August 21, 2018 Simon

SEO: The Ethical And The Unethical Way

When it comes to SEO, there are certain rules you’ll want to abide by if you’re keen on avoiding penalties that can cost thousands of pounds to rectify. Scary stuff, right?

We all know SEO in Jersey is an incredibly effective tool that helps businesses get noticed online. A strong and ethical SEO campaign can see your business maintain a top spot on that illustrious page 1 on Google. The higher you are on a search engine, the more traffic and conversions you’re going to see.

So, if you’re a business in Jersey that’s looking to gain more traffic, you’d be wise to look into SEO in Jersey.

However, like almost every business practice, there are ethical ways of achieving success and there are unethical ways. It’s the same in SEO, there are ‘honest’ (ethical) ways of achieving higher search engine rankings and then there are ‘dishonest’ (unethical) ways. So, what makes an ethical SEO campaign?

Let’s take a look.

What Is Ethical SEO?

Ethical SEO, in a nutshell, is the term used to describe techniques that conform with the codes and conducts of search engines. A good way to spot ethical SEO is not to spot anything at all – in other words, if you don’t notice anything out of the ordinary, such as keyword stuffing, duplicate content or anything else that looks ‘black hat’ (a term used to describe unethical SEO) you can assume ethical SEO is being performed. There are times where unethical SEO can hide in plain site and we’ll talk about that further down the article.

What Is Unethical SEO?

This is where things get interesting. So, unethical SEO is not necessarily illegal but it’s widely viewed as a underhanded technique that isn’t respected or honoured by clients or professional SEO agencies. The techniques used in unethical SEO, for lack of a better term, are sneaky and manipulative.

The phrase ‘cutting corners’ comes to mind, and while many people have seen positive results by using unethical SEO, they’re treading a very thin line with regards to search engine algorithms.

Basically, they’re living on borrowed time, they will eventually be caught and hit with a huge penalty which will destroy all the time, effort and work put into the website. This can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage and even render the site near useless, as it won’t rank for anything until the penalty is lifted.

In short, unethical SEO is all about achieving immediate ranking results quickly and by any means necessary.

Google Penalties

Google penalties are bans, or punishments handed about by Google (or any other search engine) if they notice any underhanded practices concerning SEO. Google can hand out penalties for anything it deems manipulative or views as cutting corners around their codes of conduct. Being handed a Google penalty is not fun, seriously. Once you’re in a Google penalty, your website will not only lose its previous ranking position, but until the ban is lifted, it will be nearly impossible for you to rank your website for your targeted keywords.

Getting out of this penalty takes time and resources, but it is possible. You’ll need to find a digital marketing company or SEO agency in Jersey that practices ethical SEO and tell them what happened. It may be a case of removing toxic links linking to your website or removing duplicate content among other things. If you don’t know what has caused the penalty, it’s a case of trial and error and this can take even longer, as the SEO agency will have to try several techniques in order to find out what’s caused the penalty.

Oh, and don’t think that because you’ve been banned on Google you can just hop over to Bing, they all know what you’ve done, they’re friends in that respect… sort of.

When A Google Penalty Isn’t Your Fault

Sometimes people find themselves in penalties by accident, having no idea why their website has been penalised. If this mistake is genuine and unintentional, contacting Google usually sees the ban lifted. However, if Google deems it as intentional (and they’re clever little sods), it will be harder to have the ban lifted.

Key Ethical SEO Practices To Remember

The below bullet points are considered ethical by Google. Follow these and you won’t run into any nasty penalties and you’ll be making steps towards achieving that glorious number 1 spot on Google for all your targeted keywords:

  • Keep content relevant and informative! The more useful the information, the better it will be for the reader. Plus, they may share or link to it.
  • Content that’s ‘linkable’ is also a good way for Google to recognise trusted content.
  • Keep your website updated – new articles, pages, press releases – anything relevant and genuine Google will appreciate.
  • Try not to exchange links with websites that are low in quality or harbour information that isn’t relevant to the audience you’re targeting (don’t have a web design company in Jersey link to a construction company in Australia, see where we’re going with this?)
  • Add a sitemap to your site – this makes it easier to find by Google crawlers.

Unethical SEO Practices To Remember (And Avoid!)

The following are practices that are likely to get you into a Google penalty. These are best left avoided, unless you fancy paying a small fortune for a digital marketing company to attempt to remove the penalty:

  • Using white text – this means blending keywords into the background, making the font tiny and hiding text behind images so that it cannot be seen. This is a very old and bad SEO tactic and will result in a penalty if discovered by Google.
  • Hiding links – similar to hiding keywords, making links the same colour as the text in order to hide them from visitors is also seen as negative SEO.
  • Keyword stuffing – stuffing keywords and phrases into content is obvious and seriously frowned upon. This is one of the easier negative SEO tactics to spot and is equally as easy for Google to spot and penalise.
  • Re-directs – this is when Javascript (or a similar platform) redirects the user to a site that they were not intending to land on.
  • Duplicate content – this is the biggest sin in the copywriting world. Never post the same article twice thinking it will boost your ranking, it will only see your site penalised.
  • Plagiarism – another big no-no for SEO, plagiarising another person’s content is seriously bad practice and Google will recognise the stolen content and will inevitably penalise you if it’s not removed.
  • Spun content – this is when people use software to re-write articles to make them ‘unique’ and not duplicate. They’re appalling, illegible and someone with half a brain cell can notice when they’re reading spun content.

Be Safe, Be Ethical!

In the world of digital marketing, it’s easy to be mislead online. Unethical SEO is performed every day by millions of websites and while many are getting away with it, they will inevitably be caught and penalised.

Being ethical ensures that your website will never be under the threat of falling into a penalty, as opposed to waiting for the day where your site disappears from search engines… possibly forever.

Need SEO In Jersey?

That’s where we come in! If you’re after any more information regarding digital marketing or how we can help bring more visitors to your site, why not give us a quick call? We know it can seem a bit daunting at first, but it really isn’t, plus, we’ll do all the legwork! All you need to do is visit our Contact Page, or pick up the phone and give us a call on 07797 727 891

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