Great SEO isn't just about knowing what to do, it's about knowing what NOT to do. After all, those two options are the only two possibilities, right? You either do something, or you don't. Of course, there are varying degrees of how much SEO you have time or resources to do, but making sure you're using that valuable time correctly is vital. You wouldn't want to spend all your time editing your website only to find out that your SEO guidelines are so yesterday! But which SEO techniques should be avoided?
- Keyword Stuffing
- Hidden Text
- Buying Backlinks
- Spam Comments
- Using AI content generators
SEO has been around for almost as long as the internet, as soon as the first search engines started popping up to help us sort through the increasingly large number of websites that flooded onto the scene. Keywords have always been a part of SEO, but in the early days, the algorithm used to just think most keywords = most expertise - and as we know, SEO is all about convincing Google of our expertise.
As such, the practice of keyword stuffing was born. Keyword stuffing is just grabbing as many keywords as possible and shoving them onto your website. The olden days, you'd scroll to the footer of a website and you'd just see a longass paragraph of literally just keyword after keyword. And the wack thing is that this used to work!
This is also why SEOs started using hidden text, which is just any way of cloaking the content on your website so that the google robot can see them, but not people's eyes. You know, like having white text on a white background, or loads of text in the code that is invisible. More text with keywords = more expertise, but Google is smarter than that now - it knows about text relevance.
The relevance of everything working together in symbiosis is also why buying backlinks is not worth the time or money, in most cases. I don't know about you, but I am constantly inundated with cold emails from SEO companies selling me the ability to 'rank number 1 on google' by selling me backlinks. Not only is it a waste of my goddamn time, it's insulting to boot. The power of a backlink comes from the relative expertise that it has to your topic, and the domain authority from which it comes.
Simply having a link on some rinkydink list of links isn't going to give you any power. Backlinks from relevant blogs or websites are worth working for, but they're never what's being sold.
But that's not all - there's more to answer for the question 'which SEO techniques should be avoided', especially when it comes to these cold emailers. They'll also try to sell you bots or VA services to add spam comments to your blog posts or pages, again following that age old advice of more text = more expertise, and trying to fakeout the social proof aspect of marketing, but again, Google is now smarter than that and you're better off having fewer comments that are actually legit, than the dogshit that bots output onto comment forms.
Speaking of dogshit content from bots, you should also avoid using AI content generators. Not only because they read like absolute garbage, being riddled with factual inconsistencies and a lack of proper tone and voice, but they're also simply plagiarising content from other places on the internet - which can leave you open for copyright issues as well as it simply stealing incorrect information. Google is, again, smarter than that - it knows when a brand voice is consistent, it knows when a chunk of text is generated.
There are loads more answers to the question of 'which SEO techniques should be avoided', and the list is always changing as the algorithms become more and more sophisticated. One thing to keep in mind as always is that Content Is King, and the more value you provide to human beings coming to your website, the better your SEO will be.
If you want more advice on SEO for small creative businesses, you can browse the blog or book a free consultation with me. I also recommend checking out the Guides that I have created for Faire SEO and if you're interested in finding out all the things you've done wrong on your website, book an SEO Audit.