When search engine optimization first started being a viable widespread marketing tool, it had a “Wild West” feel to it. Everything was about content and links – the main tools that search engines use to understand websites and rank them – to the point that maximizing each was the name of the game.
Since then, however, the search engines have gotten a lot smarter. They've noticed that a certain percentage of web designers and their clients have become skilled at finding loopholes. Over time, those loopholes have been closed, and trying to use them can actually harm your site's search rankings.
Still, that doesn't stop people from trying to use them, even though they don't work. Here are three of the silliest things that business owners and web marketers keep trying… and that search engines keep on punishing:
1. Using copied or duplicated content. If your website has the same content as some other website, then how do the search engines like Google place any value on you, instead of the original source? They can't. As a result, having a little bit of duplicated content (like a product description) won't hurt you, but it won't help you, either. Have too much of it, and your site is rendered invisible to search engines.
2. Giving or getting links from low-quality websites. If lots of high-traffic, high-quality sites with original content of their own are always linking to you, then that's a sign to the search engines that you are a valuable source of information. If most of your links are coming from low-quality sites, on the other hand, that says something about your business as well. It's important that you have the right kinds of associations online, because the wrong ones are bad for search engine positioning.
3. Being repetitive (or being repetitive). Over-using keywords and phrases is a great way to tip off Google and the other search engines to the fact that you are trying to manipulate your rankings for a certain keyword or phrase. Posting lots of content with unnatural repetition is one of the easiest ways to be completely ignored online, so just don't do it.
Although each of these tricks has been proven to no longer work, you can bet that some of your competitors are still trying them. Let's work together to make sure that you don't repeat their mistakes.
By David A. West Join me on Google+