Bad SEO Practices to Avoid


1. Copying Content from Other Websites

Over the years, Google and other search engines have changed their algorithms. They now penalize any website that uses black hat SEO techniques to increase its website visibility and ranking.
The website might also be blacklisted. This will lead to zero visibility on search engines. All your efforts will be vain if you use bad SEO practices and shortcut methods to improve the website rank.
Copying content from other websites and blogs is one of the most common black hat techniques. It’s easy to search for the best post on a topic and copy the same content to the website. Some people even copy content from a free source such as Wikipedia or Britannica.
Earlier, Google wasn’t too worried about copied content. It would simply find the post with the original text and share it on the results page. Not anymore.
When Google finds copied content or even similar content on your website without proper attributes and citations, it will flag the post. Also, they may penalize you for sharing content that doesn’t belong to you.
We understand that you might need to use text as it is from other sources. Remember to include a backlink to the original post as a citation for the post. You can also add a disclaimer mentioning where the article was first published.

2. Using Click-baits to Lure More Users

The term click-bait is self-explanatory—the technique used here quite simple. The headline and the meta description appear catchy or attractive. But when you click on the link and open it, you will find nothing of that sort.
This is common just about everywhere on the internet. We can see such posts on Facebook and News portals. Many YouTube videos and news portals tend to use click-bait titles to attract more users to open the link. They use it to increase the number of visits to the website.
Though Google doesn’t penalize you for using click-baits, this technique will decrease your website’s credibility. After a while, users will not bother opening the links when they see the website name.
You will be messing up your long-term SEO results by following bad SEO practices for short-term gains. Also, Facebook is working to stop click-baits by pushing them down the priority.
Once the algorithm detects your posts as click-baits, it will not show your posts on others’ timelines. And without visibility, you will not be able to get visitors on the website, and ultimately, your business will suffer along with the website.
Using click-baits to attract more visitors is one of the worst SEO techniques. Avoid it.

3. Practicing Article Spinning

You can do text spinning either using writers or through automated software. This is another simple concept where an existing text is rewritten and presented in a new form. It reminds you of the proverb- old wine in a new bottle, right?
Text spinning or article spinning is another black hat technique. People use it to bring more visitors to the website without creating new content.
A website may either use its content and rewrite another article for more views or take another website’s content and make minor changes and post. They do it to avoid getting detected as a duplicate content.
However, Google even detects text spinning. The search engine will flag the post for its similarities with the original post and might even penalize you for the act.
Make sure to run a plagiarism check before posting an article on the website. It will ensure that you are not using rephrased content.
What if you have found something new about a topic you previously wrote about?
Instead of writing a new article, update the existing one. You can also update the headline, the meta title, and the meta description. It will boost the post and prevent you from following bad SEO practices and losing website rankings.

4. Posting Automated Contents

Automated content is the fastest way to add loads of posts to the website. There are various tools available to generate content and post it on the website.
Whether it is useful or not doesn’t even come into the picture. And obviously, automated content is not written for the user. It is not meant to share something of value.
You cannot format the text or add images, links, videos, or audio files. You can’t make it reader-friendly. The only thing it does is add several posts to the website to look good and bring curious visitors.
Also, automated content tends to indulge in keyword stuffing (we’ll see this in detail in the coming points). It will result in the website losing rank and being ignored by the search engines.
Not just that, your website might get blacklisted for following wrong practices to attract users instead of offering them something of value.
What if you don’t have the time to create unique content?
You can hire content writers to do it for you. Hire white hat SEO service providers. They will create fresh and attractive content to promote your brand. Also, they will increase the visibility without compromising on ethics and SEO guidelines listed by search engines.

5. Using Bait and Switch Technique

We’ve seen click-bait earlier. But what are bait and switch?
This technique involves creating a webpage for a product/ service using popular keywords and getting it rank high on the search results page. And once they achieve this objective, they will change the page’s data to another product/ service.
They will do it without changing the keywords in the meta title and meta description.
When a user searches using the keyword, they will see the link on the results page. But upon it, they will find something entirely irrelevant. This way of tricking Google to share your popular webpage with the users is known as the bait and switch technique.
We cannot deny that it is indeed a creative way of promoting unpopular products/ services using popular ones. But this will also penalize your website for trying to cheat the search engines by promising one thing and delivering another.
Not only that, you might even end up with a lawsuit to deal with. Yep. A few businesses that practiced this black-hat technique had to face legal complications that led to more losses. It is not what you want for your business, right?
The best thing would be to stay away from such tactics.

