If you’ve got a business you probably get sales pitches from companies offering SEO packages for a low one time or monthly fee that promise to get your site ranking at the top of Google search results.
Sounds great, but if you take a closer look at what exactly they’re offering, you’ll realize that while the SEO techniques they offer to perform did have value years ago, as a result of recent search engine algorithm updates they are obsolete and might even be harmful to your current ranking.
Here are 5 SEO techniques offered by SEO companies that are either useless or harmful to your ranking in major search engines, particularly Google:
1. Manual Search Engine Submission
No such thing anymore, at least not for Google, Bing and any of the other major search engines. Search engines have things called robots that crawl the web and index web pages. When you publish a new page it usually gets indexed within a couple of days, although it could take a bit longer. There’s no need to manually submit, unless you want to make sure that your page gets indexed within hours of publishing. In that case Google Webmaster Tools gives you the ability to submit up to 500 pages per month. Why would you want to pay for something that happens automatically, for free?
Alternative: Submit your URL to relevant online directories. The link might help your SEO, but more importantly, it will give you the opportunity to be found by potential clients and customers.
2. Article Submission
SEO companies offer to create articles for you, filled with links pointing back to your site and submit them to article directories that rank high in search results because of their mass of content. This would theoretically boost your PageRank by providing you with valuable links to your site. This technique was a winner, until Google’s Panda algorithm update brought it crashing down by decimating the rankings of these “content farms” and even penalizing sites with too many links coming from them. In the post-Panda world, article submission to content farms is either practically useless or can possibly penalize your site. Stay away.
Alternative: Contact relevant blogs and ask if they accept guest posts. If they do, write an awesome post that includes one or two links to your site and send it to them. Besides getting a link or two on their site, you get exposure to their audience — which could mean new clients for you!
3. Link Exchange
Link building is an important SEO technique to increase PageRank. Unless those links are relevant to your site, they won’t do any good thanks to the Google Penguin update. Links on spam sites created solely for the purpose of housing links, which include many web directories and link exchanges, can harm your ranking.
Alternative: Create great content that people want to link to, cultivate relationships with other sites and bloggers who might link to you, and share your content on social media to increase exposure.
4. Forums and Comments
SEO companies will offer to place comments on forums and blogs with a link to your site as a way of getting more external links. Unfortunately, in most cases these comments will be spam and will most likely be deleted by the webmaster or blog owner. I personally delete lots of these obviously spammy comments on my blogs.
Alternative: Commenting and participating in relevant forums is a great way to build relationships and authority, and to drive traffic to your site. Additionally, setting up your own blog and engaging your readers through commenting seems to be quite a good way to build traffic to your site. Here is a great, data-based read about the topic – Do Comments Actually Increase Your Search Traffic? A Data-Driven Answer.
5. Thin Content
In the old days SEO companies would take a bunch of keywords and stuff them in a blog post. It didn’t matter if the post was readable or comprehensible by human beings. It didn’t have to make sense. It just had to get indexed and ranked by search engines. After Google’s Panda updated that doesn’t work anymore. Content has to be well written and make sense. It can’t be mass produced by a machine or some low paid worker in a foreign land. If it is it might be labelled (rightly so) as spam and incur a penalty.
The bottom line is that producing junk content on your site will ruin your credibility and reputation, and probably end up hurting your business. Stay away from promises of content creation for a pittance. You’ll get what you pay for.
Alternative: Create high quality, original content that people want to read and link to. Now more than ever, “content is king”.
So when you get those too good to be true SEO sales pitches, take a closer look at what they’re offering and then decide if they really are worth the money they’re charging. A reputable SEO company will clearly explain their services and answer all of your questions honestly and knowledgably.
Have you tried any other techniques to boost your SEO?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section.