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3 Ways You May Be Unintentionally Harming Your Website

Did you know you could be unintentionally harming your website? In SEO, there is a fine line between optimisation and over-optimisation. With most disciplines, the more you do something, the better. Well, that’s not the care with SEO. Continue with the blog to find out more about bad SEO, 3 ways you could be harming your site, and how to fix it.  

Unintentionally Harming Your Website: What Is Bad SEO? 

SEO tactics are there to boost your rankings. That’s why we study algorithms and liaise so often with Google. It is all in a bid to improve your search visibility and boost your online presence.  

With the ever-changing nature of search engines, there are SEO tactics that may become outdated. For SEO tactics to be beneficial, they must align with recent updates. 

Bad SEO is any practice that can hurt your rankings, be that by providing a poor user experience or going against Google’s community guidelines. The usual culprits for bad SEO are outdated practices and duplicate content on your site that you’re not aware of. 

9 times out of 10 it is unintentional and fixable. However, there are those out there who try to exploit search algorithms through unethical techniques.  

What Are Unethical SEO Tactics?  

Unethical SEO tactics essentially attempt to exploit loopholes in search engine algorithms. A website’s rankings will improve but violate guidelines in doing so.  

As search engines continue to evolve, they are tightening their grasp on unethical SEO. Since the launch of the helpful content update in 2022, Google has been prioritising content made and designed for users, not to please their algorithms.  

In a continued bid to combat mass content generated by AI and spam, Google continues to adjust its algorithm and service regularly. You can read our blog on Google Updates In 2024 So Far And What They Mean For You here. 

What Is A Google Penalty?  

As retaliation for violating search policies, Google issues manual actions, better known as penalties. 

Penalties can result in web pages or sites being ranked lower and in more serious cases, are removed completely from search results.  

When Google rolls out a new core update, there tends to be a re-jig of search results. Regardless, there are constant fluctuations in rankings, with around 7.5 million blogs posted per day – it is inevitable. However, there is always a sense of panic when an algorithm update results in a shift in rankings. Website owners fear their site has been issued a penalty based on the new algorithm, but this is rarely the case.  

Google’s machine learning models detect around 99% of spam content, amounting to a staggering 40 billion spam pages per day. The remaining 1% of spam pages are issued with penalties, which are essentially a final port of call from Google against spam.  

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3 Ways You May Be Unintentionally Harming Your Website 

1. Low-Quality Content  

High-quality content is one of the main pillars of SEO. With that notion, unhelpful, low-quality content equates to bad SEO.  

Generating fresh content is necessary, yet some content creators try to cut corners. While they believe using AI or doing little research will save time or money, it actually accomplishes the opposite. It can result in inaccurate information, poor user experience, lower search rankings and conversions, and impact brand reputation.  

Google ranks content based on various factors. Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EATT) are a basis for valuing content, and they use multiple signposts to determine these factors.  

If the content has not been backed up with reliable citations, does not answer the searcher’s query, has poor readability, or is not original, then it cannot uphold the standards of EATT.  

How To Avoid Low-Quality Content 

  • Use strong, high-quality backlinks to support your content 
  • Ensure content is well-written, readable and grammatically correct 
  • Is content answering your target audience’s search queries 
  • Create accurate, relevant and reliable content 

2. Keyword Stuffing  

If you have been following GrowTraffic blogs, you will know about keyword strategy. Take ‘How To Choose A Good Keyword Based On Data’ or ‘Should You Include Your Target Keyword In The First Paragraph?’ for example.  

While embedding keywords in your content is crucial for SEO, this tactic can be significantly overdone. Keyword stuffing is where content writers unnaturally load their content with keywords, all for the sake of appealing to web crawlers.  

While search engines do require the optimisation of keywords, overkill is very apparent. Keyword stuffing will usually sacrifice the quality of a piece and affect its readability.  

How To Avoid Keyword Stuffing  

  • Use keywords naturally and where appropriate 
  • If it doesn’t make sense to put a keyword in a specific place… don’t 
  • Use keywords in titles, meta descriptions, alt text, opening paragraphs 
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3. Toxic Backlinks  

We briefly touched on that backlinks are a great way to improve your content’s credibility. Backlinks work like citations, showing search engines and searchers that your content has been well researched – not made up from thin air.  

It also gives Google intel on the realm your business exists in. A website for primary tutoring will likely be linked to other websites in education or child development. Google looks at your backlink network and works out who you are and what you do.  

With that said, if you are backlinks are deemed toxic, it can give Google a stale taste for your site. Excessive linking to poor-quality, spammy sites could be unintentionally damaging your website.  

Links that occur through inorganic means, such as selling or trading, go against the whole reason as to why they are there. Again, it is an attempt to trick the system, which we now know from Google penalties, won’t get you very far.  

How To Avoid Toxic Backlinks 

  • Only use backlinks to credible, high-quality pages 
  • Don’t attempt to form an alliance with another business, Google will clock on 
  • Don’t link to forum comments- though they’re appearing higher on search engines, they’re not coming from a reliable source 

Unintentionally Harming Your Website? Let GrowTraffic Help 

While there are those who will intentionally manipulate SEO tactics, there are a lot of business owners who get penalised. Without intent, they simply don’t know the ins, outs, dos and don’ts of SEO.  

Could you be unintentionally harming your website? Or are you unsure? Don’t worry, we can help.  

At GrowTraffic, we don’t attempt to cut any corners. We are very honest with our clients that our content marketing strategies won’t see you achieve your goals overnight. We’d rather take the long, ethical road, and achieve long-lasting results.  

Want to take your business to the next level and want to do it the right way? Contact us today and let’s have a chat! 

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