Tactics Which Can Kill Your Website’s SEO

While some SEO tactics are simply ineffective, others can be considered downright unethical, although you obviously want to avoid both types. SEO practices which are considered less than ethical are known as “black hat” techniques (as opposed to “white hat” SEO techniques which are not only acceptable but desirable). The ineffective SEO techniques take your time and money, yet produce only short-term results, so you want to guard against them as well.

Commonly Used Less-Than-Ethical SEO Techniques
A link farm is a group of websites which have been created with no other purpose than to generate backlinks to other sites. These sites have absolutely no useable content of their own, rather they simply sell links to those who are attempting to add links to their website and increase their rankings. This is an SEO technique which is simply not worth it for a variety of reasons. Not only are you required to shell out money for the links, but as soon as Google—or any other search engine—recognizes the site as a link farm they will ignore all the links, and may even penalize you for using such a low-level technique.

Cross-linking is also considered an unethical practice, and consists of one person having multiple websites, and linking between them—for the sole purpose of creating links. While it can be perfectly acceptable to occasionally link one of your sites to another, creating sites which have no value in themselves simply to be able to add another link is not only a waste of your money, but just like link farming can end up getting you penalized. There is virtually no reason to engage in cross-linking when you can easily get links simply from writing high quality articles and posting them on your primary website.

Cloaking your website involves returning altered website pages to the spiders which crawl your site while your human readers see something entirely different. The goal of cloaking is to improve your search engine rankings by misleading search engines into thinking your content is different than what it actually is. It’s much easier simply to optimize your content to begin with than to risk having your site removed or blacklisted when the cloaking is discovered. Any site that appears differently to a search engine than to the human eye will be deemed to be engaging in cloaking, preventing the search engines from effectively doing their job—and costing you dearly.

Keyword stuffing is also frowned upon by search engines, but more importantly can alienate your readers. Inserting a large number of keywords into your content and meta tag in an attempt to increase your site’s rankings and bring more traffic to your website—artificially—is known as keyword stuffing and it is considered unethical, and, in some cases can be considered an attack technique. This means the keyword stuffing is used to send traffic to websites which are considered fraudulent or even malicious. Keywords may also be hidden in the content through matching the font color to the background, or putting the keywords behind an image. Google’s increasingly sophisticated algorithms have enabled it to quickly identify irrelevant terms as well as to spot keywords which are clearly out of context or simply overused. Google may remove a site completely if they detect the use of keyword stuffing, so don’t do it. Use your keywords wisely, but always make sure they make sense within the context of the content.

Don’t waste your valuable resources engaging in unethical or black hat SEO techniques, rather take the time to set your site up correctly right from the beginning, and only use time-proven, high quality, ethical practices which will move your site up the ranks slower, but steadily, without the potential for penalties or banishment.


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