February 6, 2016

SEO Fails – How Not to Optimize Your Website

Chocolate cake stuffing? Right on! Keyword stuffing? Fail!

Search engine optimization (SEO) represents a critical component of any online business or site wishing to enjoy a large number of visitors. People who know even the most basic principles of SEO can implement them and reap the benefits. But, SEO has a dark side as well. Like most everything else in this world, there’s a right way and a wrong way to implement SEO.

The Black and the White of SEO

Experts, and the good folks at Google (or Bing), refer to allowable SEO practices as White Hat techniques; whereas, Black Hat SEO techniques could hurt your website’s Google Page Rank (PR), or cause Google and others to ban your site from search results entirely. Google doesn’t differentiate between Black Hat techniques used deliberately, or due to ignorance, when flagging a website as spam. So, while it’s important to learn how to properly use SEO techniques, it’s just as important to know what not to do.

SEO Fails 

The following techniques may initially result in a higher PR and large numbers of visitors, but using these black hat methods will ultimately result in an SEO epic fail.

  • Irrelevant keywords – using irrelevant keywords in title tags and overstuffing the title tags with keywords, whether relevant or not.
  • Keyword stuffing – inserting the keywords or phrases into page content too many times. This results in poor content structure and continuity, which disappoints visitors and increases the site bounce rate.
  • Using irrelevant description meta tags – description that does not have relevance to the page content.
  • Hiding keywords – this involves placing keywords on the page (often at the end of the actual content), but changing the font color to match the page background (i.e. white font color for white page background).
  • Spamming – even the most novice website manager should know that sending unsolicited emails equals spamming – just don’t.
  • Redirecting multiple domains to a single page – use original and 100 % unique content for each site you own and don’t interlink sites with identical or nearly identical domains to one another.
  • Google prohibits selling links to your high PR site to other sites for the sole purpose of increasing the PR of the purchasing site.
  • Linking to a bad neighborhood – carefully choose the websites you link to on your site. Google won’t penalize you if questionable sites link to you, as you cannot control this, but will penalize your site if you deliberately link to a link farm – a site that lists links for no other purpose than boosting PR.
  • Duplicate or stale content – the search engines rank pages that regularly update with fresh, original content higher than those who don’t. Some site owners try to get around having to produce new content by churning old content. Churning involves re-publishing old posts and articles time and again.

Just Remember – Great Content Still Rules the Roost 

No amount of White Hat SEO implementation or Black Hat scheming will take the place of meaningful, relevant content that offers your reading audience solutions to pain, new information, and an interesting read. Use SEO best practices, use them properly, and work hard to publish what your target audience needs and wants. It may take some patience, but you’ll see a great PR improvement and a growing number of loyal readers in the long run.

About Samantha Gluck

Not only am I the chief editor of this multi-author online magazine, I'm a content creator and social media marketing strategist with a background in journalism, finance, & healthcare. I began my content marketing agency, All Media Freelance, LLC, in 2010 and lead a well-rounded, talented team of multi-channel content strategists and niche writers. I've developed and managed print and digital content projects for health care, fitness, financial services, mental health, non-profit, and automotive publishers, as well as for biotechnology brands.


  1. Love your byline, and good article!

    • Samantha Gluck says:

      Thanks Bruce! I really appreciate your stopping by and checking it out. I am so excited about this launch for a number of reasons, but mostly because I stumbled along the way and discovered how very real and caring the folks at Copyblogger/Genesis really are. Also because I’ve started a charitable fund for a young man with Cystic Fibrosis who needs to raise money for a transplant. I feel like it’s the first time I’ve spearheaded something real like the Just Breathe Fund. Thanks again for stopping by!


  2. Good and interesting read, gr8 suggestions for beginners.Thanks.

    • Samantha Gluck says:

      Thanks, Raziel! We’ll post some more advanced SEO topics soon, but I wanted to get some beginner’s articles up there first. It seems to me that people tend to forget that there’s still countless newbies out there that need simple, valid SEO info to start.

      I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and comment.


  3. I think with the recent PANDA updates people are not as eager to try to do black hat techniques. However this list is good for new bloggers that may be led down the wrong path. Thanks!
    Dianne recently posted..Questions to Ask Yourself When Inventing a Product or Coming Up With the Next Big Business Idea or Start-upMy Profile

    • Hi Dianne,

      That’s precisely why I wrote this piece — for the newbies who may feel tempted to try some of the Black Hat techniques. I’ve always had a wonderful team of support from the beginning. Steve, one of my best friends, and owner of Neostead Internet Marketing, always kept me informed as to the latest acceptable SEO techniques. He taught me about SEO and hired me on as a specialist a couple of years ago and the rest is history. While I always made money on the side writing for clients, it was Steve that gave me the confidence and SEO knowledge to leave the corporate world and have a go at it full-time. I hope to mentor newbies just like he did for me — to help them build their skills and confidence — so they can realize their dreams as well. Thanks for stopping by.


  4. Such an informative techniques for advanced SEO Samantha! It is good to know that we have the same field of interest. SEO is indisputable when it comes to fulfilling our dreams. Thanks Samantha for sharing this article.
    advancedSEOtechnique recently posted..Terms & ConditionsMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it. When I first left the corporate world to write full-time, I began my career as an SEO copywriting specialist for Neostead Internet Marketing. It was at that time that I became intrigued with SEO principles and the impact of using even the most basic SEO techniques can have on website traffic. Thank you for taking the time to share and comment. I hope to see you around FWD more often.



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