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The Top 5 ‘No-Nos’ of SEO

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    There is a lot of information out there with advice on what to do for SEO, keyword research and link building, but what are the things that you or your SEO company should be avoiding? As we discussed in a previous post “Are you sabotaging your SEO?” there are activities that SEO beginners might get involved in that might not be in the best interest of your website, and some can even get you penalised in Google or de listed!

    1. Keyword stuffing.

    So you’ve identified the keywords you would like to rank for, and all you need to do is make sure that they appear on your website in enough permutations, that search engines will deem the page ‘rankable’. What some backyard SEO providers will do is ‘stuff’ that keyword into your content so that the word loses all meaning. Not just for people reading the site, but for the search engines as well. All search engines can spot keyword stuffing a mile away, and will generally avoid ranking pages that show evidence of it. For example:

    If you’re looking for a hairdryer, our salon can help you! You won’t find better hairdryers or cheaper hairdryers anywhere in Australia. Please browse our site for the perfect hairdryer! Our shop is so hairdryer friendly; you’ll think all we sell is hairdryers!!

    2. Hidden text.

    So you’ve decided to keyword stuff, but you don’t know where to put all those keywords, and you don’t want your site sounding a bit mental like the example above. The next step for the cowboy SEO is to hide the keywords in the background. This means changing the colour of the text to the same as the background, so that users will not see them. The problem is, robots and search engines can see them. If you right click on a page and select ‘view source’ you will be able to see them too. Your simple three paragraph of copy is suddenly accompanied by hundreds of keywords, all lurking in the background.

    3. Forum Spam.

    More than likely, you will have seen these on some websites that allow commenting on certain pages. There will be a few genuine replies and comments, and then out of nowhere, someone writes “Wow, great article, but you know what would make it better? Buying a hairdryer from Hairdryers R Us” and having the store name, or the keyword linked to their website. There are not-so-handy tools out there that will assist you with this dastardly deed, which is why the practice is so prevalent. This kind of flim-flam will not help your SEO.

    4. Duplicate Content.

    If your great website idea has already been done to death, but you fancy that you might be the whiz-kid that ‘makes it’, you might be tempted to have a look at other people’s sites to get an idea of what content to include. Before you know it, you’ve paraphrased a few pages here and there, and ‘borrowed’ an image or two, you even went as far as to copy and paste an entire paragraph. This is not quality content. Search engines are looking for original, good quality content that will benefit the many users that will be searching. If you directly copy or even just swap a few words around, the search engine robots will figure it out. It’s actually one of their basic functions. The site you ‘borrowed’ it from will have obviously been there first, so you definitely will not get any credit for it. More than likely, the style will not reflect your company and it will all sound a little patched together. Which it essentially is.

    5. Cloaking, or Doorway pages.

    Cloaking is a bit technical and therefore should be too hard for some technical SEO scammers. This is when a completely different website or page is shown to the public, but there is a ‘hidden’ one purely for the search engine robots. Doorway pages are when you have a ‘spam’ page that users have to endure before they get to your real content, if you have any. These pages usually contain heaps of keyword stuffed content that may be repeated in other pages on the site that it links to. Google especially has been de-listing pages of this ilk.

    While it may be tempting to employ these tactics in an effort to achieve rankings for your website, understand that any higher ranking will be short lived and can end up hurting your site’s reputation permanently. Always ask an SEO professional for advice before undertaking your own campaigns, and always play by the rules.

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