SEO Sabotage – Things You Do Not Want to be Doing
Sometimes – Less is More
In our last post we talked about some of the basic SEO elements all website content writers and company owners need to consider. A lot of what we discussed was obvious, but you would be surprised with how few actually follow those basic rules.
Similarly, there are a lot of websites out there that employ and host tons of SEO killers; methods that negatively affect page ranking as well as some sneaky ways some folks try and use to sidestep Google’s and other search engines’ spiders and indexing tools. If caught employing some of these tricky tactics, not only will your pages not get indexed, but you may get penalized.
Without further delay, here is a nice short list of things you absolutely want to avoid when organizing your SEO strategy;
- Keyword stuffing – artificially inflating your keyword density where not relevant can get you banned from search engines. Anything over 10% of keyword:text document is deemed suspicious material.
- Keyword dilution – optimizing for too many keywords across your content (especially when not relevant) will serve to dilute the effectiveness of those that may be relevant. Avoid this at all costs.
- Single pixel links – because these links are invisible to humans, they are seen as an attempt to manipulate search engine spiders, thus may cause you to be penalized
- Cross-linking – disguising reciprocal link trading is cause for punishment. A simple analogy is a site (A) linking to site (B) then to site (C), and then back to (A), although more in depth schemes are common
- Bad links – avoid too many outbound links. But most importantly, watch out for links to/from sites with bad reputations (sites already banned from Google because of one thing or another)
- Duplicate content – you may be penalizing for housing the same content on multiple web pages of your site. Change it up. You are doing no one any favors (least of all yourself) by repeating this content. Either come up with something original to say or wipe out the page altogether. Your clients will be happy to browse less fluff.
- Illegal content – using copyrighted content without the author’s permission is cause for being banned from search engines, as is the promotion of legal violations
- Invisible text – should spiders figure out you have uploaded content only for them and not for viewing by your site visitors, expect to be penalized
Design & Code
- Poor design and code – these items in and of themselves will not cause one to be banned or penalized, but bad design and coding often times prohibits content from being indexable at all – which is one of the Worst things you can do if you are trying to show up on the search engines organically
- Flash and Flash Home page (splash page) - these remain quite popular and unfortunately are the equivalent of SEO suicide due to the spiders’ inability to index Flash. If you plan to use this for visual appeal, ensure you have alternative text in place (relevant to the Flash content – VERY important) that the spiders will pick up
- Tables – The use of CSS is fast replacing design using tables, but it is still rampant and most often used by self-taught beginner-ish designers. Spiders are not big fans of these prefer Cascade Style Sheets
- Image links – use textual links that are indexable in order for the spiders to get into the next page and so on. Images are useless unless you properly fill in the <alt> tags
Last but not least, Redirects (301 and 302), if done improperly, can be bad news. Either they don’t link properly to the new domain/page OR are not viewed as relevant. Be careful when performing these.
A quick search of Technorati and Digg will bring up oodles of topics, tips, to-do’s and not to-do’s when it comes to SEO. My recommendation is to try and find a few bloggers whose writing style you are comfortable with, and who post info often enough to whet your SEO appetite and sign up to their RSS feeds. Often just scanning the headlines and key points alone will help enlighten you.
As we learn more about SEO and how we’ve employed it to help boost our clients’ rankings we’ll most definitely share. Until then…