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At OMG, we’re here to help make your business succeed. Gurus are good people, and good people don’t want good businesses to vanish into the online abyss. Even worse, we don’t want to see good businesses be penalised by Google for doing bad things.

A lot of our clients come to us with an outdated or ill informed idea of what SEO is. They still think stuffing a webpage with relevant keywords will bring them rankings. Or that adding in links at every opportunity – or worse, buying them – will drive them up that search engine result ladder.

It’s not their fault; these are businessmen and not online marketers. It’s hard to stay on top of the technical world that is SEO and digital marketing, and that’s why we’re here to do all the hard work for you.

Google’s constantly changing its algorithms and what it considers desirable and useful in a website. What was once valuable is now spammy, and what a lot of people don’t realise is that they can be penalised by Google for using those dirty tricks that once were considered valuable.

Don’t wait for that moment you get hit by a threatening email from Google or see your website suffer terrible rankings. Save yourself the heartache and stress and make sure you’re aware of SEO Don’ts. Even better, get some expert gurus in to do all the hard work for you so you can avoid making mistakes altogether. But let’s get started.

  1. Keyword stuffing

Yeah, we’ve already mentioned this in the intro but it can’t be stressed enough. We still get so many clients coming to us who want their pages stuffed with relevant keywords, refusing to believe that it will achieve the opposite result.

That’s not to say you can’t use keywords at all. In fact, keywords are still just as important, only they need to be used in a natural, informative way. Use keywords in your content a few times to establish relevancy, and then leave it at that. Don’t go out of your way to try and add extra keywords or Google will pick up on it.

At the same time, try to expand the scope of your keywords. If you’re looking to rank for “Melbourne cafe”, you could also try using keywords like “cafe in Melbourne” or “good coffee in Melbourne”, both of which are similar ways of expressing the keyword you’re looking to rank in. Expand your horizons and you’ll sound less spammy and repetitive, and more valuable and relevant.

  1. Using unnatural internal links and anchor text

Firstly, a lot of website owners think it’s a great idea to link back to their website several times in a single piece of content. When you’re reading a blog post and every second or third sentence is linking back to the homepage, you’re likely to consider the post spammy and stop reading. You don’t want users to do this when reading content on your site. Keep links back to your site natural and relevant, and at a minimum.

Another way links can appear unnatural is through the use of anchor text. Again, don’t try and trick Google by keyword stuffing your anchor text and making it appear unnatural. Again, this is something that can get you penalised by Google. Avoid using repetitive terms for your anchor text and keep it natural and honest.

  1. Having duplicate content

A lot of site owners try to add to the content of their website without realising that using duplicate content can be harmful. Duplicate content can occur in a number of ways. Sometimes a site owner will do a guest post for another site and then have the same post on their own blog. Sometimes an ecommerce site will list several similar products with the same description. This is all duplicate content, and it’s not looked upon favourably by Google.

If you have a lot of duplicate content on your site, try to keep it all unique. Things can easily be reworded and rephrased to appear individual and unique to both Google and readers. Nobody wants to read the same thing over and over again. If you must have pages with the same content on your site, try to either set a canonical page, use a 301 direct on the pages with less quality, or tell Google which pages to index and which ones to ignore. And if you don’t know how to do those things, ask a guru.

  1. Broken links

Google is getting pretty smart at telling the good websites apart from the bad ones. And that includes spotting websites with broken links, and pushing them further down the search results. Nobody wants to find a website through Google, only to realise it’s full of broken and useless links. Google wants to be helpful, and provide pages of value. A website full of broken links gives value to nobody.

It’s recommended you check through your links regularly to avoid broken links, which not only make you look bad to Google but also unprofessional to your potential customers. Even worse, it could lead to a lot of lost traffic and conversions as people want to reach particular pages but are unable. This don’t is important both for your image and for rankings.

  1. Building low quality links

While it was once an awesome idea to have a lot of different websites linking to and from your page, Google can now tell what kind of websites you’re linking to, and wants them to be relevant to your niche. On top of that, it also equates too many backlinks with a low quality page.

If you’re still looking for links from blog networks, or trying to build as many link exchanges as possible, stop doing so for the sake of your website’s credibility. While it was once favourable to have lots of links to your site, Google only wants those links to come from relevant, authority pages now. So if you’ve got lots of links pointing to your site from low quality, irrelevant pages, you don’t look so good.   

Instead, try to build relevant and high quality links from websites in a similar niche, that will add to your own site’s authority. You can do this by creating engaging, informative, and unique content and then sharing it with others to encourage a natural link. If what you’ve written is link, you’ll receive links organically, and your website will gain authority naturally.

So there we have it, five of the most common sins committed in the world of SEO and online marketing. You might still find a few shady agencies committing these crimes for some quick gains – but these will be lost just as quickly as they’re gained. Google is constantly catching up to the tricks of online marketers and in turn we’re constantly chasing the changes to its algorithm in order to keep our websites informative, relevant, and valuable.
This list could easily go on and on. Got any other deadly sins you feel like sharing?  Add some of your own in the comments below.

Andrew Raso