Uncovering Very Bad SEO Practices
If you’ve been around long enough in the digital marketing sphere, you’ve probably seen websites before that promise so many things on almost no budget. Chances are, if the procedure for the Search engine optimization is vague and there seems to be a lot of things covered, you’re venturing into the realm of what we’d like to call black hat (SEO).
SEOexplode.com uses only the best, industry-standard practices in Web development and search engine optimization, and guarantees that all gains for web properties are positive and are never gained through prohibited practices.
What is black hat search engine optimization? Basically, it’s duping search engines in the attempt to make a web page rank higher than it’s supposed to – and in a compressed amount of time. Instead of doing it the right way – with the proper optimization techniques and delivering user intent-centered content that is insightful and useful, some SEO companies try these prohibited practices in the effort to ‘get ahead’ minus the hard work.
Here are some of these practices that you shouldn’t even try because once Google detects that you are trying to dupe it, your website as a whole will be penalized and you are going to simply disappear from search engine results – pronto.
An interview with Matt Cutts some years ago is quite succinct about Google penalizing websites. Cutts states that you can get penalized anywhere from a month to six months – and then the search engine tries to ‘re-establish’ a relationship with the website again, slowly, to see if it is now trustworthy and previous black hat issues have been removed.
If not, you’re not going to see your website on Google, period. Furthermore, Google believes that the best way to discipline web owners who engage in shoddy practices is to prevent them from making money online – by removing them from the search engine’s listings. If this isn’t enough to convince someone to change tack, we don’t know what will.
- Paid links
A paid link is any link that has been purchased with money. You will see such links usually in the comments sections of blogs, where bots try to post comments containing links that have absolutely no connection with the actual link, or the topic of the page itself. You simply have to look at the anchor text of a link to find out if it is a genuine link or not.
Google has done a lot of clamping down on link farms or black hat SEO websites that sell back links presumably to increase the ranking of websites who buy the links in the first place.
Back links build authority over time, so Google’s many algorithm changes have definitely detected and no longer count purchased back links. It’s not normal for websites to create links to a single site by the hundreds, anyway, so the approach to create back links needs to be more organic and natural.
Creating full profiles on websites and spreading links of your pages around as they offer relevant information is fine. This is one of the more common and acceptable approaches to creating back links for SEO purposes.
The verdict: Don’t buy links in bulk, and don’t think that paid links will ever get you anywhere – not with Google’s smarter RankBrain and algorithms in place. More than anything, paid links will get your website in trouble instead of helping it along.
- Improper keyword use
Also known as keyword stuffing, this is the bane of many Internet users a long time ago because content creators were taking advantage of a weakness of Google back then. Some ten plus years ago, Google was focused on keywords and mapped websites based on how many search terms existed on their pages. The result? Absolute mayhem. People were unable to find quality information because the Web was absolutely infested with content that had little or no value, but had a lot of keywords.
This was the situation back then, and Google acted on the situation by penalizing websites that used keyword stuffing and posted content with bad grammar and little information to share with actual readers who are looking for quality content on the Web.
Use keywords as naturally as possible and make sure that when you do insert a long tail keyword into the content, that it makes 100% sense to do so.
Otherwise, don’t do it. As for the volume of keywords, Google adjusts its algorithms so much that there isn’t a hard and fast rule about this. What we can suggest is to trust your intuition as much as possible.
Read your content and ask yourself: are your keywords natural-sounding? Did you use a keyword phrase too many times? Your own verdict will tell you whether the keyword volume in your content should be adjusted or not.
- Hidden links
Another bane of Google, which it now penalizes quite severely. Hidden links are links that are not in plain view, but still exist on pages to boost the SEO of a page. Some black hats also add text behind images, links at the top or bottom, where they are blacked out so they can’t be seen at all by a regular visitor unless they are selected and highlighted.
Some folks also resort to placing texts and links with a font size of zero so they’re on the page as mere lines, and they aren’t readable at all. Don’t do this, because links should only be used to serve particular purposes on a page. Stuffing any page with links just because you want to boost the SEO of other pages is just plain wrong. Can you be penalized for this? Definitely.
- Spam and redirects
Have you ever visited a website, but ended up on a completely different website, apart from the one that you really wanted to navigate to?
Google calls this the sneaky redirect, and your website can also suffer a hit if you practice this. Instead of trying a sneaky redirect to drive traffic to a sales page or landing page, why not just offer something of value to get people interested in an offer? You can do that legitimately and without any sneaky redirects from your actual content pages.
A ton of marketers are doing this and they’re fine. If you want a user to jump to another page, then make sure that they are aware that they are being brought to that page. Be straightforward about your on-page navigation.
- Private blog networks
It takes only a few seconds to set up a blog, and it was even easier back then to dupe Google into believing that rings of blogs had quality back links.
This is really no longer the case now. What’s happening now is that Google is working hard to uncover private blog networks by checking the IP address of the blogs, verifying the ownership of the blogs, and even going as far as detecting if the blogs are hosted by the same servers.
So if you are thinking of creating microsites and generating backlinks for your main website where all the action is taking place, don’t. If you really want to create authoritative websites, do it the “old fashioned way-“ invest in content, in proper Web design, and allow the search engine to do its work in ranking quality websites.
Another approach that you can try is applying for guest blog posting on websites that have already established authority in your industry. Many blogs do this – it’s perfectly fine to share your knowledge on another website and in exchange, there will be a link on that post leading back to your website. Even if you aren’t able to generate leads directly from your posts, Google will detect the quality back links and this will make your website’s rank better in the long term.