seo practices

Bad SEO: 10 SEO Practices to Avoid

There is a lot of misinformation about SEO practices.

SEO is a collection of website and search engine sculpting best practices. Yet, the specifics of Search Engine Optimization is generally unknown. We can only guess what’s effective because Google doesn’t reveal SEO signals.

SEOs gather data from Web projects for smart guesstimates of what works. A lot of the SEO Google ranking strategies are derivative of these guesses. Unfortunately, some information gets lost as it’s repeated like the childhood game, telephone.

What are the results of SEO misinformation?

You get Webmasters applying harmful SEO strategies, further hobbling search ranks. This, in turn, forces heavier investments into SEO to catch up with prior ranks… costing many sales in the process.

Here is what you need to know about bad SEO. Plus, the better alternatives for those wanting best practices for search rankings.

10 Unethical SEO Practices for Webmasters Wanting to Poison Their Search Rankings

Hopefully, you’re not in agreement with this headline.

Good rankings pose a challenge but there are no true shortcuts. Thrilling strategies today could moot efforts when Google rolls out an algorithm change. A smart Webmaster learns from SEO mistakes, so they stick to beneficial strategies.

Here are the 10 bad SEO practices you need to avoid.

1. PLR and Article Spinning

Content fulfills two things:

  • A reason why people visits a site
  • A signal letting Google know what the site is about

Many using PLR and spun content change very little of the source material. The result is a jumble of illegible text, having no value.

Google’s AI and RankBrain is powerful enough to understand content context. It’s also a signal when people back out of the site. The PLR/spun content is actually lowering your site’s quality score.

Do this instead:

  1. Learn what your audience wants
  2. Create great, insightful content
  3. Get the community contributing

2. Toxic Link Building

Toxic link building involves gaining backlinks from questionable sources. This could include irrelevant domains to those linking out to everything. You may place your link among others pointing to scam websites.

Examples include:

  • Link spamming via profiles and comments
  • Buying links on thin-content websites
  • Cloaking links or abusing doorway pages

Google associates the bad link “neighborhood” with your website. This lowers link quality score and total SEO value.

Do this instead:

  • Curate link sources by pulling the site’s link profile
  • Stick to building links on quality, relevant domains
  • Avoid spam-like link building services

3. Unsecured Platform

An unsecured platform makes your website susceptible to hackers. Hackers can inject your site with dirty content and links. Google will flag your site and rankings will drop if you fail to address these issues. 

Do this instead:

  1. Install SSL and server/site security plugins
  2. Update plugins and change passwords
  3. Track content and outbound links

Use backup services if the attack is severe.

4. Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is as it sounds where Webmasters overload content with keywords. A few keywords here and there helps Google understand the content’s topic and context. But, stuffing is an obvious abuse to sculpt rankings.

Google wants to see a variety and value in the site’s content. Likewise, a stuffed article won’t read well — giving visitors a reason to back out. If people “vote” the content lacks value then Google will place better pages above yours.

Do this instead:

  1. Discover and use two to three instances of the primary keyword
  2. Use secondary and long-tail keywords in content sub-sections
  3. Increase the content’s length, stabilizing keyword density

Try keeping keywords to the intro, body, and conclusion. Google is smart enough to understand the content’s topic. Work on providing value versus ticking checkmarks next to your keyword list.

5. Open Submissions

Accepting guest posts adds free content to your website. But, you need to show some quality control and avoid open submissions. Open submission attracts low-quality content usually riddled with spam links!

Do this instead:

  1. Create a guest post guideline with high requirements
  2. Scan and edit guest post submissions for quality
  3. Publish and hold content creators accountable

6. Omitting Sitemaps and Crawling

It’s an easy oversight to forget your site is blocking search during development. Likewise, you may forget to submit a sitemap to Google in your rush to launch. Forgoing these two stops Google from discovering and indexing your site.

Do this instead:

  • Verify your robots.txt file isn’t blocking search engines
  • Submit your sitemap in Google’s Search Console

7. Lazy Meta Data

Every page should have a unique:

  • Title
  • Meta description
  • URL

Each item should include keywords but also enticing hooks to attract readers.

Your site builder may auto-generate metadata. Or, you or the developer were lazy about creating unique information for each page. Either way, it’s important and should become a top priority if you want pages to rank.

Do this instead:

  1. Research a primary and secondary keyword for each page
  2. Include keywords in the title, description, and URL
  3. Repeat for every page without unique metadata

You could outsource this task if there are thousands of pages.

8. Slow and Unresponsive

Site speed is one of the few search metrics Google has told us about ranking. A slow or unresponsive site is a worthless site because it fails in delivering info. This is usually the result of lackluster web hosting services or bloated code.

Do this instead:

  • Upgrade web hosting services
  • Reduce on-page elements
  • Use CDNs and site caching tools

9. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content could include:

  • Reposting the same content with a different title
  • Copying and pasting whole sections into other works
  • Letting Google index many instances of category/directory pages

You don’t win SEO by plastering a site with the same content. Google wants a beefy site where visitors dig around and find great information.

Do this instead:

  • Stick to publishing one article about one, specific keyword
  • Expand and update content versus creating new instances of it
  • Use 301s and canonical URLs when interlinking content

10. Dirty Link Profile

You found a great domain and bought it in a snap. Great! Unfortunately, you didn’t realize the prior owner built shady links to it. This dirty link profile weighs down your SEO efforts.

Do this instead:

  1. Pull up your site’s link profile with a keyword tool
  2. Use the disavow option in Google Webmaster Tools
  3. Build new, quality links to the domain

Get Rankings Faster (While Playing Fair)

We mentioned there are no shortcuts with SEO practices. Yet, that’s not to say there aren’t smarter ways to get ranks faster.

Building links are the crux as Webmasters lack relationships during the early stages. Our services close the gap, letting you build connections early — benefiting early. Discover one-way text links and add to your SEO efforts, today.