When you’re doing your website’s SEO, you have to be very careful.
Do you know why?
Google has changed the playing field significantly and what was acceptable before is now may lead to get you penalized. You need to ensure that you aren’t inadvertently doing anything wrong.
Unless you strictly follow the Google’s guideline, it’s almost impossible to rank higher in search engine result page.
In spite of knowing that, many SEO experts are still using some bad SEO techniques to get ranked at the top of the search engine result page within a short period of time but that are eventually destroying their overall marketing efforts.
In this article, I will walk you through 10 worst SEO techniques you should avoid as a marketer.
Copying content from others website and publishing the same content on your website is bad for SEO.
The main reason is that, Google already indexed this content from somewhere else and there is absolutely no reason to index your content since it has nothing new to offer.
Google keeps on updating its algorithms on a regular basis in which only the original and unique content gets indexed.
Therefore, you must stop publishing duplicate content and aim to create original and unique content.
If you need to publish duplicate content on your website because of the nature of your business, or because it is useful for your audience, you should signal to search engines not to index those pages so that they do not have a negative impact on your SEO.
Matt Cutts has explained beautifully what Google thinks and how they react to duplicate content here-
#2. Keyword Stuffing
“Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking.” – Google.
This technique worked well back in old days but not anymore, and I just quoted above what will happen if you do the keyword stuffing.
Stuffing excessive number of keywords not only discourage your audience to read your content, but it is also a signal for the search engines that you are trying to manipulate their algorithms.
Moreover, using excessive number of keywords will make your site look spammy, which doesn’t sit well with either your visitors or the crawlers.
I know you want to rank for a specific keyword and the more you use it on the content, the more likely you’ll rank for it. But, don’t go overboard. Make sure that your content looks natural which is good for your audience as well as for the search engines.
Let me show you an example of Keyword Stuffing.
This is another commonly used bad SEO technique. Cloaking is a practice of showing different content to the spiders than you show to your real visitors.
Let me give you an example here to make the things clear. For instance, your web code makes Google think you are directing users to a newspaper site, when in fact your website publishes information about sales on mobile accessories.
Google deploys bots to scan such activities, and if detected such websites are subjected to penalty which includes lowering the rank or even banning it from search engine.
As Google and other search engines never tolerate any deceptive approach therefore, you must only keep one version of a page for both search engine crawlers and users.
Matt Cutts has shared valuable information about Cloaking. Let’s take a look.
#4. Paid Links
Link building is obligatory to rank on the search engines and links are said to be an 80% determinant of your ranking.
But, link building is not that easy and requires a lot of efforts and hard work. Paid links make the job easy for the website owners for link building.
Instead of doing all the hard works, the site owners often choose the shortcut way. They pay few dollars to buy thousands of links.
The bad news for them is that, Google’s Penguin Update works in finding such websites who buy links in exchange of money. When people buy links in exchange of money, they often keep the same anchor text for all links. This is one of the common signs for paid links.
Once it is detected (sooner or later) by the search engines then the consequences could be severe like de-indexing or pushing backward to the search results. Matt Cutts shared his opinions on why paid links violate Google’s guidelines here-
#5. Link Exchanges
Link exchange was a very effective SEO technique in the old days, until Google devised algorithms to discourage such activity.
Link exchange is like a website offers other websites to add their link and in exchange adds others links to itself.
Tough to understand?
Let me make it easier: “I will add you if you add me”
People should build the links naturally rather than exchanging the links that are mostly irrelevant. Link exchange can help you to get lots of links in lesser time, but this won’t help you to improve your ranking, and is more likely to put your SEO efforts to waste.
Even, it can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results. Take a look at the guidelines here for link scheme.
Many website owners keep the option to write for their blog as a post. There is nothing wrong with it. Even, publishing new and relevant content on a regular basis is a good SEO practice.
But, most of them tend to make the mistake of publishing below standard content, which can dramatically lower the SEO efforts and ranking.
If you want to keep the “write for us” option in your website, then you need to set level of standards to write for your website. This will assure quality control for your website, and at the same time you are aligned with the good SEO practices.
I will outline here some of the standard rules here-
The post must be relevant to our topics
Your article must contain at least 1200 words
Your content must be written in English and grammatically correct.
Your content must be original
#7. Hidden Text
Hidden text is a text that’s visible to search engines or computers but not visible to the users. Let me first describe how people implement this technique into their websites. They use white text on a white background in order to stuff extra keywords into their websites.
Well, as a human you might not be able to see the white text on a white background, but Google’s bots can. Google bots have an automated system that goes through your source code to detect such kind of bad practices. If you get caught by Google, then you will surely be penalized for it.
You might see a little improvement in ranking by following this technique but you might be out of World Wide Web sooner you get caught.
#8. Link Farms
There are many sites that exist and serve for the sole purpose of increasing the link popularity of another site through link exchanges. This process is defined by link farms. This is one of the popular black hat SEO techniques.
Generally, their websites contain poor-quality content and even irrelevant to your business. Google knows who they are and getting the links from their websites will hurt your rankings. They’re considered “bad neighborhoods”.
An endorsement from a bad website is much more harmful than no endorsement. So, stay away from this kind of websites for link building and say no to link farms.
If you do the link farming, you may likely be penalized and your website can even get banned for practicing bad SEO technique.
#9. Writing for Search Engines
Even though we write content considering the SEO and rankings, in the end, it is for your targeted audience. Your content should be easily readable by the website visitors and make sure they are easy to understand.
Some people use spam methods to create content. For example, they copy the content from different source and use article spinning software to spin the content. Google’s Panda Update can now identify such spam content and eliminate them from the rankings.
So, instead of creating such spam content, write relevant and useful content that attracts more and more targeted audience.
#10. Unnatural Anchor Text
When Google is determining what terms to rank your website for, the anchor text is one of the places it looks for clues.
For example, if bunch of people link to one of your blog post with the anchor text “top SEO tools”, there’s a good chance the post is all about SEO tools.
But, some people try to game the system. They build links for the same anchor text for which they want to rank for.
But how natural does that look?
By using the same anchor text for your all links, you are ultimately telling Google that you are trying to game the system. So, using the same anchor text for all links is like asking for a penalty.
Therefore, try to use different and relevant anchor text and make sure that they all look natural.
To rank higher in search engines for your targeted keywords, you need to act in the right way. Stay away from these ten worst SEO techniques to ensure that you are going to get the most from your efforts.
What other bad practices you recommend others to avoid? Please let us know via comments. 🙂
Author Bio: Jabed Hasan is a Content Marketing Manager at Mountnow. He is passionate about writing and love to write on SEO, CRO, Growth Hacking and Online Marketing Strategies. You can follow him on Twitterand LinkedIn.