6. Scrapping Content from Other Websites

Scrapping content is a technique in which a website uses scripts to steal data from other sites and publish it on its site. Some users do it either manually or using automated software.
Scrapping content is an illegal practice in the US and a few other countries. You might end up with a lawsuit for indulging in such practices.
Even Google considers scrapping as a bad SEO practice and will not hesitate to penalizing or banning your website.
It is an interesting and easy technique. But, scrapping screens and databases of other businesses and stealing their data to use it on your site is unethical and wrong to get better visibility on the internet.
Create your content by researching other websites and giving them credit in citations. It is usually the best way to build and improve your website’s rank organically.
But what if some other website has been scrapping content from yours?
That’s also possible, right?
Despite Google’s strict guidelines and algorithms, many people indulge in black hat SEO practices. They use short cut methods to increase their website rankings.
You can use software to search and identify which website is stealing your content. Then you can report the site and also file a lawsuit against its owners.

7. Stuffing Too Many Keywords

There was a time when keyword stuffing worked like crazy and delivered amazing results for some businesses. Of course, it didn’t last too long.
Once Google understood what people were doing, it changed the search engine’s algorithm. Google now detects keyword stuffing and prevent such websites from appearing on the search results page.
It means that if you were to attempt keyword stuffing now, Google would most likely ignore your website. Also, they might even penalize you for following unethical SEO practices. We still see black hat SEO agencies recommending this practice to their customers.
If you are a newbie and have no idea what SEO is or keyword stuffing means, it becomes very easy to trick you into following such practices and getting short-term results.
Keyword stuffing is a way to include, or rather, stuff the keyword into a small piece of text over and over again. It’s like repeating the same thing in different ways by using the keyword as many times as possible.
Earlier, this technique helped in ranking higher on the search engines due to the number of keywords. But today, Google’s crawls will notice what you have done and prevent such bad quality content from being visible to users. This is an SEO mistake you should avoid at all costs.

8. Over-optimizing Anchor Text

This is yet another SEO practice that has worked for a long time. Sadly, it not only doesn’t work anymore, but it also attracts a penalty from Google. Sigh!
Before we go any further, you must be wondering what exactly we are talking about. Right?
Do you remember how we usually used to hyperlink the website to the keyword we wanted to rank?
This process is known as optimizing the anchor text. The word/ text which gets hyperlinked is called the anchor text. Optimizing it would mean that linking that text with the URL of your website/ webpage.
For example, if you want your website to rank high for ‘the best bakery in Detroit,’ you would have hyperlinked this text with your website’s link.
But then Google shared guidelines for link schemes and specified that such links would be considered unnatural. And it will attract penalties for violating the guidelines.
So how can you link your website?
After all, it is important to do so. There are two ways to promote your website in the same post. One is to directly mention the website link and ask readers to visit the site for more information.
Another is to hyperlink the website to a non-keyword phrase so that your anchor text would not attract penalties.

9. Practicing Cloaking

Cloaking is a technique in which a webpage has two different contents, each written for different purposes. While one content aims at the users, and the other aims for SEO.
Google’s bots crawl over the latter content to display the website on the search results page.
Are you wondering how it is possible?
Well, cloaking requires some technical work. There are no two or two different cloaking methods to cheat the search engines and improve the website rank.

  • IP-based : This is the most used method of cloaking. Here the user is redirected to another page through the page that has been designed for SEO.
  • User-Agent : In this process, the website uses software to detect who is requesting the information about the webpage. One link is provided to the users, while another is provided to Google’s crawls.
  • Java Script : Users with JavaScript enabled in the browsers get to see one type of content while users with JavaScript disabled see another webpage.
  • HTTP Accept-language header : If the header belongs to search engines, the cloaking content is shared.
  • HTTP_REFERER : The data is shared based on the HTTP_REFERER of the one who requests the data.

Cloaking is a violation of Google’s guidelines and will lead to penalties by the search engine.

10. Using Malicious Software

Bugs, Trojan virus, spyware, adware, bots, rootkits, etc., are the most common types of malware used by hackers and cybercriminals to control the users’ devices. They use the same malware to improve the website rank using unethical and illegal means.
The malicious content is used hidden in gifs, flash content, plug-ins, and other content one tries to use/ play/ download from a website. They also hide the malware in ads.
When a user clicks on the ads to know more, the malware gets downloaded to their device. This not only harms the users’ devices but also exposes their confidential information to fraudsters.
Any website using malicious software is penalized and banned by the search engines for indulging in malpractices.
Users are strongly recommended to use antivirus software on their devices. It will help you to avoid becoming victims of such incidents. But as a business owner, you also need to use reliable antivirus software on all your devices. You never know if others are trying to attack your business by using malicious software.
Remember that there are no shortcut ways to increase website views or gain the top rank on search engines. You should avoid any technique that violates search engines’ guidelines if you want your website to grow organically.


