If you have spent hundreds of hours optimising your website to no effect, the chances are you a feeling more than a little aggrieved. Is there anything that you have overlooked?
The SEO game is a mysterious one, and it is one in which experts cannot actually all agree on the rules for. What many SEO experts consider to be bad practice, others regard as gospel.
Add to the fact that search engines (Google) are notoriously coy on confirming details of any updates, optimising your website is more than a full-time job in itself. With that being said, however, there are negative SEO practices that everyone agrees on, but is there a chance that you have overlooked them?
For a website to be regarded as an authoritative source, it is must be visible to rank. Even the slightest of downtime can have a major negative effect on a website’s search ranking.
Webmasters should consider the quality of the server that their website is being hosted on – it is always best to be hosted on a private server as opposed to a shared one. This is because your site can be affected by other websites hosted on the server.
If one website is seeing a spike in traffic, the bandwidth is not shared evenly and, if this causes the server to go down, that includes your website.
Poor Guest Posts
Content is king when it comes to SEO, and poor quality means a poor ranking. Digital marketing professionals like to use guest posts as a means of building their website’s backlink profile, acquiring authoritative links back to their website.
A poor guest post will have a negative impact on both the hosting website and the website that has been linked to, especially if the link has not been marked as no-follow (meaning that the linked will not be considered by Google). If you have accepted guest posts from other websites that have not been of the best quality, for the benefit of a link for a link or otherwise, you should remove these immediately.
WordPress is one of the most user-friendly CMS systems on the market, and provides a plethora of easy to install plugins that are designed to benefit the website. When utilised correctly, plugins can have a great effect on user experience, but too many can slow down the website.
Website pages should load within four seconds, otherwise you can expect a high bounce rate, and this certainly is not good. It is very easy to install far too many WordPress plugins and forget about them – look to remove anything that is no longer needed as this will help to speed up your website’s loading time.
Just as much as poor quality incoming links has a poor effect, so too do poor outgoing links. Too many outgoing links is the main cause of negative SEO, as Google will mark this against your website, which runs the risk of being regarded as a link farm.
Cut down on the number of links used on pages, ensure that you are only linking to authoritative websites and, where possible, make use of the no-follow tag when inserting hyperlinks into the HTML.
As mentioned earlier in this post, Google carries out regular updates to their algorithms but do not confirm the nature of their updates as a rule of thumb. As of writing, the last major unconfirmed Google update took place in March 2017, with Gary Illyes, who works for the search engine, confirming that an average of three updates per day are produced.
Any webmaster should make it their business to keep updated on news of new updates that can impact SEO practices as, failure to do so, can quickly see your website’s performance drop without warning.
For inexperienced webmasters, it may be worth seeking SEO advice and marketing services from expert professionals that can guide the way in digital practices.