5 SEO Techniques You Need To Avoid
While there are lots of different SEO techniques out there for you to use, not all are created equally. As the medium moves forward, algorithms change, and search engines are getting smarter. This means that there are always changes in the best way to use SEO techniques.
What might have worked just a few years ago could now be irrelevant, and even impact your SEO negatively.
Here we’re going to cover some SEO techniques that might sound good on paper, but you should avoid using.
White Hat SEO Vs. Black Hat SEO
This might be a term you’ve heard of before, but in another context. It also applies to SEO.
White hat SEO is seen as ethically good strategies which you should be using in your SEO techniques that generate positive results over a long period of time.
Black hat SEO techniques are the opposite of that. Often bad strategies, both in terms of negative results and morally.
A lot of Black hat SEO techniques come from when the medium was relatively new, and best practices had barely been established.
- Black hat SEO techniques carry large risks
- Penalities include having your website delisted
- They prioritise what search engines want over the user
- You should focus on the user when optimising your website
If your website was to get delisted on a search engine like Google which has 8.5 billion searches every day, it could be catastrophic for your businesses online presence.
It’s always worth looking at search engine terms of service if you’re unsure of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
1. Keyword Stuffing
While this might seem obvious, it’s still something we see a surprising amount. Whether it’s done on purpose or by someone who is new to SEO, it’s going to have an overall negative effect on your SEO.
Keyword stuffing is exactly what it sounds like, filling your page as much as you can with your chosen keywords and search terms to try and rank higher for those terms on search engines. While this might have worked back in the day, it’s not going to cut it today.
- It results in a negative user experience
- It makes things difficult to understand
- It can be hard to read
- It’s horrible just to look at walls of text
We’ve also seen this done where webpages are filled with invisible keywords, by making the text the same colour as the background.
A good rule to remember is to read anything you write out loud, if it sounds unnatural because of the number of keywords, then it probably is and you should think about taking some out.
Take your keyword density into account. Most SEO experts agree that keyword density should be between 1-2% of your overall word count.
Once again it might seem like common sense, but I’m sure you’ve seen the number of click bait articles out there. You might of even fallen victim to a few, where the the article you click on isn’t what you were looking for at all?
Think of how frustrating and annoying that is. That is a bad user experience.
If the content you’re presenting to your audience is wildly different or doesn’t address the headline, it’s just going to annoy people result in an increased bounce rate off your page.
With Google actively penalizing websites with a high bounce rate, it will affect your ranking in the long run.
- Search engines are cracking down on clickbait
- Social media platforms are cracking down on clickbait
- Google removed 1.8 million ads just in 2016
- It’s lazy and won’t generate long term results
It’s also worth considering your brand/company reputation. Do you really want to be associated with clickbait and every other negative connotation that goes along with it?
3. Negative SEO
While there are multiple different forms of negative SEO out there, they all aim to do the same thing, and that’s damage their competitors. Rather than build up their own ranking in the SERPs, they would rather damage somebody else’s. Here are some of the ways this is done so you know what to look out for:
- Hacking your website
- Creating negative backlinks with spam anchor text
- Leaving fake negative reviews
While it might seem like fun and games to leave negative reviews on your competitor’s website, it can have much more of a knock-on effect then you would think. They can also be very difficult to remove even when it’s stated that they are fabricated.
- Negative SEO is highly unethical
- It’s impractical
- It isn’t sustainable
- Your resources are better spent elsewhere
You should focus on what you can do to improve your own SEO rather than attacking somebody else. Learn from your competitors yes, but you don’t need to go to the level of damaging somebody else’s hard work.
4. Creating Content For Search Engines Over People
Don’t prioritize the search engine you’re trying to rank higher on over your audience! It’s easy to focus too much on keyword research and finding the right search terms, but your writing can really suffer from that short-sighted approach.
Trying to release content everyday just because that’s good for the search engine might sound good, but it’s going to negatively impact your SEO In the long run.
- You aren’t going to be able to keep up
- The quality of your content will suffer
- You’ll end up burnt out, we’re only human!
- Your content will become stale and repetitive
- People won’t want to engage with what you’re creating
It’s better to focus on what your audience wants, creating a higher quality of informative and interesting things for them to engage with over a longer period is a much better option here.
Search engines can also recognise content that offers little to no value to readers, and they rank it accordingly.
5. Only Focusing On Google
While Google is the most popular search engine with 4.3 billion users worldwide, it’s still worth looking into other search engines that may not have much of the market share, but still have a huge user base!
- Bing – 126 million unique US users
- DuckDuckGo – 80 million users
- Baidu – 580 million monthly active users
- Yahoo – 700 million users monthly on mobile
Search engines like Bing are seeing a growth in their market share year after year and are seeing more than 1 billion visits each month. How many of those searches are looking for your services? You won’t know unless you focus some of your SEO efforts into these platforms.
There are lots of alternative search engines out there, and by ignoring them you’re missing out on a great opportunity to get in front of that audience.
These are some of the SEO techniques that come to my mind when we’re talking about what you should be avoiding. Anything that’s going to have a negative impact on the overall goal of what you’re trying to achieve with your SEO efforts.
While some of these techniques might result in short term results, it won’t last for long or be sustainable. Worst case scenario some of these can result in your website being delisted from search engines all together, so the shortcuts aren’t really worth it in the end.