Search engine optimization is still critical to small business marketing in 2020. However, the best practices have evolved significantly since the days of keyword stuffing and obsessing over anchor text.
While Google’s algorithm is a closely-guarded trade secret, building a lot of low-quality website links is more likely to harm your SEO than help it today. Here are some dangerous SEO linkbuilding tactics to ditch in 2020.
1. Don’t Buy Links
Google has officially stated that websites with suspicious, purchased links from link farms may be dropped from search results or heavily penalized. If your website has spammy backlinks block them using Google’s disavow tool.
2. Don’t Use Hidden Links
Hiding keywords and links on your site with carefully-disguised color schemes is an old-school black hat SEO tactic known as “cloaking.” Not only will this fail to boost your SEO, it’s also a clear violation of search engine terms of service. Using this SEO tactic is likely to get your brand penalized.
3. Don’t Employ Site-Wide Links
Using site-wide links as a tool for packing keywords onto your website is not a wise SEO tactic in 2020. Unless a link enhances the user experience or contains need-to-know information, it probably doesn’t belong on every page of your site.
However, sometimes sitewide links are acceptable. Google’s Matt Cutts recommends asking if there’s a clear use case. In some situations, a site-wide link is unlikely to harm your SEO:
- Linking to your website designer
- Sister/parent brand links
4. Don’t Spam Blog Comments
Flooding industry blogs with comments that contain anchor text and a link to your website won’t improve your SEO or help you network with your peers. Comment spam can result in SEO penalties and a reputation as a spammer.
5. Don’t Abuse Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is another SEO tactic that has value in 2020, but should not be abused. Creating a high volume of low-quality guest posts to earn backlinks is not a wise content marketing strategy. However, building relationships with other small business owners and exchanging high-quality content can expand your audience.
SEO Best Practices Have Evolved
Yesterday’s linkbuilding tactics could result in search ranking penalties in 2020. While SEO is still a critical marketing tactic, small business owners should approach SEO and linkbuilding from the perspective of a balanced content marketing strategy which includes public relations and locally-optimized website pages.