SEO: Things You Should Avoid
The world of Google rankings is a competitive playing field where only the best efforts can reap benefits in terms of prominence, popularity, and ROI. Having said that cheating your way to the top may give you benefits in the short term – later it could get you penalized. So it is better to make your way to the top in an honest and fair manner.
In this article, you’ll read about SEO: Things you should avoid discussed in four sections 1) SEO things to avoid with content, 2) links, 3) accessibility and usability, and 4) other SEO things to avoid.
SEO THINGS TO AVOID WITH CONTENT
As per an infographic from Brafton, 93 percent of companies utilize content marketing, and 2 million blogs are produced in just the span of 24 hours. 99 percent of people in the B2B environment are of the opinion that content impacts purchase decisions while 27 percent are of the opinion that it has a considerable effect. Google’s search squad includes Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, Hummingbird, and PayDay. So it is important that your content makes all the members of the search squad happy.
If the content aspect is clean, you have a solid foundation to build up all your other SEO endeavors.
Do you produce quality content? Is your content unique and useful and does it offer something of substance to those who read it? Is there a reason for people to devote more than a few seconds to viewing the content on your page? These are questions you will have to ask when you produce content.
Here are some don’ts as far as your content is concerned:
Low-quality content: Inferior quality content is a major cause for inflicting Google penalty on oneself these days. Recently, Google introduced Panda 4.1, a very intelligent algorithm for inferior grade content. It is really worth publishing a single piece of quality content than posting many hundreds of pieces of slipshod content.
Duplicate content: Do not circulate duplicate content across multiple pages or domains? If yes, don’t do so anymore. Also, don’t copy the content available on other websites.
Expired, outdated content: Outdated content could bring your rankings down. Update your content or else post something that’s evergreen.
Slip-shod off-site articles on article directories: Once upon a time, article directories were a somewhat clever way to develop backlinks. You could pen throwaway, cheap articles and be assured a link from any site with a high page rank. These days, the benefits of the article directory approach have been considerably reduced.
Short content: There was a time when producing 300-word articles and many of them, could get you ranking benefits in Google, but, not anymore. Longer content (1500 words and above) converts better and attracts more social attention.
Auto-generated content: “Auto-generated” or automatically generated content is programmatically generated content. Frequently, this will comprise paragraphs of arbitrary text that don’t make sense to those who read it but that may hold within them search keywords. Various examples of auto-generated content are given below:
Text generated utilizing obfuscation or synonymizing techniques: Text translated utilizing an automated tool with no curation or human review before publishing. Some websites combine or stitch the content from diverse web pages without providing adequate value addendum. Another version of such negative technique can be text generated by way of Markov chains or other automated processes.
Low-quality guest posting (spammy and inferior guest posting is out): Guest posting could be an element of white hat SEO. However, links proceeding from guest posts, particularly in the area of author bio, might not be as precious as a relative link on the very same page.
Keyword focused content: Keyword density should not exceed three percent so as to get ideal results. Quality should not be compromised to maximize keyword space.
SEO THINGS TO AVOID WITH LINKS
Google’s preference is to reward things that add user value highlighted by natural (organic) links. They want to provide payment for a ‘good user experience,’ fundamentally. So, unnatural links do not contribute to that concept.
If links are meant only to manipulate Google, the search engine terms them “unnatural links” and should there be quite a lot of them, you are punished with a penalty or as a minimum, trapped in the next negative update of the algorithm meant particularly to de-rank sites with that type of links.
Not checking out backlinking profiles: A backlink or inbound link is a link that leads to your blog or website. Backlinks will only be beneficial for your blog or website if they are good links (coming from reputable sites). If they are coming from porn websites, gambling websites, penalized websites or other such bad sites, you run the risk of seeing your website banned, irrespective of how great the quality of content on your website. Not checking out the profiles for your backlinks is, therefore, similar to concocting a dish for disaster.
Chaotic internal linking: Internal links continue to be a strong SEO signal. Random linking of pages and development of circles all through the area of your website is not going to do it any good.
Non-relevant links pointing to your website, also link-wheeling: Though once upon a time, any links pointing to your website could boost your SERP, that’s not the case anymore. Currently, the sources of the links have to be relevant sites to be of any benefit to you. Non-relevant links are not bad and, therefore, count as non-natural SEO.
You should make it a practice to look out for bad backlinks every week or month, and promptly remove them.
Link wheeling entails constructing backlinks to your site by developing multiple blog posts on a number of different websites and connecting them to produce a “wheel” effect. It is a niche edition of a link network. Such a kind of link building strategy is unnatural – not the natural outcome of doing business. Hence, Google would view it as forced or false and is a penalty waiting to occur for your website.
Purchasing links: Never purchase links, mass or otherwise. This is another instance of unnatural SEO. Purchasing links is an infringement of Google’s Webmaster guidelines. Google has a term for the purchase of links – “link schemes.” It may be described as the process of purchasing/selling links which pass PageRank.