11. Over-optimizing Image Alt Descriptions

Alt description is the text you add to the image so that the search engine crawls can easily detect them and bring more visitors to the website.
We also know that adding a keyword to the alt descriptions will improve your SEO chances and push your website to the top.
But do you know that over-optimizing alt descriptions will deliver the opposite results?
Anything that’s done beyond the limit usually ends up delivering adverse results.
You still need to add images to the webpage. You still have to optimize the images by removing the existing alt descriptions and writing new ones. And yes, you should include a keyword in there.
But, do not overdo it.
You don’t need to add 2-3 keywords in the alt descriptions. And you also don’t need to add the same popular keyword to all images on the webpage.
Use different versions and different keywords for different images. If you cannot add a keyword for an image, that’s fine too.
The search engine’s algorithms can detect the short-tail and long-tail variations of keywords. Semantics and all that, remember?
Your webpage will still be ranked while following the best SEO practices and not the ones that will harm the site and lose the rank in the long run.

12. Over-optimizing Links (Both Internal & External)

We know the importance of internal links, don’t we?
How else will users get to see the other webpages on the site?
But what happens when you add the same links on all webpages again and again?
You end up over-optimizing them.
Say, for example, you have added a link to the contact page on all other site pages. Then, you are over-optimizing the contact page while not giving enough attention to other pages.
The main aim of internal links is to attract users to open those webpages which don’t get as much traffic. This could be due to various reasons. But by linking the same webpages, you will not be achieving anything spectacular.
Most website layouts allow you to add links to the home page, About page, contact page on the header or the footer.
Though it might seem like over-optimizing links is bringing you more visitors, it is not true. The home page gets more traffic.
Similarly, users will check out the about page to know who you are and your offering. The same goes for the contact page.
The webpage of the best-selling product also has a lot of visitors without resorting to bad SEO practices.

13. Over-optimizing Header Tags

Using headings in the content will give your webpage a clean look. It will be easy for users to read and understand the content and relate it to the subheadings. Also, headings play a good role in SEO.
Using a keyword in the heading is suggested and followed by many people. Even you would be doing it, right?
We aren’t saying it is wrong. But over-optimizing the headings is not recommended. It comes under the black hat SEO techniques and is frowned upon.
Also, the new Google algorithm doesn’t rank websites based on the keywords in the headings. It is no longer a factor for website ranking. But still, you can include the keyword in the heading for users to understand the text.
Let’s simplify it.
Headings are used to categorizing a block of text into different sections. This improves readability and increases user experience. When you add a keyword in the heading, you are making it easy for users to understand the post’s core theme.
This will bring more visitors to the webpage. But when you over-optimize the headings (similar to keyword stuffing), you are more likely to annoy your readers. And since it is no longer a ranking factor, you will lose the rank by compromising the user experience.

14. Using Irrelevant Keywords for Internal Links

We talked about over-optimizing internal links and optimizing anchor texts. It’s time to see how using popular keywords for internal links is not a good idea. This point is, essentially, the mentioned two points put together.
Just as optimizing a popular keyword by linking it with the website URL is no more an ethical SEO practice, doing the same with internal links is also considered a black hat technique.
Since internal links are necessary and crucial for the website, you need to find safe anchor text to link the URLs.
Instead of focusing on the keywords, use text that describes the page or the page’s content. This will give the readers a better idea about where that link will lead them to the website. And the site will not be penalized by Google for violating the guidelines.
Internal linking of the webpages should be done based on:

  • The value of the webpage
  • The relationship between two webpages
  • The relevance of the webpage in the overall context of the website

You can install a plug-in on the side panel to show a list of recent posts. You can add links to the navigation tab. You can categorize the posts based on topics and add a link to related posts.

15. Hiding Texts with Links

Hidden texts with links are not always bad for the website. For example, alt descriptions, flash codes, and Java Script are quite useful and are even white hat SEO practices (unless you overdo them).
So which hidden text are we talking about then?
You’d be surprised by the kind of antics some websites come up with.

  • Setting the font size to 0
  • Changing the text color to the same as the background color
  • Using a single character to hyperlink
  • Hiding the link by tweaking the CSS so that the text appears off-screen but still belongs to the page

These are just a few examples of how people used to hide links from Google. But then, we know how smart the search engine is, don’t we?
It detects every single link, no matter how well you hide it. The techniques are old and useless in today’s world.
Of course, we still see some black hat SEO agencies using and even encouraging website owners to hide links on the webpage to improve SEO results.
Black hat agencies survive by promising short term results. Even they know that when caught, the website will be penalized and banned by Google. But that doesn’t stop them. Don’t ever fall for such promises. SEO has to be ethical.

