Don’t get Penalized with these BAD SEO Tactics

    One of the most frequent questions I get asked at conferences and seminars is how to improve website rankings quickly.

    The advice I usually give to those looking to have their websites ranked faster is: Do not use shortcuts and avoid points that search engines do not like, since there’s a good chance your site will be penalized. If that happens, the recovery time can be a lengthy one.

    Since people usually only share their ‘best practices’ and leave out any negative outcomes, I’ve compiled a list of ‘worst practices’ that will likely get a website penalized.

    Duplicate Content

    Unoriginal content is something you should avoid. The reason is simple: If search engines already have the same content in their index, there is no reason to index your web page since it has nothing new to offer.

    When the Google Panda update was first introduced back in February 2011, the quality of content became an important element for good SEO.

    Keyword Stuffing

    Repeating the same keywords in your text over and over again for the sake of optimizing your copy is very bad SEO practice.

    This is not only a negative for readers, as the text will not sound natural when reading, but is also a signal for search engines that you are trying to manipulate their algorithms.

    The ideal keyword ratio that I would suggest is 1:100, which is one keyword per 100 words.

    Cloaking

    Cloaking, which is hiding the real destination of a link and showing different versions of a page to crawlers, was a common practice of the past but it’s hardly going to fly in the SEO world today.

    Crawlers are not only alerted to this misconduct, but it’s also hostile towards users and potential customers that are navigating your website. Keep the same version of a page for both search engine crawlers and users alike.

    Paid Links

    It takes a considerable amount of time to build a successful website or blog and links should be built naturally over time instead of via shortcut. Paid links may reap benefits in the short term but will have negative effects in the long run.

    Buying links of any kind is bad practice as Google will find out sooner or later and you’ll end up losing your rankings. Worst case scenario, your website may get penalized and removed from search rankings for good.

    Invisible Text

    This means implementing white text, such as a list of keywords on a white background. This method makes keywords completely invisible to visitors while search engines can still detect and index them. This should be avoided, since it will lead to keyword stuffing and being penalized by Google.

    Extra pro tip: Be careful with ad placement ‘above the fold.’

    The ‘fold’ is the portion of your site that is shown without the user having to scroll down on desktop. If you have large images or ads at the top of of your website and a user needs to scroll down to access your content, be aware that Google runs a page layout algorithm that reduces rankings for sites that don’t make content available ‘above the fold.’

    By Vishwas Thakkar

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