SEO Practices That Might Hurt Your Google Ranking: 2019

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So, you’re worried about your website’s Google rankings not going up, are you?

SEO Stats

Everybody works on their SEO with the intention of reaping lucrative results and gaining stellar Google ranking positions, but when things go downhill, it becomes a common thought that something might be going wrong with your SEO strategy.

According to a report, 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine. Moreover, over 75% don’t care to look beyond the first page of Google, and 70% to 80% of users completely ignore paid search advertisements.

This tells exactly how important SEO actually is. However, the adoption of bad SEO practices might end up hurting your rankings more than helping them, which is why you need to stay away from SEO practices that are causing harm to your Google rankings.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these bad practices, and how you can avoid them.

1. Irrelevant Keyword Stuffing

While keyword research and the usage of target keywords is important, don’t forget that overdoing it might come across as keyword spamming or gamification of the system to search engine spiders.

Don’t try to gain traffic for keywords that are not even relevant to your content or something that is looking forced.

It’s a given that when one thinks of “SEO”, the mind automatically goes to “keyword”.

But how true is this analysis? For one, SEO is not all about inundating your post with keywords and secondly, stuffing irrelevant keywords is not going to be of any help either way.

Have a look at this perfect keyword stuffing example:

Keyword Stuffing for SEO - A Huge SEO Bad Practice

This problem arises from our own set milestone of keyword density ratio. According to various online sources – If a 1% keyword density is good, 5% should be great!

As is discernible from the example above, using a specific keyword more times than it is required is frowned upon by ranking algorithms and search engine bots.

In fact, to tackle this problem, Google released its Panda update in 2011, to discourage content marketers from doing this.

So, keyword stuffing will not only make your readers lose their interest in reading your content further, but it might also end up getting your website penalized by Google.

Adding appropriate and relevant keywords in your meta description, title, subheads, and opening and/or closing paragraphs is more than enough.

2. Paying For Spammy Comments

We tend to jump to the comment section as soon as we are done reading an informative blog post, sometimes, even before reading the content. Because everyone is excited to check what others have to say.

Plus, more often than not, the lengthy discussions in the comment section can prove to be even more helpful than the blog content itself.

Now while scrolling down the comment section it rankles a lot when you see a referral spam comment like this:

Comment Spamming

Surprisingly, executives are paying freelancers to promote their content using such spammy comments. Like this would help!

Now, don’t take me wrong. Posting comments and building a conversation in the comments section can be good for your business. However, the important thing is that the comments and the discussion should be productive and relevant to the content.

But if you would put up 100s of similar spammy comments in order to promote your content, your account might even get blocked.

So, always bear in mind that your spam comments are not only absolutely useless, but they might also end up causing damage to your Disqus account.

You can even various WordPress plugins to avoid these spammy comments on your own website.

3. Linking To Bad Neighborhood

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “bad neighborhood”? Ramshackle buildings, rundown houses and the streets filled with petty hooligans? You can’t expect to get a hefty price for a house in such a neighborhood, can you?

The bad neighborhoods of the virtual world have the same story. You can’t expect to clicks let alone high Google rankings if you are sandwiched between toxic sites.

In SEO world, such neighborhoods can be summed up by the following analogues.

  • Negative PPC – In SEO world, PPC stands for “pills, porn and casinos”. If a website contains any of these three, then the best thing to do is to stay away from it.
  • 80% links, 20% content – If a web page has too many links, then don’t link to such a website, otherwise it might amount to spam.
  • Spam – It doesn’t even warrant a mention as it is very obvious that you should avoid linking your website with spammy content.
  • Excessive Ads – Ads are common for a website, but when the ads are actually coming across as spam and outweigh the content, then you know that this is a bad neighborhood.

So, now you know what type of websites you shouldn’t be linking your content to.

If you come across any such site, then stay away from them and find other better options to get a link back your content.

Bad Links from Bad Neighborhoods

The same goes for the backlinks! If you are linked to such a neighborhood, then Google might also penalize you for it. The more outbound and back links you have from such neighborhoods, the worse it is going to be for your SEO strategy and Google ranking.

You can disavow such links using the Google Webmaster tool.

Disavow Links Using Google Webmasters and Search Consolse

4. Duplicate Content

We all know how antithetical plagiarised or duplicate content is to SEO. But despite everything, it is difficult to write something that is 100% unique.

According to Raven tools, of over 200 million page craws they conducted from 2013 to 2015, they discovered that 29% of pages had duplicate content.

Stat About Duplicate Content

And the best part is that Google understands this, and that’s why there’s no penalty as such on duplicate content.

Yes, you read it right!

It is actually a big myth that Google goes after duplicate content.

According to Google, duplicate content refers to

Google's Stand on Duplicate Content

So, make sure that you follow Google’s definition of duplicate content instead of your own cooked up imagination.

5. Excessive Use Of H1 Tags On A Page

Most people are committing this seemingly small SEO mistake, that is using multiple H1 bags on a page. What they fail to understand is that H1 tags are typically used for main heading only and this is how it should be.

Awesome SEO doesn’t mean more than a few H1 tags. Instead, using more than one H1 tag on a single page is actually a big SEO mistake and can turn into over optimization.

“Most people are committing this seemingly small SEO mistake, that is using multiple H1 tags on a page. What they fail to understand is that H1 tags are typically used for main heading only and this is how it should be”, says Tim Dugan, an SEO specialist from one of the leading local SEO companies in Connecticut.

So always go by this one rule – Use just one H1 tag on a page.

Furthermore, use several H2 tags for your sub-heads and further use H3 and H4 tags to highlight other important headings.

Conclusion

Sometimes, these SEO mistakes might end up over optimizing your website which you should avoid at any cost. Instead, put equal focus on content marketing and social media marketing strategies to boost your sales and traffic.

SEO is helpful and important, but if you focus solely on SEO, you generally end up missing the bigger picture and overdoing it.

Your SEO strategy will bear fruit only when you are constantly working towards other marketing strategies including content marketing.

About the author

Deepti Jain
Deepti Jain

Deepti is a senior content writer with AeroLeads. She spends a lot of time brainstorming ideas and writing marketing and sales content. She also has a knack for writing and reading about politics and prevalent social issues and regularly pens letters to the Editor of The Hindu newspaper.

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Deepti Jain By Deepti Jain