If you weren’t already aware, Google can make your website completely disappear from its search results. Many business owners get comfortable with a nice, steady flow of traffic and conversions, only to have it snatched away. More often than not, this is a direct result of an SEO “sin”. There are a range of SEO practices which will send your site straight to Google’s naughty list. Here are some big ones to avoid.
First of all, still buying into “article marketing”. If you’ve been operating your business since the mid noughties, there’s a fair chance that you remember this tactic being all the rage. The concept is that you can write a high-quality article, and then spin this template into multiple versions, changing one or two words and publishing as many as you could to various websites. There are people who still practice this, but it’s dying out quickly. Since the peak of article marketing, Google’s algorithm has become more and more sophisticated, and is now incredibly good at picking out articles that only have small variations in the content. This means that a lot of spam that had been ranked for years on end is now plummeting. If you’re buying into this tactic, you should have stopped yesterday!
Next up, keyword stuffing. This is a horribly common sin, and the worst nightmare of any good SEO agency. You get a loose grasp on the significance of keyword density, and use this single principle for all your content. This results in blog posts where an obvious keyword appears far too much, and reads like it was written by someone with a severely short memory. Compared to domain authority and the quality of links, keyword density isn’t that big of a deal. Google have said time and time again that their main goal is to provide their users with the best experience possible. If a 500-word article has 100 of the same words, this obviously isn’t going to give the reader a good experience! Even if they didn’t penalise keyword stuffing, the poor content it creates isn’t going to be linked by anyone!
Finally, using unnatural anchor text. Just like stuffing, this is usually the result of a little knowledge being dangerous. When Google’s determining the search terms they’re going to rank a page for, the anchor text is one of the big factors. For example, if everyone’s linking to your page using the anchor text “high-end drones”, there’s a good chance the page is about high-end drones. Once some amateurs understand this, they try to play the system, and use terms which they want their site to rank for as their anchor text. A little of this is okay, but remember that you’re not going to get the same anchor text every time. Some people are going to use a related, shorter term, something a little outside the box, or even a plain URL. If you never, ever change the anchor text, Google will see what you’re trying to do, and penalise your website.