SEO: What not to do!

SEO: What not to do!

There are some critical mistakes that you can make when making efforts to improve your online search performance. Even worse you may come across organisations who deliberately apply these techniques to bring about search performance improvement. We call these techniques ‘Black Hat SEO’. Best advice is to avoid them at all costs; they may create an initial boost to your search performance, but if and when the search engines actually detect that you’re applying such techniques the most likely scenario is that they’ll apply penalties and send you search engine rankings into oblivion. Here are some of the common ‘Black Hat’ tactics that you should be on the lookout for:

1.Keyword stuffing

This is a method that some people use to get higher keyword density on their pages without altering their design/look.

2.Hidden Text

This technique basically calls for hiding text away from human users, but enabling the search engines to see it. The most common form of this is to create keyword stuffed text which is the same colour as the page background, thus making it invisible to the human eye, but not the search engines which will then obviously pick up the keywords within the hidden text. A less extreme version of this is to ‘hide’ text right at the bottom of pages where you would not expect visitors to scroll, but is obviously still visible to the search engines.

3. Cloaking/Redirection/Doorway pages

This is one of the more common methods of bad SEO and can get you banned. The developer would build a high-density page targeting a few specific keywords. In the header, the page uses JavaScript or some other scripting method to forward browser traffic to a different page (often the home page). Because spiders do not read or use JavaScript, it sees the high-density, optimised content and indexes it. When a real user clicks the indexed page in the search engine, they are forwarded to an entirely different page. Redirection in almost any form outside of 301 (permanent redirect) is not SEO-friendly and could seriously damage your rank.

4. Triangle Linking

Triangle linking is a method by which someone forms a ring of one-way links between their sites. Site A links to Site B links to Site C links to Site A. In this way, they’ve built a chain of one-way links. Google and other engines consider this an exploitation of their one-way linking weight.

5. Link Farms

Link farming is the practice of getting a bulk of links from a site that is usually just remotely included on your page. A link farm is a group of websites created for the sole purpose of creating a high volume of link, but unfortunately they aren’t real sites and therefore links from them do not confer any real quality value. Typically many of other sites use the same page of links in the same order. Search engines do not like sites acquiring bulk links in this method and it is very easy for them to detect.

6. Duplicate or cloned content

It is a bad idea to have duplicated content on your site. Simply writing a few paragraphs of content and pasting it on all your pages will not only fail in helping your rank, but could actually get you penalised. It is important that your pages are unique and are not more than 70% similar. Some sites try to auto generate content in order to create high volumes of additional online content, but as you may imagine this type of content does not have an end user in mind (other than trying to trick the search engines) and consequently is of little value. Other sites may just lift chunks of content form other sites, which again the search engines will be alive to an penalise accordingly.

The bottom line is that you should avoid any techniques that are designed to ‘trick’ the search engines as the chances are that they will identify the activity as just that an respond accordingly.

Stick to ‘White Hat’ policies and concentrate on making your website a useful resource for human visitors; if you do this well you’ll receive the blessing of the search engines and ultimately reap the benefit in terms of improved SERPs rankings and rising visitor levels to your site.

If you think your website could contain ‘Black Hat SEO’ we can help. Please get in touch and we will advise you on how eradicate this and improve your SEO the correct way.