I’m surprised at the number of business owners who will go out of their way to jeopardize their reputations all for the sake of getting a few notches higher in the search engine rankings. Many webmasters will spend a couple of hundred dollars a month to buy links, then when Google slaps them down they wonder what happened.
What happened is they didn’t respect their own reputation.
Google Panda is the latest major update to get a lot of webmasters. Many of them thought they were following Google’s guidelines, but they failed to understand the real purpose of the guidelines. They went about their link building practices as if following the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of it. Namely, that searchers (and search engines) are looking for natural patterns.
Don’t ever forget that the search engines just want your content to appear naturally – to searchers and to their robots.
Reputation is very important. Spam is more than just getting cross with the search engine guidelines. It’s anything that a normal user of the Internet would find unattractive.
If you catch yourself playing around in the gray areas, ask yourself this question: “If someone else was doing what I am about to do, would I think they were engaging in spammy behavior? Would I like it? Would I do business them?”
If you’d answer Yes, No, and No to those questions, then don’t do it.
Reputation matters because without it you have no business. It doesn’t matter how good you are at SEO, social media, or something else. If your reputation is shot, your business is dead. Protect it at all costs.