Many business people always have a hard time to see the value of SEO. There are lots of information plus misinformation out there about SEO, and it can truly increase the difficulty of making this decision.

While an SEO strategy that is effective takes many months to produce positive results for a business, and the tactics might not make sense to those who are not SEO specialists, it will make a meaningful improvement in the online exposure and profits of a company.

Many companies are nervous about trying anything they aren’t familiar with. But, let’s face it, nearly all business decisions will carry some risks with them. Some can be avoided, whereas others can lead to sudden, serious growth. The greatest search engine optimisation risk a business can make is avoiding SEO altogether. Here are some SEO risks worth taking and those you should avoid.

SEO Risks Worth Taking

Making and Testing Small and Large Changes

The overall SEO goal is gaining targeted traffic and eventually conversions (purchase/enquiry/phone call) from your site. Neither of these will occur if no one clicks on your site in the first place. What if you are getting your site to rank better for a number of keywords, but nobody is clicking through to your site?

Usually, there could be some number of reasons for that, and it might take some time zeroing in on the exact reason why it’s not performing as expected. The only way of doing this is by A/B testing. You will have to take a single element at a time (this includes the content, titles, meta descriptions, etc) and test all of them against new variations.

That is all well and good, and a bit obvious. What makes this a risk?

It’ll likely take some trial and error coming up with the right wording plus layout combination resulting in maximum website traffic plus conversions. During that time, you might find a combination that does not work well and reduces the traffic that you have, at least for some time. This risk is worth it because after you have found the best result, you can focus on that element, then continue driving more traffic and getting better returns.

High-Quality Backlinks

Backlinks are a firmly established part of SEO, thus most businesses want to get as many of them as possible. They help increase rankings as well as build authority. However, it isn’t just about having the most links; sometimes you’ll have to give back a little. Therefore, you might risk losing several web visitors when you provide a link to other websites of high quality, but you are still showing Google that you’re using as well as referencing reliable websites with established authority.

Remember that web pages that intentionally feature links to malicious, low-quality, spammy sites are at risk of being penalised by Google.

Enhancing the URL Structure of Your Site

Ideally, your homepage URL has to be short, concise, simple and easily remembered, with only your company name (for instance, However, subsequent pages should have targeted keywords, plus they should be more specific regarding the webpage content.

Even so, you do not want to let the Uniform Resource Locator get out of hand. For example, if they are too descriptive and long, the search engine is going to trim their display after a cut-off point. Hence, it might be time to change some of the URLs through an overhaul of your website’s structure.

In this case, the risk is that any change like that can impact your rankings. This is because while you are altering old URLs plus 301 redirect traffic to new ones, you might see some declines in traffic as well as rankings. If you decide not to do it right, however, you could end up having a streamlined structure appealing to both internet users and search engines.

SEO Risks You Should Avoid

Disallowing Neutral Backlinks

You should have high quality backlinks to your site, not irrelevant spammy backlinks. And what about those that are neutral and do not help, yet they do not hurt your site rankings?

Neutral backlinks might not give your site the SEO boost that it requires, but they also will not subject your website to the potentially harsh penalties by Google. With Google’s Penguin update, there are some of the penalties for bad backlinks that do not apply because the search engine realised that the sites themselves do not have control over all the websites that link to theirs. Consequently, it’s harder for Google to punish a website for malicious backlinks.

You will only know that the backlinks on your site are bad, low-quality and spammy if you have seen that Google has decided to take manual action on your website.

If Google does not take any action against your site, the backlinks on your site are safe, although they might not be of high quality enough to boost your website’s search rankings. It’s possible to disavow some links, but you have to be very careful about it. You risk potentially blocking websites that could improve your ranking if you try to disavow all the neutral links.

Poor Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are easy and simple to create in batches for targeting specific keyword groups and individual keywords. As a rule, trustworthy SEO specialists always avoid doorway pages because Google does not like them and penalises websites that are using them. The opinion of Google of such pages is a good reason for you to make sure you avoid this risk.

The only time that Google lets doorway pages slide is when they offer valuable, clear and unique information to website visitors. There’s simply no reason for you to bother with them, therefore, do not risk it.

Condensing or Deleting Content or Whole Pages

It might look like no big deal when you decide to delete pages from your site, especially if they are about a service or product your company has discontinued.

When you delete a page, the keywords that it once ranked for will be gone. The same thing occurs to the Uniform Resource Locator of the page, which includes the page-specific keywords as well. Instead of risking losing those rankings, you should think about keeping that webpage, even if you have discontinued the product. Just leave a message for visitors on the page redirecting them to a page that is similar to a relevant service or product.

If you are condensing or merging two pages into one, ensure that you include 301 redirects on your old URLs to ensure all the link juice plus traffic are not lost.

Balancing Risk and Reward

Search engine optimisation is vital for any company to succeed. There are numerous risks to SEO, some are worth taking since they can produce favourable results for your business. Other risks can hinder and harm the internet marketing strategy as well as the online presence of a company.

About the author

Chris Hinchly at Pinnacle Marketing wrote this article.