9 SEO Techniques to Avoid in 2018

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 15, 2017

There are plenty of great ways to improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), but the wrong techniques can cause major SEO issues. Some of these techniques are considered black hat, and others are techniques that used to work well until the search engines adjusted what they look for. Here are the techniques to stay away from in 2018.

1 The Bait and Switch

This technique involves setting up a page focusing on specific search terms, and then rerouting web users to another page immediately. It’s deceptive for the user and the search engines frown on it.

2 The Copycat

Low-quality content in general is bad for your SEO, and one of the worst types is content that you either copy or spin from another site. Even though it can cost you time or money to generate high-quality content, the only good content is content that’s unique to your site. Stealing from another site will just lead to yours being a poor imitation.

3 Spamming Other Sites

If you’ve run your own site for long, you’ve probably seen plenty of spam comments or attempts at them on your posts (this is one of the reasons it’s good to choose the comments you approve). Not only is spamming another sites an ineffective SEO technique, but it also gives your brand a bad image.

4 Keyword Stuffing

This technique has certainly died down considerably since its heyday, but it’s still around. Using focus keywords in your content is good. Stuffing keywords into your content to the point that they look unnatural is not.

5 Farming for Links

It’s easy to fall into the temptation of link farming when you want to build your backlinks. The problem is that you’ll only be getting backlinks from low-quality sites. For backlinks to boost your SEO, they must be from quality sites and relevant to your site’s niche.

6 Outbound Links to Low-Quality Sites

Including outbound links is an important part of your SEO. Just make sure that you’re choosing the right sites for those outbound links. When you link to a site, you’re telling the search engines and your visitors that you trust the quality of that site. If you include outbound links to low-quality sites, it makes you look bad and can lead to search engines giving your site a lower quality score.

7 Anchor Text that Matches Focus Keywords

When you’re linking out to a site, you need to choose the right anchor text. What’s most important is that the anchor text fits the page you’re linking to, but you should also avoid making the anchor text the same as your page’s focus keywords. Search engines can ding you on this.

8 Hidden Items

Search engines and users frown on any type of deceptiveness. One common SEO technique that can get your site in trouble is hiding certain items, such as text or links. For example, you could include keywords in your content but make them small and the same color as the page background. The goal is to include the keywords without people noticing them, but this can harm your site.

9 Adding Irrelevant Keywords

You may consider putting in a few irrelevant keywords that don’t fit the content but could bring in more traffic. This is a bad idea for two reasons. The search engines will realize that your content doesn’t focus on those irrelevant keywords, and even if it brings any extra traffic, those users will leave when they see that your site isn’t what they were looking for.