Like anyone who has a website that shows up in search, I’m constantly sent solicitations from self-proclaimed “SEO experts” promising to improve my site’s search engine rankings. While there are certainly some SEO experts out there, I’m of the belief that anyone who sends you an unsolicited email claiming to be one of them, isn’t! (I find it most interesting that most of these people don’t even appear to have the basic email marketing skills to personalize your name in the email itself).
But, small business owners can’t always afford to pay the best search engine optimization experts. That being said, they especially can’t afford to hire those who claim to be experts, and aren’t. Why? Because ineffective SEO practices aren’t just a waste of money–they can actually damage your site’s potential.
“Backlinks” are a common practice that search engine marketers who don’t know what they’re doing will try to sell a small business owner. Backlinking isn’t inherently bad; it’s based on the idea of “you are the company you keep.” The basic premise: If a reputable site is linking to another, it’s probably reputable, too.
It’s worked for my prenatal yoga business Om for Mom simply due to the fact that my name and the business is associated with my bio which appears on reputable sites like ForbesWoman, Mint, and others. But keep in mind, that bio is associated with relevant and quality content that was not published for the purpose of generating a link.
When an “SEO marketer” goes about your backlinking strategy by offering poor quality guest posts on another person’s site in exchange for a backlink, or by placing links in the comments section of reputable websites, they’re not just failing to build your page rank; they’re hurting it.
Google can and does have the know-how to de-index your site from its search results if it discovers that you are paying for backlinks. Once that happens, your site is essentially blacklisted.