It’s time to let old things die. And in the case of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), this can be a really bad thing. Although I am an avid Kylo Ren fan, this phrase scares me when I try to relate this to the current situation of the SEO world today.
I’ll set the dark tone on this one. And I don’t need to channel the dark side of the force to do it. All I have to do is lay out the awful truth of what’s happening out there today.
SEO isn’t a new thing anymore. Even YouTubers and non-professionals know how to harness its power to improve their livelihood online. My Mum even unknowingly improves her posts on Facebook in order to reach more people looking for housing properties (I taught her a bit). But the point is, much like Kyber Crystals and The Force in Star Wars, SEO isn’t that surprising anymore. And anyone can utilize it to make weapons against the rebels and/or fight the new age Dark Side Black hatters.
The old masters of the light side of SEO are all scattered out there already. Matt cuts out of Google, Fishkin is no longer with Moz. The result is that the various modern agencies out there that offer SEO services are going wild. With not much guidance from the ancient teachers of the craft, and with the overall competition getting more and more fiery, SEO is slowly turning into this object that you will just use to slice through your competitors, rather than a respected force that businesses can utilise to further reach their audience. To meet client expectations, companies might want to revert back to the old ways and use old ways. What was once a valued thing, much like Anakin’s lightsaber, is now just being tossed out to the sea.
If you still haven’t gone to the dark side yet and you want to preserve the idea of a clean and more dignified way to do SEO, read on. Below are the things you need to avoid to fulfil your destiny:
1. Creating Private Domains / Public Blogging Network’s (PBN) Where You Can Distribute Content
You have to understand that this is already a very outdated technique. There is no way for you to clean the footprints and restrict Google from finding out what or who the common owner is between these sets of websites. Google is like the force. It is everywhere in the net, and it knows and tracks everything.
It does work. But if it’s overused just so you can add more backlinks, this will be the start of your demise. The best way to go is to select a few sites or blogs and take care of those accounts. Then concentrate all your link building efforts on websites that you didn’t make.
2. Duplicating Materials That Were Previously Posted Elsewhere
If you want to have a lot of links but have little resources, you will be tempted by the dark side to just reuse your existing content. And that should be fine. If you can make all sorts of versions of content, infographics, slideshare presentations and all, you should do fine. But what if you repost the article itself? Would it work? The answer is yes. You’ll do fine as well, but it won’t last.
3. Why? Is there a penalty for duplicating content?
Technically, no. But, Google prioritizes unique content. It’s that simple. There are resources found online that are as legit as the sacred Jedi texts.
Majority of the resources found online that talk about this topic are mostly discussing this in the perspective of a website owner – the dangers and effects of using replicated content on their sites. But if you think about it, this can apply both ways:
Use PBN’s and spread your reused content on them and you’ve just concocted yourself a really bad combination of bad mistakes.
If you want to re-use old content you can do what Neil Patel did. And like what happened, you can also use content done by others.
4. Sprinkling Your Posts / Press Releases with Overly Optimized Anchor Texts
I would place an example here, but since I’m not necessarily a follower of the darkside of SEO, I’ll just show you an example from Google. I brought this up mostly because, like all the recent topics I just covered, it is actually happening more and more. For some reason, Google isn’t cracking down on these types of posts as hard as they should be. People are doing it because on the surface it looks like it is working. Right until they hit a barrier they can’t get through. Ever wonder why you’re stuck on 2nd page?
There are also cases where you would see articles with anchor texts used as backlinks, displaying horrific grammar mistakes or writing, as if they just placed keywords there and never cared if it fits the thought or even if it’s flowing on the sentences smoothly. Linking that isn’t natural is not the Jedi (white hat) way. You make links on a post to further elaborate on what you’re saying. Not to manipulate your keyword’s rankings. Rankings will come in later when you actually serve unique and relevant content to an audience.
5. Paying 3rd Party sites to Post Your Content or Give You a Backlink
Buying your way to try and manipulate and bend the force of ranking to your will is also a path exclusive to the Dark Side.
Getting desperate? Go back to that Google Support page discussing link schemes where you’ll see Google’s opinion on this matter. You may have power, but you don’t have ultimate power.
What you can do instead is actually invest in time and build actual partnership and relations with other web owners and big sites. This way you can naturally build links and connections with high authority sites.
6. Dumping Backlinks on Comment Boards and Forums
You may think that places where people spend most of the time has the most traffic. That’s actually correct. But, spamming these places with your links is a definite way to hurt your site in the future. Plus this is extremely outdated.
If you want to utilize these two, the best way is to literally speak and have a conversation with the people in it. Connect with your audience.
But here comes the grey area. Like the light and the dark side in Star Wars, there’s always the middle part where chaos and order meet.
You can say that you’ve been doing these things and your rankings are actually improving. That’s good. And, congratulations. Are you excited to say that this whole article is a waste of time? I just went past my 1,103th word but I’ve no shred of doubt in me. You know why?
Let’s say for example, you create PBN’s, re-use content and post all of them there. Then share it multiple times repeatedly on comments and/or forums and even on low level directories made for sharing content.
First question: Are there any sort of update happening onsite wise? If it got optimised parts, proper sitemap tags, robots and sitemap XML’s and a few other relevant contents, it might be getting help from the multitude of updates Google is releasing.
Second: Are all those backlinks you’ve laboured creating being indexed? Are all those links still live? What if I tell you, that, like Luke Skywalker, most of it can be taken out and disappear like a Force Projection?
Webmasters will still have a say to whether or not your posts will stay on their sites – even on sharing, bookmarking and directory sites. Even sites like Quora.Com, for example, will just straight up delete your account once they sense that you’ve been posting too many articles on your account in a day.
For the string of websites you own, you might think, “hey, in case these blogs get destroyed by Google, I can just delete and disavow them so it won’t hurt my client’s site.” That’s good and all, but, are you willing to keep doing that in the long run? Build 3 sites now and get 3 back links, 2 of them get’s taken out by Google, you’re left with one so you build more, and soon they get taken down as well. Making your link profile grow like this is so arduous, that you might as well give up and let Darth Vader cut off both your hands.
So, what’s the solution?
Create enough content that’s unique and relevant, aimed to share information. Create a batch for your onsite content as well, then share them in a way that won’t be too unnatural.
When you share an article or a blog post on a bookmarking website, never post it there again just to gain another “bookmarking” link. Once is enough. If you want another sharing back link, go look for another site for bookmarking. There are millions of other sites out there for that.
Build connections online and keep it, up until you’ve gained so much natural connections with businesses and blogs that you will be so far away from Google algorithm problems. Whenever an update happens, you won’t get affected.
If you’re still down with quantity instead of quality, relevance, and uniqueness, and mostly doing whatever you can to try and manipulate the rankings, that’s perfectly fine.
Just remember what happened to every risk taker characters in Star Wars. They either lost a limb, got slashed in the face, or got burned really bad.
Now, ask yourself. Is it worthy to give step into the dark side?