In this guest post, Supple SEO strategy director Saijo George reveals the seven deadly sins of SEO.
There are 1.94 billion websites out there competing for attention.
When chasing after a better position in Google’s search results it can be tempting to employ some questionable SEO tactics.
However, the negative effects of Black Hat SEO tactics can leave you in a position that’s worse than ever.
So, dust off that halo and make friends with Google – here are the 7 deadly SEO sins to avoid.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but no matter how tempting you find it to copy another website’s words or images, this is a sin Google (and your site visitors) will not quickly forgive.
Original, engaging content is prized by Google because Google knows that this is what users want.
Duplicated content not only incurs the wrath of the search engines, it will turn potential customers away as they encounter stale content that does not accurately reflect your brand.
It is worth bearing in mind that self-plagiarism is also counted as duplicate content.
- Unnatural backlinks
Quality backlinks can act as your website’s guardian angels, guiding site visitors towards you through the fiery trials of the online world.
Google’s ranking algorithm elevates websites with useful backlinks from trustworthy sources, seeing them as more authoritative.
The problem occurs when websites obtain backlinks through unscrupulous means – paying for links or utilising other spam tactics. Far from earning you Google’s favour, this sin will be penalised.
- Keyword stuffing
Don’t allow greed to lead to a glut of keywords on any of your website’s pages.
Finding and using the keywords your customers are searching for may be one of the most effective SEO strategies, but keyword stuffing will only land you in trouble.
- Website neglect
Search engine optimisation is not a one-off task. Remember that pride comes before a fall, and just because your site is on top today doesn’t mean that it will be tomorrow.
Regularly updating your website with new and compelling content is one of the best ways to keep customers coming back, and if site users are happy, then Google will be too.
- Intrusive pop-ups
Pop-ups that disrupt the user experience (especially on mobile) will turn away readers and incur Google penalties.
Make sure pop-ups don’t obscure your site and are easy to dismiss if site users do not find them helpful.
Google will not penalise your responsible use of pop-ups, especially where they appear for legal purposes, such as confirming a visitor’s age or acceptance of terms and conditions.
- Shady tactics
There is a difference between using SEO tactics to reach your audience and using tactics to manipulate them.
If your website is not user-friendly, and Google’s algorithms find it full of paid links, hidden text and ‘cloaked’ pages, then your rankings are sure to suffer.
Google may even ban your site if you breach its webmaster guidelines.
- Neglecting website analytics
This sin of omission isn’t something that Google will penalise. However, staying on top of your website analytics is vital for your website’s continuing success.
Pursuing SEO without analytics is a stab in the dark. So, if you don’t understand how to collect and analyse meaningful data relating to your website’s performance, then you either need to figure this out or find an expert.