally dubious (and in some cases, downright illegal), since Google is better than ever at detecting things like spammy links, they’re often fruitless from a tactical standpoint too.

The Lowdown
Risks: getting banned from Google SERPs, imprisonment.
Rewards: none.

Buying Links

Although much has changed in the search landscape in the past decade or so, building quality links to your website remains an integral component of SEO. But there’s no escaping the fact that it’s hugely time consuming, tiring and boring.

So paying for links is the answer, right? Wrong.

Firstly, it’s totally against the guidelines of the major search engines. Secondly, it’s expensive. In fact, with the amount of money it costs to buy just one high quality link, you may as well just invest in a traditional marketing campaign to build links legitimately.

The Lowdown
Risks: rankings penalty from Google if caught, risk of overspending. White hat link building tactics are more effective in the long run.
Rewards: quick compared to traditional link building strategies

Keyword Stuffing and Content Spinning

There’s no denying that creating engaging and useful content is hard work, so it’s not surprising that in the past plenty of marketers have looked to cheat the system by “spinning” existing web content or knocking out low quality content chock-full of keywords in attempt to game the search engines.

Luckily for the sake of readers, these content cheats don’t fool Google anymore. Thanks to a string of sophisticated algorithm updates, the search giant is now much better at picking up on natural language patterns, which means spammy, low value content stands out from a mile away.

The Lowdown
Risks: a penalty from Google, turning off your guests with low quality, unreadable content
Rewards: quick and easy to create and publish content on a large scale

With search algorithms getting smarter by the day, the rewards rarely outweigh the risks when it comes to using quick fixes and gray/black hat tactics to get your website seen by more people. Sure, you may get away with it in the short term, but it won’t be long before Google clues up and cracks down on you.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever been tempted by any of these strategies? Let us know in the comments below!


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