When it comes to SEO, there are white hat techniques and black hat techniques that are being used to boost website rankings. Although many would argue that it’s not the matter of ethics but simply just business. I, for one, am not using any black hat techniques for my websites. Even though you come up with good SEO strategy for your site, you also need to make sure that you are not using any of the below unethical techniques to avoid getting penalized or blacklisted by Google or other search engines.
1) Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword density is very important for good SEO but stuffing the keyword over and over in an article will not only annoys your readers but also the search engines. There are few people who still believes that using a particular keyword phrase too often will increase their rankings. I can assure you, this method actually worked a long time ago but that time is over. Google’s algorithm has improved a lot since the last few years. Over using of keywords badly affects your search engine rankings.
2) Avoid Bad Neighborhoods
Inbound links especially from websites that has related content increases your link popularity and improve SERP rankings. Even though you have managed to get quality backlinks from websites that are related to your niche, you also need to monitor your outbound/outgoing links to websites with a bad reputation. Linking to such sites will get your site penalized by Google. In some cases your site will be removed from the index if the website is linking excessively to a bad neighborhood.
3) Avoid Link Farms
There are the websites built for the sole purpose of providing backlinks to websites for few bucks. Google recommends number of outgoing links in one page should be less than one hundred. Links from those websites decreases your website reputation. Also, reciprocal links from these pages will badly affect your website. If you have found any links of that sort, request for removal and disavow in webmaster tools if necessary.
4) Avoid Duplicate Content
Completely avoid using other’s content. Search engines easily detect plagiarism and lower rankings of website or sometimes de-index the entire domain. When you write an article, not only you need to check for duplicate content in other websites but also in your own site. There may be few phrases that you have been repeating in the existing pages or posts. It is never too late to modify them.
Use this tool to check for plagiarism.
Use this tool to check internal duplicate content.
5) Avoid Irrelevant Meta Keywords
Although Google is not showing results based on meta keywords tag, other search engines still do. It is entirely optional and I’m not using keywords tag for any of my websites. If your website has meta keywords tag, make sure those keywords are relevant to the content. Search engines penalize websites with irrelevant keywords.
6) Avoid Doorway Pages
A Doorway page or Bridge page are pages optimized for particular keyword phrase that redirects users to a different page or a website from search results. Google also take this factor into consideration for rankings websites. Check this Google’s search console help article for more definition on Doorway pages.
If you believe you are using any of the above unethical techniques knowingly or unknowingly, it is time you change your SEO strategy.