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As we come to the end of 2011, I have had a think back over the last year to review those SEO bad habits that have been encountered in the previous 12 months.
Five habits appear to have all made a bit of a comeback during 2011. Quite why, I don’t know but returned they have. It’s almost like people are revisiting them not quite believing that search engines once frowned on them.
PageRank obsession, Multiple site ownership, duplicate content, hiding content and trying to rank for terms that have nothing at all do to with your site.
It doesn’t matter how irrelevant it becomes, Google’s Toolbar PageRank continues to be a talking point.
2012 is the year that you really do have to stop worrying about Toolbar PageRank.
It’s irrelevant, it doesn’t stand for anything anymore and the score offered isn’t even accurate. However people still ask how they can improve their score to boost their rankings.
Don’t get me wrong, it gives an indication that your site is receiving incoming links but it doesn’t take into account any ranking factors when calculating its score.
Having more than one site means more sales and traffic right? Well no, not really.
On the surface this may sound like a perfectly logical idea, if I have five sites, I’ll sell fives times as many widgets.
Well that’s not quite how it works. It’s not like having five shops in different locations. Basically if you have more than one site selling the same thing with a natural link between them, its more than likely you will be held back.
You only need one site.
Concentrate on one site and dominate.
There are so many signals that will lead the search engines to make a link between all your sites that it’s simply not worth it.
If Google think you are trying to game the system by having multiple sites live then the chances are they will act.
Hiding Links / Text
“We can hide the text, yeah?”. NO.
Its almost like people think that because they haven’t tried to hide text for the last few years that Google will have forgotten about this tactic and sites will now be able to get away with this again.
If you hide anything, be it keywords or links then you are asking for trouble.
You may be told about all these amazing ways you can hide text and how search engines are unable to read.
Let me ask you one question: If you hide text or links and the search engines genuinely can’t find them – how do you expect your brilliantly hidden information to have any impact on your rankings?
Think about it. Surely the only reason you want to include all this hidden text is to influence your rankings? So if the search engines can’t find it…
It’s a no win situation, so don’t bother.
Ranking for Non Related Terms
The obsession of trying to take traffic away from “the competition” can sometimes lead to some very odd decisions. Like wanting to rank for terms completely irrelevant to their site.
Focus on what you are offering, why bring people to your site under false pretences?
If they come to you expecting one thing, they won’t suddenly change their minds simply because they are now on your site. They will just turn right around and go elsewhere.
Dominate your sector, don’t try and outwit sites that aren’t truly your competition.
Year after year site owners continue to copy content from other sites to fill their own.
If you have duplicate content on your site, this will work against you. If you copy content from another site, this will work against you. If you own multiple sites that contain the same content, guess what, this will work against you.
Google is also quite a clever engine and can tell who did the copying. So it will be you that gets held back.
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