Rank Your Website

16. Using Unnecessary and Irrelevant Keywords

Oh, well. This is something almost every website owner has tried at least once. Our advice- don’t do it. Don’t repeat it.
Irrelevant keywords are of no use in the post. They don’t help your webpage rank higher. They don’t bring more traffic to the website for long.
Yeah, the tactic might work for a short while. But when users realize what you are doing, they’ll waste no time dumping you and going straight to the competitor.
When there are already so many topics to choose from in your niche, why do you want to use keywords with little or no relation to what you sell?
How can you justify the use of those keywords?
You can’t, right? And Goggle no longer ignores such antics.
You might get penalized or even have the website banned if you continue to use irrelevant keywords just to rank higher on the search engine.
And you will also be attracting more competition than necessary. Think about it. Aren’t competitors from the same industry not enough that you need to mess with other businesses by stealing their chances of ethically gaining more visibility?
They are hardly going to sit quietly. What if they report your website?
Don’t let it happen. Stick to keywords that make sense and belong to your niche.

17. Linking to/from Toxic Sites

Some websites are created for just one purpose- to provide backlinks to other sites for money. Don’t confuse these with directories or lists.
Toxic sites have domain authority (DA) and have no much value on the search engines. You can hardly find proper content on these websites. And it’s not surprising that they follow black hat SEO techniques. In short, these websites do everything they shouldn’t.
Now imagine a backlink from such a site. How does that reflect on your business?
Google, for one, doesn’t give much leeway when it sees toxic backlinks.
Google will first penalize you for indulging in malpractice. And if you have already been penalized often, Google will take down your website from the index.
A non-indexed and blacklisted website is of no use, right?
Backlinks are important. We agree. But before you get a backlink from a site, check whether the site is genuine or not.
A few SEO tools allow you to get more details about a website and identify if it generates natural links or toxic ones.
If you find that you already have a backlink from such a site, you can disavow them and avoid being penalized by Google. Google uses both, Penguin (an algorithm introduced in 2012) and humans to identify toxic links.

18. Abusing TrackBack Feature

A TrackBack is a system/ software that allows blogs to communicate with each other. People use it through ‘pings,’ a message sent from the blogger to those connected/ signed up for the blog’s updates.
The main purpose of TrackBack is to alert the users about a new comment or a post. This ensures that they don’t miss the new and interesting content posted on the blog. When used for this purpose, it brings visitors to the website and increases the page’s comments/ conversation.
But webmasters have started using this feature to send multiple pings even when not necessary to bring more visitors to the website. This is bound to annoy the users who visit the site with the impression they need to read/ know.
Users aside, this method also annoys the search engines. Google will flag the content as spam if there are way too many pings sent often.
The last thing you would want is to have a genuine post marked as spam because you overused the TrackBack feature. Isn’t it?
Many SEO techniques can bring more traffic to the website. But by overusing them, you will be attracting unwanted attention and causing more harm to the site. Even though it takes time, be careful to follow only ethical SEO techniques.

19. Spamming Social Media Network

This is still a new kind of spamming compared to other bad SEO tactics. As the name suggests, the website owner will be spamming the users on social media. But how?
It’s quite simple to follow but very, very annoying for the users.
Have you noticed some people posting links in comments about a job/ product/ service?
And more often than not, this comment would be entirely unrelated to the actual post. It doesn’t matter what the post is about. The spammer’s job is to share a text with a website link and ask people to check it out.
They do that on as many posts as possible, be it in Facebook groups, on personal posts, Twitter replies, or YouTube comments. They do the same with blog posts as well. Some even send private messages to users with website links. This type of promotion is known as social network spamming.
These posts can be and are often reported by users who get irritated by such mannerless intrusion.
When multiple posts are reported, the profile that has been relentlessly spamming will be temporarily suspended by the social media platform. It won’t take long for users and search engines to identify the website and give it the kind of treatment it deserves.

20. Practicing Referral Spam

Referral spamming is also known as fake data spam or referrer bombing. This is a technique where the website owner/ administrator shows simulated data to pretend that the website is getting a lot of traffic when the reality is the opposite.
Referral spam includes using fake domains to get more hits and appear genuine and legitimate traffic.
It can be termed as spamdexing (or spam-indexing), where fake statistics are presented on the website to dupe the search engines and get a higher rank.
But how is it done?
Google Analytics is a wonderful tool, we all agree, don’t we?
But it is not perfect by any means. If you have enough technical skills, you can target Google Analytics’ loopholes, feed it wrong data, and show fake statistics about the website traffic. This is a very effective technique and works quite well.
Considering that there is no easy way to stop referral spam, many smaller websites are being used.
It is always better to avoid following bad SEO practices that could affect the website’s credibility in the long term.
There are guides available to help you avoid referral spam. You can follow them to keep your website authentic and follow only ethical SEO techniques.


