These are some bad SEO practices you’ll want to avoid if you plan on ranking well for the search engines in the long run.
Don’t wait to implement your SEO
One mistake that is often made when creating a website is not implementing SEO from the beginning.
The earlier you optimize your site the more opportunities you have to rank well for your keywords and build links that will help increase your search engine ranking as well as gaining traffic from those links.
If your business is important to you then starting off early could save you a lot of aggravation and stress later.
If a visitor comes to your site and you don’t have engaging, useful, relevent content and good internal links that will help them find what they are looking for you may find your visitors leaving instead of being engaged.
If you ignore doing your keyword research it will be much harder for anyone to find you in the search engines, and if you don’t strategically build your links you may not even receive traffic from all of the places you could be and lose out on building referrals from other sites that could recognize and like your content.
Avoid duplicate content
Duplicate content is when large potions or entire blocks of content are duplicated either on a single website or across multiple websites.
This can occur when you have the same content on multiple pages of your site or share the same exact content with another site.
For example you could have put up a post in the past related to a specific topic you covered and then copied and reposted that content in a more recent post.
The downside of duplicates content is that many search engines will not crawl all of your pages.
Providing a variety of quality content will give you a better opportunity to rank well.
By having multiple copies of the same content you may inadvertently have robots crawling duplicate content instead of other content you want them to crawl.
When search engines crawl your website and find duplicate content they may choose one of your pages over the other and this may lead to them chosing a page that you prefer not to be chosen.
If you choose to modify your content and repost it as a better version it can still be considered duplicate content if large portions of it remain unchanged.
While this is a rare occasion having too much duplicate content can look suspicious to search engines and can cause them to devalue or even remove your website or certain pages from their search engine.
Having too much duplicate content may make it look like you are purposely repeating your content to help you rank well in the search engines and search engines look down upon that type of behavior.
On the other side duplicate content is common enough for most search engines to know that it is not usually done on purpose and may just choose to show one version over another.
For the sake of having as many of your pages crawled as quickly and effectively as possible try to avoid having duplicate content on your site.
for more detailed information on avoiding duplicate content you can view the google webmaster tool help section on duplicate content.
Be wary of SEO companies that make great claims
If you are thinking about hiring an SEO company to help you rank well for the search engines do your research first.
Claims to be able to get you to the first page of google or get you the number one spot in a search engine should be looked at with extreme caution.
Check their references, look for others they have helped, check their placement in the search engines, and if possible contact other clients of theirs.
This is a great post on some bad practices and experiences with un-reputable SEO companies.
Stay away from cloaking
Cloaking is a method of creating two types of content. One for the search engines and one for the visitor.
Using keywords, titles and descriptions that are completely different from what your content is about is one form of cloaking.
The search engines may feel your topic on content marketing to be relevent but when the visitor gets there they end up reading about car accessories not content marketing.
Not only does this annoy the visitor but it doesn’t make the search engines happy either.
Search engines have gotten progressively better at detecting cloaking, however they are still susceptible to it.
In any case staying away from cloaking is typically a good thing to do, both for ethical purposes and SEO.
Keyword stuffing is a waste of time
Keyword stuffing is a form of placing a particular keyword over and over again in content or meta descriptions to try to rank well for that search engine term.
This can occur when someone either hides text by using the same color text as the color of the page (using white text and a white background which a visitor won’t see but a search engine robot will) or by consistently placing a keyword to an unnatural extent in the content on your page.
Keyword stuffing is now becoming irrelevant as search engines are using newer methods to detect the quality of pages such as how often the page is linked to, whether or not the page has a high bounce rate, and if people are commenting on or sharing your site with others among many other factors.
Keyword stuffing is not only a bad practice but a waste of time.
Don’t use link farms
A link farm is a group of websites that use hyperlinks to connect to one another for the pure benefit of trying to increase their rankings.
Link farms can have thousands of links that connect to your website to make it look as though it is a popular and authoritative website.
Search engines have countered this by penalizing or simply not indexing webpages and sometimes entire sites that have been found to use link farms, which could get a website kicked off of the search engines and kill any SEO efforts.
With so many bad SEO practices I couldn’t cover them all so please let me know about some other bad habits should be avoided below.
This is part of the seo school series.