Top 10 Things to Avoid in SEO

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Top 10 Things to Avoid in SEO

SEO is a constantly changing field. Google makes updates all the time, and each update changes SEO practices. There is also a great deal of misinformation about SEO out there, and plenty of unscrupulous people who will give bad advice at the hopes of profiting at your expense. Here are a few things to avoid.

1. Purchasing Mass Backlinks

Back-link building can be tedious, so it is easy to understand why you might be tempted by an ad which promises to build thousands of them for a nominal fee. Unfortunately, many of these services will build exactly the wrong kind of back link.

The internet has a lot of neighbourhoods, some good, some bad. People who sell backlinks are just as likely to place some of yours in very seedy neighbourhoods. Unfortunately, the reputation of a porn or gambling site could negatively affect your site too—even if your site has content that is ultimately wholesome.

2. Trying to Automate the Process

Blog commenting is a great way to build backlinks. Unfortunately, many automated programs misuse this popular method. The software usually asks you to enter some generic content like, “Great post,” then spams blogs all over the internet with it. One or two of these fake comments might get through, but most blog owners either use Akismet to catch automated blog comments or are savvy enough to spot the spam for themselves. Either way, you’ll get far fewer backlinks than you think you will, and you’ll stain your reputation at the same time.

3. Going Crazy about Keyword Density

So your keyword is “buy a new car,” is it? Be careful how you use it. Creating a keyword rich title like “The 5 Things You Should Know Before You Buy a New Car” is good. Writing stilted text that drives readers crazy by repeating the phrase “buy a new car” ten more times in a 500 word document isn’t. Google can tell you’re keyword stuffing, and so can your readers. Google’s new algorithms look for related keywords and a natural text flow anyway.

4. Participating in Link Exchanges

Members of link exchanges all agree to link out to one another’s websites whether those sites have anything to do with one another or not. Google might not catch you right away, but when they do they will slap down your websites, as many of the Panda updates have been all about strangling this practice.

5. Hiding Text

This is an old strategy that some people still attempt. They place the target keyword in light colored text all over their web page so that it repeats over and over again. Google will pick up on the unnatural keyword use, and you will be penalized.

6. Building Doorway Pages

A doorway page is a landing page that people only see for a few seconds. It may be saturated with keywords for the express purpose of fooling search engines. The content on the other side—the content the users see—often has nothing to do with the keyword. Even if it does, Google frowns on the strategy.

7. Trying to Rank for Keywords that are Too Big for You

Some keywords just have too much competition. They’re dominated by big players with deep pockets. You’re better off picking a smaller, long-tail keyword and ranking for that.

8. Writing Bad Content

The days of paying a non-English speaker in a third world country to churn out barely incomprehensible text are over. Today it’s all about engagement and sharing, something that won’t happen if you don’t create content worth reading.

9. Writing Lots of Crappy Off-site Articles

Article directories used to be a fairly clever way to build back-links. You could write cheap, throwaway articles and be guaranteed a link from a high page rank site like Ezine. These days the usefulness of the article directory strategy has been greatly diminished.

10. Believing there are Short-cuts

Here’s the hard truth: there are no short cuts in SEO. There are best practices, but at the end of the day it’s about writing great content and building good relationships. If you can’t do that, your website will fail.