Search Engine Optimisation, as I’m sure you’re all aware, is an ever-changing game. What you did to rank last week might equal a death sentence for your site in the SERPs today.

Whether you’re trying to stay ahead of the pack or just keep up with the crowd; there are certain things that Google will always consider bad and that you shouldn’t do if you ever hope to rank.

So if you’re ever hoping to hit that illustrious first place for your choice of keyword, take heed! The following is what you shouldn’t do if you want to win in SEO.

Thinking Quantity instead of Quality

You might be told that the key to appearing in the SERPs is to have more links pointing to your site than your competitors have. While the volume of links pointing to your site will likely always play a part in where you appear, it counts a lot more if those links are from a quality website.

A link back from a reputable website with a higher PageRank is worth far more than lots of links from brand new PR0 sites. Google might even consider this spam and knock you down for it!

The same principle applies for the content of your site. While you might think it great to pack your blog full of content, it’s far more important to make sure your posts are fantastic even if you have to sacrifice some from the total number of posts.

Concentrating On Rich Anchor Text

Not long ago, focussing on your keyword for your anchor text was the in thing. Now it’s not such a great idea.

A far better approach is to mix up your anchor text when you’re linking back to your site. It looks far more natural and much less forced – which is great!

Not Thinking About the Real People

This, again, comes down to quality. The content on your site should be written for the real person you want to read it, not for the search engine robot indexing it.

Ironically, your site has a higher chance of ranking well if you do this. Stuffing keywords in where they really don’t belong is over optimisation and while it may have worked before, the search engines can see past that now.

spider drawing

Image by David Thorne.

Ignoring the Technical Side

Technical SEO is easily overlooked but could be holding your site back. For example; if you aren’t appearing in the SERPs, have you checked the robots.txt file? You might have accidentally blocked Google’s spiders from indexing your site at all.

I’ve written a post previously on technical SEO which goes into far more detail on how it effects your site. Read it here.

Going Down the Black Hat Route

Black hat techniques are the opposite of what Google wants you to do. This can include buying links, repeating and hiding keywords, spamming or link farms are a bad idea.

It may work initially, but Google will find out and will put a penalty on your site or page. You may even find yourself de-indexed if it’s serious enough. In the end, it doesn’t pay off.

 

While a lot of these may seem like common sense, you might be surprised by how many sites still continue these ways and are punished for it. These aren’t all the things that could cause you to suffer, but if you follow this advice then you’re well on the way to doing well.

If you have any more tips, drop them in the comments below!