It’s common knowledge that SEO is the best way to have your site rank at the top of search engine result pages and driving tons of traffic and conversions, however, in the process of working to get to the top, you might be tempted to fall into what is known in the industry as black hat SEO.
Black hat SEO can contain the most common, low quality, outdated and unethical SEO tactics that need to be avoided. These tactics to avoid don’t fit into Google’s guidelines and can get you banned from search engines if they are discovered.
In order to survive in the world of digital marketing, abiding by the principles of search engines is a must, so we’ll explain the most important SEO tactics to avoid so that you don’t get penalized.
Though it used to be popular some 15 years ago, keyword stuffing is one of the main SEO tactics to avoid today.
Remember those old pages where the keyword would be used indiscriminately around the content? That’s precisely what we mean when we talk about keyword stuffing. While keywords can be used extensively through your content, it must come naturally, otherwise Google’s robots will notice and penalize your site as a result.
In the distant past, a common practice for some was to use the aforementioned keyword stuffing but hide it in a way that it’s not readable to the user, only to search engine robots. Cloaking on the other hand is when you only show the overly optimized version of your webpage to search engines but keep it hidden from readers.
Whether making the font size zero for the keyword stuffing, or using CSS properties to keep them away from the viewable portion of the web page, Google’s robots are able to detect these “illegal” SEO techniques and will have no problem banning you from ever using them again.
Link building can play a major role in a good SEO strategy, however, doing it in a way that does not conform to Google’s guidelines may penalize you.
When it comes to this strategy, there are several practices that fit into the list of SEO tactics to avoid, such as exchanging links back and forth between two websites or placing them in sites that are fully irrelevant to yours, all may constitute as violations which are not only ineffective, but can cause you and the other website to be penalized.
In order for your link building to have a positive effect, it must be done only within Google’s guidelines, avoiding anything that may give the impression that you’re buying referrals or falling into reciprocal linking practices.
Doorway or gateway pages are pages filled with useless information, but optimized with keywords and calls to action that direct visitors to landing pages. Since this type of content adds absolutely no value to readers, Google has penalized it already and so should you.
Content is key in SEO, however, this statement is only true when said content is useful and interesting to your readers, not some bad clickbait or advertisement copy.
Content that continuously repeats a particular keyword or forces keyword phrases into sentences unnaturally, while incorporating a bunch of unnecessary heading tags is content that was clearly written for bots and not for users looking for value and information, therefore, making it one of the main SEO tactics to avoid.
As the Google algorithm gets more and more refined, it may be able to tell when the words written on a web page don’t provide any value to the searcher. Therefore, in order to be fully successful, your content should be well-written, accurate and engaging, with a length that’s good enough to serve its purpose and keep readers interested in sharing and interacting with what you are offering them.
Now that we’ve named some of the main SEO tactics to avoid, we can come to the conclusion that you can’t get away with tricking search engines. Since their algorithms are being constantly updated and changed with the purpose of providing a better search experience for users, bots are already well trained to scan every bit of live webpages and detect whenever rules aren’t being followed.
Avoid facing penalties, bad rankings and banning by complying with the guidelines and doing things right; it is the only way you can be certain that your growth will be sustainable, safe and effective for your site.
Link building is a part of an SEO strategy, however, we often see link building being referred to as external links directing and recommending your website. In this case, the spotlight is placed on internal link building and how it can easily help your site be useful to users.
Internal links work by connecting pages and resources within the same domain, and although they’re not given as much attention as they deserve in the general SEO conversation, internal link building mistakes can lead to you wasting your crawl budget – the limit to which a search engine bot will crawl through your site – and leave important parts of your site unindexed.
A recent study performed and published by SEMrush took a look at the most common internal link building mistakes websites make, so for the sake of this blog post and your site’s rankings, we’ve decided to explain them and inform you how to fix and avoid them.
One of the most common and easily fixable internal link building mistakes comes from broken internal links. To search engine bots, the presence of these signals your website as a low quality one, producing a negative effect on user experience and the flow of link equity throughout your site, therefore potentially lowering your rankings.
In order to fix the situation, you should check the URLs and update them if necessary, removing all links that lead to an error webpage and replacing them with a working link.
Just as with internal links, a broken external link affects your site’s credibility for both users and search engines. Since an external link serves to pass on the authority of your page to the linked website, when the link isn’t working, this resource is being wasted. The best thing to do in this case would be to check if the URL is correct and if it is, but the page returns an error, contact the owner of the website so that they can do something about it. If this is not possible, simply change the link to one that works or remove it entirely. While you can’t control other people’s webpages, you can definitely control what your site links to and the validity of it.
Another common link building mistake comes from getting too enthusiastic about page links. In the eyes of Google, an excess of on page links may flag as spam, and the more links there are on your page, the less SEO value each of them may provide.
No-follow tags serve as a signal to search bots to not go to a certain link, which can be useful in the case that it leads to a registration form or paid link. However, when it comes to internal links there’s generally no reason to use these tags.
Crawl depth refers to the number of clicks needed to reach a certain page from the homepage, meaning the more clicks a user or a bot has to go through, the less likely it is for both of them to reach said page, so for both user experience and crawlability it’s possibly important to make sure that important pages on your site are no more than three clicks away from the home.
A page with no incoming internal links is called an orphaned page in SEO language. Usually, these type of pages have no valuable content, so including them as part of your sitemap may just be a waste of crawl budget.
If that’s not the case and the page in question does have worthy content in it, avoid this common internal link building mistake by interlinking it with other relevant pages on your site. In the case that it really doesn’t require internal linking because of a specific purpose its serving, ask yourself if there’s really a need for it to be indexed and if it doesn’t, consider removing it from your sitemap.
The more incoming internal links a page has, the more visible it may be for both users and search bots, since once high authority pages on your site link to it, its value is increased. Make sure that there’s enough relevant incoming internal links in your site pointing to pages with valuable, important content.
Link building in general can be a boost to your site’s SEO. While the kind that goes on within your site is usually where the lesser focus is placed, avoiding these internal link building mistakes is a quick way to make the most out of your SEO efforts and may enjoy tangible results in the form of rankings, better search engine indexation and more precise navigation for your visitors.
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