Rich anchor text links: Whatever the kind of links you develop, rich anchor text links are not the way to go. It would be best to keep the extent of the keyword richness of the anchors to approximately one percent. Higher percentages of direct keyword targeting is no more an effective strategy. It could get you punished online.
SEO THINGS TO AVOID WITH ACCESSIBILITY AND USABILITY
The website should be easy to access failing which users are discouraged from coming to your website. Important aspects of accessibility include:
- No broken links (a 404 page is sure to push visitors away);
- The website should be able to cope up with slow connections and varying screen sizes.
In addition, the design should be usable and clear for which the requirements are:
- Familiarity: Try to restrict yourself to what people are already aware of. Having said that, there is nothing wrong in visiting other sites for inspiration.
- Simplicity: Concentrate on what’s important. By not distracting your visitors, you would more likely be able to make them do what you wish them to.
- Guidance: Lead your website guests by the hand. Do not expect them to explore the whole of your website by themselves. On the contrary, you should guide them around your site and make them aware of what you can offer them.
- Consistency: Develop a consistent experience across the whole of your website to put the mind of your visitors at ease.
- Good information architecture: Comprehend the mental models of your visitors and the way by which they would want you to structure your site content.
Ignoring website speed: The website should load quick enough. A slow loading speed would augment the bounce rate which means the loss of more customers.
Having a website that is not mobile-friendly: Don’t give a link to each and every single page of your website from the home page. This would cause overloading of the page because of an excess of tabs, decrease white space and increase loading time. Should pages require in excess of 5 seconds to load, you would have a bounce-off rate that would be an obstacle to achieving a high SEO ranking.
Features that make a website not friendly for mobiles include constructing your website completely in Flash and making the website difficult to reach through ordinary user navigation. Make sure your drop-down menus are not jam-packed with pages.
One of the reasons Google penalizes the mobile rankings of websites is because they don’t have mobile editions for all their pages. It is recommended to make all the pages of your website accessible from all devices. To achieve this, responsive web design is strongly recommended.
OTHER SEO THINGS TO AVOID
Given below are more SEO things for you to avoid.
Hidden/invisible text: Hiding text is an old strategy still attempted by some people. They position the target keyword in the feeble colored text all across the web page for it to repeat multiple times over. Google would pick up on the unnatural utilization of the keyword, causing your website to be penalized.
Doorway pages and cloaking: A doorway page is a kind of landing page which people can view for only a small number of seconds. It could be filled with keywords for the sole purpose of tricking search engines. On the other hand, the content that the users typically see is in no way connected to the keyword. If there is a connection, Google would still not favor the strategy.
Un-optimization: Though the majority of people are not bothered about this, the ALT tag has a considerable impact on search engine ranking.
Considering the fact that images contribute considerably to the total file size of a web page, image optimization is the best way to enhance your site’s performance. Utilize image compression tools such as TinyPNG.org or PNGCrush to reduce your file sizes.
Drop shadows, rounded corners or other similar CSS3 effects can also lessen your dependence on images. However, try to discover the right balance, as an excess of CSS3 effects may also negatively affect a page’s performance.
Google crawler is not able to read images or other graphical objects. Thus, you have to set ALT tag for all images and put in keywords to improve crawling and ranking. It is an essential aspect of on page SEO that cannot be overlooked. What’s more, utilizing a keyword as image title also works fine.
Over-optimization: Do not utilize the same titles and descriptions all through the website. Refrain from keyword stuffing. Some people utilize same keywords multiple times to boost the keyword density. It could result in your website being penalized or banned from Google. Ensure that your title does not go beyond 70 characters.
Spammy hosting and domain: Avoid all kinds of spammy hosting servers and domains. Do not develop any kind to link association with spammy blogs and websites. The majority of free hosting services that permit free hosting of web pages are full of spammy content and sites. What’s more, certain free domain extensions (example .ml and .tk) are also identified as spammy sites. So it would be worth keeping away from these types of free extensions.
Infinite loops for scheme marking: Make sure there is no infinite loop – (two pages that keep linking to each other) – this indicates users would be compelled to withdraw from your webpage so as to come to the beginning, should they return at all.
Refrain from utilizing misleading tagging and titles, the tagging should have relevance with respect to the content.
Duplicate resolving to home page: Do not permit both domain.com and www.yourdomain.com to become your home page. They are two different addresses for a search engine, and the indication is that the same content is present at two addresses. On an associated note, do not connect to your home page with such a URL as www.yourdomain.com/index.html – that is a distinct address from www.yourdomain.com and would appear to be duplicate content.
Daily rank checking: Refrain from it because your rankings would change whether or not you check them. It would be better to devote time to enhancing your website instead of waste time seeing the site move up and down the SERPs.
Making your website uncrawlable: This could be the outcome of an incorrect robots.txt file, utilizing a convoluted navigation menu that spiders won’t (or can’t) follow, or creating an all-AJAX, all-graphic or all-Flash website.
In Palo Alto, we interviewed entrepreneur Amr Awadallah from Cloudera. Amr shares his learnings …
In Palo Alto (CA), we meet founder and CEO of Instart Logic, Manav Mital. Manav talks about his …