There was a time when search engine search results can be easily manipulated with toxic black hat tactics such as keyword spamming, floods of low-quality backlinks, hidden texts, and even unreadable rewritten content. Those days are long gone now. Search engine algorithms today are so much more complex, and can withstand most forms of manipulation.
However, there are still many website owners who want to cut corners to reach the top of search rankings. Many of them are actually ignorant of the dangers of their practice, and the possible penalties which could include temporary and permanent bans from search results. With that in mind, we’ve compiled below a few toxic techniques which every budding webmasters and business owners should steer clear off to protect their organic ranking.
Achieving a high organic ranking is a long-term and continuous project. Image courtesy of Pixabay
Keywords are an important factor in search algorithms. They serve as relevancy signals, and in simple terms, tie search queries to search results. However, too much of a good thing can be bad. You might get away with keyword stuffing in one article, or a few. However, once the algorithm pegs your website as a keyword stuffer, your organic ranking will plummet like an anchor. So use keywords judiciously, in a normal organic manner.
Backlinks are arguably the most important factor in search rankings. They give legitimacy to websites, similar to likes on social media. Search algorithms rely heavily on backlinks to sort organic rankings. However, the quality of links is more important than quantity. A single inbound link from a reputable site is easily worth more than a thousand links from a spammy site.
Additionally, link velocity is also important. The acquisition of links should be gradual over a reasonable period of time.
If your website’s link profile consists of too many low-quality sites, or if the links were obtained over a short duration, then search engines will deem that as an attempt to manipulate their algorithm - be prepared for the resulting automated wrath.
Search algorithms are now capable of analysing the content structure, grammar and readability of content on websites. While it is nowhere near the level of humans, they are able to effectively evaluate and identify sites with low quality (and obviously duplicate content). On top of that,algorithms also factor in the use of header tags and images as part of their user experience analysis. Coupled with dwell time data, search algorithms are capable of determining the level of engagement of content.
When you put all of this together, they all boil down to one thing – publish quality, engaging and original content to earn the favour of the search engine gods. To do otherwise would be to invite their displeasure and the inevitable drop in organic rankings.