May 29, 2012

Search engines optimization (SEO), the fake expert brigade and outright cheats

In your journey of blogging, you might have been tempted to ask friends and experts, and research the web about how to popularize your blog. If you are not a very established blogger, the question might still be in your mind.
search_engine_optimization_for_blogs
Chances are that you heard almost the same advice on improving blog / website traffic from your friends and experts and read the same advice on the web. We won’t comment on friends and other real-life experts – you have to base your judgement on their expertise and sincerity on your and others’ experiences. As of the web, as we have cautioned earlier too, if it is full of helpful souls and experts, it also harbors thousands of cut-and-paste experts and people out to cheat you. In search of a money-making formula for themselves, they come across areas in which web-surfers are interested, and dish out useless, untrustworthy stuff. 

In some cases, fake SEO sites evolve a community around them. They support one another and bait gullible visitors with unrealistic claims and offers. They put guest posts and reviews on one another’s sites in which they cross-promote themselves. They also promote each other through laudatory comments, fake success stories, social networking... This trend has, of late, become rule rather than exception.

We will hasten to repeat that there are many genuine, well-meaning advisors on SEO and other website matters who are experts too. You should be able to differentiate between them and the fake ones if you are alert. The fake expert ones will usually have these characteristics: 
  • They make very tall claims. [e.g. I advised this to a friend who started getting a thousand visitors a day and earning a thousand dollars a month.] 
  • They look unprofessional by their website’s look, Google PR, visitor counts etc. The fake ones often have cut-and-paste advice; so, their text is likely to have variation in writing styles because they have cut and pasted matter from different sites. Some of them don’t even have the skills to keep their website professional in looks and free of language errors. 
  • They spread myths and pseudo-scientific arguments to make the visitor worry about his blog / website and feel that only by following their advice can he save it from failure. [e.g. Why do you fail to make money while John makes a thousand dollars  with a similar website?] 
  • They speak in generalities without telling you the logic behind the advice [because they don’t have the required expertise on the matter].
In addition, do remember these points:
  • Search engines keep changing their algorithms, and the specific advice given in even genuine websites would be outdated within a few months if it were not kept up-to-date.
  • Search engines work hard to make their searches more relevant; they are not bothered whether your site did something special by way of SEO. In fact, they are more likely to frown upon excessive and unnatural SEO practices and people trying to fool them. 
  • Link exchanges, cross-comments on one another’s blogs, submitting to directories, putting badges, etc are fine as long as they do not result in spamming and link-‘farming’. But be wary of people who offer thousands of ‘high PR links’ for a few dollars or link exchanges that promise thousands of genuine back-links to your blog: chances are that they will make Google penalize you for inappropriate ways of link-building.
So, what is the takeaway from this short discussion? 
Go for traffic building and monetization if you want to be popular and earn money, by applying sound principles. Quality matters a great deal in the long run in giving your blog popularity – so, concentrate on the quality of blog content. Then, be patient; don’t rush to make money at the cost of quality and visitors’ trust.