Bad SEO Advice and Tips to Avoid


Dated and misleading search engine optimization, keyword strategies, and page rank advice exists out there. Tips that promise traffic boom for your website from Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Too much of the free help covers a system long since revolutionized.

Some of the alleged top Google listing tricks can even harm your online business. If you want to increase targeted traffic to your website, you should ignore the following SEO advice.

Quick Jump:

A really marvellous piece of information on dont’s with SEO! I indeed loved your writing too.


What to Avoid When Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines

1. Hide lists of links on your page to be picked up by web crawlers.

Google looks for keywords in specific areas on the page like in title and body of content. Listing bulk keywords somewhere outside the content, in a way that cannot be seen by visitors, won’t help you. It could even get your website penalized. Tags being an exception.

If it doesn’t read like a decently formatted narrative, then the web crawlers probably won’t think it is either. That’s what they’re designed to do – decipher which webpages contain the information to help people. People typing in queries in their search engine to get to what they’re looking for.

2. Fill your meta tags with keywords.

Don’t be naive enough to think that you can tell the search engines what information will be found on your web page. Google and the other engines don’t use them to determine listing rank anymore (Google never did). Google often uses the text around keywords in the content to determine the page descriptions.

However, do give your meta descriptions attention and treat them as marketing messages for when search engines do display them in listings.

3. Use link exchanges to create backlinks.

Inbound links from other web pages do improve your search engine listing position chances, but only from related sources. Google won’t consider a link back from a website about hiking as reliable if your website covers snowboarding.

The web crawlers algorithms cross-reference content and know the difference between an apple and an orange.

Real visitors will click on related links more often as well.

4. Try to rank for keywords not related to the content on your page.

Just because you use the keywords, doesn’t mean you will rank for them. More so if your page talks about something different. Just like the engines cross-reference between websites, they also cross-reference within topics. If you tried to place keywords for “American literature during World War II” to be picked up and the page discusses “How YouTube became popular,” your page will fall through the depths of cyberspace.

Even by chance you do rank for the term, once people see your site does not match their search, they will either not click on it or bounce right of the first visited page.

5. Schemes that submit your website to “thousands” of search engines and directories.

Only a handful of unique search engines exist. Most of the more obscure engines pull from Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. As long as real people can visit your website, then web crawlers can too. Your website will be indexed.

You don’t need to submit to anyone, let alone pay for it.

6. Schemes that guarantee or promise number 1 spots on search engines.

You can control some of the factors that help rank your web pages – keywords, web crawler optimization, content, and some inbound links.

Much you cannot control as well – inbound links of your competition, the relative strength and popularity of the competitor’s domain, and the age of web pages to name a few.

Countless variables determine individual page rank that we will never know. No one can guarantee or promise high search listing ranks.

At best, a skilled SEO specialist can give your pages a higher first page rank probability, but not much more.

7. Focus on Google’s “PageRank” number for your website.

This number tried to place a numerical popularity value on your page and in large part represented the number of inbound links.

However, do not confuse the cause and effect. The number indicated page popularity. It did not create or boost it. Also, PageRank did not account for all possible keyword phrases you might rank for with a given page. Think of this dated tool as a way for website owners to see how well their page performed relative to other pages on the Internet.

Even Google announced people should no longer not focus on it, so they removed it from their Webmaster Tools.

8. “Experts” who say your page won’t list well because of the web language used.

Whether you code your website in HTML, XHTML, CSS, PHP, ASP, Javascript, or a mix of any of these, search engines will be able to index your pages. Don’t fall for SEO specialists who push to redesign your entire website because code language used. Pure myth.

9. Trusting “SEO experts” because they ranked well for a keyword.

Many SEO specialists like to tout their ability to rank well for a specific keyword phrase. They claim this “achievement” proves they can push your pages up search listings too.

Absolutely invaluable information for anyone that wants to make any progress online!

HubPages Author

Do your research. Many of these bottom feeders find keywords no one types into search engines to begin with. They also use phrases not even used by the industry it targets. With no virtual competition or interest, of course someone can step in, target that phrase, and rank well for it.

In these cases, it does not matter how many inbound links the competitor websites bring in, because those websites do not relate to or target the keyword. The search engines produce lists with little relevance for these types of searches.

