We all know how important it is for our website to rank on the first page of Google’s search results. It one of the most important ways for new potential customers to find out about your business. And search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the tools we use to help our sites rank higher. But just as Google’s ranking algorithms are always changing, so are the best practices with SEO. Tricks that worked a few years ago can get you into serious trouble now. Here’s a list of outdated SEO tactics that can actually hurt your site’s ranking.
SEO Tactics That Will Get You in Trouble
If you want to increase your site’s rank with SEO, then it’s important that you avoid these old and potentially dangerous SEO tactics.
Not too long ago all you had to do to rank for a certain keyword was to literally stuff it into every bit of your website, from the title tag to the copy and links. But now Google has upped its game and its ability to interpret the content on your site so much that if the keywords begin to take away from the readability and seem to be overused, it can hurt your site’s ranking. The focus now is on quality content and keywords should be considered a tool to help you create that content.
Buying or selling links violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and will result in a penalty to your site if you get caught. In the early days of SEO, people would pay for links all the time. It was common practice for marketing companies to buy up old links that carried some search engine credibility and create a network of links to boost their clients’ sites. I think we can all agree that sounds sketchy and should be avoided but according to Google a paid link is “exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a ‘free’ product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.” By that definition a guest post or a paid review would both be considered paid links.
The words on a webpage that provide a link to another webpage are the anchor text. At one point these words held a lot of SEO weight not only for the webpage they were on, but also the one they linked to. Naturally people wanting their sites to rank better took advantage of this and began to stuff as many keywords as possible into the anchor text as well as create links that were not relevant to the site. Now, like the rest of the content on your site, if these words disrupt the flow of the content, include too many keywords or are not relevant to the content of the site or the one it links to, it will actually hurt your rankings instead of helping.
Cloaking is when words are disguised on the page, either intentionally or unintentionally, so that the user cannot see them but web crawlers would. It was an easy way to get more keywords on a page without the user noticing. These days any word not visible to the naked eye but discoverable by crawlers are sure to result in a hefty penalty and a drop in your rankings.
Whether copied from someplace else on your site or plagiarized from another website, duplicate content is big SEO no-no. If you get caught with plagiarized content on your site or are using the same content over and over again to bulk up your own website’s word count and keyword list, you should expect to see a drop in your site’s ranking.
Increase Your Site’s Ranking with SEO
While optimizing your site correctly can give you a boost in the rankings, any attempt to cheat the system and employ these out of date and blacklisted tactics are sure to get you in trouble. If you want to increase your site’s search engine rankings, avoid the above SEO mistakes. If you’d like any additional help developing or implementing an SEO strategy that will increase your website’s ranking, feel free to contact us online or by calling 414-465-2285.