21. Creating Link Farms

Link Farms is another spamdexing technique used to manipulate the search engines and get a higher website rank.
And this technique did work until Google understood what people were doing and changed its algorithm to detect such malpractices and penalize the websites. It was quite a useful method when Google Page Ranks still mattered.
Okay. But what is a link farm?
Well, it is a cluster of websites that provide backlinks to each others’ sites.
Every website on the farm will backlink to the other sites associated with it, and so on. The ultimate aim is to make the search engines think that a website is very good as it gets backlinks from various sources and increase its rank. That doesn’t happen, though.
Backlinks are no more an important factor considered for website ranking. They do help bring more users and generate traffic.
But do you think a person who visits a site would open all the hyperlinks to visit every site? Not likely.
This process is usually automated to save time. The more number of websites on the farm, the higher will be the backlinks to each site.
The website will falsely index the other sites and create a false directory of sorts to show the search engine that there are many backlinks to the website.

22. Buying and Selling Links

Buying and selling backlinks was a lucrative business. It still is, though more and more website owners are becoming aware of the malpractice and putting an end to it.
When Google starts to penalize and flag a website for such practices, one will hardly take the risk for long.
We aren’t talking about the deals made behind the scenes to get a backlink from a reputed site. This is more on the lines of link farms and toxic sites.
If you search on Google to buy links, you will see websites that offer you backlinks in bulk for a price. All you need to do is pay them the amount, and voila, you will get many backlinks from random websites.
And since the DA or the credibility of these websites is dubious, you are more likely to suffer from the ill consequences of this action.
Instead of increasing its visibility and rank, you will attract penalty for trying a black hat SEO practice and cheating the search engine.
You will also have to spend more money on getting rid of all such backlinks to get into the good books of Google and start working on SEO from the very first step.

23. Following Linkbait and Switch Technique

Linkbait and switch is pretty much similar to the bait and switch technique we’ve seen earlier. Ten years ago, this was quite a popular technique to attract more visitors to the website.
Even today, you can find articles written back then about how to create the perfect link bait and execute it. You will also find linkbait generators that help you develop attractive and catchy links that include the keyword for which you want the webpage to rank higher. People use link bait generator tools even today.
While there is nothing wrong with using link baits, it’s the switching that is a bad SEO practice.
Creating linkable content will help you get more backlinks from websites with higher domain authority. But the content you share has to be value-based, or entertaining, or controversial- something that will make people want to open the click and know what’s inside.
Now, this is perfectly fine and ethical. But if you decide to change the content on the page after getting backlinks, you are duping the readers, aren’t you?
You’ve got backlinks for one content but are now offering something else after your target has been achieved. This is wrong and could get you penalized or blacklisted by Google.
Remember- link baits are okay, but linkbait and switching content is not okay.

24. Guest Blog Spamming

Writing guest blogs on other websites is a good way to get backlinks. We all know that, right?
It is also one of the regularly suggested SEO practices to build healthy backlinks to the website. Website owners are often advised to contact other websites and write guest posts in exchange for a backlink.
But overdoing it, or rather, not following the ethical practices, can result in guest blog spamming and cause harm both websites.
To Request Backlinks- Before you contact a website owner to write a guest post, make sure to check the DA of the site along with its popularity and search engine rank.
These will not only help you in gauging how much traffic you can expect from the backlink but will also tell you whether the backlink is of high quality or not.
Getting backlinks from dubious websites will cause more harm to your site.
To Accept Guest Posts : Before you agree to let someone write a guest post, check their website, and see the kind of content they share.
If they send a mail with little or no details but promise to write some wonderful blogs, you have every right to say no to their offer. Backlinking to a penalized website might damage your website’s rank.

25. Comment Spamming on Blogposts

We’ve talked about social media spamming, right?
This is a lot more harmful than a comment on Facebook or Twitter. And when we say harmful, we are talking about the risk of penalty the website/ blog would face for having a backlink to a site with a bad reputation.
Unlike social media sites, when you comment on a blog, you have 3-4 ways of posting your comment.
One method is to enter your name, your email id, and the link to the website. The website URL will be hyperlinked with your name when the comment shows up on the blog.
People who want to know who you are will click on your name to check out the website. It has been created for user convenience. But the blog’s comments section is one of the most misused items on the internet.
If you haven’t moderated the blog comments, you will see some irrelevant comments asking people to check out the link for some special offer. If left unattended, these could attract a penalty from Google.
Some people also leave a word or a line in the comments to get a backlink to their website. They comment on as many posts as possible to generate a massive load of backlinks, which may give them the expected results.

