Manipulate Google at Your Own Risk

In your real life you are a stand up guy or gal who would never consider misleading anyone.

If that is true, then why are so many marketers still using a search engine optimization company to help with manipulation tactics of old to trick Google into ranking their site more highly?

The word on the street is this is becoming increasingly risky because Google is going to be coming down hard on sites that are still gaming the system.

Let’s take a look at some of these tactics and why you will want to change your online marketing behaviors to stay in the good graces of Google – now and moving forward.

Inflated Keyword Density

Many local businesses serve not only their community, but an extended community of communities within a piece of geography that expands as they grow. Obviously, they want to single out those communities by naming them on their site to be sure they and Google both make the connection that they are ready and willing to serve them.

The spammy tactic that I’ve observed on many occasions is to list every single community, while associating it with a specific keyword phrase.

For example, instead of naming the communities served, there is a long list that looks something like this: Springfield Realtor, Centerville Realtor, etc. So, that page is stuffed with dozens of mentions of the targeted keyword phrase – realtor in this example.

This is exactly what Google is going to stamp out – for the simple reason that it looks spammy and is clearly manipulative.

Don’t do this.

Manipulative Internal Links

We have all experienced manipulative internal links. This is when the anchor text (text attached to the link) suggests a particular type of destination and the link leads to something completely different – such as a sales page or the home page of the site.

This type of manipulation is unnerving!  As a result, Google is sure to punish this type of behavior. Remember that the number one objective for Google is serving the user, someone that happens to be a human being.

If you are using SEO tactics to deceive your audience, you will not only irritate and lose them, you will encourage Google to minimize your site in search engine rankings.

Again, don’t do this.

Trading Links

It’s easy to succumb to the practice of trading links when you do not realize the larger ramifications.

A link is a vote of confidence, but when it is reciprocated that dilutes the recommendation. We see this everyday in politics. You contribute to my campaign fund and I’ll laud your business whenever possible. Unfortunately, the general public sees right through this.

And so does Google.

In fact, it is much easier for Google to recognize link trading because links are everything in the world of search. It’s nearly impossible for Google to miss this subtle practice – one that doesn’t make you a bad guy, but that nevertheless suggests a subtle attempt to manipulate the system.

In this case, manipulation may be too strong of a word.

Nevertheless, don’t do this.

A better approach is to play the game the way it was meant to be played. The following articles will help.

How to Prepare Your Business for Social Search

SEO for the Common Man 

How Google is Like a Third Grader

Leave a comment below and share this with your community using any of the share buttons below – or on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.

And if you are advanced with your SEO skills, head on over to SEOMoz and watch the ten minute video on this topic to learn more.

Until next time, Jeff

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  1. You hit on the mark Jeff. The more I am learning about all this stuff, the more I read that, yes, Google is changing how they rank. So if a company is ranking high today, in a few days or months, they may well drop to a lower Page rank. From what I have been reading, it’s all about content that is relevant-hence I am in the process of totally redesigning my web site (slow going for a long time landscape contractor). Side note: are you still contributing to the L and L mag?


    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Absolutely Tim, fresh and original content is what people want, and therefore that is what Google will always favor.

      To your question, I’m still writing for GIE Media but now over at Commercial Dealer and Distributor, a new publication.

      I’ll do feature articles from time to time at Lawn and Landscape, but for now they need me more over at CDD. 🙂

  2. Jeff,

    This is my first time commenting but I have been following your blog for a few weeks now.

    I wanted to comment because I too have seen many local businesses keyword stuff a page. Mostly I come along this discovery through competitive research for my clients.

    How can they target those 20 keywords instead? Create 20 separate pages or 20 blog posts targeting those keywords?


    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Jordon – You hit the nail on the head – pages or blog articles. Google tends to reward pages that are singularly focused on a specific topic. This is evident from the title, hyperlink, meta description, internal links, and of course, keywords.

      So, where some companies go wrong is using the SAME keyword phrases over and over again on the same page. If it looks redundant to a human being it will to Google as well.

  3. I cannot agree more. We rely so much on Google for our traffic that I cannot even comprehend what would happen if we were to loose all our ranking or get penalised. Moreover, everyone is now focusing on content and spending less time on manipulating ranking.

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      I’ll be honest Tim – I’ve decreased my publishing here from 5 to 3 days a week and my traffic has increased.

      Google wants what people want – high quality, evergreen content.

  4. Google is a joke, always has been a joke, and always will be a joke.

    …A joke on its end user.

    I look forward to the day that Google becomes like Myspace– and people stop using it.

  5. This is an interesting article now given the fact that Google is going to crack down on guest blogging as everyone was trying to manipulate them.

    Watch out!

    • Hi Jordan – I was up your way in Vancouver in December!

      Yes, if you have seen the videos from Matt Cutts it is crystal clear where all of this is going – and what we should all be doing in terms of keeping our content clean, fresh, and original.

      I used to get lots of those guest blogging inquiries that he referred to, but they seem to be fewer so maybe the word is getting out.

      Thanks for your words of advice. 🙂