Harmful SEO Methods to Avoid

Search engine optimisation is critical to the success of an online business. And as the battle to get higher in the rankings continues to get more competitive, you need to know what you should and should not be doing. In the long run, you will be much better off optimising your website the right way, without resorting to unethical “black hat” methods that could get you banned at any moment. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the SEO methods to avoid.

Bad Neighbours

Yes, this is a real issue, and it’s one of the more unfair things that you have to worry about. If your website is hosted on the same IP address, or even just the same hosting provider, as other websites that are penalised by search engines, you may end up in trouble too. This usually happens if you are on a shared (virtual) server at a disreputable host. If you’re a small website, there’s not a lot you can do about your neighbours, but if you can afford to invest in your own server, it’s well worth the price.

Too Much Unnatural Text

Search engines are fairly smart these days, and they won’t be fooled by the things that webmasters got away with in the past, so it is important to make your website appear as natural as possible. This means that you should not use spammy, over-optimised text with complete disregard for how it reads to the human eye, and you should never be so blatant as to simply include a list of keywords you are hoping to target hidden somewhere on your pages.

Spamming Your Link

Link spamming is when you post comments on blogs or forums for the sole purpose of including a keyword-targeted link to your website – don’t do it. This was a very popular method for a while, and some people continue to do it, but the search engines are smart enough to realise what you are doing and they will penalise your website for it. If you’re paying someone else to get you a higher ranking, be careful that you don’t hire someone who uses this method.

Unoriginal Content

The major search engines such as Google don’t need more of the same stuff, so don’t be tempted to make copies of other successful pages or whole sites in an attempt to boost your own. Even if you make changes to the content yourself, you will most likely be found out and it won’t be good for you. This is not just limited to the text, but also copyrighted images and other media that can and will be detected either right now or in the future when the ranking algorithms are updated.

Hiring Unknowns

There are thousands of companies and individuals offering to take care of your search engine issues, but the truth is that most of them just aren’t very good at it. If you hire an unknown company or person, you not only run the risk of getting little to no results but you may also get your site penalised due to the unethical practices they employ in an attempt to boost your ranking. It is very important to choose a professional SEO marketing team that can provide you with references and evidence of past success.

The methods described here should never be used, but this is only the start of a long list of things that could get you penalised or even removed from the listings altogether. If you intend to go it alone and do your own SEO then you need to keep researching and always be ready for the whole game to change when the ranking algorithms get updated.

Photo by Stuart Miles at

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