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9 Bad SEO Tips to Avoid and 7 Good Search Engine Strategies That Work

Misleading search engine optimization and keyword strategies exists out there. Tips that promise traffic boom for your website from Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Too much of the free help covers a system long since revolutionized.

Some of the alleged top Google listing tricks can even harm your online business. If you want to increase targeted traffic to your website, you should ignore the following SEO advice.

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What to Avoid When Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines

1. Hide lists of links on your page to be picked up by web crawlers.

Google looks for keywords in specific areas on the page like in title and body of content. Listing bulk keywords somewhere outside the content, in a way that cannot be seen by visitors, won’t help you. It could even get your website penalized. Tags being an exception.

Web crawlers look for well formed narratives. They interpret which web pages contain the best information. They index pages in the search engine to get to help find what they need.

2. Fill your meta tags with keywords.

Don’t be naive enough to think that in a few meta tag lines you can tell the search engines what information will be found on your web page. Google and the other engines don’t use them to determine listing rank anymore (Google never did). Google often uses the text around keywords in the content to determine the page descriptions.

However, do give your meta descriptions attention and treat them as marketing messages for when search engines do display them in listings.

3. Use link exchanges to create backlinks.

Inbound links from other web pages do improve your search engine listing position chances, but from related sources. Google won’t consider a link back from a website about hiking as reliable if your website covers snowboarding.

The web crawler algorithms cross-reference content and know the difference between an apple and an orange.

Real visitors will click on related links more often as well.

4. Try to rank for keywords not related to the content on your page.

Just because you use the keywords, doesn’t mean you will rank for them. More so if your page talks about something different. Just like the engines cross-reference between websites, they also cross-reference within topics. If you tried to place keywords for “American literature during World War II” to be picked up and the page discusses “How YouTube became popular,” your page will fall through the depths of cyberspace.

Even by chance you do rank for the term, once people see your site does not match their search, they will either not click on it or bounce right off the first visited page.

5. Schemes that submit your website to “thousands” of search engines and directories.

Just a handful of unique search engines exist. Most of the more obscure engines pull from Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. As long as real people can visit your website, then web crawlers can too. Your website will be indexed.

You do not need to submit to anyone, let alone pay for it.

If this still concerns you, just signup with Google’s Search Console.

6. Schemes that guarantee or promise number 1 spots on search engines.

You can control some of the factors that help rank your web pages – keywords, web crawler optimization, content, and some inbound links.

Much you cannot control as well – inbound links for your competition, the relative strength and popularity of the competitor’s domain, and the age of web pages. To name a few.

Countless variables determine individual page rank for a particular keyword that we will never know. No one can guarantee or promise high search listings.

At best, a skilled SEO specialist can give your pages a higher first page rank probability, but not much more.

7. Focus on Google’s “PageRank” number for your website.

This number tried to place a numerical popularity value on your page and in large part represented the number of inbound links.

However, do not confuse the cause and effect. The number indicated page popularity. It did not create or boost it. Also, PageRank did not account for all possible keyword phrases you might rank for with a given page. Think of this dated tool as a way for website owners to see how well their page performed relative to other pages on the Internet.

Even Google announced people should no longer not focus on it, so they removed it from their Webmaster Tools.

8. “Experts” who say your page won’t list well because of the web language used.

Whether you code your website in HTML, XHTML, CSS, PHP, ASP, Javascript, or a mix of any of these, search engines will be able to index your pages. Don’t fall for SEO specialists who push to redesign your entire website because of the code language used. Pure myth.

9. Trusting “SEO experts” because they ranked well for a keyword.

Many SEO specialists like to tout their ability to rank well for a specific keyword phrase. They claim this “achievement” proves they can push your pages up search listings too.

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Do your research. Many of these bottom feeders find keywords no one types into search engines to begin with. They also use phrases not even used by the industry the page targets. With no virtual competition or interest, of course someone can step in, implement that phrase, and rank well for it.

In these cases, it does not matter how many inbound links the competitor websites bring in, because those websites do not relate to or target the keyword. The search engines produce lists with little relevance for these types of searches.

Also, watch out for SEO specialists who focus on search result quantity. For example, people who claim they ranked #1 in a search engine listing for a phrase with 4 million other results. Search listing results not only account for all the web pages that use a phrase, but all the web pages that use any remote combination or individual words in the phrase. If someone searches for “big red hats in London” then websites that use “big red hats in London” as well as websites that contain “big red hats” or “big” “red” “London” and all other variation you can think of, will also be listed. Most of these websites do not relate to the search.

It does not matter how many websites show up in the search if no one searches for that phrase, no one targets the phrase, and most of the websites show up in the list because their content contains snippets of the phrase.

Ask for real proof and real results. Ask for client data where the SEO specialist got a page listed in a top position for a targeted, relevant, and a common keyword. If they cannot provide evidence, look elsewhere.

Where can you check out how many searches a keyword receives in a month? Start with Google’s Keyword Planner.

Think organic and natural.

If you come across anything that sounds like a cheat, a work-around, or a web crawler trick – avoid it. It won’t work and the search engines might even punish your page for the attempt to fool them.

Make sure you always…

Search engines want to find your pages to share your expertise, products, and services with the world. Start to write about what you know best. Format your copy well and make it accessible. Provide value and you will be ahead of the game.

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Warren Samu
Last edited on
May 22nd, 2020