In most of my posts I have concentrated on different ways to get a better search engine rank.
Today I’m going to talk about how not to get a better search engine rank. It is good to know what you need to do to improve your search engine ranking, but what about what you shouldn’t do?
(1) Hidden Text- some websites use underhand techniques such as making massive lists of keywords on their pages, but making these keywords the same color as their page e.g. white text on a white page. These keywords are invisible to a human visitor looking at the web page, but they are visible to the search engines. Search engine ranking alogorithms are highly complex, so to thing that they can’t spot a simple technique like this is niave. Search engines could potentially penalize your website for using hidden keyword tricks.
(2) Keyword Spamming – this is similar to the above, but this time the keywords are not hidden. Some webmasters think that stuffing as many keywords as possible throughout the page and the meta keyword tags will improve their ranking in Google and other search engine rankings. The truth is that this could end up having a detrimental effect on your ranking. Take a look at the keyword density of your main competitors and aim for something similar to them instead. It is also useful to note that the major search engines don’t really pay much attention to the meta keywords tag, so if you are using this on your page you don’t need to put more than 4 or 5 keyword phrases in there.
(3) Too Many Links – don’t list too many links on a single page. The Google Webmaster guidelines suggest having less than 100 links on a single page. It is also good practise to ensure that you link only to high quality sites as you could be penalized for linking to “bad neighborhoods”.
(4) Using Flash Intros – some websites have fancy flash intros. Although these can sometimes look nice, they will not do anything for your search engine rank. Search engines cannot understand flash and graphics, so if you must have a flash intro, try to ensure that you also get some text on the page with your keywords in there as well.
(5) Submitting your Site to Search Engines – although this one is likely to do you no harm, it won’t help either. The way to get a good ranking in the main search engines is with good, keyword rich, fresh content and lots of high quality backlinks to your site. I have another blog post on why you don’t need to submit your site to search engines.
(6) Using Other Peoples’ Content – this is one of my pet hates, as I have had people steal my website content a few times in the past. Aside from the fact that this generally infringes copyright laws, it is not going to help you get a better search engine rank. You have a much better chance of getting a high ranking with fresh, unique content.