You’ve got a website and you’re desperate to go up in the Google rankings. You hear of some little shortcuts that seem like the steroids of the internet world; they might have you looking big and juicy for a while, but the side effects are probably going to hurt you and your website in the long run. Here are some of the SEO practices to avoid that could prevent the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) of the internet world (Google) penalizing you.

1. Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing (in a nutshell) is when you fill a web page with keywords and phrases in hope of manipulating your sites rankings in Google SERP’s. Confused? Look at it this way: Have you ever sat on a bus or train, and been forced to listen to some annoying teenagers deep in conversation. You may have noticed that one of these teenagers can’t string a sentence together without using the word like at least three times. The overall argument they’re like trying to like make might like be valid, but the purpose is drowned out by each cringe-worthy like. The same goes for website and blog content. If you stuff your keyword in as many times as that teenager says like, Google will punish you.

2. Plagiarism

This refers to when you use content off another website and pass it off as your own. Do you remember that kid who got caught for plagiarising back in high school? That person probably only got a suspension or a letter sent home to his or her parents. However if you do this online, you not only run into legal trouble, Google will play the part of your principal and bring out his trusty cane. Avoid a lashing by making sure your content is 100% unique and of a high standard.

3. Duplicate Content

How is this different to plageriased content? You may have used your mad copywriting skillz to come up with the best damn content the world has seen, however if you duplicate this across a number of your pages, it’s likely that Google will use more than just the cane. This is quite common across e-commerce stores for products that are quite similar, and while it can be tempting to CTRL C, CTRL V – DON’T! Even if your products are similar, make sure each page has unique content. That includes titles and metas. Consuela say’s no to duplicate content.

4. Over Optimized Keyword Anchor text

Just like your diet, you should keep your backlink profile healthy or else risk running into issues down the track. An unhealthy backlink profile would contain a high amount of exact match anchor text or a lack of variety in anchor text used. A healthy backlink profile would contain mostly branded anchor text of different variations.

5. Spammy Link Building

So you start researching how to build links to your website and notice a business offering a $10 package including like 30 bazillion links. ERMAGHERD! You’ve totally hit the money. But hold on, take a step back for a hot minute. Does this seem too good to be true? Good thing you asked! Yes, yes it is too good to be true! Always, always, always stay away from mass directory submissions, automated article submissions, and comment links. Google hates cheaters and will find you!

A strong SEO campaign can be a bit of hard work, but is definitely worth it – No pain, no gain yo! By remembering the importance of high quality unique content and honest link building strategies, you will be the difference between being a major online presence or Googles whipping boy.