Six Stupid SEO Strategies To Destroy Your WordPress Site’s Search Ranking

We take a look at six stupid SEO strategies used by unsuccessful WordPress site owners, including paid links, link spamming, and cloaking.

WordPress is popular because it makes it easy to create a blog or business site. It attracts users who are not expert in the ways of online marketing and search engine optimization. That lack of expertise can lead them astray. The web is full of advice about how to market a website, and much of it is complete nonsense.

It can be difficult for new site owners to filter out the lies, the misunderstandings, and the speculation. I’d like to take a look at six commonly touted SEO techniques that are likely to do more harm than good. My aim is to provide an inoculation that will protect site owners from the worst of the counterproductive flimflam that they may otherwise fall prey to.

Paid Links
paid links
Backlinks, also known as incoming links, are vital for ranking well in search engines. It might seem to follow that getting links in any way you can is a good idea. If you Google for “backlinks, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to pay someone to link to your site, often in the form of low-grade article directories, spammy guest blogging programs, link exchange schemes, or any number of other less-than-salubrious strategies.

These are to be avoided at all costs. Buying links, by whatever convoluted route, is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google and other search engines are only interested in editorial links freely given. Those are the only links that reflect a genuine interest in the content being linked to.

If Google catches you buying links — and they catch people regularly — at best the links will be ignored and at worst your site will suffer a penalty that makes ranking well unlikely.

Link Spamming
link spamming
For the same reason that buying links is frowned on, link spamming is strongly discouraged. There is various ways to spam links: forum posts and blog comments being popular options. It doesn’t work and it’ll harm your ranking in the long-run.

That only sustainable way to build links is the old-fashioned route of publishing great content and promoting it.

Keyword Stuffing
keyword stuffing
Keywords can be tricky to get right. A keyword is a word or phrase in content that reflects the search queries for which you want to rank. If you pay no attention to inserting relevant keywords in your content, your site is unlikely to rank for the queries that are of interest to your business. If you put too many keywords in your content, your ranking will suffer because your content will be junk. There’s no “perfect keyword ratio,” but anyone with basic competence in English is able to read a piece of content and determine whether it’s been written for humans (good) or search engine bots (bad).

Content Spinning And Pagejacking
content spinning
Original, relevant, high-quality content is good. Stolen, plagiarized, low-quality content is bad. Content spinning is the strategy of taking existing content, changing it a bit or a lot, and republishing it. Often the process is automated, and the results are always garbage from the perspective of a human reader.

Pagejacking is the strategy of taking someone else’s well-performing content, possibly changing it, and then republishing it on your site. It’s a bad idea.
The best way to achieve a sustainable rank is to create content people are interested in. It’s more expensive, but it works and keeps working over the long term.

Cloaking And Hidden Text
hidden text
Search engines don’t like it when sites display content to their crawlers that isn’t displayed to human visitors. The simplest way to do this is to hide content from human visitors with CSS; the more advanced method — cloaking — uses server-side processing to serve different content depending on the user agent of the visitor.
Neither is a good idea, and both will result in poor SEO performance.

Fetishizing Search Rank
Ranking well is great, but it’s not the sole goal of search engine optimization. The goal of search engine optimization is to generate traffic for your site. A good SERP position often leads to more traffic, but it doesn’t always. Your site might rank number one for a variety of queries, but if those rankings don’t convert to traffic or, ultimately, revenue, then they’re nothing but a vanity metric. Focus on the measures that matter.

Search engine optimization is complex, which is why so many people write so much nonsense about it. Unless you want to actively sabotage your SEO efforts, avoid these “strategies” like the plague.

Author Graeme Caldwell
Graeme works as an inbound marketer for Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting. Follow Nexcess on the social links below.

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