What’s Your SEO Risk Level?

Wed, Jul 29, 2009

Business Tactics

I’ve done it; you’ve done it; probably a lot of your friends have done it as well. We all know the risks involved, but when nobody is watching us we all engage in a little risky behavior. I’m talking about speeding of course – and as much as we all know what will happen if we get caught, our lead foots seem to keep pushing that pedal farther and farther down. Sure, we might get away with it for years going 10 or even 20 over the speed limit. Yet we all know that one day we might get caught.

It’s the same thing in the SEO world. Try as we might to get good rank using tried and tested methods, sometimes it’s tempting – perhaps even a bit necessary – to engage in risky SEO behavior to see if you can’t fool the big guys – namely Google. We know what will happen if we get caught buying links or buying placement, but it all comes down to a risk vs. reward structure: How much risk am I willing to take given the reward (placement, conversions, etc.) I get?

So we are adults here, so let’s be honest – we all engage in this risky behavior now and again in the SEO world. It’s just something that – well, it’s something every SEO professional does. The question is, how can we engage in this behavior with the least amount of risk?

Link buying, paying to have posts (especially negative) removed or altered and buying hosted content are the three things that rate high on the SEO risk meter. So let’s talk about how to put some distance between you and what you are trying to do.

First, when you engage in this type of activity keep in mind that some sites may turn around and report you directly. Lesson #1 is never reveal your domain or who you are until you’ve felt out the contact on the other end. Find out if they are interested first, then worry about the details (like who and what) later.

Second, don’t try this with the big guys – this type of behavior is better suited for niche markets, and not for the Internet Top 10. As you work in your market space over time you will get to know other players in the market, and can use that information to build relationships that help you push the envelope a little. Just remember, it has to be beneficial to both parties!

Finally, if they don’t respond to your request (you did use a generic e-mail right, such as a @gmail or @hotmail account?) or they turn you down, then cease communications there. Do not try and get other sites to change their minds or go back every few weeks and try again. This is a sure fire way to get them upset and for you to find yourself in hot water with the search engines if they report you and they can figure out what domains you are with.

While I certainly don’t encourage anyone to engage in risky SEO practices, I do realize that sometimes it is necessary for certain reasons. Just be sure to keep some distance between you and the other sites so you always have enough room to plausibly deny being involved. After all, it only takes one time for you to be exposed to send your domain into a nosedive with the search engines.

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This post was written by:

Cassiano Travareli - who has written 90 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.

SEO Specialist! Loves everything about Search Engine Marketing.