Do you know that there are some SEO techniques that hurt your Google ranking? Are you familiar with the term ‘Black Hat SEO’? If you are not, please go through this post. In this post, I will help you understand the SEO techniques that hurt your Google ranking.
Before that let’s see what is Black Hat SEO?
According to Google webmaster guidelines – there are some SEO practices that are considered unethical or outdated. They are generally termed ‘Black Hat SEO’. As we all know SEO is all about optimizing your website for search engines. But, bad SEO is something that can generate opposite results.
Everyone has the right to follow the best SEO practices to optimize their website. Whether it is using Meta tags for description or using Sitemap for helping Google Crawl through the website — you are free to use different SEO practices. However, as move towards advanced SEO practices, there are some that will affect the ranking of your website. These SEO tactics are often detected by Google’s Panda and Penguin search algorithms.
Now, how you will know which techniques are bad and which are good? Well, I have listed 9 worst SEO techniques that hurt your Google ranking.
- Buying Backlinks
There are thousands of sites that will convince you to pay for genuine backlinks. For Instance – Fiverr is one of those sites that provide hundreds of backlinks to your site by just paying a nominal amount of $5.
But, the question is – what sites are linked to your website? Will they be related to your niche? Well, I cannot provide an accurate answer to this question. Getting trusted links to your website is a white-hat SEO and is good for your website. Google can de-index your site from the search results, if it knows that you are paying for backlinks.
If you want to rank high on Google search results, avoid paying for links. I also advise you not to participate in networks that sell links and help you distribute your own content across different sites.
- Irrelevant and duplicate content
I often talk about SEO friendly content in my posts. Content plays a very important role in driving traffic to your website. Make sure to write a unique and informative content, as you need to avoid publishing duplicate content on your website.
When creating content for your website, you should make sure that it is relevant to your business. For example – if you are into real estate business, you don’t need to talk about travel related issues on your site. If your site has irrelevant content, Google get confused and may not rank your site.
If you want search engines to identify and list your website, you should make the content unique and relevant to your business.
Google values user experience and if your site proves it — Google may even reward your site. When writing content, keep the needs of your customer in mind. Think about every aspect of what your customer wants and create useful content for him. This can help your site rank high, while showing Google that your content is relevant to your business.
The second important thing when it comes to content is originality. If you have to add some duplicate content on your site that is useful for the readers, you should “Noindex those pages so that they won’t have any negative impact on your SEO.”
- Stuffing content with keywords
This is one of the common mistakes that SEO experts and webmasters do while making the site SEO friendly. Keywords are very important part of SEO. However, repeating the same keywords again and again in the text is a very bad SEO practice. Even if they fit well into the sentence, it is better to use keywords in limited volume.
Keyword stuffing will not only discourage the users but will signal the search engines that you are trying to manipulate their algorithms. If your website is about any particular niche or topic, it is absolutely alright to include as much as information about it. However, you should not include keywords after every 2 sentences in every page — as your site may look spammy. It will not only annoy the search crawler — but also the visitors of your site.
It is advised to mention the keywords only in the title, Meta description, opening paragraph, subheadings and last paragraph.
Cloaking is a widely known black hat technique that deceives the search engine by showing different content to Google and taking the website users to a different webpage after click on the search engine link. For instance, the web code makes Google think that you are directing users to live cricket match. But, your website publishes information about forex trading. Such activities are detected by using search algorithms. Google penalizes such websites, which not only hurts the ranking — but results in banning from search engines completely.
Using such technique is a very bad practice and you should keep one version of page for users as well as search engine crawlers. Make sure that the user is able to differentiate between ads and web content. Else you will be slapped with a penalty.
- Excess Optimization
Working on the SEO is one of the best ways to provide a user-friendly experience and increase search engine ranking. However, you are hurting the rank of your website by optimizing your website in excess. Over optimizing SEO is the practice of creating too many SEO improvements that begin to ruin the ability of website to rank.
Whether it is stuffing the site with tons of keywords or linking to lots of deep internal pages, excess optimization can always hurt your Google ranking. If you want to stay away from excess optimization, use a limited number of H1s on a page. Avoid linking to toxic sites; instead focus on associating with or linking to healthy sites in your niche. Create a site with perfect technical SEO that doesn’t suck your efforts.
- Too many ads
We often don’t consider how ads can impact the search visibility of our website. Too many ads can be bad thing for users as well as search engines. Putting more ads on the site to make more money seems to be a prevailing thought. However, the mindset is misguided and is no longer a sustainable strategy.
Google is placing a greater emphasis on user experience. However, it doesn’t mean that Google hates ads. It just wants you to integrate ads without turning off the users. Google wants to make sure that the websites that are rewarded with top ranking are providing users with the answers they are seeking.
Every ad becomes a potential obstacle for spiders that try to crawl across your site. According to the recent changes made to Google Adsense Rules, they will look at pages in a different way. Google will now take a negative view on pages with more advertisements. This means there will be potential devaluations for pages that contain more number of ads compared to content.
- Lots of outbound links
No doubt, high number of outbound links drains off your Google Ranking. However, they provide a powerful endorsement to the site you are linking to. If the site is of high quality, I would suggest linking to them. Linking to banned sites can do real harm to your website. Google considers your site to be dubious site, if you are linking it to a low-quality site.
There is a long debate in SEO that how many links are considered as too many links. The number of outbound links is roughly defined as more than 100 hyperlinks on any given web page.
- Article directories
Article marketing is a very important SEO technique. The main idea behind article marketing is to write an informative article about the topic and submit it to online article directories. However, many people make the mistake of spinning the existing content on the web and publish it in article directories. People believe that they can outsmart Google by posting hundreds of articles in multiple directories. Using such article for SEO can hurt the Google ranking of your website.
The second thing is article directories are themselves repositories of bad content. If your article is informative and unique, it will be placed in a website where good quality content is an exception. Search engines like Google tend to have a very bad opinion of article directories.
There are better places than article directories to post your content. Starting your own blog can still be beneficial, as long as it is updated regularly. You can even become a guest blogger on another website, which will give you the possibility of gaining high-quality backlinks and traffic to your site.
- Ignoring Google Search Console (formerly Google webmaster tools)
After the recent updates to Google algorithm, webmasters are taking a closer look at their backlink profile. Many people make the mistake of ignoring Google webmaster tools, which can hurt the Google rank of their website. Google webmaster tools are meant to provide data and configuration control for your site in Google.
There are tons of things you can do with Google webmaster tools. However, it takes some time to get return on the time you spend with it. If you haven’t yet set up Google search console, do it today! It is easy to setup and use. All you need to do is click www.google.com/webmasters/tools, and sign in with your Google account. Click on add a site, verify it and you are done.
You will be notified about each and every important issue related to your site. You can even monitor the performance of your and make necessary changes based on the feedback.
Wrapping it up!
There are many other SEO techniques that can hurt the Google ranking of your site. SEO should be a long term strategy and you should consider all the factors that affect your rankings.
If you are following any of the above techniques, you may get results for only a short period. However, most of these techniques are banned from search engines. If you use any of the above SEO techniques, Google will treat your site as spam and will delist it from the search results.
Taking right steps to get the best from your SEO is a smart way to rank high on Google. What’s more important today is to follow ethical SEO practices based on Google standards.
Have you ever been penalized for using any of the above SEO strategies? Please leave your comments below!
If you need help with SEO, please contact me.