Why Long-Term SEO Benefits Beat Short-Term Hacks

Quick wins in SEO can be very tempting. Everyone wants to see immediate results, but these short-term hacks often lead to temporary gains, and this is something I learned the hard way early on in my career. 

This isn’t to say short-term SEO hacks don’t have their place. If you’re scrappy and you’re just trying to do whatever to get quick revenue, then fine, use them. But do it in a white hat way

However, if you want lasting success, then focus on long-term SEO tactics that can help you build authority, trust, and sustainable traffic growth. Investing in a solid SEO strategy will always lead to better results over time.

So that’s what we’re going to go over today: popular short-term SEO hacks you should avoid and long-term SEO strategies that are worth investing in. 

Jacqueline Foster
Demand Generation Marketing, Lever.co

We can count on them to bring new ideas to the table consistently

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The Pitfalls of Short-Term SEO Hacks

The internet is filled with short-term SEO hacks, ranging from tired tactics like keyword stuffing and blog comment spam to more involved hacks like link farms and private blog networks. 

A recent tactic that inspired this article is Reddit hijacking, as outlined by Natia Kurdadze in this tweet

Natia Kourdadze tweet on Reddit hijacking seo tactic

It’s a pretty clever tactic that might generate a spike in traffic, but it’s also a quick way to get banned from Reddit and potentially have your client’s domain blacklisted in their target niche’s subreddit. 

And this is just one example. There are many other black hat SEO tactics that are used by shady SEO agencies. 

These tricks offer short-term gains that often result in long-term penalties, especially from search engines. Google is a fickle mistress, and it continuously updates its algorithms to identify and penalize manipulative tactics. 

No one is safe — not even Google’s own products. Back in 2012, Google found itself in a bit of an awkward spot and had to penalize its own Chrome browser in search rankings because of a marketing slip-up: 

The Guardian headline on Google penalizing Chrome browser

Turns out, a marketing campaign promoting Chrome used paid links, which is a big no-no according to Google’s own rules. To keep things fair and show they mean business, Google knocked google.com/chrome down in search results for 60 days.

Beyond search engine penalties, there’s also your reputation and credibility that you have to worry about. User trust is crucial in the digital world. If users feel they can’t trust you to play by the rules, they’ll take their clicks elsewhere.

It’s a feedback loop where user trust boosts your search rankings, and higher rankings get you more organic traffic, which further enhances user trust. 

Put simply, when your site consistently provides a reliable experience without using any short-term tricks, it not only appeals to users but also to search engine algorithms. 

Key Takeaway: Short-term search engine optimization hacks may offer quick gains but often result in long-term penalties and wasted resources.

The Power of Long-Term SEO Tactics

Single Grain’s success is largely thanks to long-term SEO tactics we started using over a decade ago

screenshot of Ahrefs site explorer tool

A long-term SEO strategy is the foundation of a sustainable online presence. Some tried and tested strategies that have withstood the test of time and Google’s whims include:  

1) Invest in High-Quality Content

I’ve been preaching about the value of high-quality content for several years now, and this advice remains true in 2024 with the explosion of AI writing tools. 

Thanks to tools like ChatGPT and Jasper, performing keyword research and getting good content is no longer difficult, but the reality — at least for now — is that AI tools are not quite there yet in terms of creativity and quality. 

Niel Patel of NP Digital conducted a study on the search performance of AI content vs human content, and here were the results: ImageWhile AI content was faster and cheaper to produce, human-generated content got 5.44X more traffic over a five-month period and outranked AI-created content 94.12% of the time. 

The reason? 

It largely comes down to emotion and context. 

AI is simply not able to understand the context of content, especially complex topics. It often misses nuance and important contextual insights, and readers can spot this difference.

This is not to say you shouldn’t include AI in your workflow — we love using AI at Single Grain! — but you should do it strategically. 

Here are some tips for using AI in your content creation process: 

  • Use it to generate ideas: Use AI to brainstorm and generate fresh blog post ideas based on current trends and user interests. Tools like ChatGPT and AnswerThePublic can analyze popular topics and suggest ideas that resonate with your audience. 
  • Use it to create the first draft: Use AI to draft initial versions of your articles, blog posts, or social media updates. But make sure to have a human review the content to humanize it, add your brand’s voice, and remove any inaccuracies. 
  • Use it to collect data and perform analysis: While the data provided by AI tools shouldn’t always be trusted blindly and can sometimes be incorrect, you can still use AI to analyze your own data. Use AI to get useful summaries and analyses that can help you gain deeper insights and provide more valuable information to your readers.

2) Invest in Ethical and Relevant Backlinks

It’s not 2012 anymore, and shady link-building tactics like spamming, unnecessary blog comments, and so on just don’t work anymore. 

Guest blogging is still an effective strategy, but it requires persistent outreach and networking. It can be difficult to source reputable blogs that align with your niche AND accept guest posts. 

That’s why SEO agencies are increasingly turning to platforms that encourage user-generated content like Reddit, Quora, and Medium. Reddit is especially valuable now that it has a formal partnership with Google:

Google announces partnership with Reddit

These are platforms where users are actively seeking and sharing information. By participating in discussions and answering questions, you can naturally include links to your resources. 

This type of authentic engagement can help you improve your site’s authority and search engine rankings and is a more ethical and effective approach that will have long-term benefits. 

3) Optimize Your Website for a Better User Experience

Mobile web browsing has been steadily growing since the late 2000s and has already beaten PC web traffic in most parts of the world. In 2024, mobile devices accounted for nearly 60% of global web page views:

Mobile device traffic up to Q4 2024 by Statista

Building your website with a mobile-first mentality is a necessity now more than ever. Ensure your site is fast, mobile-friendly, and easy to navigate. 

Improving user experience in this way can lead to lower bounce rates and higher engagement, both of which positively impact your SEO.

Here are some steps to improve user experience:

  • Improve site speed to reduce loading times. Faster loading times prevent visitors from leaving your site too soon. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to find and fix speed issues on your site:

mobile-page-speed-new-industry-benchmarks

  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. With more users visiting websites from mobile devices, it’s important to focus on mobile SEO and responsive design. Test your site on different devices to make sure it provides a smooth experience.
  • Enhance site navigation for easier access to content. Simplify your site’s layout to make it easy for users to find what they need. Clear menus and intuitive design can greatly improve user satisfaction and engagement:

mobile friendly sites

Key Takeaway: Long-term SEO tactics lead to sustainable growth and long-term SEO success by building authority, trust, and improved user experience. Create high-quality content, acquire ethical backlinks, and optimize your website for technical SEO wins.

Final Word on Long-Term SEO Benefits

Short-term SEO tricks might give quick results but often come with big downsides. These tactics can lead to penalties, wasted resources, and damage to your website’s reputation. 

Investing in a long-term SEO game, on the other hand, builds a strong foundation for lasting growth and success. By focusing on creating quality content, building ethical backlinks, and improving user experience, you can achieve steady traffic growth and boost your site’s authority. 

Remember, the key to successful SEO efforts is patience and persistence. Prioritize long-term tactics for the best and most lasting results!

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If you’re ready to level up your long-term SEO strategy, Single Grain’s SEO experts can help!👇

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