If you contemplated on doing SEO, you may have heard about the best SEO practices and those you need to avoid. Today we will be focusing on the unethical SEO practices which are used by some webmasters to rank higher on SERPs.
Note that implementing these practices puts you in an awkward position. For example, Google may devalue some of the web pages or even remove your site. Without further ado, let's have a look at the worse SEO activities to avoid. We try to keep this up to date with the newest tactics people use that you might be a victim to.
Applying the techniques discussed here can lead to a manual action from Google.
Hiding keywords is not a new trick in the SEO handbook. How does this work? You might use white color text with a white background, or use CSS to cover up the text. This technique worked then when search engines were not sophisticated, but today it won't work. Currently, search engines see all the keywords used, including the invisible ones. So unless you want to be penalized, this technique should be avoided.
Keyword stuffing is one of the oldest black hat SEO technique that has refused to go away. This technique involves forcing keywords throughout the content of the web page with the aim to trick search engine bots into rating a website higher. Stuffing keywords hurt the user experience, and it is for that reason this technique is highly discouraged. The recommended keyword density is 1.5%, so make sure you don't exceed this density.
This technique allows businesses to present search engines with different content from that presented to the user's browser. Often search engines get high-quality content, and users are slapped with poor content. What makes this strategy worse is that it focuses on ranking and not user experience. If you have been cloaking, your ranking will disappear as soon as Google finds out.
Some businesses today are implementing negative SEO. Negative SEO refers to the act of using unethical techniques to sabotage a rival's ranking in the search engines. Some of the negative forms of negative SEO includes:
- Creating fake social profiles and ruining your reputation online
- Hacking your website
- Creating numerous spammy links to your site and more
While you are likely to rank higher if your competitors ranking goes lower, if Google finds out (be sure Google will), you will feel the pain.
Links contribute to website ranking for specific keywords, but why is Google consistently warning against paid links? The answer is simple. Because most of these links originate from websites of low quality and overall that hurts the user experience. If Google finds out that other websites are linking to you and you have poor quality, be prepared for the worst. So before you think of link building, make sure you have invested in great content.
Spam comments are common today, with some been auto-generated. While this seems a good idea, it results in bad user experience and equally gives a reader a bad impression. Remember, most people today are aware of spamming. So if contemplating spam comments, you better change your approach. Don't forget search engines sooner or later will also catch up with you.
Buying old domain names
Some SEO agencies will do anything that will make their bank account fat. One illegal thing some SEO agencies do is helping people acquire old domain names at a fee. Sometimes, they even go further to direct existing backlinks to your website and generate period reports so you can continue paying for link building service. If your agency is doing this, what other unethical activities are they doing behind your back? So be mindful of the SEO agencies you engage and avoid buying old domains.
Believe it or not, there are SEO agencies that are king in fake reviews. They are so perfect that they get the job done effortlessly. But does this really represent your brand? Imagine spending your hard-earned money on a dubious brand because fake ratings or reviews pointed you that direction? Definitely, that hurts. Why then want the same to happen to others?
Quality content has been seen to increase blog traffic by up to 2000%. This figure speaks louder on the need to produce better content each day. Unfortunately, that is not always the case as some businesses prefer cutting corners. Some of the bad practices here include duplicating, spinning, and twisting content. But why even think of cutting corners while there numerous ways to create quality content? For example, hire a skilled content writer for the job.
Misleading headlines (a.k.a click bait)
You have seen blog posts with attracting titles, but the main content is not. Some people use catch titles to attract clicks, yet the main content is stale. Using this technique will not only result in lower clicks in the long run but will also increase the bounce rate. Don't forget you will be in hot soup when Google finally finds out.
Duplicating (stealing) content
It is common today to hear cases of duplicated content, and you are left wondering why someone would be that lazy. But the fact is, this still exists today. They might copy an existing article that exists online and post it on your website.
Today there are software that can generate content (also known as spinning content). Using these applications may seem a good idea, if you do not want to get penalized for duplicate content, but actually, the final content undeniably will be pathetic. Even though this software may include the right keywords, the final content will not be user-friendly. Article spinners aren't as sophisticated as human beings. Tone, grammar, colloquial, slangs aren't detected or properly structured. Whether technology advanced and these article spinning Softwares can generate proper sentences, words need to relate to your audience.
Leveraging the right SEO technique is very crucial today. But that does not mean taking advantage of every technique you come across blindly. Always do a little digging to find out whether the technique is recommended. The above are some of the techniques to avoid.