Stick to ‘good SEO’ or risk upsetting Santa
With the festive season upon us, we're all looking to stay in Santa's good books and nothing upsets the man in the big red hat more than bad SEO.
Bad SEO, or Black Hat SEO as it's also known, is the broad term used to cover a range of underhand tactics aimed at gaming Google.
Rather than relying on a well-structured website with relevant content and sound on-site SEO, there are those unscrupulous types who are constantly looking for new ways to trick search engines into putting them to the top of the results page for popular search terms.
Not only do these characters end up on Santa's naughty list, they also risk getting their sites sandboxed by Google. Once booted out of the index, it can be hard work getting back in, which for some businesses can mean the end of the road.
The vast, rule-abiding majority can take heart from the knowledge that Google and other leading search engines are getting much better at spotting Black Hat SEO, which means sites that indulge in dodgy practice often never see any benefit.
While it may once have been worth getting your site binned for a few days at the top of a valuable search engines results page, the chances are that nowadays you'd get all the pain without any of the pleasure.
If you're an honest site owner, make sure you tread carefully when investing SEO and don't get led astray by charlatans promising to put you on page one of Google by breakfast time tomorrow.
For the search engines, ignorance is no defence when it comes to dodgy SEO tactics – as a busy man with lots of presents to deliver, it probably wouldn't cut you much slack with Santa either.
Remember that the best SEO tactic is to give the search engines what they want. That's original, relevant and dynamic content that will be of interest to the people running searches.