Gaming The System Is A Bad Idea

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I know it is very tempting to take shortcuts but when writing for the web “gaming the system” is a bad idea. Trying to find ways for your content to place higher in the SERPS in a short period of time can come back to bite you at some point. Search Engines like Google will eventually see to it that your shortcut technique won’t be beneficial to you any longer.

I am reminded of a saying from my childhood and probably yours too… “Cheaters are never beaters.” As simplistic as that childhood saying is, it rings true in so many facets of our lives, including when we produce content for the internet. We often see people who we believe to be authorities on how to be successful in our writing endeavors that will suggest that we use techniques that will get quick results for getting traffic to our content or place us higher on the Search Engine pages. Many of those suggestions are actually gaming the system that is in place and are not something that we should take part in.

The most recent Panda update is bringing one of those techniques to its knees as we speak. In the past Google looked at your webpage and counted the backlinks that pointed to it as a good indicator of the quality of your content. It was sort of like a “vote” for your pages and it computed those links as a part of your page ranking. Google suggested that the backlinks should come in a natural progression. As with so many things, people started to come up with ways for you to get hundreds of links to your site almost overnight. Over the years we saw services offered to create these backlinks for us. If you thought there was no harm in doing that and looked at it as just a way to save yourself some time, you just might want to start rethinking your backlinks strategy. It really was and is a form of cheating or gaming the system and the false success that you might have had for a while will be almost virtually wiped away with the latest Panda algorithm.

I have been writing online, in one form or another, for about 15 years now. I have seen so many services come along that offer to “help” a writer or webmaster to get better results in a short period of time. They offer to get us lots of links, they can spin our content into several articles, or they can get us hundreds of followers on a social media site. Folks, that is cheating no matter how you might want to look at it. In the long run it doesn’t save you any time and probably will cost you a considerable amount of money because at the end of the day when those services are shut down from the Search Engines de-indexing all of it, you will have to go back to square one and start all over again.

The best way to go about being successful in your writing is to remember that “Content is King” and to write your own original content to present to your readers. Don’t copy someone else’s work and present it as your own, don’t pay someone to create backlinks, and don’t use someone else’s images without their permission. Be original in everything you do. As our parents and teachers used to tell us, “When you cheat, you are only cheating yourself.” There really are no shortcuts to success whether it involves online writing or in the business world. It takes hard work, dedication, and originality. But, Bev, things go viral and that is almost always an overnight sort of event! Yes, but think about it. The creator of that video, blog post, or image did what? They were unique in what they provided, it might be quirky, it might be silly, but in every case it was original and gained the popularity because people truly liked it and suggested that their friends and family take a look at it too. That is the way it is supposed to work, if it is truly good and worthy, the public will find it, pass it on to people, and link to it. There is that “natural” progression that Google has suggested all along. Gaming the system is a bad idea and something that you should be very careful to avoid.


  1. Profile photo of Paula Atwell says

    I agree with both of you on this, and want to also clarify that the recent changes are not a Panda update, but a separate effort from Google to clean up the loads of meaningless articles online that are just there to create backlinks. Panda is a filter that runs about once a month on Google. This is something different.

  2. Profile photo of AJ says

    Many of the people I know online are under financial pressure. Out of work due to redundancy or ill health, medical bills to pay, kids to put through college, homeless or at risk of losing their home and all manner of financial problems. In today’s economic downturn, there’s a huge temptation to take short cuts in the hope of lessening the time it takes not only to do things but also “make it” online.

    However, more and more it is becoming clear that short term gain can lead to long term pain and it really is not worth it.

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