“Not-To-Do” lists are often more effective than “To-Do” ones. And even better when the topic is SEO. In fact, getting your website blacklisted from Google is 100 times easier than ranking it properly.
1. Don’t use keyword-stuffed domain names
I already said it a few weeks ago: keyword-rich domain names don’t attract website traffic any longer →.
Say thanks to Google and their latest update, “Penguin”. Just use your brand name, that is definitely a more memorable, unique, fun and interesting one.
2. Don’t cross-link websites
Reciprocal links between websites are no longer useful. It simply doesn’t help Google understand which the referring website is.
If abuse occurs, cross-linking can definitely be the reason why your website isn’t showing up in the search engines. So, make sure all your links go to one direction only, and the recipients don’t link back.
3. Don’t do keyword-stuffing
Avoid overloading your pages with keywords to try ranking your website. First, this doesn’t help your website visitors: how many times have you read unreadable, ridiculous website articles?.
Second, and most importantly, not only it’ll sound unnatural, but your website could be blacklisted by Google.
4. Don’t hide text
Another thing you may not want to do is hiding text behind images. Or writing with white font on white background. In this case, the explanation is very simple: users won’t see that text, but search engines will.
If in the past this technique was working very well, now it’s enough to get you out of the Google ranking!
5. Don’t duplicate pages
I’ve seen it, and you must’ve too at some stage! And it’s also quite ridiculous, both for the internet users and the search engines. I’m talking about one of the latest SEO trends: duplicating website pages to target different geo-locations.
Pages would be exactly the same, but the main keywords would change depending on the location chosen. This technique has been very effective in the last few years and I know dozens of local websites that are still using it. However, not only duplicate content doesn’t help your ranking anymore – but also automatically generated text content is really not recommended.
6. Don’t participate in link farms
A link farm is a group of websites that link reciprocally to each other. Not only cross-linking is bad (see tip #2), but link farms are considered as spam by Google & co.
So, never pay anyone who offers to exchange links or promise you 1000’s of backlinks. Think twice.
7. Don’t do cloaking
What is cloaking? Nothing technical – it’s simply a way to show your website to internet users and another website to search engines. This would get you banned. Talk to your SEO consultant and make sure legal techniques are used to rank your website on Google.
8. Don’t use random links
Lots of website owners and SEOers still believe that tricking search engines is easy and cost effective. One typical example is the use, within a certain section of text, of unrelated hyperlinks to unrelated website pages.
Just avoid it. It’s no good for the website reader and it’s no good for the search engines. Google algorithm is now able to spot “unnatural” linking pretty well – so keep it relevant, all the time.
9. Don’t overuse advertising above the fold
Another big change to the Google spam policy in 2012. Stuffing your page with adverts and external links above the “fold” (ie the area of the page that is visible without scrolling) could get you blacklisted.
Make sure you have enough text and relevant content above the fold, so users (and Google) are able to understand whether they accessed the right website. If you really need advertising, use the sidebar or the footer.
10. Don’t have random redirects
Use redirects (automatic link from one website address to another) only when you change domain name. Never, ever use them to trick your users or Google. This is very simple: give them what they are looking for, not something else.
This SEO technique is now deprecated and could get you blacklisted straight away.