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1.94 billion websites populate the Internet. It’s intense.
There’s an ongoing scramble for Google first page ranking and it can be like playing snakes & ladders.
Those with a good long term SEO strategy have a chance of making it to that coveted first position. That’s the ladder bit.
However, the snake part is deadly. That’s doing certain SEO things that have a negative impact on your results and you may never be found.
There’s seven of them that most SEO agencies avoid. They’re deadly for your search rankings and must be avoided like the plague. Here they are:
1. Backlinks that are spammy or not natural
Backlinks refer to one site linking to another, and they’re normally treated favourably by Google’s ranking algorithm if they occur naturally. They help you climb higher in Google’s ranking which means you’ll get more visitors.
However, backlinks that are bought, come from spammy sites or aren’t naturally related to your business are viewed by Google as a “black hat” tactic.
Google can tell when you’re trying to game their algorithm and you’ll be penalized.
2. Pop-ups that intrude on the user’s experience
Pop-ups are a great way to show site visitors special offers, sales, links to your social media platforms or ways to sign up to mailing lists. They can also have a positive impact on increasing conversions.
However, Google penalizes intrusive pop-ups which disrupt a user’s ability to scroll through your site.
With an emphasis on mobile, Google’s algorithm will pick up if a pop-up is spammy, difficult to dismiss, or deceptive and sneakily redirects people to a different page.
Apart from making them clear and easy to navigate out of, one of the other ways to avoid spammy pop-up penalties is to have timed pop-ups. This means, rather than appearing the moment someone visits your site, it’s delayed.
3. Keyword stuffing is hated by Google and your customers
Keyword stuffing is exactly that. It’s complete overuse of the keyword phrase on your website or page.
It’s a terrible SEO strategy for two key reasons.
Firstly, it dramatically decreases the written quality of your content, making it difficult for customers to browse your website. There’s no point using SEO to draw more people to your site unless there’s quality content for them to easily read.
Secondly, the Google algorithm will recognize keyword stuffing and you will be penalized. Keeping keyword density to a moderate level means you avoid being sent to Internet Purgatory – otherwise known as anything but the 1st page of Google.
4. Not updating and auditing your website regularly
Your new website is fantastic. Content that educates and informs, complete with eye-catching hi-res images. But that’s just the start.
While you may appear on the first page of Google one year, a competitor may decide to start an SEO campaign and, as they rise up the ranks, you get pushed down. If you aren’t regularly auditing your own SEO success, it could be years before you realize why your business has trailed off.
5. Black hat manipulative techniques
One sure way to jeopardize ranking is to utilize “black hat” tactics. These are manipulative techniques which prioritize shady tactics over quality work.
Some of the “black hat” sins include; hiding text on your site, ‘cloaking’ your content and paying for backlinks.
These tactics won’t just impact your ranking, they could get you banned for a period of months or even years. Google is not afraid to come down hard on anyone who uses black hat tactics.
6. Copy or duplicating other people’s content
Just never copy or duplicate other people’s content. No matter what.
Explicit copying or “duplicating” of written content, stock images, and meta tags can read like you’re just a scraper site to Google crawlers. That means copying other people’s content and passing it off as your own.
Even if you’re operating in the same industry and providing the same services, your branding is unique to you. Originality is what Google and your site visitors want.
Similarly, envying someone’s ranking for a particular keyword phrase gets you nowhere. The best approach to getting the most out of your own SEO strategy is researching buyer intent to give you a wide spread of alternate keywords to target. This will ultimately offer better results across Google.
A good SEO strategy plans for the long-term and focuses as much on creative originality as clicks. Being distracted by the speed and size of a competitor’s success is just that – a distraction.
7. Not paying attention to your site’s analytics
Depending on your experience level, you may be very familiar with analytics, or you might not have a single clue.
Analytics are, in essence, a dashboard of metrics related to your website’s visibility on the internet. And while you may think that simply staying on top of how many calls and clicks you get is enough to stay abreast of your site, you actually need to delve much further.
Without meaningful data collection, real-time visitor tracking, and automated data collection, you’re simply making assumptions about why you’re doing so well.
Having success without understanding why means that, if you want to improve or fix something, you’re going in blind.
Analytics are one of the most data-driven parts of SEO. If you’re not utilizing them, you should be. If you don’t know how, you can either learn the basics or hire an expert.
Avoid getting SEO penalized and optimize your SEO campaign
It’s crucial to avoid bad SEO practices. That’s anything that can be considered spammy, black hat, or just downright unethical.
Perhaps not in the same category as above, but understanding data and Analytics will guide you in what’s working and not working in optimizing your digital marketing. Know this, and you know the correct course to steer and why.