I’d like to talk to you this week about SEO, specifically bad SEO. There’s no guarantee that even the largest media company will do everything possible to increase your site’s rankings. Techniques get old over time, and what used to work can be what’s holding you back right now. It’s up to you to keep track of the details on your site and to fix problems whenever they arise.
I looked at one site’s inner workings and found an awful lot of bad SEO. In the first place, most of the pages were listed as no index. This means that Google will look at your site and not count any of those pages toward your eventual ranking. If it has less to work with, Google is likely to rank your site lower than it should. Ideally, Google should be indexing all of your work to get a true read on where it should rank.
Bad titles are another way that site owners pull their own rankings down. If you’re got a title that’s nine or ten words long, Google won’t read it in the first place. On top of that, it looks like keyword stuffing to the Googlebots, and you’ll suffer a bit of a penalty because of it. There’s no reason to stuff two keyword strings into one title — you’ll only end up hurting yourself.
Another way to lower your rankings is by keeping bad backlinks. Follow your backlinks to see where they go. If they’re from the comment section of another blog, they’ll do you no good. Worse than that can be backlinks from sites that make absolutely no sense for yours. If your diet drink website has a backlink that leads to an educational site, it will look to Google as if you’ve paid for the linking, and that does you more harm than good.
Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.