Search engine optimization, if mastered, can bring significant traffic to your website. As a free source of organic traffic, a lot of bloggers strive so hard to rank their webpages—but many are impatient and resort to techniques that get them penalized.
Search engine penalties are the worst thing that can happen to you. Sometimes, you get swayed to do things to drive traffic to your site, not knowing that you are violating the rules of SEO. Search engines like Google hate violations, and they will slap you with penalties—low to no ranking—if you violate their rules.
Today, you will learn the five most effective SEO techniques that won’t lead to search engine penalties.
These techniques are:
- Guest posting with backlinks
- Use keywords with no spamming
- Short content with value
- Comment without spamming
- Place ads without degrading the user experience
Focus on these five techniques, and you will improve your traffic slowly but surely.
Guest Posting With Backlinks
Guest posting is one of the most powerful ways to get a backlink. If you are a writer, you know that guest posting is a tedious task—you have to write content that you would put on other people’s blogs.
If you pay writers, the challenge is cost—you have to pay writers to create content, which will not belong to your website.
But here is the challenge: getting backlinks from other websites is extremely difficult. It is not as if people will just magically link back to you. This is possible, but only if you have carved out a name for yourself.
Unless you are Neil Patel or Gary Vaynerchuk, do you really expect people to link back to you? You are merely plankton in the ocean.
If you want to get backlinks, you need to do the work, and you can get them if you guest post. Look for blogs that accept guest posts, and make sure you choose those that have high domain authority. In exchange for the guest post, you get a couple of links back to your website.
To do this, you have to start what is called blogger outreach. Send emails to bloggers in the same niche as you are, and ask them if they are open to guest posting.
Use Keywords With No Spamming
Keywords are essential to the success of a blog page’s ranking. The way Google indexes articles is via keywords. If you use them right, the search engines will know what your article is about and rank your website to where it belongs.
However, you do this wrong and you will receive search engine penalties.
There is no right and wrong keyword count, but many experts suggest that you do not stuff your articles with keywords. Many SEO experts recommend a keyword density of not more than 4%. If you do more, what happens is that your keywords are going to look unnatural, and the search engines will know this.
If the search engine algorithm decides that you spammed your article with keywords, it would naturally think that you did so to game the search engine rankings.
As such, the search engines would think that your article does not really provide value—it is spam and it will not get ranked.
Here are some recommendations for appropriate keyword placement:
- First paragraph
- Once in a sub-header
Place the keyword only once in each section. Google will know that your article is about that keyword, and your article shall be indexed.
Short Content With Value
There is an ongoing debate as to whether the content length has something to do with page rankings. Generally speaking, it does. Studies show that websites with an average word count of 2,200 per blog post rank the highest.
On the flip side, Google does not really say anything concrete about this. The length of the content is important, but customer experience is equally important.
You see, Google ranks pages according to the value it adds to the reader. If your topic does not require a 3,000-word article, then there is no reason to write a post that long.
On the other hand, Google also flags articles that are too short. In fact, you cannot advertise with Google AdSense on a website if your contents are too short. You cannot even have them indexed—Google Search Console will give you an error saying that your “content is thin”.
To go around this, write content that is relevant to what people are looking for. Create content that answers questions, but make sure that these answers are written with a deliberate thought process that aligns with the research that went into it and answers the question thoroughly. To stay on the safe side, you have to write content that is at least 1,000 words long.
Comment Without Spamming
Many bloggers write comments that are spammy. They go to blogs and leave comments, and on those comments are links to their own websites.
The problem with this approach is they leave comments that are completely irrelevant. They just say “great post!” or “awesome” and then they drop their links.
Why are they doing this?
They are hoping that other commenters will click their links. This, of course, does not do the other readers a favor. It is spam.
Over the years, Google has found a way to figure out which comments are spammy and which ones are not. To make matters worse, bloggers do a no-follow link to all these links, or they do not publish your comment post.
Blog comments still work, but you need to do it with subtlety. What you have to do is to create an avatar via Gravatar, and make sure that this avatar has your website links. Post comments that are intelligent or spicy—this will trigger people to click on your avatar and click on your link to get to know you more.
Place Ads Without Degrading User Experience
Ads are annoying. Period.
If you are one of those bloggers that show pop-ups that affect user-experience, beware. Google is in the process of penalizing websites that show ads—provided that the ads and pop-ups are contributing to bad user experience.
As you can see, Google wants its users to get information that they are looking for. If Google suggests pages that provide bad user experience, people will start using other search engines, and they do not like that.
Be strategic with how you place ads on your website. Put them in places that are visible, but not obscuring the content they want to read. And please, do not use pop-ups anymore. Do not wait until you get search engine penalties for this—stop using pop-ups asap.
Search engine optimization is a long journey. Experts claim that it takes eight months for Google to finally rank a page to where it belongs. What this means is that despite doing your SEO right, you still have to wait a long while to get your pages ranked.
Trying to game the system may work for you in the short-term, but always remember that Google is going to catch up with you no matter what you do. And if it does, you are dead in the water. Your website will lose its rankings and it will take years to build trust with Google and other search engines again.