5 Things You Should Never Do In SEO

There are many practices that are considered “black-hat” and that you should never practice in search engine optimization.  Over the years, the search engines have evolved and fine-tuned their algorithms to weed out spam and search for the best kinds of content.  While the list of no-nos is long, for the sake of time and trimming the hedge of SEO, here are 5 definite things you should never do.

Purchase Links – Search engines are continuously changing their algorithms to detect spammy techniques of acquiring backlinks.   Whether through detecting bad linking patterns or by accepting a spam report that launches a manual review, your site can be flagged and/or demoted in search rankings.  Buying backlinks doesn’t allow for great content to be seen but just sites who have the deeper pockets.  The point of earning backlinks instead of buying them is to keep the process of ranking fair to those who provide actual value.

Duplicate Content – Some businesses buy multiple urls and run copies of the same site.  It is a waste of time for search engines to crawl the same content repeatedly and it can hurt you in the end.  Most of those pages will never rank and you are wasting precious rank juice that could be better utilized for boosting one quality page.  Sometimes a company has no bad intentions and simply has multiple ways of navigating to the same content.  While there are many scenarios, purposeful and not, that this can create, search engines might see this as spam and ban your site.

Cloaking – An old spammer practice of showing different content to search spiders than you do to the user.  There is no reason to do this and it doesn’t matter if your intent is pure.  Search engines have a zero tolerance policy for cloaking and will ban your site.

Copying SEO – It may seem advantageous to copy the SEO practices of competitors that rank higher than you but it is definitely not.  Many times those sites that seem to prosper might be implementing bad tactics.  While they may not seem to be punished for it, algorithms are constantly changing and something they may be pounding into could lead to a devastating fall in rankings.  Your time is better spent learning solid SEO techniques and sticking with persistence, variety and great content.  Just because the grass LOOKS greener on the other side of the fence doesn’t mean that it actually is.

Keyword Meta Tags – You should ignore this practice completely.  Search engines gave up using this as a ranking factor because spammers abused it so badly.  If you have someone in your office or on your crew that absolutely insists on keyword meta tags because they don’t know they don’t matter anymore, take a few of your top keywords, put them in there and then never pay attention to it ever again.  Search engines care about what is USER VISIBLE, such as title meta tags, but you can dump the keyword meta tags in Narnia and walk away.

There are definitely more tactics that have gone the way of 8-tracks due to overuse by spammers or by sheer irrelevance but these 5 are things that people still seem to do in this day and age.  Try following the search engine algorithm trends to stay up to date on what you should be shifting or implementing to improve rankings for your site pages.


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