Small businesses often fall prey to the worst SEO tactics of all because they rely on information from others. Most local companies don’t have the technical expertise that they would need to critically evaluate the work that their digital marketing agency does for them, instead, relying on them to do what is right.
Unfortunately, a lot of agencies don’t do what’s right, either because their budget doesn’t allow them to or because they are trying to cut corners. This means that small businesses need to be proactive in learning SEO, at least so that they can understand what they are paying for.
This will help them to avoid being the victim of unscrupulous agencies, ensuring that they get more value from their dollar and can see the results that they are looking for.
Private Blog Networks
Private blog networks or PBN’s are somewhat ironic because very few of them are in fact private. Unless that network was created exclusively to help rank your site, it’s not completely private, and that comes with an inherent risk.
However, even if the network was completely private, it’s still a terrible tactic for small businesses to use. Google has been open about the fact that they despise PBN’s, they don’t represent earned links and therefore are an attempt to game their algorithm.
But perhaps most of all, they are dangerous because it will only take a human a few seconds to realize that the PBN was built purposely to link back to your website. They are thinly disguised, and that makes them extremely risky. If a normal person can tell that the site is spammy, don’t you think one of the best algorithms ever will eventually figure it out?
Keyword stuffing worked well in the past, and that’s why so many small businesses make this mistake. A lot of the blogs that originally promoted keyword stuffing are still online, and this false information has caused hundreds of businesses to earn themselves penalties from Google.
Instead of worrying too much about heavily optimizing your articles for specific keywords you should try to write naturally. This what Google wants you to do, and it will result in you using the keywords in the most natural quantities and frequencies.
If you are worried that doing this will cause you to lose rankings, then you can optimize for your keywords in the title tag and h2 tags, but don’t overuse it in the body of your content.
Anchor Text Stuffing
Just as SEO’s tried to stuff keywords into their articles to convince Google to rank their pages, they also attempted to build links using thousands of exact match anchor texts. Again, small businesses are susceptible to this because this another tactic that has worked in the past.
But similarly, thisn’t a natural way to build links. It’s incredibly unlikely that all of the links pointing to your pages would use the same anchor text, which makes it simple for Google to spot and penalize you for.
Instead of trying to stuff keywords into your anchor texts you should try and use the most natural text possible. This important because of Google factors in the surrounding text too, which allows them to figure out if the anchor text that you’re using is unnatural.
By using the most natural anchor texts, you will inevitably end up with some partial and exact match anchor texts, but also many brand or generic anchors as well. This spread and mixture help to keep your backlink profile natural, reducing the risk of your site being penalized.
Individual Pages for Keyword Variants
Finally, it’s still common for small businesses to create individual pages for each of the keyword variants that they found during their research. While this tactic can work to some degree, we are incredibly confident that it will soon be punished.
Thisn’t a natural way to create content, and it makes it self-evident that you are trying to game the algorithm.
Rather than doing this you should group keywords is a logical way, using them and standard variations through fewer articles. There is no reason for having a page per keyword, instead, create a few vast pages that rank for many different phrases.