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I just read a blog post about search engine optimization that made my head hurt. It talked about how important it is to be found in search results, and how it is a far more effective way to reach qualified potential customers for your service or product. This is all fine and good, and also very true. After all, if you are selling, let’s say “weight loss” for example, you will reach a lot of thin people by advertising it on television, radio, banner ads, or other methods. When you reach them in organic search engine results, you will clearly reach a much larger percentage of people who are overweight or at least looking for ways to lose weight. Reaching the right people with your message is the beauty of Internet marketing.
Here Comes the SEO Overkill
What the blog post failed to mention, or give any consideration to at all, is that repeating the same keyword phrase over and over is about the last way you will ever achieve high search engine rankings. It is against the rules, and should be carefully avoided. It is a form of Web spam called keyword stuffing, and it is one of the most effective ways to have your Website blacklisted by search engines. Nobody will call you on the phone or send you a nice letter to warn you about it. You will simply disappear from search engine response pages (serps), and your efforts will be put into reverse.
Search Engine Spamming Never Pays
If you think that you may be clever enough to get away with search engine spamming, think again. Detecting over-use of keywords, although only one small element of Web spam, is about the easiest challenge for Web spam experts. Repeating yourself over and over again is not nice when you are talking to a person face-to-face, and it is just as annoying when you do it on a Website. A lesson I learned a long time ago and have tried to teach people is to write the way you would as if search engines did not even exist. Although you may want to phrase some things differently for keyword proximity, your overall message should never be an awkward read just because you want it to rank highly in search engine results. Spamming is not nice, and it does not pay. If you got really lucky, may see a surge in rankings for a day, week, or month, but it may be at the cost of losing it all and being sharply penalized.
Is Matt Cutts Watching?
As long as there have been search engines, there have been people trying to cheat them with clever trickery like keyword stuffing, doorway pages, hidden text, and so many other methods it is hard to count. For each of these tricks, search engine anti-spam professionals like Google’s Matt Cutts, who is in charge of Google’s Webspam team, have an answer. These men and women are working hard and smart every day to eliminate useless content that tries to cheat their search engine algorithms. They are watching, and even if it does not exclude your content from their search engines, it will have a bearing.
Quality Website Content Always Wins
When you think about all of the ways you may be able to reach your market, try to remember what I am telling you here. Good website content will always be the best way to share what you know and will always be the best way to be highly indexed and well regarded by search engines. There are thousands of pages of content that I have written over my decade in this field, and thousands of keywords in that content. Many people read my articles, and many people link to them. This is how it works, and this is how it will always work: Do the right thing, and it will always come back in your favor.
Author Mark Murnahan is the Chairman and CEO of YourNew.com, Inc. and provides SEO consulting services to companies and non-profit organizations. Mark Murnahan may be reached toll free at 866-A-Web-Guy (866-293-2489) for consultation.
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