Search engine optimisation is all about getting you high on the search engine rankings, making it easier for prospective customers to find you, increasing engagement, getting you warm leads, and getting a sale. However, bad SEO has the opposite effect. Google has laid out the webmaster guidelines that makes them happy, and practices outside of these guidelines won’t do you any favours.
Here are 5 SEO practices that’ll hurt your rankings and what you can do to avoid them:
Content that isn’t unique is not good for SEO. If search engines have already read the same content in their index and they’ve crawled through it, they’re not going to recognise your content as there’s nothing new to offer. This isn’t to say that every blog should be a new or unique idea, but Google will recognise if it’s word for word identical to another post.
Sometimes, duplicate content is necessary due to the nature of the business or because it’s useful for readers. If this is the case, you should “no index and no follow” those pages. This means search engines won’t index the content, and it won’t have a negative impact on your SEO.
Have you ever been on a site and legitimately wondered if it was written by a human? Using the same keywords again and again in an attempt to optimise your writing is a really bad SEO practice. It doesn’t read well, it disrupts the user experience, and here’s the clincher: it’s actually terrible for your search ranking! Search engines are clever things and they’ll recognise if you’re trying to manipulate their algorithms.
Instead, mention your keywords in the title, opening paragraph, and a couple more times naturally in the text. That’s enough for search engines to recognise it and makes for a much better reading experience for a potential customer.
Accepting low quality guest posts
Featuring new writers on your website is a great way to open yourself up to their audience and can do wonders for SEO. It also makes you look like a trusted and professional business if you have guests wanting to be published on your website. That’s providing that the content is relevant and useful for your audience, original, and of course, actually reads well.
If you have a low quality guest post on your site, it reflects badly on your brand and hinders your SEO efforts.
Too many ads
Google doesn’t like websites with too many ads, especially if they’re visible above the fold. When you first click on a website, the first thing you see before scrolling is ‘above the fold’. Optimising this part of your website is key for user experience, and Google loves websites that make the user’s experience a good one. It also recognises when people leave a website really quickly, which is terrible for SEO. People tend not to like loads of ads and pop ups, especially when first clicking on a page, so clicking straight off will just tell Google that they didn’t have a good time on your site.
As well as being fast, it’s important to have 24/7 availability. A modern hosting provider, like WordPress, builds fast websites that load in a good amount of time.
The internet is a hub of instant gratification. If you’re making someone wait 7 seconds for your website to load, the chances are they’re going to click straight off and go to your competitor. We do go on about it, but ensuring a positive user experience is key. And as we’ve already mentioned, Google recognises when people click straight off a website. Google can also tell when a website loads slow and of course, doesn’t like it.
What can you do to avoid bad SEO?
Website success is based on SEO practices that are in line with Google’s standards and up to date with the latest algorithms. So, if you avoid these bad practices (like the plague), you’re on your way to building a solid SEO strategy.
However, a good and successful SEO strategy is not a quick fix. That’s why bad SEO is so detrimental to your business – it’s a waste of time and takes even more resources to rectify to get you back on track. We know that unlocking the mystery of what Google wants can be overwhelming and confusing at times. A digital marketing agency can help take the pressure off, as well as making sure the job’s done right. We build websites with thorough and detailed strategies that get results, with SEO at the forefront. To find out how we can help you, get in touch today.