Normally we give you a tips on how to improve your rankings, but sometimes it’s just as important to know what you shouldn’t be doing.
So this week I’m giving you a list of the top ways to KILL your rankings. Obviously this isn’t your goal, so avoid these tactics at all cost!
It’s the process of displaying different content to search engines and users. Google expects it’s search engine bots to see the same content that a user would see navigating through your site. If it discovers there’s a discrepancy aimed at deceiving the Google bots, then ranking penalties will be issued. This can include banning from the Google index.
2. Duplicate Content
Search engines don’t want to index multiple versions of similar content. Some automated content generation tools rely on recycling content which is not favourable. Google is strict in filtering out content they deem to be similar or nearly duplicate in nature.
3. Hidden Text
It’s a technique used to show search engine spiders text that human visitors do not see. While some sites may get away with it for a while, generally the risk to reward ratio is low for most legitimate sites.
4. Link Exchanges & Link Farms
Reciprocal linking schemes often facilitated by a site devoted to directory pages are not a good source of links. Link exchanges usually allow links to sites of low or no quality, and add no value themselves.
5. Links from Banned or Malware Sites
Links from other websites which have been already banned by Google, and are known to contain malware will have a negative impact on your rankings. Google will consider your site less bad by association.
6. Content on the Site Promoting Paid Links
Google has really clamped down on websites who sell links, especially for the purposes of SEO. So if you’re currently selling links on your site to help other sites with their ranking efforts, this is will not bode well for your own ranking. If you’re offering links as a form of advertising (hopefully using nofollow), that’ll appease the ranking gods at Google.
7. High % of Inbound Links with Same Anchor Text
We all know that anchor text is critical in your link building efforts, but if your pages are only getting links with the same anchor text, then it looks unnatural. It’s good to get a mix of links with different anchor text to keep things looking organic.
8. Over Optimisation
Over optimization? I hear you ask. Yes, it’s easy to over optimise pages. At the end of the day, Google wants your content to be designed for the user, not the Google bots. So strategies like keyword stuffing, excessive internal linking, keyword spamming in meta data should be avoided. Get your balance right and you should be safe.
9. Doorway Pages
Pages designed to rank for highly targeted search queries, typically designed to redirect searchers to a page with other advertisements. If the page would have a unique purpose outside of search then search engines are generally fine with it, but if the page only exists because search engines exist then search engines are more likely to frown on the behavior.
10. Content Scraping
Scraping search-engine results pages or other sources of content (especially without permission) to create content for your website is a major faux par. Google’s looking for sites that produce valuable original content. Just scraping others reduces your authority.
And that’s a wrap…remember that when you’re investing time in optimising your website, you should avoid these strategies.
For those of you visual people out there, here’s a cool infographic that the people down at SEO.com produced which, with it’s horror theme, covers the black hat tactics to avoid. Enjoy