Last week, we went off the rails just a tiny bit with a metaphor that involved trolls and dice rolls. The heart of the message was simple, though: make sure what happens behind-the-scenes at your business is not too different from how you represent yourself online. Honesty in website content is paramount when trying to build a reputation online and avoiding any negative blowback.
In part two of our SEO Honesty series, we will cover a bit more technical ground with the same general message. Essentially, a lot of webpage building practices businesses are encouraged to do for the sake of search engine rankings could actually have an adverse effect. By trying to game the system with SEO trickery, you not only make search engines mad but you could also be making your audiences mad.
To help avoid Google and locals alike from grabbing their torches and pitchforks and storming your place of business, avoid these six SEO bad practices at all costs:
#1 Using Duplicate Content
“Stealing content” would be a more accurate heading, since that’s really what’s at play. The rules of online copyright law may be fast and loose when it comes to sharing content without attribution or taking ideas like memes, but copy/pasting verbatim text carries a penalty on Google.
The search engine will often flat out refuse to index pages that have repeated content elsewhere — more for the purpose of indexing only original, useful pages than a crusade against plagiarism. Regardless of the intent, having too much duplicate content can have the page that uses it drop off the face of the searchable world. Google once hinted that 25 to 30 percent may be acceptable, but aim for less than 15 percent to play it safe. You can use a plagiarism checker to verify.
#2 Overzealous Keyword Spamming
As much as we want to tell you how “SEO Atlanta digital marketing is the best Atlanta SEO strategies for Atlanta business rankings,” we know that sentences like those come across as gibberish in the best instances and shameless SERPs (search engine results page) rigging in others. Ensure that your keywords fit naturally within the flow of the text and that they are not used in such a high concentration that Google will flag it for spamming.
Usually, having the keyword used once in the body, once in the meta description and once somewhere in a heading, title or bullet is enough.
#3 Disguising Text Using Cloaking
Even if you try to disguise keyword or back link spam by making it the same color font as your background, Google sees what you are doing, and they know that it is very naughty. If you are going to write text, make sure your visitors can read it.
#4 Making Meaningless Guest Posts
Guest posting can be a great community-building strategy for both online and offline audiences when done tastefully. Having something genuine to say can fill out the content on someone else’s site while leading their readers back to yours’.
However, having meaningless guest posts — especially ones packed to the gills with keyword spam or self-promotion — can have the opposite effect. You turn off any potential leads you had when they read it, and Google often picks up on these campaigns when a site uses them to gain ranks quickly. Guest post in moderation, and ensure that your covered topics are pithy and represent your brand well.
#5 Paying for Links
Not really worth the ROI, and Google tends to learn about these things one way or another.
#6 Bait-and-Switch Redirect Pages
Have you ever gone on Google and found a page headline that sounded exactly like what you were looking for — only to soon discover that the page as you expected it doesn’t exist? This type of ruse, where sites make “fake” web pages that are nothing more than hard redirects to existing pages, can be incredibly frustrating to users. You discourage them from clicking on your other content, and you also end up alerting Google to your behaviors.
Let EverSpark Keep You in the Clear with SEO Best Practices
With every new algorithm update, Google gets smarter and meaner about rooting out websites who want to rank the easy way. Little do these businesses know that SEO does not have to resort to such tricks to get results.
We at EverSpark Interactive understand simple SEO best practices that can lead to favorable results, all without alienating your friendly neighborhood search engines and patrons. Let us help craft a workable SEO strategy for your site that keeps people coming back for more. Click here to get started today.