26. Creating Web Rings

Webrings were super popular during the 90s before Google had its presence on the internet. They ruled even during the early 2000s when search engines were still not as powerful today.
A webring is a way of connecting websites in a circular form. They link them through a common navigation bar.
The webring sites usually tend to belong to the same theme niche, so it would be easier to link them together.
When the user uses the navigation bar to visit other webpages, they will end up in a loop where the links lead them to the next website. And the user will come back to the first website.
This feels as if websites are sharing a user among themselves, right?
Even if one site were to go offline, the other websites in the ring would still be connected. But with the search engines becoming better at sharing links and introducing the concept of SEO (in a different form), webrings have lost their prominence.
Of course, people still use webrings, even if they have to request the webmaster to join the ring. However, Google will not take long to detect the webring and penalize or take down the sites.

27. Buying Positive Reviews (with and without links)

Let’s make it clear that there is nothing wrong with offering a free product/ service in exchange for a review or even a good review. But it will cause harm when you overdo the ‘buying’ part. No place/ product/ service can have 5-star reviews from just about everyone, right?
The same goes for getting backlinks from influencers, bloggers, or reviews on who post on their sites and social media and promote your business.
Are you wondering about what we mean by buying reviews with links?
It is natural for bloggers to backlink to the website. It’s not common for customers of a business to mention the website link in their reviews on third-party sites or social media.
Unless a person is a fan of a brand, you don’t see them using the website link to promote the business wherever they can.
Even if Google lets the reviews stay, the users who read them may not be interested in a business. Another way to get good reviews is to approach agencies that sell review packages.
They promise to increase followers and reviews in just a few days. This could get your website penalized by Google for following bad SEO practices. Your site will lose rankings immediately instead of gaining more visibility.

28. Exchanging Links for Mutual Higher Rank

Oh well, this shouldn’t be considered a bad practice, right?
But hey, when it starts being used too much by websites, Google needs to put a check on it. As the phrase suggests, exchanging links is where you reach out to the owner of another website, offering them a backlink on your site if they do the same.
As a website owner, you might have gotten such request emails from other business owners. They declare that their website has great visibility and boost your site’s rank and (yeah, blah, blah).
Since it seems like a mutually beneficial deal, you might be tempted to agree and give it a try.
Who doesn’t want to appear at the top of the search results page?
Some directories offer similar services, promising more traffic and backlinks from authoritative sites, too, with no digital footprints for Google to detect the little scheme.
Just don’t fall for it. Google’s algorithm is powerful and smart enough to detect what you have been up to. And once it finds out, Google isn’t going to waste time penalizing and blacklisting the site and taking it off the index. In an attempt to get more visibility on SERPs, you will end up with no visibility.

29. Using Suspicious/Shady Redirects

301 redirects are very useful to redirect users from a broken or an old link to a new one. But webmasters have found a way to use this feature to bring more visitors to a website.
Are you wondering how it is possible?
Let’s explain. Some website owners do not bother about their domains after they have expired. People often create websites, use them for a while, and then create a new website, leaving the old one as it is. They think that since the domain has anyway expired (which it does if it’s not renewed and paid for), the website and its URL are useless.
Black hat SEO people collect such domains and redirect them to another website. A user could open the link named ‘marvel diner’ and end up on a website for ‘chili food court.’ Worse, they could even land at ‘funny bean cosmetics,’ which has absolutely nothing to do with food.
When you redirect expired links to another site in the same niche, the technique would be considered a grey hat SEO practice. But when the niche is entirely different and in no way relevant, it would go straight to black hat SEO practice.
And guess what?
Google will penalize the website that uses such redirects.

30. Spamming on Footer Links

Some people would have told you that having footer links is good for the website rank. Now, we are calling it ‘spam.’ So what’s correct?
Both are. Using keywords and links in the footer will help increase the website’s visibility and rank on the search engines. But when the keywords serve no purpose, or when the footer is filled with too many links, it will adversely affect the website and ruin your SEO results.
What is the intention behind placing links in the footer?
Do you want to make the website user-friendly, or do you simply want to achieve an SEO target?
Google’s algorithm is smart enough to distinguish between your intent and the actual purpose. When it spies footer links with little or no relevance to the topic, it will decide that the links are unnatural and bring down the website rank. Loss of rank would mean a loss of visibility.
If you continue to be a regular offender, Google will penalize your website for following SEO malpractices and indulge in black hat SEO techniques.
When you add links to the web page’s footer, make it a point to mention the connection between the links and the topic. Show that the links are helpful for users to get more information on the topic.

