To many business owners and even a handful of web design London firms, SEO offers little or no value whatsoever to their respective websites. While this is completely untrue on so many levels, the perception is not hard to understand.
With all the information about SEO floating around, it’s hard to see which is real and which is not. So much so that the decision to employ SEO becomes a very difficult one.
A good SEO strategy will not yield the expected results for months. In fact, the strategy itself might not make sense to most. But when they do, the results can be staggering in terms of exposure and profitability.
Like any other business, making a decision to try some new strategies and tactics carries risks that need to be taken into account. Risks have to be considered if they are worth taking in lieu of the expected benefits or are the risks too big that they’re not even worth trying out.
These are similar questions you can ask when giving SEO a chance to improve your site. So which SEO risks are worth taking and which are not?
To put things in better perspective, not using SEO is the biggest risk you can take. With that being said, let us consider other risks involved.
SEO Risks Worth Taking
- Creating big and small changes and testing them for effectiveness
The ultimate goal of SEO is to create profitable traffic for your site. If nobody is actually clicking to gain access to your site, then that is not going to happen. There is a number of reasons why this is happening, and finding out is not easy.
The only way is to make changes to one element at a time and compare their performance against new variations of each. Changes can be made to titles, meta descriptions, and actual content, for example.
So what makes this method a risk? Doing these changes and testing routine is a trial and error thing. During the time when the correct wording combination and layout have not been discovered yet, traffic to your site might be reduced even further.
What makes it a risk worth taking is once you find the right arrangements, you’ll be able to maximize it and concentrate on increasing traffic to your site and ultimately profit.
- Using high-quality backlinks
Backlinks are a very important part of SEO. They increase rankings and help establish authority, and web design London and other companies can’t get enough of them. But why take the risk of losing customers by pointing them to another site that may potentially be better than yours?
Sometimes, it’s not just about your site but being generous enough to acknowledge other sites relevant to your users. So you may be risking losing visitors to your site by pointing them to other sites but you gain Google’s trust by establishing yourself as a reference to other reliable sites. This works wonders in increasing your rank in Google’s eyes.
- Improving your site’s URL structure
Homepage URLs should be brief and if possible contain the company name. Something like this should do the trick: www.mycompany.com. It’s short enough and easily recalled. But succeeding pages should contain unique keywords and be more explicit as to the page contents. However even then, if URLs are too long and descriptive, their display will be in danger of being truncated by the search engine past a certain cut off point and replaced with a (….). This is the time to change some of your URLs by revamping the site’s structure.
The actual risk involved here is that changes of this sort will affect traffic to the site and rankings. Dips in both traffic and rankings are not uncommon during these situations. But on the upside, if done properly, you will end up with a streamlined structure that is very attractive to both search engines and web users.
- Revamp your website
Every now and then, there will be a need to redo your site from the ground up. This may be a necessary move since the site is old and needing a facelift or just part of routinary changes. Either way, redesigns like these can be risky and costly. You may see a dip in your rankings as Google tries to re-assess your site post-change.
Loyal customers may find themselves lost in the new design and move to other sites. But more often than not, Google understands these changes, and their necessity and rankings should bounce right back. Even old users will eventually get used to the new look. The other benefit of a complete revamp is gaining new clients because of the new improved image.
- Acquire Past Due or Open Domains
Sometimes, site owners for whatever reason fail to renew their domain subscription. This renders their domain available to other site owners to acquire and use. Buying domains with a track record and redirecting then to your site can be a good source of necessary backlinks. There are serious risks involved with this method though, and you should only use this if you absolutely know what you are doing.
Make sure the expired domain you are going to use is related to the business you are in. Because if that domain has existing users, they will be redirected to your site every time they try to access it. Imagine their frustration if they end up on a site totally unrelated to one they are trying to access. The backlash to this technique could be detrimental to your rankings and to your popularity as well. This is a very cheap technique that can drive serious traffic to your site if you can pull it off.
SEO Risks You Should Avoid
- Using or creating doorway pages
Doorway pages are simple web pages designed to redirect users to a different page than what they intend to go to. It is best to avoid using these because Google doesn’t particularly like them. And knowing how Google feels about these pages, it is best to avoid them altogether. The risks are simply not worth it, and even web design London firms recognise this risk.
- Not allowing neutral backlinks to your site
We know that good backlinks help boost rankings, while bad backlinks have the opposite effect. But what about the neutral ones, those that neither boost nor hurt your site?
Neutral backlinks may not offer any advantage or disadvantage to your site, but they can still drive potentially good traffic to you. Plus, in Google’s eyes, your site will look good for allowing quality backlinks access to your site. This is a sure-fire way of avoiding the stiff penalties that Google imposes on sites that host low-quality backlinks.
- Deleting or combining entire pages or contents
What may seem to be a mundane action, deleting entire pages or contents from your site due to say, discontinued products and the like, can be harmful to your site’s metrics. Once these pages are deleted, everything associated with them like keywords and URLs is also deleted. If these pages were ranking before, all those rankings will also disappear. Not a good idea.
Instead of deleting these pages entirely and risk losing those rankings, leave them there and just place messages or links for customers or clients that will redirect them to similar pages with relevant products or services. Similarly, if two pages are to be merged as one, be sure to put 301 redirects on the old URL to ensure all the link traffic and ranking are not lost.
- Use of exact match keywords in the anchor text
This was the logical way to boost traffic to your site in the past. But this method was abused to the point of being absurd that Google decided to put a stop to the practice. Now, any sign of overdoing this method carries a stiff penalty from Google, so it is best to just avoid this one. Look for more organic ways to link to your site and develop a good backlink profile.
- Making small changes too many times and too often to a site
Once in a while, it is good to update the contents of your site or even change the looks. This is actually good practice in Google’s eyes. However, too many of these small changes and too often can hurt your site’s performance rather than boost it.
These minute changes will not go unnoticed by Google and even website visitors. This is prone to raising a red flag for Google who may end up penalizing the site for being suspicious because of the constant changes. Even users will eventually notice the changes and may find the site harder to navigate or losing value to them.
If there is anything that can be gleaned from all of the risks involved in SEO, it is the fact that SEO remains to be vital for website success. Risks are there whether you like it or not, but some risks are simply worth taking because the gains are far greater if they succeed. Web design London firms can help you gauge which risks are worth to tackle and which ones you should completely forget.