Why You Should Avoid Using SEO Shortcuts


The SEO process can often be extremely frustrating, especially when you’re seeking fast results. In reality, most of us want to boost the profile of our business as quickly as possible, which means that we have a constant sense of urgency.

Discovering that you won’t be able to get fantastic SEO results within the space of a few hours can certainly seem like bad news. In this context, it’s not too difficult to see why it should be the case that so many small business owners look for shortcuts.

It’s easy to find evidence of that approach, particularly when looking at the link profiles of some small business websites. The evidence suggests that people are being tempted to use automated tools, forum posting and guest blog comments to build up an online presence. It should not be expected, of course, that the average small business owner would be aware that those techniques would lead to penalties being applied.

Search Engine Optimisation. Search Engine Opti...
Search Engine Optimisation. Search Engine Optimization (Photo credit: Hobo!)

Examining the problems

So what is the problem with using these shortcuts? After all, there are plenty of examples online of sites that have prospered by making use of such an approach.

I would suggest that the biggest issue here is one of sustainability. You probably want to build a business that will thrive for years to come, which undoubtedly means depending on search engine traffic over a considerable period of time. SEO shortcuts may enable you to quickly gain positioning, but they will also mean that there’s a real danger that your website will be hit by penalties at a later stage.

This can be best explained by giving due consideration to the concept of quality. It’s clear that Google is looking to reward websites that offer a good user experience and that are associated with a real sense of quality. That can be measured in many different ways, but the basis of this is that there’s a need to show that you offer reliable solutions.

If your site has links with other websites, which clearly aren’t reputable, then you start to put yourself into an area where you may run into trouble. After all, why would you be gaining such links? The algorithm updates that have taken place during the course of the past couple of years have been integrated to suggest that links will only be gained in this way by websites that are actively looking to fool Google.

A practical approach

In fact, what this means in practical terms is that your attempts to take shortcuts can result in you being marked out as a spammer. You may feel, of course, that this is an unfair conclusion to be drawn from your online activity.

This probably isn’t the right place to include a detailed discussion of link building ethics and whether it is fair that the landscape has been changed quite so dramatically. What is important, however, is that you should focus on changing your approach to meet the current and likely future demands.

The alternative would be to sit back and complain about how unfair everything appears to be. Unfortunately, that’s an approach that won’t help you to gain rankings and to really produce the positive business outcomes that you desire.

Keith Barrett is an SEO consultant and works with Search South SEO in Winchester, in order to help local businesses to achieve better results online.

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2 thoughts on “Why You Should Avoid Using SEO Shortcuts

  1. I have always felt that taking shortcuts in any way is a bad idea. The things that work the best are never that easy. I don’t even take shortcuts driving somewhere, because they almost always end up taking longer or I have to turn around and go back to where I started.

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