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Black hat SEO can contain the most common, low quality, outdated and unethical SEO tactics that need to be avoided.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.