1. Keyword Stuffing
Watch the number of times you mention ‘blue jelly beans’ on a page that’s designed to rank highly for ‘blue jelly beans’. We’re not just talking about the body content here but everything from title tags and meta descriptions down. There’s no knowing what the actual limit is but if your targeted keyword phrase is showing up more than 10 times you’re definitely in dangerous territory.
2. Almost empty landing pages
It’s no good having a page with only a short paragraph of unique content just to rank for a slight variation in your keyword phrase any more. These pages are flagged up by Panda and will drag your site down in the rankings. Get rid of them.
3. Internal link blizzards
Google can now you see you trying to manipulate its algorithms when you include tons of links on every page pointing to your landing pages with the anchor text you want to rank for. Only the first instance of a particular link on any page will pass page rank so delete all the others. This counts doubly for sidebar links and for…
4. Footer links
Your extra large footers containing hundreds of links to your best pages are no longer doing you any favors. In fact, they stick out like a sore thumb. Sort out your site structure and use your footer links to aid navigation only.
5. Auto-generated/really badly written/scraped content
‘Many consumers are now viewing the blessings of mobile phone covers. Mobile phone covers are accomplishable in a variety of colors and designs…’ Do you have content like this on your site? Google can tell that it’s badly written and that it’s there only to fool the robots. Work towards replacing it with better content or, if it’s bring in no traffic or conversions already, deleting it altogether.
6. Spammy title tags
This is a variant of keyword stuffing where you design your title tags to rank for as many terms as possible e.g.
‘Website Design | Website Designers | Web Design Company London’
You shouldn’t to do this anymore – Google now realises that all those terms are related and that a title tag like this is spammy. Concentrate on writing a good title tag that encourages clicks rather than one which ranks for as many terms as possible.
7. A different page for every keyword variation you can think of
If your category pages contain links to landing pages for every variation of a keyword term you’re looking at a big Google slap sometime soon. If you’ve already got a page for ‘Star Wars Figurines’ do you really need a page for ‘Star Wars Toy Figurines’ and ‘Star Wars Plastic Figurines’ and ‘Star Wars Figures’ and ‘Star Wars Toy Figures’ etc, etc, as well? Couldn’t these pages be rolled into one? The search engines would certainly prefer it that way.
8. Exact match anchor text
You should no longer be hunting for links to your site which contain exact match anchor text only. Google now sees sites with a high proportion of such links pointing to it as suspicious. Mix up the anchor texts used in links to your site to include partial matches, phrases, brand terms, ‘click here’ etc. The more varied and natural looking your anchor text profile the better.
9. Directory links
Google is gradually devaluing links from web directories and in the recent updates many were penalized. While some directories still provide links of value most are now not worth the trouble of hunting and submitting links.
10. Article links
The same goes for article directories – only more so.
11. Sitewide links
Sidebar, footer and other sitewide links were hit massively by the recent Penguin updates. These kind of links are now incredibly dangerous and give Google massive red flags – even if they’ve been naturally acquired. The trouble is, to Google, they look like they’ve been paid for. If you’ve got loads of these pointing at your site it might be time to contact the webmasters in question and politely ask for them to be removed or replaced with a single-instance link.
12. Blog comment links
Links from blog comments and forum posts stopped being valuable almost as soon as the spammers cottoned on to them. Now they’re rife with spam and Google looks on them as very suspect. Make sure they don’t constitute a significant proportion of all your backlinks and that they’re not a part of your link building strategy.