When focusing on your site’s SEO, you need to be careful. Techniques that may have worked in the past could result in a penalty today. These black hat practices include keyword stuffing, cloaking, hiding text, abusing links, and more.

Here are my 7 SEO practices to avoid.

1. Keyword Stuffing

Formerly, one of the oldest tricks in the book, it’s become widely known that keyword stuffing is bad practice these days. Keyword stuffing, by definition, is the process of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate and improve a site’s ranking within Google search results.

Keyword stuffing often has a ‘bell curve’ effect. Add a few keywords, and you’ll improve your ranking. Add a few more, and nothing happens. Continue adding keywords, and you’ll hurt your site’s ranking.

It’s important to note that long-tail keyword stuffing is more likely to be penalized than shorter words or phrases. Mentioning ‘cheap deals on all vehicle from your local car dealership’ will lead to penalty shortly. However, you are less likely to be penalized by only mentioning ‘car dealership’ throughout.

2. Cloaking

Cloaking is known as the practice of tricking search engines into indexing different content than the user sees. Essentially, it’s presenting one version of a page to the search engines and another version to actual people. Search engines are against cloaking because it frustrates users and violates their terms of use. Getting caught can result in huge penalties, such as being removed from the index altogether.

3. Hiding Text

Hiding text within your webpage is also considered a no-no. Text can be hidden in the background, in the footer, or throughout the webpage design. All text should be clearly visible and understandable to users for the web page to truly serve its purpose.

4. Creating Unreadable Content

Content that is, frankly, unreadable, serves no purpose. Unreadable content is often due to the design of the web page itself, your content structure, or grammar. Content should be explicit and easy to understand. Google’s algorithm is capable of grasping what your content is about without you having to put keywords in every sentence.

Creating unique and interesting sentences will entice visitors to remain on your page longer, instead of just becoming frustrated while trying to decipher it.

‘Content’ extends beyond the written word. Overusing links, graphics, or ads can create a webpage that’s cluttered and difficult to navigate.

5. Link Farms

Exchanging links have been the ‘old reliable’ method of SEO marketing. Consisting of two platforms swapping links with each other to increase traffic; there are some unforeseen drawbacks to the practice.

You should always avoid paying for links. It’s bad practice and unsustainable. It is also a bad idea to be a part of a link farm. Link farms are a series of web pages that were created with the sole aim of linking a user back to a target page to improve the target page’s search engine ranking. This practice is spammy and never ranks well within a search engine.

Prive blog networks are similar to link farms. PBNs are a series of websites that appear to be unrelated but link to each other anyway.

Learn how to properly practice link building right here.

6. Misleading the User

Clickbait is the process of writing a title that grabs the users attention but is not related or representative of the content itself. Much like cloaking, this practice frustrates users and can lead to some severe penalties from search engines. Generally, after a user clicks on your title and notices the content is entirely different, they will leave your site right away. This web page’s bounce rate will increase, which tells Google that this page does not answer my query.

Gateway pages fall into the category of misleading practices, as well. These are pages that users find in their initial search that offer a series of links to other pages, rather than any actual content.

7. Spam

Spam is an attempt to manipulate searches to include content they otherwise wouldn’t have. While ‘Avocado Toast’ is a popular search term these days, a link leading to your car dealership has no place among those results. It should be pretty obvious why spamming users into stumbling upon your content is terrible practice!

SEO Tactics You Should be Practicing

In conclusion, the world of SEO can be incredibly tricky to master. Search engines are continually changing, and we need to be envolving with them. By creating genuine content and looking to generate authentic exposure, your webpage will drum up the traffic it deserves. Following these SEO tips will help as well!

Anthony Schultes

Anthony Schultes

With a degree in digital marketing and imaging, practicing content marketing and SEO encompasses all of my skillsets and interests. I believe that a sound Content & SEO strategy can help a business achieve whatever their goals may be. When not in front of a computer, you can find me at your local brewery, behind the lens of a camera, or in a theatre.

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