7 Mistakes That Hurt Your Search Engine Ranking

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Search engine optimization is a major part of any website marketing strategy. If you want your site to rank in search engines, you need to pay attention to SEO and make sure you are optimizating your pages and each post for search engines. Even your images need some love.

Maybe you’ve looked into what you SHOULD do optimize your site for search, but we also need to cover what you should never ever do if you hope to find your site on the first page of Google.

These are issues that I completely ignored when I was first starting out.

SEO Killer #1: Linking to Low Quality Sites

Linking to any site that breaks these rules lowers your own site’s ranking – UNLESS you use a NOFOLLOW link, but a good rule of thumb is to be careful what you link to and don’t give a link to any site that isn’t high quality.

But why does it matter anyway?

In Google’s mind, a link from Site A to Site B is the same as Site A saying, “Hey, Site B is pretty good!” In other words, it’s a vote of support from one site for another.

Look at it this way. If you ask Bob for directions to the best grocery store in town, but Bob gives you directions to the local dump, what are you going to think about Bob? Either he doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he’s a lousy source of information.

To Google, your site is Bob in this scenario. If you’re giving lousy directions, Google (and other search engines) are going to start saying “Hey… Wait a minute here.”

SEO Killer #2: Slow and Unresponsive Pages

If your site is repeatedly offline when Google tries to crawl it, it’s going to move on thinking that your site isn’t reliable and shouldn’t be ranked.

Now don’t panic. If your site goes offline once in a while it’s not the end of the world. You can still be ranked. But you definitely want to find a host that is reliable and has great support.

I personally use Siteground for that very reason.

If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend getting a site uptime monitoring service. For those of you on WordPress, Jetpack has this ability built in. It can monitor your site for any downtime and send you an email if and when it goes offline. I have found this to be a very valuable tool for my sites.

READ MORE: How to Get Listed on Google

SEO Killer #3: Too Many Ads!

We all want to make money from our websites. Unfortunately some resort to stuffing their pages full of advertisements.

Ads are not inherently bad, of course. They definitely have their place. But overloading your pages and posts with ads will not only hurt your user experience. It can destroy your search engine ranking.

To Google, a page overloaded with ads is a page that is low quality – and thus should not be ranked well.

If you must use advertisements, keep them out of the way of your content, and don’t use too many.

SEO Killer #4: Stuffing Keywords

It may be tempting to do, but this is another tactic that will annoy readers and search engines alike.

Repeating keywords excessively just to include them – even when they don’t add value to the text – will destroy your search ranking. People are not stupid. They’ll be able to see what you’re doing, and so will Google.

You don’t need to use your keyword or keyword phrase in every other sentence. Seriously. Use your keyword in your post title and in a heading and paragraph a couple of times, and you’ll be fine. Promise.

SEO Killer #5: Buying Backlinks

Ooh. This is something that may have worked a decade ago, but today can get your search engine ranking sent to the proverbial toilet of Google. There’s an image for you.

Buying links is a BIG “no-no” to Google and most other search engines. It’s almost as bad as politicians buying influence. Almost.

But seriously, Google wants to see sites sending and receiving links naturally. Will they be able to tell if you bought a link here or there? Honestly probably not – at least not right away.

The reality is, this is a tactic used by lots of scummy sites, and Google isn’t stupid. This kind of behavior is a big red flag to Google which tells them that your site may not be all that great after all.

SEO Killer #6: Duplicate Content

Don’t post the same content multiple times. Don’t post the same content multiple times.

See how annoying that is?

Posting the same article or content on your site more than once can seriously hurt your search engine ranking. Even worse, if your articles get reposted on other websites – ouch. Now Google has to try to figure out which one is the original and then decide which page to rank.

Google loves unique content. That’s why sites that have tons of unique, non-recycled content do pretty well. Sites that repost the same articles, especially word for word from other sources, are going to hurt.

Long story short, keep your content unique, and don’t post it more than once.

SEO Killer #7: Hiding Text

One of the shadiest tactics is making keyword-rich text invisible from visitors by making it the same color as a page’s background. The idea is to hide it from the visitor but not from the search engine.

This text is used to increase the keyword density of a page without really adding to its value.

Not only is this practice aesthetically hideous, search engines hate it, and it’s a fantastic way to get your search engine ranking nerfed.

Here’s the bottom line:

Avoiding these seven pitfalls of search engine optimization is just as important as keyword research, meta tags, and good content. Any one of these seven SEO killers can destroy your ranking very quickly.

Search Engine Optimization Takes Time

One key thing I want you to remember is that getting ranked in any search engine takes time. Don’t panic if your site doesn’t rank overnight. It takes time for Google, Bing, and other search engines to crawl your site and index it.

Don’t try to cheat your way onto search engine results pages with one of the tactics above. You would only be hurting your website.

READ MORE: How to Get Listed on Google