So, you have a great looking website and your getting tons of leads through it.  But, is your website using proper SEO tactics?  For most small business owners, this isn’t given much thought.  People are reaching your site, what could possibly go wrong?  Most inexperienced web marketers are tempted by many black-hat search tactics, not fully understanding the consequences.  Your website is a huge asset to your business.  Don’t let it fall victim.  This is a great article written by Forbes which describes the top 5 seo worst practices.  You’ll see that the risks are not worth the reward.

~Alaina Onesti

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By Ethan Hays @ Forbes.com

Put that black hat away. Shady SEO tactics can get your site severely penalized by search engines. Punishments can range from losing organic traffic for a few days to losing it permanently.

For any business, its website is a business asset with value that accrues over time and should be treated as such. Here are five timeless “worst practices” to avoid:

1) Link buying – Attempting to make your site more authoritative by paying for links (see J.C. Penney).

A major element of most search engines’ ranking algorithm (especially Google’s) is “link popularity.” Simply put, link popularity is a measure of the authority, trustworthiness and number of links pointing to a domain. Authoritative and trustworthy websites (Forbes, The New York Times, PBS, etc.) are able to pass along a significant amount of their authority and trust if they link to a company’s website. Not surprisingly, these links tend to be very difficult to get. However, there are also cases where sheer “tonnage” of links suffice to boost rankings and organic search traffic.

Unfortunately, it’s very common for sites to try to cheat the system. Instead of creating a remarkable website, stellar services and content, unethical Web marketers try to buy their way to the top by purchasing links. There is no shortage of site owners who would link to a site for a fee. Buying links should be avoided at all costs. It is a violation of any search engine’s Terms of Service, and it can get a site banned from the index.

J.C. Penney famously got caught in 2011 for buying large amounts of links. The company was banned from Google’s index for 90 days. While losing a full fiscal quarter’s worth of profit from organic search traffic is certainly nothing to take lightly, that’s not the worst-case scenario. Plenty of sites without the brand clout of J.C. Penney have been banned for much longer periods of time for the same infraction.

If “building links” is a service that an agency or vendor offers to you, have them explain to you exactly how they’re building links, and how their methods are within the engines’ Terms of Service.

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Top 5 Outlawed SEO Tactics