No one said that content marketing was easy. Actually, we take that back. Some people do tell you that content marketing is easy, and they make promises like, “We can have you on page one of Google in no time.” Unfortunately, there are still companies encouraging the use of illegitimate SEO strategies that promise fast results. As tempting as it might be to hire a firm offering those strategies, tactics like these – called link farming are incredibly harmful and can be the death of your website ranking in the long run.

What Is Link Farming?

Link farming, the unethical practice of building links to your website to make it look like it’s more popular than it is, can quickly boost your results on Google – in the short term. Link farming, in simplest terms, is spam. A link farm is “a website (or a group of websites) created only for the purpose of increasing the link popularity of another site by increasing the number of incoming links. A link farm usually looks like a regular web page, but the majority of the content is hyperlinks — often random and unrelated — to other websites” (WhatIs). Google frowns upon this practice, and the long-term result is a loss in rank. Because link farming can be a violation of Google’s Terms of Service, a website can be removed from the search results on Google entirely.

What Does It Take to Truly Rank on Google?

Quit focusing on SEO and start focusing on quality. It takes time and effort to accomplish the goal of becoming visible, to show up on page one of Google, and we recommend that businesses use legitimate content marketing strategies only. Many of our clients come to us after working with someone who promised quick, easy results and the client found themselves frustrated with the lack of traction, disappointed in the quality of the content, or worse yet, sanctioned by Google. When it comes to improving visibility and rank, it takes time and dedication, as well as a great deal of patience. Anyone who promises overnight results or fast page-one ranking is likely using “black hat” SEO, and those tricks, which may work in the short-term to inflate your rank, will result in long-term damage to your website’s reputation and rank.

So, what does it take to hit page one? It’s simple, really: Consistent delivery of quality content, , and make sure your site meets Google’s minimum standards:

  • HTTPS
    • Your site needs to have a security certificate installed properly in order to achieve the highest rank with Google. Security certificates are what change a site from http to https.
  • Mobile optimization
    • Your website design should be designed for mobile viewing. It should look attractive and be easy to navigate on any device.
  • Page-load time optimization
    • ideally, your page should load in less than two seconds. If it does not, you need to look at what’s slowing it down, whether it’s java script or image size or broken code.
  • Authentic content marketing
    • The opposite of link farming, authentic content marketing requires a comprehensive strategy including publishing valuable information for your audience that is so useful and informative that other websites with high-ranking blogs link to it.
  • Social media
    • Actively sharing your content on social media, developing a strategy for engaging with legitimate influencers on social media, and using carefully selected hashtags can all help improve your rank.

It’s a matter of quality over quantity. Valuable content will reach real audiences much more quickly than any link farming tactic. Google rewards good SEO practices, such as developing mobile-optimized sites.

Good content marketing helps you achieve your business goals, but trying to skip the hard work for what is essentially a “get rich quick” scheme for SEO will only cause harm to your business in the long run.

Reliable, legitimate SEO strategies can take years to produce results if you’re starting from square one, but these strategies are well worth the effort.

Do you need help getting your content marketing off the ground? Discover the DaSh factor difference.