» 10 Ways to Make the Search Engines Angry: Part I

This post written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.

Remember that the two most important things to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are: Consistency and Patience. In order to be successful, you must keep your SEO consistent across each page of your site and blog. Furthermore, attaining high rankings does not happen overnight. You should create a strategy and expect to wait 6-12 months to see the rewards. Search engines are strict when it comes to their SEO guidelines. If you follow them correctly, you will find that your business will move towards the top.

However, if you make the search engine angry, you will likely lose significant ranking, or even worse, be removed completely from search results. For a moment, let’s focus on the things that you should avoid in your SEO strategy. Here are the first 5 ways from our list of the top 10 ways to make search engines angry:

1. Too Many Keywords
Adding keywords to your document title, meta description, meta tags and throughout the content on your site is extremely critical to seeing positive results. They help search engines understand what is on each page. That being said, there is a fine balance. Don’t go overboard in the number of keywords you use. If you stuff the same keywords over and over onto the same page you will get penalized. We suggest focusing on 5 main keywords per page of your site, with the primary focus being on the 1-2 most important keywords. Furthermore, many businesses use a long paragraph that simply lists all of their keywords, but makes no sense to their consumer. Try to write for people first and search engines second. You want the copy on your site to make sense, while also having a focus on a couple of your most important keywords.

2. Duplicate Content
Avoid duplicating content anywhere on your site, whether that is content from your site or from external sources. Instead, quote the relevant parts of the content and provide a link to the original source.  Search engines hate seeing duplicate content across the web and it is one of the easiest ways to lose rankings.

3. Too Many Links
Having links to key areas on your site is the best way to move your visitors around, but don’t post too many links on a single page. Google suggests less than 100 links per page, but we would suggest keeping it below 25.  The SEO strength of your site will pass through to those links to other areas of your site.  The fewer links you have to internal and external pages means the more power you can pass to the links that are listed.  Also, make sure you know all the places where you link to externally and that the content on these sites is relevant to your business.  So as a wedding business, try to avoid links to sites that have nothing to do with weddings or your category.

4. Lots of New Links
The more links you get to your site tends to boost your SEO rank, as long as they are from trustworthy and relevant sites. However, if you have a small number of inbound links and all of a sudden add hundreds of new links, the search engines are going to take notice. Adding links to your site is great, but do it gradually.  The best method is to find ways to get people to link to your site on a consistent basis, which can easily be done through blogs or external listings.

5. Buying Links
Buying and selling links is a bad practice. Getting links from services that offer to boost SEO rankings tends to be ineffective. Typically, these links will come from sites that are not relevant to yours. In addition, search engines may think that you are purchasing links just to boost your rank and will punish your site. Avoid ‘link farms,’ which are pages that list links for the purpose of achieving high SEO rankings.  Any company that offers ‘100 one-way links for just $99’ should be avoided!

Stay tuned for the rest of the list! Have you tried out these strategies? What has worked best for your business?