Maintaining Your Search Engine Ranking Without Resorting to Black-Hat Tactics: 5 Bad SEO Practices Explained

seo strategy

I think it’s fair to say that some people writing content for the Internet suffered the painful result of the infamous Google slap if they weren’t following the rules of SEO and Google. You know the one. Your great content was suddenly deemed spam, or worse, deindexed from the SERPS (search engine results pages). Wow, that hurts. Especially after so much effort went into creating such a keyword rich piece of content.

Sound familiar? What I just described is one of the bad SEO practices that gets your content shot down by the search engines. I’m going to talk about keyword stuffing and other bad, very bad, SEO practices that if you’re using them, you should stop immediately or risk losing your hard-earned rankings.

Gaining precious ground via white-hat SEO practices should be your game, regardless of the temptation to do otherwise. You may already know that meta keywords aren’t considered by Google and haven’t been since around 2009. However, keywords still play an important part in SEO.

Keyword Stuffing

LSI words or semantic indexing do the heavy lifting when the search engine spiders crawl your website’s pages. Using only one keyword should suffice, and appropriately adding related words to the content allows it to be understood by the spiders crawling your site. The whole idea is for them to gain an understanding of the topic of your site so the indexing can begin.

If you’re still cramming exact match keywords into your content, stop it! It won’t help and will probably get your content or your site hit hard with penalties. Your readers aren’t stupid and they’ll see your content doesn’t read correctly, so follow the rules and let your content stand on its merit without jeopardizing your rankings.

Buying Backlinks

Part of high rankings in the SERPS is the number of quality backlinks your site earned over time. The reason the engines love backlinks is because they’re an indicator of authority, trust, and popularity. That said, when your site is linked to by hundreds or thousands of respectable and trustworthy sites, it should mean that your content is solid and worth sharing and worthy of higher placement in the SERPS.

The potential ranking increase due to a high number of backlinks entices webmasters to take a shortcut and buy backlinks to their sites with the hope of looking good in Google’s eyes. Instead, Google sees what’s happening and goodbye rankings! They see the sites linking to yours as fake sites, bots, link exchanges, or any number of illegitimate sources that make it obvious that you’re trying to game the search engines into high rankings.

Backlinks play a very important role in website rankings, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to earn them. Professional link building services follow proper SEO guidelines and deliver links from authority sites and blogs with good reputations that compliment your site and receive favorable rankings from the search engines.

Spun Content

As you’re writing your content and suddenly it dawns on you that there must be another way to create more content quicker than spending time researching and carefully crafting your work. The answer too many people still come up with is to spin content. There isn’t a good reason for this no matter the situation. You see, the first to suffer from your mistake is your readers. Soon, you won’t have any because your content doesn’t offer any value and quite possibly, it doesn’t make sense. Don’t put your readers in a position to stop trusting you.

Comment Spam

Comments from interested readers signals the search engines that your site is popular and deserving of its attention. Any number of legitimate comments from actual readers is welcome. However, too many comments and those that don’t appear natural come off as spam, which they are. Also, adding links to your site in another site’s comment section is an obvious attempt at getting backlinks the wrong way! Watch out for spammy links and obvious unrelated comments. Comment spam gets you another slap-down that only time heals.

Social Media Network Spam

Social media spam also gets you in trouble with the search engines and it doesn’t have to be that way. Loading up your social media with ads that link to your site is a waste of time and does nothing for you except to make you look like you’re spamming your readers.

As I mentioned earlier, don’t give your readers a reason to stop trusting you by doing anything that might put you in a bad light from your reader’s perspective. Your honesty shines through all of your work, so don’t be afraid to put it all out there for everyone to see. Remember that you don’t know it all – your readers do.


Your honest efforts to improve your rankings will come to fruition if you let it. Don’t be in a huge hurry to see positive changes because they come over time. After you see the changes, don’t let up. Keep creating great content and learn and follow current SEO techniques and lastly, stay abreast of current Google algorithm changes, too.

If you’re desperate for rankings, start doing the right things for your SEO and keep at it. There’s no need to fake your way into relevance by using any of the black-hat techniques described here. Instead, learn what all of us do over time. That is, your success starts with helping your readers by providing value for them. In the final analysis, it’s all about what you did for your readers, not what you got from them.

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