It's a well-established fact that doing SEO is a must for your website to get as many organic traffic as possible. To get this result, SEO practitioners adopt various tactics. However, not all tactics are going to take you to the rescue!
It's as though you were playing a soccer game. You can score goals with the pre-set terms and conditions and if you do foul the referee is all set to penalize you.
The same thing happens here too! If you do SEO in the way which is not consistent with the guidelines of Google then your website is very likely to get hurt badly – for instance – losing the ranking position in the SERPs or getting banned from the search engines.
To survive in the digital marketing world, you should abide by the principles of the Search Engines. In this post, we are going to handpick the most important SEO tactics that you must avoid.
SEO Tactics You Must Avoid
The SEO tactics, we should avoid, generally belong to the black hat SEO method. If you are unaware, black hat SEO rules do not follow the guidelines of the search engines. A white hat SEO, on the other hand, abides by the search engine guidelines and are safe to apply.
Here are the top SEO tactics that should be avoided right away:
1. Steering Clear of Black Hat SEO Advocates
Many SEO experts will do black hat SEO to rank your site faster. It's true that your site will rank fast but in the long run, your site will be penalized by the search engine.
Here is a chart, given by Neil Patel demonstrating how tremendously a site's ranking goes downhill due to the black hat SEO method.
But keep in mind that short term gain is not going to produce good results in the long term consequences. Hence, never ever trust any SEO experts saying “These black hat SEO still works today”.
2. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is when you use the keywords too often in your content. This is a black hat SEO method that worked like a magic spell in the past (nearly 15 years ago). However, this method is now considered to be a black hat SEO technique by Google and other popular search engines.
Fortunately, you can still use keywords extensively provided that those keywords are coming naturally in your content. Google's search crawlers or robots are artificially intelligent enough to determine whether those keywords were implemented naturally or forcibly.
Moving forward, if you can ensure adding those keywords naturally in your contents then chances are pretty high that your content is going to rank all the way up on the SERPs.
Here is an example of keyword stuffing:
“Business automation software can really boost your business's automation process with the power of business automation philosophy.”
Really irritating, right? Here, “business automation” keyword is implemented too frequently and unnaturally and so this is an instance of keyword stuffing.
3. Using Invisible/Hidden Text
What we see on the web page is not everything that the search engine can see. In fact, through programs, it is possible to hide some contents that a user can not see but the search engine robots can.
For example, you can implement the keywords stuffing with this technique but can hide this keyword stuffing and can only show the content that is readable to the user. Years ago, this method was a life saver for some people.
Other examples can be when you want to hide the keywords by making the font size to zero, or use CSS properties to keep those keywords away from the viewable portion of the web page to the user or you can use keyword texts above black background or place the keyword stuffed texts beneath an HTML element so that the user can't see but the crawlers can.
Sadly, you can not use this method today as crawlers will penalize you considering the fact that you are optimizing your content illegally.
Now you may ask if you should use the alt-text for your images. Yes, you can use it. Search engines will rather encourage you to do so as alt text helps the users to see what an image is about when it is not loaded properly or when the reader uses screen readers.
However, as the search-engine bots are becoming smarter with time, they can actually detect this black hat technique. And if the search engine can detect it imagine how many penalties your website will have to undergo.
4. Exchanging Links Instantly & from Irrelevant Sites
One way or even three way link building can be great if done properly but you need to be very cautious while you are linking back and forth between two sites. That's because these type of link exchange can be deemed as link buying and if you do so the search engine will penalize both of the sites with a bad ranking.
Luckily, you can exchange links between two sites after 20 or 30 days so that the search engine can not think that you are exchanging links unnaturally.
Another thing is that when you are linking, you should only link to the sites that are consistent with your website.
5. Posting Artificially Spun Articles
There was once a time when some people did use the article spinning software to create fresh contents from existing contents. A number of people who even can't read and write in English properly got even the Google Adsense for their site using these tools.
But as the search engine is evolving with time, it can now detect these artificially written articles which are part of the black hat SEO strategies.
Even if your article passes the scrutiny of the search engine you will get a higher amount of bounce rate as these write-ups are often terribly written. And nobody likes terribly written texts.
6. Spamming in Social Networking Sites
It's ok to send people links mentioning appropriate information. But if you want to send too many messages or comments without proper information, the search engine will consider it as spam.
And the search engine really abhors it! So, don't dare to do it.
However, you can share your contents in your group or pages with relevant information which is pretty good practice to proliferate the organic traffic.
Cloaking is very much similar to the method of invisible or hidden text. With some technique, you can actually show a version of the webpage to your readers and can show another overly optimized version to the search engine.
Sadly, Google and other search engines can identify this method. Hence, you should not do it to save your digital marketing strategies.
8. Creating Doorway or Gateway Pages
This type of page generally contains baseless and false information but is optimized with keywords and call to action driving the visitors to the landing pages.
As per the principles of the search engine this is considered to be the black hat SEO. Why? Because this is not adding any value to the readers.
9. Applying Unrelated Keywords
You may think that you may befool the search engine algorithm using keywords that are completely unrelated to your business.
For example, if your products are on groceries then you can use texts like “Mr. Donald Trump likes our grocery items to his heart's content”. Here the keyword “Donald Trump” is unrelated but your content will still rank just because it has a huge search volume.
10. Turning the Contents to Link Baits
If you can drive a lot of traffic via inbound links – that's great. But after getting those traffic via the inbound links you can change the contents of the page into advertisement copies.
And this is the most disgusting thing according to the search engine and is considered to be a black hat technique. You should not do something that hurts the feeling of your loyal follower after all.
11. Using the Focus Keyword Over and Over Again
Many of us do think that using focus keyword in the content will do the trick but it's not true. Famous SEO experts like Rand Fishkin always encourages to use latent semantic keywords (LSI keywords).
Articles including LSI keywords rank better and faster than the ones including only the focus keywords.
Bonus Tips on Growth Hack Ideas for SEO
Finally, we can conclude that you can not get away with tricking with the search engines. It's because the search engines are constantly getting updated and are inspecting each and every live webpage to see if there is something fishy going on.
So, to make the most out of the SEO tactics you must comply with the guidelines of the search engines. This way you can ensure the sustainable growth and safety of your website.