SEO Gimmicks Won’t Make Up for Poor Content

The past year has been a difficult one for those in the SEO business, or at least those that rely on tricks and gimmicks in order to help clients reach the first page of Google.  You don’t have to look far to find an  “SEO expert” that will promise to get your website onto page one, or better yet, to position number one in Google in a few days.  At one point in time, this was actually a feasible promise as there seemed to be an endless number of holes in Google’s algorithms that allowed SEO experts and spammers to game the system and get an unworthy website into the top spots.

Early SEO Gimmicks

Rewind to the early days of SEO when web directories and backlinks were everything.  All you had to do was get your website listed on hundreds or thousands of web directories and in the sidebar of unrelated websites and your website would soon move onto page one.  Companies and individuals jumped on the bandwagon realizing that there was money to be made not only in submitting websites to directories by the hundreds, but also in promising to get a client’s website to the number one position.  They knew this little loophole and they capitalized on it and made plenty of money doing so.  An unsuspecting client didn’t know any better.  Soon the search engines began to realize that this loophole needed to be closed and they began to devalue links from directories.

Next up was Article Marketing.  Someone on a blog somewhere in cyberspace recognized that Google ranked websites well if they simply submitted articles to article directories like or  Once the loophole was exposed, the article writing business took off.  All you had to do was log on to any webmaster forum and you could find companies willing to write and submit content on your behalf to these article directories.  For as little as a few dollars per article, you were essentially buying backlinks on article directories and this worked very well for about 3 or 4 years.  This gave birth to thousands of low quality article directories spamming the internet.  This terrible quality content was everywhere and it was ranking on the first page of Google.  The problem was that this content lacked any real value.  It was poorly written, had grammar and spelling mistakes and just didn’t give readers anything of value.  2011 and 2012 were great years for cleaning up this spam.  With the Google Panda and Penguin updates, article marketing became devalued.  Submitting hundreds of low quality articles no longer got your website to the first page.

Google Gets Serious

Fast forward to 2011 when Google started to get aggressive with tweaking their algorithm in an effort to rank websites not according to gimmicks, but according to their value to the reader.    All the SEO changes that Google have made in the past 2 years has infuriated many SEO “experts,” but for those that work with high quality clients and don’t use underhanded techniques, this has been a welcome sign that Google and other search engines are serious about quality.  Not only are they serious about the quality of websites but they are just as passionate about the quality of the content on these websites.  Google is tight-lipped about what exactly they are looking for, but we do know a few things about what needs to happen to cause a website to have consistently good rankings.

Stop Thinking About Scamming the System

For many, this is going to need to be an ideological shift. They will need to stop thinking “What can I do to game the system?” and start looking at the website and its content.  For a business owner or webmaster, the following tips will give you a great start on learning how to get your website ranking well.

Build for Readers

If you were looking for a product or service and you naturally turned to the internet for information, what would YOU like to find?  Would you like to find poor quality articles with no value? Or, would you like to find high quality articles that offered honest information about the product or service?  Think about your customers or your readers.  What are they looking for? You have a wonderful opportunity to meet the needs of your customers and clients and show them that you are eager to give them high quality information.  You have a captive audience, waiting to hear from you through your company’s blog or social media outlets.  Don’t waste it.

Stay Up-To-Date

I was recently looking for a price to get a suit dry cleaned and I searched for a few local cleaners.  I came across one of the larger dry cleaners in the area and it proudly said  “Welcome to our new website.” That was the only article on the website and it was dated April 2008.  The problem was that I was searching for this information in June of 2012.  4 years ago this company posted on their website’s blog and that was it.  They never touched it again.  I’m sure you have witnessed many examples of this – Twitter accounts and Facebook pages with only 1 post, or blogs with a few posts from several years ago.  When I come across these website I immediately get the feeling that this company is out of date and it reflects on their business.  Even if you don’t have time to blog or use social media on a regular basis, hire someone to do this for you.

Communicate with Your Readers

The internet has done a lot for small and medium sized businesses.  It has leveled the playing field and allows smaller organizations and businesses to market for next-to-no investment.  It’s also given businesses the opportunity to communicate with their customers and clients in real-time, which means there are no expensive mailings, or TV or radio commercials to produce.  All you have to do is take part in the social media community, be authentic and communicate with your clients and customers in a real, transparent manner and it will grow your business.  Consistency and authenticity can go a long way in engaging with your clients or prospective clients and customers.

Help Stop the Cycle of Bad SEO

All the SEO gimmicks of the past are supposedly behind us.  Google is serious about quality and thankfully web results are getting better.  Unfortunately there’s not a surefire way for them to totally eliminate spam and poor quality content from the internet, but you can do your part.  Don’t fall for quick and easy SEO gimmicks advertised all over the internet.  If you need SEO help or advice, work with someone that you can trust.  Look for an SEO company that you can foster a long-term relationship of trust with, not a fly-by-night “expert” that may end up causing more harm than good.


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