SEO Tools That Do Not Count in Your Favor Anymore

Which SEO tools and strategies that used to work will kill your search engine optimization today?

Keyword Stuffed Copy

Keyword stuffed copy went away with Google Panda, as the artificial intelligences behind the search engines stopped using keyword density as the measure of the match between search intent and content match. The websites instead determine the intent of the user and try to match content to the intent. This is where using latent semantic indexing (secondary keywords) improve your search results.

Repeating the term router 150 times in 5000 words of content won’t work, but discussing the pros and cons of your router brand versus the competition without naming the competition more than once or twice might win you top place in a search about your router brand. Discussing how to use a router in the workshop and mentioning your brand name will outdo someone who talks about routers and wood but doesn’t give an answer to any question the search engines think users are asking.

One of the best steps is using the questions search engines think people are asking as the paragraph headers instead. Performing an SEO audit is one of the ways to ensure that your site matches up to Google’s standards when it comes to having a decent site. eBizUniverse a Chicago SEO company has developed a free SEO audit tool that will analyze your website for any errors which can then be fixed by your web developer. 

Page Counters

Page counters are a website design element that looks amateurish today. Of course you should track your website visitors, but your data collection should include which search engines they are using, operating system, language settings, time on page, and ideally, behavior on your website. However, visitors don’t want to know that you are tracking their behavior beyond a disclaimer if your site uses cookies or beacons. And a page counter that says 158,005 people have visited your site won’t make them want to come back, but a site that customizes its presentation to repeat visitors versus newcomers is more valuable.

When people see a website counter on your webpage, it gives them a negative image of your site and many will bounce away, hurting your metrics even though the counter incremented by one.

Conversely, you want to change the color of visited links so people don’t retrace their steps unless they choose to do so.

Plugins

No one wants to have to install new software like a browser plugin to use your website; they’re leery to download a PDF that may harbor malware, and an unknown WordPress plugin or demand to install Flash is frightening.

Anything that automatically tries to download, be it a custom font or software update, will be killed by users if their antivirus software doesn’t. This makes PDFs a bad choice for presenting online reading material.

Chat Rooms

Chat rooms are not the value added feature they used to be. The alternative to use today is a user forum where people can talk about your product and ask questions of other users or your employees. The side benefit of a user forum that is open to the public is that you’ll capture significant volumes of conversational queries.

Make certain you actually answer questions that are generating hits and give assistance to those asking questions or posting complaints. This makes users want to use the forum to get help, and it shows visitors that your company cares. Giving answers and putting in newer posts also makes the site look active instead of dated.

Chat bots are a mixed bag. A generic chat bot won’t always be better than a well-designed frequently asked questions section. One that turns into a platitude generator or takes people in a direction they don’t want to go is a negative. A chatbot that directs people to the home page of the service department isn’t as good as one that posts the link to the exact solution someone needs.

Is Search Engine Optimization Search Engine Manipulation?

Search engine optimization is the term for when you optimize your website for the criteria search engines prefer. Search engine manipulation is when you use deceptive practices to boost your search engine rankings without actually meeting the criteria that would be considered a good match. Let’s look at the difference between SEO and search engine manipulation.

Strong Links Are Not Spam

Google uses social media signals as an indicator of the quality of your content. Natural link sharing of your content is thus a positive signal that boosts your content’s search engine rankings. This can be improved by adding social media sharing buttons on your webpages. You can naturally build link sharing and SEO of your content by having your marketing team post links to your content or home page on its social media accounts. Using social media marketing to boost brand recognition helps your site’s domain authority, as well. This is because search engines give more authority or priority for content tied to brands.

Link directories and link spamming hurt your site’s SEO. Conversely, mentions on domains with high domain authority boost your site’s rankings. Where possible, ask reporters doing stories on your company to mention your full company name and website, because news sites have very high domain authority.

Website Optimization

Websites should have titles, webpage descriptions, titles and tags will boost your SEO. Adding meta tags to a website that include the key words is a way to clearly indicate the topic of the content. The search engine manipulation Google penalizes is when you key word stuff the meta tags or use unrelated tags to try to capture users who aren’t looking for what you’re offering.

One word of warning on titles – when the key word is repeated several times in the title or content description, even when it is a legitimate description of the content, the site will be penalized as if you’d repeated the key search term at 10% instead of 2% to 3% density in the text.

Search Terms

Deceptive practices take the form of using unrelated key words to land in popular but unrelated search results. An optimized keyword density in content that is related to the context of someone’s search is not manipulation, simply ensuring that the key terms aren’t too sparse to not show up in relevant searches or so dense that it is penalized by the search engine.

Deceptive practices like cloaked text to boost website rankings will get you banned by search engines as will doorway pages optimized to maximize search engine results page ranking but take you to unrelated content.

Search Engine Manipulation Effects

Search engine manipulation effects occur when a coordinated effort is used to boost a site’s SERP. For example, crowdsourcing site tasks that pay thousands of people one cent to go to a specific link no matter where it is in the search engine results list and click on it before waiting at least five minutes is done to make the search engine to think it is a better match than it is. One of the more interesting variations of this was when Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum was subject to a liberal online mob’s deliberate clicking on the sexually related definition of “Santorum” to cause that to come up instead of his campaign website or political office website.

Search engines try to offset this when they identify it, and they will penalize companies that are proven to have engaged in it. The best choice for a company trying to boost its SEO is not to try to boost its search engine results ranking by paying a bunch of people to click on its link.

Note that asking your social media followers to retweet a link is not search engine manipulation – you’re asking people engaged in the brand to help market it, but you can’t make them share the link nor are you paying them to do so, so it isn’t manipulation.

In short, search engine optimization to tailor relevant content to maximize its search engine results placement is not manipulation. Manipulation of search engines requires underhanded tactics, deception or coordinated campaigns that are done in contrast to the legitimate traffic and reputation building methods companies should use to boost their SEO.