Also, watch out for SEO specialists who focus on search result quantity. For example, people who claim they ranked #1 in a search engine listing for a phrase with 4 million other results. Search listing results not only account for all the websites that use a phrase, but all the websites that use any remote combination or individual words in the phrase. If someone searches for “big red hats in London” then websites that use “big red hats in London” as well as websites that contain “big red hats” or “big” “red” “London” and all other variation you can think of, will also be listed. Most of these websites do not relate to the search and really do not matter in the grand scheme of things.

It does not matter how many websites show up in the search if no one searches for that phrase, no one targets the phrase, and most of the websites show up in the list because their content contains snippets of the phrase.

Ask for real proof and real results. Ask for client data where the SEO specialist got a page listed in a top position for a targeted, relevant, and a common keyword. If they cannot provide evidence, look elsewhere.

Where can you check out how many searches a keyword gets in a month? Start with Google’s Keyword Planner.

Think organic and natural.

If you come across anything that sounds like a cheat, a work-around, or web crawler trick – avoid it. It won’t work and the search engines might even punish your page for the attempt to fool them.

Make sure you always…

  • Write content on pages that bring real value and  information of use to your visitors.
  • Use keywords that relate to your subject matter.
  • Get links from websites in your own market or field and hope that new visitors will also share your information.
  • When in doubt, review Google’s website guidelines. To get an idea of what Google focuses on, you can also read about their technology overview page for searches.
  • Stay away from SEO specialists and consultants that tell you to use any of the methods to avoid mentioned here. Trust your gut on their advice and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.

Search engines want to find your pages to share your expertise, products, and services with the world. Start to write about what you know best. Format your copy well and make it accessible. Provide value and you will be ahead of the game.

This is one of the best SEO articles I have found!! It is truly great and so easy to understand. Thank you so much for writing it.


SEO Tools – Scripts that Help and Ones that Flunk


It’s hard enough to find good resources and programs out there to help your web pages get ranked on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. You don’t want to worry about the numerous services that don’t work or dish out inaccurate information. Check out these free SEO tools. Avoid the scripts that do not live up to their promises and incorporate the ones that do!

Domain Age Checker

The guys over at WebConfs.com host a plethora of pages to plug in info and get the data you need. Domain age matters. Google trusts older and established websites. However, this Domain Age Tool flat out lies. So bad in fact, that it can be as much as 6-7 years off!

If you want the best information, you can always look up the domain at www.whois.com.

Traffic Rankings

For years people heralded Alexa as the gold standard when it came to traffic rankings.

Volume of inbound traffic matters. As a webmaster, I can cross-reference actual traffic and Alexa ranking across client websites. I can tell you that Alexa sometimes gave clients who receive triple the traffic a lower score and position in comparison to clients who receive way less traffic. A system that sometimes works and too often does not. The same goes for Compete.com.

Quantcast performs better, but it also requires a script much like Google Analytics. It compares websites within it’s own community. Unless Google releases their own Alexa, take these stats with a grain of salt.

Keyword Generator

Do not buy a program to generate keywords for you. You know your market best, you know the lingo. Build your own list of phrases and branch out from there.

Do not bother with Wordtracker’s Free Keyword Suggestion Tool. The tool gives you data based on people who type words into the tool, not into search engines! Wordtracker does not provide an ample list either. For example, I typed in “SEO Tips” and it gave me three phrases “seo tips,” “free msn seo tips,” and “seo copywriting tips.” It didn’t tell me which search engines the phrases apply to, what my competition might be like, nothing.

Use Google’s AdWords: Keyword Planner – your best free option, straight from the source. Designed for Adword campaigns, it uses search information from Google which accounts for 78% of all people who search online. It tells you the monthly search volume, the current search volume, and how many competitors target the phrase. This tactic assumes businesses know their stuff, high competition means difficult to rank for due to high website usage of the term. It also lists variations of the phrase and related groups of phrases. It will let you know whether or not you will waste your time trying to rank for keyword phrase people rarely search for. It lets you specify results by language and region and you can even get recommended terms pulled from your own web pages or website.

An awesome resource and the best keyword tool you’ll find!

Don’t be a Tool Yourself!

Don’t let some SEO specialist or consultant pull your chain and waste your money. If your gut gives you the sign and you don’t see real results, look for a second or even a third opinion! And remember, I’m around to hold your hand a bit too. Feel free to send a question my way!

