Just to set things straight…SEO can be dangerous indeed. If you’re not careful, you can actually do more harm than good by using some shady SEO techniques. But at the same time, it can also be extremely effective in driving targeted traffic to your blog if done right.

So how to decide if different SEO techniques are worth doing? And should we take certain risks over the others? Let’s find out.

What This Isn’t About

A word of explanation. We really want this short article to be as evergreen as possible so you won’t find any list of the newest SEO tactics that work here. For example, just because technique #1 is completely fine today doesn’t mean that it’s going to be fine tomorrow, so, listing it could be very short-lived.

Therefore, what we’re going to focus on here are the risks that have a more timeless nature.

1. Changing Your Site’s Design

Granted, doing a poor job at changing the design can have a very negative effect on your SEO, but it’s by no means a rule.

In essence, the search engines don’t care that much about the design but rather about the HTML structure of your website. Therefore, if during the design change, you manage to not only improve the design itself but also the HTML structure of your site, then you should witness an improvement in your ranking as well.

The best way of achieving this is taking advantage of some of the quality themes and theme frameworks available on the market. For free solutions, try Gantry, for paid ones, check out ThemeFuse and StudioPress.

2. Hiring a Content Writer

Now, there’s a big difference between hiring a content writer and buying some stock articles for $5 per 100 “unique” articles. The real reason why some affiliates think that hiring anyone to write content is a bad idea is because of the latter.

Most pre-written articles that you can buy on the market in packages are just spun articles that even though appearing to be unique, actually aren’t. And these days, Google can tell.

Hiring a real person, on the other hand, still brings great value not only in terms of SEO.

3. Guest Posting

Due to the recent Google updates, affiliates have become afraid of doing guest posting. The belief is that Google doesn’t look likely at the bio links anymore. This is only partly true.

Guest posting still works as long as you can find a relevant site (you can’t guest post everywhere anymore) and if you deliver a unique and quality article. Also, whenever it’s possible, try linking to your site from within the article rather than from your bio box.

4. Site Optimization

Although in Google’s eyes everything should happen “naturally” when it comes to your search engine presence, the fact is that affiliates do need to spend some time on optimizing their sites anyway.

However, over optimization can indeed hurt you. The rule of thumb is to pick your SEO plugins carefully. Whenever something is advertised as being able to “do things automatically,” it’s probably not worth the risk. Most of the time, you only need one SEO plugin and some time to set it up correctly.

Is there any other “risky” SEO practice you are unsure of using?

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