Bad SEO is not something new or uncommon and yes, it can really destroy your Google rankings. In this article, I’ll explain what bad SEO is and what I consider to be the top 10 best practices that can negatively affect your rankings.
What is bad SEO?
Practices that are unethical, out of date, or outside the limits of Google Webmaster Guidelines are considered BAD, hence the term ‘bad SEO’. While SEO is all about optimizing your website for search engines, bad SEO can lead to the opposite results.
So what are these techniques that can hurt your rankings, and more importantly, what should you do to avoid them?
#1 Duplicate content
Last week I wrote a post about writing SEO friendly content and the first piece of advice was to make sure your content is unique and original. In the case of bad SEO, you should avoid posting duplicate content on your website.
Non-unique content is not good for SEO. The main reason is that if the search engines already have the same content in their index, there is absolutely no reason to index your web page as it has nothing new to offer.
If you need to have any duplicate content on your website because it’s useful to your readers or because of the nature of your business, you should “do not index and do not follow” those pages so they don’t have a negative impact on your SEO. .
#2 Keyword Stuffing
Repeating the same keywords over and over again, not because they are useful in the text, but because you are supposed to optimize your copy, is very bad SEO practice.
Not only will it discourage your visitors from interacting or reading the content, but it is also a signal to search engines that you are trying to manipulate (cheat) their algorithms.
It is enough to mention the keywords in the title, the description, the opening paragraph and a couple more times naturally in the text.
#3 Guest Post for Links
Last year, a lot of people insisted that a surefire way to get back links to your website was through guest posting. While guest posting can be a great way to go, if done cheaply and incorrectly it can hurt your rankings.
You can get a post on high quality websites related to your niche not for the purpose of getting a link but for more exposure and recognition.
Read this article I wrote last year about guest post for links for a more in-depth look at what a good guest post link is.
#4 Accept low-quality guest posts
You can feature new writers on your website and post content written by others as long as it is original, relevant, and useful to your audience. If the above rules are not followed, it is better not to publish anything.
Posting new content regularly is good SEO practice, but it’s also important to maintain a balance between content produced from the website and content offered to the website in exchange for a link in the author bio.
#5 Cloaking / Invisible Text
Cloaking (hiding the actual destination of a link) and showing different versions of a page to crawlers and users was a common practice in the past, but not anymore. Using such techniques now is actually a very bad practice.
You should only maintain one version of a page for both search engine crawlers and users and ensure that users can differentiate between website content and announcements
#6 Too many ads on the top half of the page
Yes, that’s bad SEO since Google punishes websites that have a lot of ads on the part of a page that is visible without scrolling (above the fold).
If you suddenly saw a decrease in traffic, then you should check if you were affected by the page layout algorithm.
#7 Paid links (of all kinds)
Creating a successful website or blog it takes time and you need a lot of patience and hard work to create the content and get those valuable natural backlinks. If instead of doing that you prefer to take shortcuts, you may see temporary success at first and soon a huge failure.
Buying links of any kind is a bad practice and something that Google will figure out (sooner or later) and you will most likely end up losing your rankings and have to work even harder to achieve something good online.
#8 Not using Google Webmaster Tools
Google developed the webmaster tools in order to establish better communication with webmasters. There is a ton of information you can get about your website and many tools to help you understand how to improve your SEO and Google rankings.
You can check for things like bad links, crawl errors, duplicate titles and descriptions, and much more.
#9 Have many outbound links
It’s not just inbound links that can harm your website, but outbound links as well. Websites that have a lot of outgoing links without using the ‘nofollow’ tag can be considered link farms or paid directories.
In general, you should ‘unfollow’ any links in advertisements, comments and websites that you do not fully trust.
#10 Slow or unavailable websites
Your website should load in less than 4-5 seconds and be available 24/7 all the time. Anything that does not comply with the above rules is considered by me as a bad SEO practice.
A good hosting provider It’s very important to have 24/7 availability and modern software (like WordPress) can help you build fast websites that load within the accepted range.
What is most important for the success of a website these days is to follow good SEO practices that are ethical, based on Google standards and updated with the latest ranking algorithm developments.
Past practices like keyword stuffing, cloaking, bulk link building, and banner stuffing are a thing of the past and should definitely be avoided.
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