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Other Bad SEO Practices

31. Practicing Googlewashing

Before you let your imagination run wild, let us explain what Google bombing is. It is the process of increasing the number of pages that link to a particular page that you want to rank higher on the search engines.
The webpage and the related keyword are artificially manipulated to add more links that link that page.
This will make Google think that the webpage is highly popular for that keyword and allot it a higher rank and the top place on the search results page.
For example, if you want a webpage about cupcake decorations to rank higher, you will use the same primary keyword on other pages and provide a link to this webpage.
Google’s earlier algorithm would have considered this a sign of good reputation and boosted the webpage.
We say an earlier algorithm because Google changed its algorithm in 2007 to detect such artificially inflated links and push them out of visibility.
If you search for Google bombing examples, you are sure to come across some funny instances.
While it seems fun to see the results, trying it with your website will leave you in tears when the website rank falls lower instead of climbing high. You should avoid black hat SEO techniques at all costs.

32. Praciticing Parasite Hosting

You would be familiar with the term parasite, right?
Insects, animals, birds, and humans who leech onto others for their benefit are termed parasites.
Black hat SEO practitioners use a similar process to improve their (or their clients’) website rank by getting backlinks from sites with very high domain authority.
In most situations, the host site’s owner wouldn’t even be aware that someone has hacked into their site to create a new webpage with popular keywords and have linked it to another site.

33. Using Gateway Pages (or Doorway Pages)

No, no, we are not talking about payment gateways and all that. The gateway pages or doorway pages are created specifically to increase that page’s search engine and bring more traffic to the website.
These pages have a lot of keywords with little or no proper content. But they show up on the search engines to take the user to the actual webpage.
In a way, doorway pages are a sophisticated version of 301 redirects. They are much more complex to make it harder for Google to detect malpractice. Simultaneously, the website would get what it wants, i.e., a higher rank on the search engines.
But not anymore.
Google made a change to its algorithm in 2015 to include a penalty for doorway pages on websites. Any site found to have such webpages will be penalized for practicing bad SEO techniques and duping the search engines.
While it is quite easy to make doorway pages with keywords and use them, the results will not be favorable for the website.
Listening to black hat SEO masters’ advice will only put your website at risk. It won’t bring you a good reputation in the market. Don’t compromise on SEO ethics for faster SEO results and end up losing.

34. Creating Irrelevant Snippets Markup

Structured mark up is a way to give your website a proper layout and format so that it becomes easier to find the required information.
Markup is recommended as a part of technical SEO and delivers the results by helping Google index the webpages. But do you know that webmasters have been using even this technique to cheat the search engines and get a higher rank for the website?
Creating irrelevant snippet markups on the website to rank higher will result in a penalty.
Let’s say, for example; you don’t have any testimonials on the website. But you still create a page, include it in the snippet markup, and get it indexed using the popular keywords.
Google can now detect such pages and remove them from the index. It doesn’t stop there, of course. The search engine will penalize you for following the black hat SEO technique to boost your site’s visibility.
Thanks to such malpractices, Google is constantly refining and changing its algorithm to identify websites that have violated the guidelines and tried to trick the search engines.
If you want to keep your website in Google’s good books, avoid trying any wrong SEO practices, no matter how tempting they might sound. Stay away from such snippet spamming techniques.

35. Building Mirror Websites

Mirror websites are a constant cause of concern for search engines. Considering the different types of mirror websites, it can get challenging to identify which one has been created as a part of black hat SEO. It also becomes difficult to figure out which lazy developers have created one for business owners with low budgets.
Even today, you will find hundreds of mirror websites on the internet. Google keeps removing them, and new ones keep popping up in their place. But what exactly is a mirror website?
It’s the process of creating a website identical to an original version in every sense. The new website reflects the existing one, from the layout to color scheme to content. People do it to increase the website rank by duping the search engine.
How does a mirror site help?
Well, that’s a bit tricky to understand. The mirror site will have a domain very much similar to the original one. A keyword with low search volume is picked for this purpose. The site is set up using EMD (Exact Match Domain) as an Autoblog.
Then they will add the local newsfeed with RSS and homepage. The process takes some time, but soon enough, the original website will start to see more traffic because of the mirror site.

