01 Feb 7 Ways Your Search Ranking Can Be Destroyed
As a business owner, you do everything to make your products and services easily available to your customers. To appeal more to your clients, you’ve set up an online platform that lets them view your products, learn about your company, and contact you with any questions.
And if you’ve had your website for some time, then you’re all too familiar with online search rankings. You may even know exactly what types of information or techniques boost your rankings on a search engine result page (SERP).
But do you know which practices can damage your search rankings? Read on to learn about the top seven ways your search ranking can be destroyed.
Before you can learn about the methods that damage your website’s search ranking, you might want to know a little more about one specific SEO term: black-hat practices. This phrase refers to a set of techniques that violate a search engine’s terms of agreement to unfairly increase a company’s online ranking.
If your website implements these methods, you could not only destroy your ranking but also cause your site to be banned from the search engine altogether.
1. Keyword Stuffing
Keywords are the specific words that your customers or readers type into a search engine. For example, if your company specializes in custom-made curtains or window treatments in New York City, a customer might type the words “custom curtains in New York” into their preferred search engine.
The search engine’s algorithm scans every page on the internet for this keyword and puts all applicable sites on the SERP. If you use keywords appropriately on your website, your overall ranking will increase.
However, if you use the black-hat practice known as “keyword stuffing,” your ranking will suffer.
Essentially, keyword stuffing means that your webpage uses keywords unnaturally and uses them excessively across the page or your website. When you stuff keywords into your text, the information sounds like nonsense repeated over and over. Search engines scan pages for these repeated phrases and skip over sites that stuff keywords.
2. Irrelevant Keywords
Like keyword stuffing, irrelevant keywords also harm your search ranking. This method entails implementing unrelated keywords to get additional visits to your website.
If your site uses keywords that have nothing to do with your products and services, search engines filter them out—and your ranking will lower.
3. Duplicate Text or Content
One of the most frustrating things for readers is to see unoriginal text on a website. Your audience and customer base want to know what sets you apart from your competitors—not what makes you just like everyone else. Search engines may also suspect that you plagiarized if you have the same text as another website. So if you have duplicate content on your website, your search ranking will be destroyed.
Be sure to keep your text unique from another website’s, as well as from other pages on your site. If you repeat the same information on all of your pages, search engines like Google flag the page and take it off the SERPs.
4. Article Spinning
Another way some website implementers like to boost a site’s ranking is to spin articles, or repeat text in a sneaky manner. With this technique, writers take existing content and rephrase the material so it doesn’t look like an exact duplicate.
Despite the efforts to cloak duplicate content, search engines recognize this material and further dock your site’s credibility. You’ll also have a page that poorly presents information to your online audience, so search engines won’t bring up your page on the SERP.
5. Broken Links
If your website links to other sites, blogs, or information, you’ll want to keep an eye on them. Sometimes these links expire or stop working. And if your site contains broken links, they don’t add value to your site. Nor do they provide your audience with useful details, so your ranking continues to go down.
6. Hidden Links or Invisible Text
Some implementers shrink a text’s size and make it the same color as a webpage’s background to boost the site’s rankings. These individuals might add filler text or keyword-stuffed paragraphs as well. Even if you think this technique will help your site, it actually harms it in the long run.
Readers can’t see the information, a feature that makes a portion of your page useless to them. And if the hidden text overflows with keywords, Google, Yahoo!, and Bing won’t consider your site as a viable result.
7. Awkward, Repeated, or Abused Anchor Text
“Anchor text” refers to the text that contains a hyperlink. These links guide your customers to other pages on your site. Or if your site posts blogs, these links validate any claims you make or research you reference.
If you use the exact same anchor text to link to other pages or sites, you’ll damage your search ranking. Instead, use terms unique to each page. And since a search engine’s algorithms look for information useful to online readers, make sure to embed hyperlinks in valuable text. Take a look at the example below. Note that the underlined words represent the hyperlink.
DON’T: Ready to schedule a service? For a free quote, fill out our contact form here.
DO: To receive a free quote on a service, fill out our contact form.
ALSO: To receive a free quote on a service, fill out our contact form.
Search engines look closely anchor text to determine if it and the content of the linked-to page is valuable to readers. In the “Do” and “Also” examples above, the anchor text contains a link that guides readers to an online contact form. Search engines recognize that the link relates to these appropriate phrases and that both the link and anchor text provide useful information to an online audience. As a result, the page’s ranking increases.
To boost rankings even more, some individuals abuse this process and repeatedly add keywords into anchor text. However, this technique actually harms a search ranking rather than helps it. When you constantly load anchor text with keywords, it sounds and looks unnatural or questionable to search engines—and if it doesn’t appear trustworthy, your search ranking drops.
We mentioned previously that using the same anchor text throughout webpages damages your search ranking. This fact also applies to keyword-heavy anchor text. You can use keywords in anchor text if the term relates to your linked-to page’s content. Just don’t use this method over and over throughout your site or else your page’s ranking will decrease.
As you try to boost your website’s search ranking, keep these seven factors in mind. Make sure each page on your website uses proper SEO strategies so you don’t inadvertently lower your chances for a higher ranking.
Not sure how to implement good SEO practices on your site? Talk to a search engine optimization company to see how their services can improve your online persona.