The second of our SEO myth-busting blog posts - this time focussing on some of the techniques that are commonly used, but frowned upon by search engines.
Take a look at your website home page. Scroll down. Does it have great big lists of keywords? The entire text from your site? A huge list of links to other sites? If it does, then you might want to think about removing them.
Plenty of people are still getting away with using techniques like this to try to improve their search engine results, but the truth of the matter is that the major search engines do not like sites that use these sort of tactics. And they can impose penalties, from lowering your rankings to actually blocking your site.
The first two techniques run the risk of being seen as "keyword stuffing" Google says: "Filling pages with keywords results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site's ranking. To fix this problem, review your site for misused keywords. Typically, these will be lists or paragraphs of keywords, often randomly repeated."
The third technique, that of using long lists of links, may be viewed as a link scheme. To quote Google again: "Some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site's ranking in search results. Examples of link schemes can include:
- Links intended to manipulate PageRank
- Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
- Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging ("Link to me and I'll link to you.")
- Buying or selling links that pass PageRank"
Accessiblity appears to be a new way of justifying some of these techniques. We have seen sites using these tactics and claiming it is for accessibility purposes. It isn't - accessibility is about programming sites so that visually impaired and otherwise disabled people can still use them, it is not about putting in extra links and keywords!
If you have any queries about SEO or accessibility, please feel free to get in touch with us - firstname.lastname@example.org