SEO Risks - which to avoid and which to embrace

Pick Your Battles: Which SEO Risks to Take and Which to Avoid

If you want to be successful in business, you must take risks. Today’s marketplace is heavily clogged by multinational companies who spend millions of dollars on promotions.

What type of promotions? That depends on each company’s needs.

In most industries, however, content marketing, social media marketing, and SEO (search engine optimization) are the best ways to improve your business’s awareness, reputation, and overall success.

Search engine marketing is pretty complex. Due to it’s constantly changing ranking factors and algorithm nuances, webmasters must take risks in order to figure out (for their own) what works and what doesn’t.

And what is the fastest and most effective way to get better at promoting your site through SEO? Test new tactics yourself.

Testing implies taking risks. Risks, in turn, can result in positive or negative outcomes.

To improve your ROI and also your business reach, you should figure out which risks are worth taking and which ones are worth avoiding.

In today’s post, we’re going to assess some of the “good” risks and some of the “bad” risks of SEO. Remember – no risk, no gain. Just pick your battles.

SEO Risks that Are Worth Taking

Here are some of the “healthy” risks that you may take regarding your search engine optimization activities:

1.    Hiring a Professional Writer That Doesn’t Have Previous SEO Experience

If you decide to hire a professional writer that doesn’t have specific SEO experience, that is absolutely fine. Here’s the reason why:

Google wants natural content. Good writers who don’t follow strict SEO guidelines are more likely to write better content for a real audience (the users).

Therefore, if the content is written for the target audience, then those people will offer powerful engagement signals that Google will mark as positive indicators.

2.    Altering or Changing Your Site’s Design and Optimizing UX

Most SEO newbies are afraid to make modifications to the website design, fearing that they’ll be penalized by Google. Well, this could happen if you delete important pages or if you leave errors in the code.

However, if you know what you’re doing, there should be nothing wrong with upgrading the User Experience (UX).

In fact, Google encourages website owners to improve their UX. And really, this recommendation makes total sense.

Google’s main objective is to offer high quality, relevant content in response to queries. If the websites that people land on are poorly designed, poorly structured, and poorly written, Google will be likely to push those results further down the listings pages.

3.    Offering & Receiving Qualitative Backlinks

Backlinks are the bread and butter of SEO. If you want to rank on the first pages of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), you must obtain juicy, high-quality, and relevant backlinks from other websites or blogs that have authority in your chosen niche.

An old myth among webmasters is that your website will rank better if you have a greater number of links you than everyone else on the same SERP. This myth is dated and simply inaccurate.

The correct position is that you need more QUALITY link (preferably contextual links in real content from high authority websites) in order to improve your placements on the SERPs.

For example, let’s imagine that links back to your website.

Because of its authority in the business/marketing/advertising niche, your website in that same nice should start to rank better as your own domain authority grows.

Yet, if your website sells toy dolls and you’re being linked by a real estate blog website, the link very well may have zero impact.

Why? Because its irrelevant to the main topic of your site. Google is extremely sophisticated these days – don’t forget that!

4.    Modifying the URL Structure of Your Site and Pages

Some website owners may take extreme caution with modifying the structure of the website itself or individual pages. Don’t be afraid to do so if you need to.

Make the changes you need to make, but do it responsibly. For example, if you move a page to a new URL, always deploy a 301 redirect so any links to that page will follow along to its new location.

And try not to get carried away with long URLs. It’s long been standard in the SEO space that shorter URLs tend to perform better than very long URLs.

SEO Risks that Are Better to Avoid

Here are some of the “unwise” risks. Avoid every one of the following when optimizing your content and website for the search engines:

1.    Going Crazy with Keywords

A long time ago, the search engines were easily exploited.

Many SEO practitioners found out that keyword stuffing (adding specific key phrases and keywords in excess) were making their pages and sites rank better for those keywords.

These are called black hat practices, and many SEO professionals have used them in the past.

Blackhat SEO is literally the exploitation of the search engines’ algorithms for ranking purposes.

These practices are often severely punished by search engines who catch the wrongdoers.

2.    Making Small but Very Constant Changes

If you want to change your content or your website’s design, by all means go for it.

However, if you change your content and site’s structure every day, maybe even multiple times per day, Google may red-flag your site and assess its activity as abnormal.

This is likely to get you penalized immediately. Yes, unfortunately, Google or Bing may opt to penalize you for shady behavior, even you didn’t mean to cheat.

3.    Neglecting Neutral Backlinks

If you neglect neutral backlinks (the one that won’t help or hurt), you are simply showing that you’re after the “SEO game”. What is the SEO game?

Well, as I see it, Google classifies websites in many categories. One of those categories is the “obsessed players,” and another one is the “natural players”.

The obsessed players focus on ranking instead of providing true value for the users.

The natural players understand that their site’s reputation and rankings are mostly influenced by their ability to retain the users on the site.

Of course, they can achieve this end by satisfying the visitors’ needs, solving their problems, and offering them a pleasurable experience (good design, fast speed, etc.)

Therefore, when you’re linking or receiving links, create a balance between neutral backlinks and authority backlinks. Avoid the spammy junk, and your content shall rank!


SEO risks are absolutely necessary if you want to earn the best possible placements in the SERPs.

You cannot dream for some magic to happen and rank your website.

You must pay a great deal of attention to the risks you’re taking, analyze every outcome, and try your best to find “your own SEO patterns”.

Once you observe that some actions lead to wonderful effects while others break your strategy in two, you’ll be safe to continue working on your search engine optimization in a more effective manner.

Feature Image Credit: CC 0; Public Domain. All images sourced from

Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author (representing CareersBooster), and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.

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Silvia Woolard

Silvia Woolard is a writer at CareerBooster and novice entrepreneur from Phoenix. In a free time she works in a field of popular psychology and travels around the world. Feel free to contact Silvia on Twitter.

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