Wednesday , April 16 2014
You are here: Home / Inbound Marketing / SEO / Inbound Marketing: Clever marketing. SEO jailbait.

Inbound Marketing: Clever marketing. SEO jailbait.

Jailbait.  It is an interesting term that brings up different images to different people.  Generally it is used to refer to a woman (yes, physically a woman) who is still under the legal age for sexual relationships.

Girls start the transition to womanhood at varying ages and they end that transition at various ages.  I am, of course, referring to the physical process.  Jailbait is a woman who looks like she is of legal age, but is not – hence a man can go to jail for assuming that sexual relations with her are legal.

What on earth does this have to do with SEO and Google?

Google operates its own type of jail: keeping websites out of its rankings if certain “rules” have been violated.  Jailbait is simply those things a webmaster would do to promote his website that appear to make sense, that seem like they should pose no problem, but can land a website in jail anyway.

Here are four SEO jailbaits to be wary of

Site-wide links (others).

Did you know that having too many site-wide links can land you in Google jail.  No, seriously.  You might own a specialty eCommerce site selling hand-made dog treats.  You might get your site listed in the header or footer of all the big dog discussion forums.  And you Site-wide linksmight even think this is clever marketing.

But too many site-wide links can now get you sent to Google jail:

“Here are a few common examples of unnatural links that violate our guidelines:…Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites”

Once upon a time, it was pretty clear that site-wide links for SEO purposes held a limited appeal.  Yes, 1000 links from one domain was worth more than just one link from that domain.  But 1000 links from one domain was probably not worth as much as 10 or 20 links from a variety of domains.  But you would not go to jail for it.  There were no penalties for good marketing.

So what’s a webmaster to do.  I guess you need to compare how much value you are getting from those site-wide links and how much value you are getting from Google.  Also keep in mind that Bing (and Yahoo, by extension) are not penalising websites for too many site-wide links.

Site-wide links (your own).

This is sort of a no-brainer.  You own several websites, you link to all of them in the footer, or more prominently if there are reasons you want to draw people from one of the websites to the others.  There are exceptions to this rule, of course.  If you run a heavy metal fan site and also a Christian souvenirs site, you might not want to interlink them.  Too many of the customers at either of these sites Site-wide links (your own)would feel uncomfortable doing business with someone who is into the other.

True story: we were going to edit a Christian manuscript.  The client knew that I was not the editor, but rather one of my writers who specializes inChristian writing.  But he went to my FaceBook profile and saw a couple heavy metal bands listed under music (I did not even know that I had “music” listed on my FaceBook profile.)  The bands were those of my daughter’s vocal coach and of a social media buddy who plays in a band on weekends as a hobby, as well as one other that I am sure I had never even heard of before!  Suffice to say that he lost confidence in dealing with me and my Christian writer just because I appeared to have an interest in heavy metal.

But if your sites are related, or even if they are unrelated but might appeal to a similar audience without turning off a significant segment of either, they should be interlinked.  That is just plain intelligent marketing.

But it could land you in Google jail.

Once again, you will now have to decide whether such links bring you more value or less value than your Google rankings.

Article blasting

As old as the Internet, is ad blasting.  If you were on the Internet a dozen years ago, you might recall all the hucksters offing to “blast your ad to 1000 websites”.  It made sense.  You can go for quality, placing your ads, announcements, promotions in only the most Article blastinghigh-traffic places.  Or you can send them out to as many places as possible and hope that across all those places enough people will see your ad.

Same concept with article blasting.  Get your article in as many places as possible – syndication! – and hopefully enough people will see it.

Quality.  Quantity.  Two ways to market, and neither one is inherently better than the other.

OK, I know some readers will jump on the quality high horse and poo-poo the quantity approach.  But the fact is that both work well in real life.

You can open one swanky restaurant, or you can open a chain of pizza parlors.  Both methods have proven successful.

You can open a luxury goods store, or you can open a chain of dollar stores.  Both methods have proven successful.

You can advertise in a big city daily newspaper.  Or you can advertise in a lot of local weeklies. Both methods have proven successful.

There is nothing inherently better about quality over quantity…except that Google will now punish you for all that clever marketing you did over the years – and the get-out-of-jail card is not free.  You can spend months trying to remove all those links to your site from article directories… and perhaps still find yourself in jail after all that work.

Press release blasting

Pretty much the same as article blasting, if you use free press release websites, you might find yourself in trouble with Google’s jail press_release_distributionkeepers.  Not all free press release websites are considered reputable and the more you submit to, the more duplication you create on the Internet.

The Bottom Line

What is the bottom line here?  You might find yourself having to choose between clever marketing and search engine rankings.  Some people will run with the search engines and the large amount of traffic that success can bring.  Others will forgo the search engines for marketing approaches that they find work well, rather than compete harder for decreasing search engine referrals.

You might even be lucky enough to get away with both approaches, depending in large part on your niche, but also in what marketing approaches you have been employing over the years.  But one thing is for certain – there is plenty of SEO jailbait walking around, and plenty of webmasters still unaware of the consequences.

Writer, marketer and iconoclast, David Leonhardt runs The Happy Guy Marketing (http://www.seo-writer.com), which specializes in writing and marketing, but not so much in iconoclasm (the iconoclasm market has really dried up in recent centuries).  If you need a business book, a blog, a biography, a novel, a screenplay, a speech or a spiritual book written, David has a team on standby for you.

About Jamie Noel

Jamie Noel is Content Marketing Manager with Inboud Visibility. She started out on the web as an e-book and sales copy writer for Internet marketers and webmasters. She has written on everything from B2B/B2C Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, Blog Marketing, and Social Media Marketing.