What a great article! As an Internet Marketer I find this ‘must’ reading! Very helpful.

HubPages Author

Duplicate Content – Search Engine Listing Suicide

So you decided to give blogging and article marketing a shot to increase traffic, create inbound links, and improve your listing position on the major search engines. You wrote some articles in your niche market to distribute to high traffic publication sites and include on your own website. After you published them, you noticed many did not rank on Google and other search engines, even though you optimized them for keywords, and found the articles listed in the engine.

Now ask yourself….

How many websites did you submit each individual article to?

You fell victim to the duplicate content dilemma.

Rewind to about seven years ago when “Internet marketing gurus” pushed their viral marketing strategies and encouraged people to submit the same article to every known article directory they could get their hands on. Well, guess what? They encouraged people to spam the search engines in an attempt to trick a system big on copyright and original content. Google caught on and implemented algorithms in their web crawlers to weed out and bury the duplicates.

Who can blame them? How reliable would users consider an engine that listed multiple copies same information in the top ten spots for a search from different websites? What if someone turned in an academic paper with a works cited for 10 sources that covered all the same information? The guy who wrote a paper would fail the assignment.

Google wants to bring value to their users and offer a service second-to-none. If you trapped yourself in the habit of creating duplicate content, you should ask yourself the same question, “Am I creating real value for people?

The Reality of Article Submission

Most of the article databases receive little relative traffic and return a low residual effect. Their traffic ranks cannot compete with more prominent sites like universities and news sources. They cannot compete with high traffic directories like HubPages and popular blogs. If you spent several hours on a top notch article, why publish it on the little known www.most-awesome-articles.com where it won’t rank and won’t be found by the website users?

Google follows a similar logic. Why list an article from www.most-awesome-articles.com when they aready list a version from www.ehow.com?

You might think to yourself – what about Reuters? What about authorized syndication? True, Google and the other engines allow some room for syndication from common news sources, but most of us do not operate in those circles. Probability dictates that Google will pick up one of your articles, but the rest will get lost in the engine. With them, all the submission time as well.

No one can guess why Google keeps one version of web copy over another. It could be related to the age of the page or the reliability of the source. Sometimes, the engine will list more than one copy, but you can bet that more often than not, only one version will be viable.

The “Solution” that Almost Saved You

There came in the works a hybrid solution to try and trick the search engines again! Re-write the article so the web crawlers think they found something new. Someone could then submit almost the same article to at least the top publication sites without the need to create something fresh. So began the age of www.dupecop.com and similar services like Article Checker to evaluate the percentage difference between docs.

Writers beware: acknowledge the high level of sophistication of Google web crawlers. Even an article that appears to be 50% different can be labeled as a dupe. To safeguard this technique, a service like QuoteFinder did a better job. Just change the sentences that show more than one online source in your new article.

Very informative article for SEO learners. Thanks for the good share.


The Best Solution for Duplicate Content

Stop creating duplicate articles and start to write original and content that offers value to your readers and potential clients. No one likes a fraud, a hack, or a two-timer. Don’t destroy your potential credibility, visibility, and profitability because of laziness. Make each one-of-a-kind article you write count.

The benefits of blogging and article marketing can be yours…

  • Higher page position in search engines (with inbound links)
  • Increased webpage traffic
  • Increased credibility
  • Increased visibility
  • Increased clients and customers
  • Increased profits

But if you duplicate content, you’ll lose the above benefits and…

  • Waste time
  • Waste money
  • Be discouraged

What to do with your unwasted time?

Search engines like pages to stay fresh! Update your articles from time-to-time. Add in new information, take out parts now obsolete, add in some graphics, optimize the keywords, and keep editing until you get ranked on the first page for your targeted keywords. A well maintained and tweaked article can bring in more traffic and more business than 15 hurried and forgotten pieces any day!

Online publication can be one of the strongest methods to market yourself and your business online. It will improve your search engine listing position. Continue with your blogging and article marketing. Steer clear of tendencies to submit duplicates.

You can read more from the source over at Google and their warnings and guidelines about duplicate content.

Very dedicated article on properly promoting your content. Should be a sort of Bible for anyone really.

HubPages Author

Read our Privacy Practices