4 SEO Violations That Can Kill Your Rank

SEO violations can damage your website’s organic visibility and make it harder for you to appear in search results. What harmful SEO tactics should you stay away from and what should you do instead? Here are four SEO violations that can kill your website in search and a few basics to keep in mind when determining your SEO tactics. 

1. Black Hat SEO

Search quality updates, like Panda and Penguin in Google’s search algorithm, help ensure that searchers receive the most relevant and highest quality results for their queries. These algorithm updates work by penalizing websites that use black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, link farming, and low-quality content, in an attempt to game the search results.

2. Low-Quality Content

Having low quality content on your site can damage your SEO because Google and other search engines are looking for pages that present searchers with relevant information. Low quality content on your site can mean thin content, duplicate content from another site or webpage, or content that’s auto- or mass- generated. Because this content isn’t valuable to searchers, this SEO violation won’t help you rank well in SERPs.

3. Cloaking

According to Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land’s news editor, cloaking is the worst thing you do for your SEO. Cloaking means you’re showing search engines a different page or different content than what the human searcher sees. For example, search engines may see a page with text content that matches its URL while searchers see a page of images or videos. So, basically, cloaking is trying to trick Google and other search engines to think that there is content is on the page that really isn’t there – and search engines don’t like that. Don’t try to trick Google.

4. Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is a black hat SEO tactic that used to improve search results, so some websites still rely on this practice. But, Google’s Penguin update ruled keyword stuffing ineffective, and now it can damage your SEO. Keywords are still an important component of an effective SEO strategy, but they need to be used naturally. Instead, you should identify a main topic or theme for each page of your website and build relevant, readable content around that topic.

Avoiding SEO Violations

Building an SEO strategy that will improve your website’s visibility can be difficult. Here are a few basic guidelines:

  • Create content for searchers, not search engines: Search engines look for content that is appealing to searchers, so that should be your main focus when creating content. Your content needs to be readable and contain enough information to let searchers (and search engines) know what each web page is about.
  • Focus on your website’s ease of use: Make sure your website is mobile-friendly or responsive, easy to navigate for searchers, and includes a clear structure with correct tags and markup that search engines can read.
  • Have consistent business information across the web: Search engines look for consistency. Your listings, website, and all social sites need to be consistent when it comes to your name, address, and phone number.

For more information about creating an effective SEO strategy, visit our blog, and if you’re looking for an SEO company to help you improve your chances of showing up in search results, visit our website.

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Stephanie Heitman

Stephanie is the Sr. Marketing Manager for USA TODAY NETWORK | LOCALiQ. She has experience in digital marketing, social media management, and content creation for SMBs. Stephanie specializes in helping businesses improve their online reputation and appreciate the impact social media and digital marketing can have on their brand. When she isn't researching the latest online marketing tips and trends, she enjoys watching reality TV with her husband and her dogs.

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