Bad SEO practices you should watch out for

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Since Google’s Caffeine algorithm launch in 2010, many bad SEO practices like hidden links have come and gone. Yet, some websites still implement them. These are strategies that search engines like Google frown upon. Using them can only hurt your SEO and business success. Below are some of the most common.

Bad user experience (UX)

The Panda update from Google in 2013 focused on the website quality and user experience. Indicators like bounce rate and mobile-friendliness help Google understand if a website offers quality content, website design, and optimisation for mobile.

So, when a user arrives at a site, they quickly check if:


  • They can find the information they’re looking for.


  • The page design is attractive.


  • The page layout is convenient.


If none of these is met, they quickly head back to the SERP and try another page. Thus, leading to higher bounce rates and raising the search algorithm’s red flags.

Duplicate content

This is simply copying and pasting content multiple times on your site or across the internet.

In the past, some website owners repost other websites’ content to boost their rank and attract visitors. But the Panda update caught up with them. This forced some to start using word spinning tools in hopes of outsmarting search engines. However, that only led to terrible content, high bounce rates, and easy detection by Google’s algorithm.

Now, most content duplication practices exist in subtle forms, e.g., when a business posts the same ad description multiple times on their pages or domains.

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Keyword stuffing

Keyword placement is an important SEO element. So, naturally, people felt that inserting a keyword as often as possible in their content would get it to rank higher.

Before the introduction of Google’s Penguin update, the RankBrain algorithm, and natural language processing, it worked. You would see content like this:

But now, Search engine crawlers view this as a medium to manipulate the search. Your website could lose its authority and ranking and be banned after multiple attempts.

Unnatural links

You find a website with quality information that you’d like to include in your page content. Naturally, you might copy the link to the page and add it somewhere in the paragraph that talks about that information.

This is a natural link. Because:


  • It was intentionally added.


  • You weren’t paid to include the link.


  • It wasn’t based on a link exchange deal.


However, in the past, (and even now), there were various forms of unnatural links, including:


  • Hidden links


  • Widget links


  • Bought links


  • Link exchange.


  • Forum link submissions and more


With the Google Penguin update, such practices are penalised, and your site could be permanently blocked.

Remember, Google is the world’s leading search engine, with an 85% market share. And it continues to make changes to its algorithm yearly to improve the value of its search results. So, you should keep track of these changes as they often make certain practices irrelevant and costly for those who continue to implement them.

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    Frequently asked questions

    • SEO is constantly changing. Every year, Google makes over 400-500 algorithm updates to improve search results. Here are some things you should do or avoid to rank better.

    • Keeping visitors on your site for longer is key for higher engagement, enhances the user experience, and can positively influence search engine rankings. Here are 6 simple ways to help you do that.

    • SEO tools help you identify your target keywords, see your mistakes, know what’s working for your competitors, and improve your SEO strategy in minutes. Here are some of the bests on the market to meet your diverse needs and budgets.

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