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blackhat(1)When internet marketing first came into its own, it was similar to the Wild West. Internet marketers and companies hit the internet with their guns slinging. They would do whatever it took to get to the first page of Google. Since there were no rules, many people used some unsavory tactics to get a first page ranking. Now, though, there is a new sheriff in town, and that sheriff will put you to the back of the list if you use bad SEO practices. The sheriff has several names. You have probably heard him called Google, Bing or Yahoo!. You don’t want to upset the sheriff, or your site will not be found on the internet.

Keyword Stuffing

keywordKeyword stuffing was the first thing the sheriff started policing. You have probably seen it before. Let’s assume you are trying to optimize for the key phrase “internet marketing.” Now, let’s assume you wrote a sentence for your website that said, “Internet marketing not only helps businesses gain exposure, but internet marketing also converts traffic to customers, and internet marketing helps businesses make more money, which is why internet marketing is so important.” Let’s forget, for a second, that your high school English teacher would have taken out the red pen and marked all over that one. The sentence is awful, and we are aware of that. However, if we are going to be honest, businesses do this all the time. They try to stuff as many keywords into a sentence, or a page, as possible. Even if you spread out fifty keywords over a page, the sheriff is going to write you a ticket, and that ticket is going to take you to the back of the search results.

Image Tags

image-tagImage Tags, or Alt Tags, also attract the sheriff’s attention. A good image tag explains what the image is without overdoing it. For instance, if we had an image of our logo on this page, we could use an image tag that said “RevBuilders Marketing”. However, some people would put, “internet marketing, SEO, RevBuilders, keyword research, best SEO, best internet marketing,” and so on. Now, let’s assume someone has the images turned off. If the images are turned off, the only thing they see are the tags. Would you rather see a tag that says, “RevBuilders Marketing,” or a tag that has a bunch of words strung together? In addition, the sheriff will take one look at your big string of keywords and think one thing: spam.

Invisible or Small Text

Some companies use invisible or insanely small text to try to trick the search engines into ranking them higher. At one time, this worked. Now, though, the sheriff is on to these rule breakers. Search engines seek out sites that use hidden or tiny text. When a site is identified, it is sent to the back of the search results. As a business, you have an obligation to your customers. They need to be able to trust you, and part of that trust is earned by using proper SEO techniques. If you try to get one over on your customers, two things will happen. The sheriff will catch you, and your customers won’t trust you. It’s not worth the risk. Use the right SEO practices and you will be rewarded with a high page ranking and loyal customers.

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Guided by one his favorite songs “The Impossible Dream” Scot is constantly reaching for the unreachable star. It’s this passion for success and achievement that drives him to create success for RevBuilders Marketing and its clients. Scot founded RevBuilders Marketing in 2002 and it provides an integrated approach to SEO, SEM, SMM, web design and marketing automation services. Scot currently serves on the advisory board of the Middleburg Bank. Find him at @scotsmall or @revbuilders