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6 bad SEO tactics that hurt your search ranking

A lot has happened with search engines over the last six months. New features have been added, algorithms have been updated and many high ranking websites have been banished into obscurity, leaving a lot of people with one question. Why?

Here are a few reasons why your website’s organic traffic may have recently taken a dive or perhaps reasons why it may be setting itself up to take a hit in the near future.

Stop buying Links

Beware the Penguin! Earlier this year Google launched an update to their global search algorithm code named Penguin. The Penguin update essentially identified websites all across the web that were deemed as spammy/ Link farms, directories, scraped content sites; SPLOGs (spam blogs) were all in the firing line. All those sites who capitalised on the option of buying 1000 links for fifty dollars were now regretting their decision. Not only did these spammy sites have their rankings decimated, but so too did the sites who paid to be featured on them.
Links are an integral part of SEO, but make sure they are quality links.

Stop writing for search engines

There is a difference in writing content that is optimised for search and writing content solely for search. Spam blogs (SPLOGS) were a key target for the recent Google Panda update. The Panda update now allows the Google-bot to identify spam content and eliminate it from their index. Write for your audience first and foremost. Search engines are getting smarter in identifying between useful content and keyword bait.

Besides, if you are going to put effort into getting rankings to gain readers and customers, it’s much better for your brand to provide content that is of use rather than generic search engine bait.

Stop trusting sites that will ‘Guarantee your website Number 1 in Google’

There are so many things wrong with this tactic. Getting number one is often a false metric. Sure number one for a specific term is great, but is your audience even looking for that term? Focus on being prominent for multiple effective terms rather than putting all your efforts at one key term.  A good SEO will provide you with strategies to rank where your audience is, and not where it’s easiest to.

Companies who promise such wild results often implement ‘black hat’ search techniques (including buying large quantities of links). Black hat techniques focus on ways of getting links and rankings through tactics that Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. have specifically stated are prohibited.

Sure they may get some quick results for you, but once Google etc. catches wind of the tactic (and they ALWAYS do), your results will plummet, or even worse your domain could be banned all together

Stop keyword stuffing

This one is an oldie, but one that is definitely still around. This tactic may have worked back in 2003, but search engines have come a long way since those days. If your website is an authority on a topic, then it should have no problems featuring adequate information about that topic. Featuring the keyword in every second sentence on every page will not only annoy the search engines, but will also annoy your readers.

Stop jumping on every social network

Social media is all the rage. The messiah of online marketing and great for SEO too apparently. But just because it exists doesn’t mean your business should be on it. Does a plumbing business really need a Pinterest page? Are people really going to subscribe to that fish n’chips shops Twitter feed?

Social media profiles have a tendency to rank rather high, especially if your brand is featured in the title of the profile. When done well, social profiles ranking highly can be a great experience for the user, but if it’s an abandoned or poorly maintained profile, what is this saying to potential customers about your business? More often than not, no social profile is much better than a poor social profile.

When starting down the social media path, address your business objectives first. Ensure that the social platform is going to provide a benefit or if it will be a flash in the pan for you.

Stop not doing SEO

Perhaps the biggest SEO mistake of all. Optimising your content and web experience is essential when trying to build a strong online presence. There are so many beneficial ways of building your website, content and strategy that can enhance your search engine presence without resulting to the quick wins discussed above. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it usually is. Good SEO involves great content, a good user experience, clean site build and sometimes a sprinkling of nerdiness.

Happy searching.


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Daylan Pearce

Daylan Pearce

Daylan Pearce is SEO Lead for digital agency <a href="http://nextdigital.com/">Next Digital</a>. With over a decade of online marketing experience, he specialises in <a href="http://daylandoes.com">search strategy &amp; SEO.</a>

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