It can be tempting to try and sneak your way up through the Google rankings illicitly, but there is one thing you have to remember. Google has a market capitalisation of over $300 billion. They are dedicated to providing quality for their users, and they have teams comprised of hundreds of geniuses working around the clock to try and stop anybody from manipulating their way up the rankings.

Simply put, it’s rather difficult to fool them for very long.

It isn’t like the old days where a link was a link, and you’d grab as many as possible. That sort of strategy will burn your site to the ground in 2014 onwards. Here are some important tips to avoid a penalty from Google, which can be devastating to your business.

1. Avoid the temptation for cheap, quick links

Buying a package of backlinks from a random website, or a guy you met on Reddit might seem legit at the time, but you can’t seriously believe that for $7.95 that you are going to get powerful links, from authority websites. Google watches for surges of links, and links from suspicious sites, which are often flagged by their search quality team very early on. Stay away from this, and if you choose to buy link packages online, caveat emptor.

2. Stay in your neighbourhood

Google doesn’t like it when it sees things it can’t comprehend. For example, if your website is based around your accounting business, and you have links pointing to it from gambling, adult, or pharmaceuticals based websites, it’s going to raise a red flag in the search department at Google. It’s best to associate with relevant sites as much as possible.

3. Ensure your site is mobile friendly

We’ve talked about this in the past, but Google is only placing more and more emphasis on this imperative as time goes on. It also makes good business sense — think about the sheer number of your customers who don’t have time to sit down at a computer to search for information. On the train on the way to work, waiting to see the doctor, or in between ad breaks while watching the news, your target market is using their mobile device to try and find your website. Make it easy for them: make it easy for Google and you’ll be rewarded accordingly.

4. Quality over quantity — every time

When you’re writing some content for your site, take your time. Do a good job. Don’t just harvest content from Wikipedia or some obscure site thinking, “I’ll never get caught — the internet is too huge”. Google penalises sites that poach content from others, and they can also detect the quality of writing. Believe it or not, Google also now knows if you have taken an image from anywhere online that they have access to, and repurposed it on your website — even if you have cropped it.

5. Take your time

Unless you are an overnight YouTube viral hit, if after one week since the inception of your domain name, you have 30,000 links and 5,000 Facebook likes, you can just about guarantee Google will penalise you. By this, we mean you will cease to appear in their rankings. The exception is if you have created a truly valuable website that people are naturally linking to from all over the world — which is impossible to fake.

The one major takeaway from all of this is to spend your time on providing quality and value to people — this is what Google really wants — which will organically grow your traffic, instead of spending time trying to clamber up the search rankings with methods that Google frowns upon.

At Bambrick in Brisbane, SEO is our core service offering and an area of expertise — we’ve helped over 500 businesses reach more customers than ever before with SEO. If you’re looking to improve the outcomes your Search Engine Optimisation campaign delivers, get in touch to arrange a convenient time to chat about your SEO goals.