These 5 Bad SEO Practices Are Killing Your Online Presence
Webmasters still practice bad SEO techniques today, either by ignorance or as a way to try gaming the system. Such horrible SEO techniques are practically killing their online presence and sabotaging their search engine rankings. Chances are that if you're ignorant of current SEO rules and acceptable tactics, you're probably also using these sleazy techniques.
Search Engine Optimization is a complicated process. To win, you have to equip yourself with the right and current information, especially given that SEO keeps changing every year in year out. In this post, we wanted to take a moment to give you a heads-up as to some of these bad SEO practices that could potentially scare visitors and search bots away from your website and put your online presence in jeopardy.
We've also included some recommendations in the "What to Do" sections of this post to help you toe the right lane per your SEO needs. Read on!
1. HIDING KEYWORDS AND LINKS
As bad as it is, some webmasters still hide keywords in an attempt to game the search engines.
What they do is this:
At the end of a page or blog post, they place a bunch of keywords in the same colour as the page background so that the keywords are invisible to human readers but picked up by search engine spiders. It's a bad black hat SEO practice!
Those who practice this also always try to ensure that they use a very small font size so that the whitespace left on the screen won't appear too suspiciously large. Also, some webmasters go as far as hiding links within their website.
Here is what Google says about hiding text or links:
No matter how you choose to hide keywords and links in your website, Google’s highly intelligent algo engines are still able to unravel such SEO nonsense. In such cases, penalties are inevitable.
What to Do
Don't use your own hands to kill your online presence by hiding text and links. The search engines won't be smiling. For instance, if you choose to hide keywords within any page on your website, the search engines will see it as keyword stuffing (our next point below) and thereby penalize your site.
See the recommendations part of our next point below for how to use keywords. Also, following Google’s guidelines on linking is very essential.
2. STUFFING KEYWORDS ALL OVER YOUR CONTENT
Let's assume that in practice #1 above, you had a bit of respect for humans and so didn't want to show them the hidden keywords. Here now, you're not scared of anyone and think you can add as many keywords as you want to your content. Works great for the title, description tags, meta tags, and yes, content body.
Well, for your information, that's called "keyword stuffing" and it is a horrible and outdated SEO practice.
If you try it, not only will your online reputation and authority go flat, readers will avoid your website and search engines like Google will punish you heavily for it either by lowering your rankings or by removing the entirety of your webpages.
What to Do
Add keywords to your content but only naturally (i.e, let them come in organically). No need to strew hundreds of the same words all over your content. No need to try to manipulate the system. Instead of overusing one key term, you can try using the synonyms of that word or its latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords equivalent.
Also, our free world-class keyword suggestion tool can show you the most worthwhile keywords to target.
3. NOT PUBLISHING FRESH CONTENT
We all know that Google loves fresh content. But of course, you're not Google, so fresh content shouldn't be your thing, right? Wrong!
There is a huge need for fresh content when it comes to SEO. Being consistent in your publishing puts you over the competition and makes Google love your site — because you're always providing them with something to show to searchers.
But unfortunately, most webmasters have not realized this
What to Do
The main purpose of search engines is to provide the most relevant information to searchers based on their search queries. The more valuable content you publish that meets users' needs, the greater authority your website will enjoy and the better your rankings.
If you look at our blog, we continually publish fresh content even though we already have hundreds of posts on the blog.
If you look at top bloggers on the web, they do the same. And that's because they understand that fresh content is crucial for a successful web presence. You should do the same!
Also, keep in mind that "fresh content" does not only refer to how much “new” your content is in relation to time and when it was created or published. Fresh content involves content with new meaning and what the data behind it reflects. For example, you ought to update your old content not only to reflect new dates but to actually reflect new data points.
So don’t try to fool Google by changing the dates on old posts to make them appear new. If you really need to update old content, ensure that you add something fresh.
4. PRACTICING CLOAKING
For those of us who don't know what cloaking means in SEO, it is a search engine optimization practice in which the content or page presented to the search engine crawler is different from the one shown to users.
Cloaking is possible because the hosting site can deliver content based on the IP addresses or the user-agent HTTP header of the user or search engine requesting the source page. This used to be a common practice in the past but not anymore. Using such a technique now is actually a very bad practice. In short, it passes for a punishable SEO technique.
Why? Let Google answer their own question:
What to Do
The legitimate thing to do is to keep only one version of a webpage for both search spiders and human users. Additionally, ensure that users can differentiate between website content and ads.
We also run a Cloaking Checker here on SmallSEOTools.com which you can use to examine your website to prevent it from getting penalized by Google.If a website is attacked by hackers, one trick hackers like to use to make the hack harder for the site owner to detect is cloaking. Here are Google’s tips for fixing hacked sites without hurting your rankings.
5. LIFTING CONTENT FROM OTHER SITES
If cloaking is somewhat too technical for you, content lifting is relatively easy. All it takes is copying and pasting other people's content to your website. But the result is always ineluctable: Those fluffy pandas and penguins are going to be slapping you silly with punishments because such an approach never works with Google.
What to Do
It's pretty simple: do not lift content from other websites. Create your own content from scratch and then use our plagiarism checker to ensure that your content is original.
Google even made it clear that original, quality content is among the top three factors that can push your website to the top of SERPs — others being quality backlinks and RankBrain.