36. Creating Private Blogs for Backlinks (PBN)

PBN or Private Blog Network, as the name suggests, is a collection of private blogs owned and operated by a webmaster or a black hat SEO practitioner.
The private blogs are usually created using expired domains with leftover link juice and some domain authority. Since no one bothers about these websites, the webmaster will convert them into blogs and change the content to provide backlinks to as many websites as required.
The only purpose of PBN is to use popular keywords and offer backlinks to other websites. There is no limit to the number of keywords or links these blogs can have.
They are, after all, not created for the users. The aim is to show that a website has backlinks from sites with decent domain authority.
Of course, this will work until Google uncovers the truth of the links. Then, as always, the website owner will be penalized for getting backlinks from sites. But how can such domains retain their authority?
Well, the webmasters are hardly going to sit idle. They continuously monitor the traffic and keep changing the content and anchor words to add new links often.
The blogs could be linking to website A one day and website D another day using the same content but with different anchor text.

37. Hijacking URLs

Hijacking a URL is also known as typosquatting. This is more of cybercriminal activity and comes under cyber attacks.
You might have seen websites with a slight spelling mistake created by hackers to lure innocent victims and steal their personal information.
Typosquatting is the same. While it may not seem like a big deal if you misspell a website, you might, in reality, end up on a malicious site that looks the same as the original one.
And before you know it, your computer might be hacked, and the sensitive information would be in the hands of cybercriminals.
A slightly harmless version of hijacking URLs is done for SEO. How?
Well, by creating a website with a domain name that is almost similar to a popular one. The website is likely to get good views from people who visit this site instead of the actual one. Such sites are filled with ads so that the owner can earn a little more money in the process.
Another way is to use an affiliate link where the squatter will redirect the user to the original website, but via an affiliate link. This will give them website traffic and get them a commission for affiliate links until Google spots the squatters, of course.

38. Practicing Cookie Stuffing

Also known as cookie dropping, this is another illegal SEO practice followed by black hat SEO agencies.
You can see this mostly in affiliate marketing. It is quite commonly used to get more traffic on the website by loading the site on a user’s device without their knowledge.
Confusing? We’ll clear it up.
Affiliate marketing is where an agent is expected to bring customers and references to a business and sell products to earn a commission. To increase the number of references an agent has brought, the person could resort to cookie stuffing.
A cookie is left on users’ devices so that the website would load in the background as they do their work.
The user would have no idea of this happening. But the website will get a hit/ visit from the user, and it will be recorded in the analytics.
Cookie dropping is sometimes used on review sites so that even if a user doesn’t go through the link, the person can still get a commission for promoting the product/ service and taking it to a wider audience.
But doing it for websites to get more traffic is not legal and will result in penalties or blacklisting by the search engines.
If an agent indulges in cookie stuffing, the person might even lose his/ her job.

39. Practicing Domain Squatting (also Typo-squatting)

Domain squatting is also known as cybersquatting and is an illegal cyber activity. It is mostly used by fraudsters and cybercriminals who want to earn money the easy way. It is similar to typosquatting, which we covered in one of the previous points.
Fraudsters will buy a domain with the same name or an almost same one and push it up the search results page with keywords and stuff.
When a user enters this site instead of the original, the site owner will redirect them to costly PPC sites to make money for the clicks.
Famous brands and companies try to protect themselves through domain squatting by buying high-value domain names and using them against them.
For example, a business owner could buy domains with .com, .net, .org, etc., with the same name to protect the brand image and trademark the name. This is not an illegal process as such.
But it does become illegal when these websites are used to bring traffic to the actual site. It could also cause some trouble with Google if they actively use both sites since that would be an illegal way of boosting the actual site. However, domain squatting is a crime if you do it to steal visitors from the original site.

40. Doing Negative SEO for Competitors

The last of the bad SEO practices is called negative SEO. The aim here is to reduce the website traffic and bring down the rank.
Why would anyone want to do that to their sites?
Obviously, not their business. Negative SEO is targeted at competitors. If your SEO agency advises you to report your competitors for malpractices even if there is no proof of it, you are being guided by a black hat SEO company that relies on wrong practices to deliver results in a short time.
It’s a simple technique, isn’t it?
Report your competitors and get them penalized by Google. This will bring down their rank and the site’s visibility on the search result pages. Sometimes Google might even take down the website for no-fault.
The saddest part here is that there is no way to stop a competitor from doing this to your site. Many business owners have had to pay penalties without even knowing what mistake they have committed for the search engine to penalize them.
You can use online SEO tools to identify the source of backlinks and keep an eye on the visibility graph to see how your website is doing. This might give you an idea of whether someone is trying to sabotage your site or not.
Save your time and business by outsourcing your SEO to our experts. They will optimize your website to gain organic traffic from search engines. Get in touch with us now.

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Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.