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Posted by Katherine

5 Horrifying SEO Blunders You Shouldn’t Be Making

In case you hadn’t noticed your Twitter feed already, it’s Halloween! To celebrate, and to help increase your organic search traffic, we thought we’d uncover 5 SEO mistakes that can have a catastrophic impact on your search engine rankings. These blunders are easy to miss, but luckily, they’re not so hard to fix. Have a read and make sure your eCommerce website isn’t doomed to fail with recommended SEO services that will give your business the strength to succeed online.

Are You Having A Nightmare With Your SEO?

We know Halloween is a time for mischievousness and fun, but reckless SEO tactics could lead you into trouble. Worst-case scenario: you receive a Google penalty. Best case scenario: your rankings improve for a short time only. Here are 5 black-hat SEO techniques Google warns against (which we urge you to follow, or else…):

1. Content devoid of humans

Spooky alien for Halloween Alien image credit: Kevin Dooley, Flickr

Otherwise known as auto-generated content, this is online writing that isn’t written by a human and will often be difficult, or impossible, to understand and read. It’s usually jam-packed with keywords (known as ‘keyword stuffing’) in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. It’s an old tactic, but Google isn’t fooled any longer.

Instead of automatically generated content, updating your site with unique content that’s thoughtfully written and published to target a specific audience will boost rankings naturally. It may be time-consuming, but that’s what we’re here for.

2. Ghost text and links

Ghost Ghost image credit: Karol Franks, Flickr

Or, when it isn’t Halloween, hidden text and links. Any text that can’t be read easily by a visitor to your site could be seen as deceptive by Google. You should avoid hiding text by doing any one of the following:

• Using the same text colour as your background
• Using CSS to position text off-screen
• Covering text up behind an uploaded image
• Making the font size 0
• Hyperlinking one character (such as a full stop) in order to hide the link

Spooky tip: Not all hidden text is viewed negatively by search engines. Making the effort to write descriptive image alt text gets a thumbs up from Google’s webmasters, as this kind of text contributes to making your site more accessible (either for visitors with a visual impairment, or simply if the images are taking too long to load). Put simply, if it helps to create a positive user experience, your site isn’t likely to fall victim to a Google penalty.

3. Haphazard link building

Link building wood Wood image credit: Akira Kev, Flickr

Link building, or ‘link schemes’, can have a negative impact on your digital marketing campaign if they aren’t approached in the right way. The most effective way to build quality links to your website is to publish long-form, original content that goes above and beyond. Usefulness will play a part in this, but so will trustworthiness. In an ideal world, you’ll attract and earn links naturally – without having to reach out to anyone for a link – because your content will be so spook-tacular! You can read more about link schemes in Google’s quality guidelines here.

4. Amaze, but please, don’t build a maze

Spooky maze Maze image credit: Vanessa, Flickr

Mazes feature heavily in horror films (The Shining [1980] springs to mind). These films offer great entertainment value for Halloween, but – unless you’re the owner of a gaming website – your website shouldn’t feel like a maze. When a visitor can’t navigate your website easily, your website’s ranking will suffer.

It isn’t just the thought of being trapped with no escape that haunts us, it’s the sheer annoyance of not be able to get what we want (be it a product or service) easily. It’s your responsibility to make website navigation simple, as without it users will leave your website, causing your bounce rate to rise and your rankings to fall.

5. It’s eerily quiet around here

Haunted website house Haunted house image credit: Jose Maria Miñarro Vivancos, Flickr

Silence and seclusion are, whilst seemingly harmless, two of the most terrifying things we’ve ever encountered. If you abandon your website for months on end, it will contain outdated information and broken links that will not only damage your SEO, but also your business reputation. Don’t let potential customers navigate a spookily old website; keep it well maintained by checking that links still work and make sure content is still relevant.

If you’re unsure about any of the above, don’t despair! No matter the time of year, we’re here to make sure your business doesn’t get lost in the crowd on the World Wide Web.

Looking for Quality SEO Services?

As SEO specialists in Manchester, we provide a wide range of white-hat SEO services. Whether you’re new to online marketing and require a full SEO project, or you need help with the technical side of things, we have the knowledge and expertise to get your business in the spotlight online. If you would like further information on how we can improve your search engine rankings, don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0161 236 0390.

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