The Search Engine Optimization landscape has changed dramatically over the last two-three years, and webmasters across the globe are increasingly getting determined towards minimizing the practises that could result in a Google penalty. However, few delusional SEOs, most of them rookies, are still fundamentally stuck with traditional techniques that could cause them to fall within the Google Search Spam radar, which we all know is where from coming back isn’t just difficult, but potentially disastrous for the future. You may recover and survive the penalty, but getting previous rankings back is like finding needle in a haystack.
Image source: stateofdigital.com
Through this article, we will cover few ominous conventional search engine optimization practises that may be basic in nature, but whose affect on search rankings can be of huge magnitude. I have compiled a list of problem areas where inexperienced search engine marketers and their unsuspecting clients could flush years of work towards SEO down the drain. As I mentioned, the below mentioned areas have the potential to do more bad than good if addressed using a wrong approach. Let’s pinpoint them one at a time.
Item #1 on Google Search Spam Radar – Trashy Guest Blogging
SEOs across the globe were left in a dizzy when Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Anti Spam, spoke out publicly on guest blogging as a spammy practice in January 2014. His blog raised a mass uproar as it was another door closed by Google that was previously considered good enough to get backlinks and put a website’s link structure into place for optimizing rankings. However, Cutts didn’t exactly nailed the coffin of guest blogging as search spam, but he was specific that he meant low quality guest blogging that offered no “real value” to the audience.
Google had identified several paid link exchange networks (guest blogging), and is constantly on the look out for such practises, which is why Matt had to speak openly and proclaim that “Stick a fork in it. Guest Blogging is done.” Hence, low quality guest posts should be avoided from now on.
Item #2 on the Google Search Spam Radar – Exact Match Keywords in Anchor Text
Since roll out of the dreaded Google Penguin updates, links created on exact match anchor texts came into limelight, and most of the websites having above 50 per cent such links vanished from the Google rankings. Hence, began the extremely tiresome and in a way futile exercise to identify and remove such backlinks from a site’s link structure. It must be noted that exact match keywords in anchor text earned brilliant results for webmasters in the past, but owing to their rampant misuse and exploitation — this practise has a “RED ALERT” looming over its head.
At present, anchor text variations are employed by most webmasters, wherein exact match keywords should contribute to 10 to 20 per cent of the entire link structure. If you are unsure about how to choose your keyword set or limit the number of links with exact match anchor text your site needs, then a little competitor analysis using tools like Moz Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs Site Explorer is a good option. Types of keywords to be used as anchor texts are as follows.
Exact Match Anchor Text
Revered by most search engine experts for its effectiveness in rankings and possibly the most potentially destructive as well.
Zero Match Anchor Text
Links made on generic terms in the anchor text, such as “Learn more”, “Click here”, etc. fall within this category. Least harmless of all.
Partial Match Anchor Text
As the name suggests, anchor texts have one or two of the main money keyword. This has gained prominence since Penguin and is harmless if done under check.
Branded Anchor Text
Links that have the website’s name as their anchor text come under this category. Branded anchor texts are influential towards creating brand awareness and particularly helpful towards improving a website’s appearance on the SERPs.
Item #3 on the Google Search Spam Radar – Keyword Stuffing and Thin Content
Since time immemorial, Google Heads and search engine marketing pundits have advised against manipulative attempts to change a site’s ranking using unnatural means. The verity in their words can’t be more justified, and after the roll out of Panda and Penguin updates.
Out-of-place KEYWORDS can do more HARM than GOOD
Google has conveyed many times that it won’t take websites for granted that are employing keyword stuffing, using think content on their web pages or just about anything that appears manipulative and doesn’t improve a user’s overall search experience. Hence, I advise letting go of such endeavors as they don’t have much affect on rankings at the moment, and probably would be extinct in the near future.