5 SEO Tactics To Avoid In 2019 | ClickSlice

SEO is never an exact science. Trying to cheat your way to the top never works out in the long term, especially when you run the risk of a new Google algorithm update unravelling hours of work (and your website crashing out of the search engine rankings into obscurity as a result).

So, with Google becoming increasingly savvy to webmasters who are using sneaky tactics to boost SEO rankings, we’ve put together a list of five SEO practices you should definitely avoid when trying to achieve better ranking positions.

1 – Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

Along with content, backlinks are one of the most important factors in determining your positions in Google’s organic search engine ranking pages (SERPs). If a website is linking to yours, the link often counts as an ‘endorsement’.

PBNs are essentially a network of ‘authoritative’ websites that are owned by one webmaster and used to build links to their privately-owned domains.

A PBN is usually made up of expired domains with good backlinks. So, by linking back to the ‘money site’ with quality backlinks from each of these domains, webmasters can short-cut their way to those all-important endorsements, without having to reach out to other third-party websites and work on establishing a genuine relationship with them.

However, this optimisation method isn’t as genius as it seems. PBNs can be expensive and can take a long time to build – plus, Google has become savvy to this practice. If it gets even the slightest hunch that you’ve been using a PBN, your site(s) could be penalised. Many SEOs who swear by PBNs have been caught out before and lost their organic visibility pretty much overnight.

Black-Hat-Seo-Tactics-to-AvoidInstead of worrying about PBNs, invest your time in reaching out to other websites for quality backlinks, and work with these sites to create content people will actually want to read and link back to. This way, you’ll not only benefit from the power of the links you’re receiving, you’ll also be more likely to benefit from genuine traffic back to your website.

2. Automated Backlinking

Another technique is to use automated backlinking building tools. Two of the biggest platforms used for this are German Software development and Analytics (GSA), and Sape.

GSA is a software tool which builds backlinks constantly. It automatically looks for suitable new websites and registers with them to create backlinks or submit content. The majority of these links are at the very least useless, and, at the very worst, quickly penalised by Google.

Sape is a Russian link network which creates multiple links which have been injected into hacked and mostly Russian websites. Again, using this tool might help you achieve ‘better’ positions in the short term – but it’s never going to be part of a sustainable link strategy.

The moral of the story is, cheaters never win, and winners never cheat – so instead of finding a quick and easy way to manipulate the system, put in the work to reach out to other webmasters and create quality content!

3. Duplicating Content

Content is key to SEO and is just as important as quality backlinks when it comes to achieving the organic positions you need to succeed online. You need to be creating and sharing fresh, relevant and authoritative content that people will want to read and share.

Generally, if the content appears on the internet in more than one place and more than one website, it is seen as duplicate. A search engine like Google will only index the content once, meaning that if your page doesn’t make the cut, you won’t rank for it.

It’s not enough to steal some text from another site, then change a few words or sentences and attempt to pass it off as your own. Some SEOs will often do this in an attempt to get around the system. If you really want to dominate the SERPs, you need to be producing completely unique copy for your site that’s also easy and enjoyable to read. This is where the services of a professional copywriter are often invaluable – they will take the time to develop something that can’t be found elsewhere on the web.

4. Stuffing Your Pages With Keywords

This is a technique that was widely embraced by SEOs, say, 10 years ago – but in 2019, it’s likely to do your rankings more harm than good.

In days gone by, webmasters would pick a selection of keywords they wanted to target, then apply them – very liberally! – to a page’s meta tags, content and backlink anchor text. In some cases, they would even create ‘invisible’ text for the page by matching the font colour to the background colour and pack this full of search terms, too. Doing so would indicate to Google exactly which search phrases the page was intended to rank for.

While this would often lead to a boost in search positions, it would undoubtedly produce content that was spammy and difficult to read – and this would be a real turn-off for site visitors.

Keyword placement is still important in terms of SEO. But writing relevant, natural and easily digestible copy and meta tags is the way to go if you want to create something that’s valuable to both the user and Google’s crawler bots.

5. Page Cloaking

page-cloakingCloaking involves telling the web server to display one set of content for the user, and another set of content entirely for the search engine spiders. For example, you as the webmaster might decide to display lots of images or Flash elements to your users in a bid to keep them engaging with the site, but serve a page of optimised HTML text to Google instead of in a bid to help it understand your ranking intentions.

As with keyword stuffing, this poses all sorts of problems from a usability perspective. What you’re doing is essentially misleading Google’s crawlers, and, as you can probably tell by now, Google really doesn’t like being lied to!

Don’t be tempted to give this a try. Create content that appeals to real-world readers and Google’s search bots, and, if your on-page SEO is otherwise on point, you’re much more likely to achieve more visibility in organic search.

There are no shortcuts

When it comes to SEO, it can be tempting to try to achieve some quick wins. But years of experience in search engine optimisation has taught us that Google will always become aware of weak or underhand SEO techniques eventually, and a knock in the SERPs will mean months or years of your work has been wasted.

Set up your site for more sustainable success. Address your page content, invest in a holistic, genuine link building strategy, and make sure your site is easy to navigate from any and all devices. We promise you it’ll be worth it! And if you need help, remember ClickSlice offers a full suite of SEO services.