Which SEO techniques should you avoid in 2023?

To understand what to avoid, it is important to make sure that you understand best practice. To follow best practice you will find that all the search engines tend to provide best practice. Some of the big search engines, Google and Bing have pages dedicated around best practice:

All the other search engines provide guidelines for what they look for best practice.

Explanation of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques

Within this article we will go over the SEO techniques you should avoid. Before we do, we will go over the basics.

SEO has been around longer than Google search as mentioned in our last article, What is SEO and why is it important.

You can break SEO into the following parts:

  • SEO Health Check – That is, maintaining a healthy web site. Like do not have broken links or links going to pages that no longer exist.
  • Keyword Optimisation – Making sure you maintain the appropriate amount of keywords. Not over or under utilising your keywords. Knowing which keywords you need to use that can help make you rank in the different search engines.
  • Backlinks – Being able to have your site linked on quality websites that are inline with your company. Having high quality backlinks for example from a website that is all about movie reviews. Where they link to a site that is about dirt removing. It wouldn’t help you, unless the relevant article that the link was around relates to dirt removing. Backlinks need to be relevant to the topic.
  • Knowing your Competition – Understanding your competition site. Like the audiences they are targeting or what keywords they are using.
  • Knowing what your client or customer is searching or looking for on search engines

Having the basic understanding of SEO techniques is good to know, when knowing what to avoid.

Importance of following ethical practices in SEO

It’s important to understand that what might be considered ok today, might not be tomorrow. What happens is that once people know what can be exploited or maximised, they will. It is important to understand and follow the guidelines and not to exploit them. You might see the terms “White Hat” and “Black Hat” techniques.

White hats follow the guidelines, while Black hats will use unethical techniques and go past the boundaries of what is acceptable.

Outdated SEO or Black Hat Techniques to Avoid

Keyword stuffing and over-optimisation

When creating your web content it is important to not over utilise your keyword. This is known as keyword stuffing or over-optimisation. Instead of ranking you higher, you will most likely be penalised.

An example could be a company in the apple business, like a farmer or prodcuer of apple juice. They might use “apples” as their keyword and where they would write something like:

“Apples, apples, apples!

Apples are great, we love apples. I eat apples and dream about apples every day. Who doesn’t love apples….”.

This would be an example of over utilising your keyword.

What Black hats can do is to write the keyword over and over again, in the same colour as the background of the web page. This was a common practice in the early years of the internet to rank high on the search result. It is not a common thing to do today and search engines will penalise sites that used this technique.

You can read more about Keyword stuffing on Wikipedia.

Link Building Pitfalls

Having good backlinks will boost you within search queries. Unfortunately, it is also the hardest part to work within the SEO world.

Searching backlinks will show you companies that are willing to sell you them by the dozen. Or they might want to do an exchange with you, like “you give me a link on your site and I’ll give you a link on my site”.   Google and other search engines have strict guidelines around this practice.

Moz have an interesting article on What Are Backlinks and Why Are They Important for SEO? – Moz.

One way to work with links, is not to focus on backlinks, but to make sure you have good internal links. Writing good and original content is one way of gaining good backlinks.

Another healthy habit is to check your backlinks on a regular basis. Remember its quality, not quantity.

If you need to disavow links to your site, there are ways to do this. You can read more here on Googles Help Centre – Disavow links to your site – Search Console Help (google.com)

Technical SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Poor website structure and navigation

It’s important to make sure you regular check you web page. Be key areas to avoid are broken links or duplicating content.

Broken links can happen in a few ways. You might have put the wrong url in the link and so when someone clicks the link it takes them nowhere. Over time you should also check you links are still relevent and working. It might be that web sites you linked to are no longer or that they removed that page that you were linking towards.

Slow page loading speed

It’s important to make sure your web page is optimised around performance for mobile and desktop users. You don’t want to provide the user with poor loading times. Not only will this give the users a poor experience but can impact your rating with the search.

Example might be don’t have a large amount of high-resolution pictures on the one page. You can find articles around best picture sizes for web pages.

Content Quality Issues

A common practice, and I have seen many SEO companies do this, is duplicating pages. I have noticed that some SEO companies target local towns or cities and they replicate they page. What they do is create unique pages for that city, or town, and then change the name of the city/town to another major city. Example might be that the company wants to rank high at Ballarat and Geelong. They will then create the same web page for both, where they will have the cities name in the key parts. All they then need to do is insert the city they are targeting. Search engines can penalise sites for this practice.

Make sure your content is well written and unique. And of course, as mentioned above don’t overuse your keywords. People want something unique and not something created for search ranking purposes.

To Conclude

To keep up with best SEO practices, make sure you:

  • are always up to speed with search engines best practice.
  • don’t overuse keywords or spam them across your page.
  • check you links on a regular basis.
  • do regular SEO audits.
  • quality not quantity.

If you would like further reading, you can read about Googles Spam Policy.

Get in touch with Websites Now and see how we can help you maintain best practice. Contact us today, Contact Websites Now.