The quest for the first page on Google SERPs and having high PR (PageRank) has become an obsession among online businesses and services providing SEO. The need to be on the top pages also meant having high PageRank make them look credible in the eyes of Google.
Online businesses all want to be on page #1 so people searching for their target keywords would easily find them. But with millions of other websites competing for the exact same keywords and position in the search engines, they resorted to unnatural methods of building links. Others used ‘unacceptable’ techniques to increase their page rank or both.
However, in the past years, we’ve seen the ever-changing algorithm and how it affected websites in terms of visibility in the SERPs and the fact that Google cast the manual penalty to websites that used unnatural links. Penalized websites had no choice but to submit reconsideration request with the hope of getting back their page rank and/or being indexed once again. And by the end of 2013, Google’s Matt Cutts and John Mueller mentioned about the zero probability of having another Toolbar PageRank update.
Surviving PageRank with Ethical SEO
Fast forward to 2015 and SEO still has a relevant role on positioning websites in the SERPs. The cautionary tale of those penalized in the past (and in the present, if they weren’t careful) should be taken seriously. Today’s premise on SEO centers on people – the main users or researchers of search engines.
For online businesses and SEO services to flourish in the present times, being mindful that there are people and serving their needs should always come first. People don’t usually care if your PageRank is #5 or up especially when they find what they’re looking for on your website.
And we’ve all heard of this phrase before – “Content is king”. And it still is, as long as it’s useful and relevant to online users.
What to avoid
This is just a very short list of scenarios you must avoid in order to keep your SEO clean and ethical for both Google and online users:
(1) Over-optimizing and targeting the wrong audience just to get leads
You’ll just be wasting your time if you are targeting and optimizing your website on a global scale. What’s the use of a home cleaning service in Chicago to a homeowner in France? Nothing. Unless this French homeowner decides to live in Chicago, right? Optimize your website for local search if you’re business is selling or serving locally.
(2) Cheap SEO = cheap work + bad results
There are cheap SEO providers who are still offering their services to unknowing online businesses. If you find plans or packages that are dirt cheap, chances are their services are dirt cheap as well. SEO requires time and money in order to achieve the desired (ethical) result, so a penny for this service is not just a joke but a disaster waiting to happen.
(3) Using directory links and comment/forum spam
Gone are the days of building links using article directories and spam blasters for blog comments and forums. The malpractices of yesterday are no longer valid if you wish to see your business flourish. Leave immediately if you see these practices still listed on the SEO provider’s website.
Search engine optimization may not be dead, but it’s in a delicate position that both business owner and SEO provider should be mindful of. Being a proactive owner is just one way to ensure that your website is providing value to online users without violating Google’s algorithm.