- Thou shalt have no other words before the keywords in thy website’s title tag
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any paid links
- Thou shalt not take the copy from one page, and duplicate it on another
- Remember your ALT tags, to always use them
- Honour thy H1 tag and thy H2 tag, that thy days may be long upon the SERP rank that Google gives thee
- Thou shalt not use meta keywords
- Thou shalt not commit keyword stuffing
- Thou shalt not steal content from another site
- Though shalt not bear hidden text on thy website
- Thou shalt not optimise for Google alone
Title Tag & Keywords
Ok, I admit it – this one’s a little exaggerated. You can rank well for keywords that aren’t at the beginning of your title tag. But Google does seem to give more weight to the words that appear at the beginning of the tag. This means it’s generally still a good idea to put the keyword you’re chasing for that particular page of your website at the beginning of your title tag. (Not sure what a title tag is? Stay tuned for my SEO Glossary – coming soon to a blog near you.)
Paid links are a massive SEO no-no. If Google catches you, it will take action, and you will either lose your ranking, or be removed from the index altogether. From there, it’s a long, hard, painful road to receive Google’s forgiveness and be reinstituted into the index. Much easier not to fall foul of Google in the first place.
Google has been working to punish those who duplicate content across their own website, or across two or more of their own websites. Don’t do it.
Using ALT tags is important because it’s on opportunity to throw a few keywords around. It’s also important because if a browser can’t load your image for whatever reason, your ALT tag is what the user will see instead. (Never heard of an ALT tag before? Check the SEO Glossary.)
H1 & H2 Tags
Google expects you to put your keywords in your H1 tag. So do it. Make a good use of H2 tags too, especially to help your readers skim your content and decide whether it’s something they want to read. (Not sure what the whole H1/H2 thing is all about? Check out my SEO Glossary.)
Any passage of text that is stuffed with keywords is not going to read well at all. Google has figured that out, and punishes sites accordingly. So don’t stuff your copy with keywords – write it naturally with human readers in mind, then focus on keyword optimisation, not stuffing. Or, to save time and make sure you get it right, get an SEO copywriter to do it for you. I can recommend a good one…
Ok, I admit it. Technically, you can use meta keywords. But Google’s webmaster Matt Cutts has gone on record saying that Google ignores them, and in my experimenting, they make very little difference to Bing and Yahoo. I’m currently number one for “Brisbane copywriter” on Yahoo, and I’ve never used a meta keyword on my site!
Google has been working to punish those who steal content from another site. Don’t do it. You’ll get caught. And then you’ll be punished.
Hidden text is a big SEO no-no. Hidden text is text that a user can’t see, but that Google’s spiders can see – for instance, text that is the same colour as the background. Google has clued onto this sneaky SEO tactic, and will pound any site found using it. So don’t.
Google vs. Users
Don’t optimise your copy just for Google. Sure, you might manage to work your way up pretty high in the keyword search results, but if your copy is written for Google and not for humans, you’re going to have some pretty crappy copy. That crappy copy will not appeal to human users at all. And rankings are no use unless you’re converting your visitors. So write for humans and Google, not just one or the other. And put the humans first!
Over to You
Have you ever visited a site that appeared to be stuffed with keywords? Do you know any other bad SEO tactics? Share your thoughts in the comments below!