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What are the Top 5 SEO techniques to avoid for Google?

     
6:16 am on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As suggested by one of the moderators. I think that this is an EXCELLENT topic. There has been way too much learning by trial and error of late. That's much too expensive a way to learn. I run two bonafide business sites that have a lot of content (articles etc., plus pages that describe our services). Both sites rated in the top 10 for years for 6 keywords that are critical to our business. That situataion seemed to change drastically after Hilltop. I compared my page to the pages in top positions and concluded (incorrectly) that I needed to repeat the keywords more often in the meta tags and H tags.

The results...a disaster....my home pages and the 3 pages related to the specific subject dropped out of the top 100 for "red widgets". If I do a search for "red widgits mycity", in some cases those pages appear in the top 2. The Google page ranks are 6/10 for the index.html and home.html pages on one site and 5/10 for those pages on another site.

Two questions, now that I have stopped the keyword stuffing and worked hard to build even more reciprocal links anchored with the text "red widgits", will I ever see those pages return to top 10 status? Roughly how long do you think it will take? (When I run the pages "red widgets" keyword through Scroogle, I am in the top 5.

So that I don't make the same COSTLY mistakes again:

- What are the top 5 SEO techniques to avoid AT ALL COSTS, for Google?

Thank you.

8:33 am on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Great topic hermosa, thanks for posting it!

>>worked hard to build even more reciprocal links anchored with the text "red widgits",

1. Don't keyword stuff anchor text repetitively, either inbound or internal. Keep it down to a certain percentage of the total anchor text per page; use variations. Variety is the spice of life!

2. Don't go hyphen-happy in URLs, stuffing directory and file names with keyword phrases.

>>I compared my page to the pages in top positions and concluded (incorrectly) that I needed to repeat the keywords more often in the meta tags and H tags.

3. Don't presume to think that what we see the competition doing that's obvious is the thing that's causing their sites to rank well.

>>Hilltop

4. Don't assume it's one "algo" that's the answer. Extract the sensible academic principles behind each of them out there and apply the solid principles they teach to sensible site and page construction.

5. Try not to think like an SEO. ;)

8:39 am on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"5. Try not to think like an SEO. ;)"

That is a very clever comment and is the key to great success. SEO can be too focused on assumed keyword traffic magnets, the reality is often very different. Google does not like seo, so think laterally.

9:12 am on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"5. Try not to think like an SEO"

100% true. Google is looking for good content sites, not optimized sites. A comparision with artificial flowers comes to mind... natural flowers, especially those growing in a forest are the best and they are what attracts best "traffic" :)

11:35 am on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Top 5 dont's ... hmmm

  • Don't keyword stuff. Stemming is a wonderful thing and can be used to great advantage.

  • Do diversify your pages and describe your products in several different ways (semantics) just as a searcher might try to find them.

  • Don't write for the search engines. (Well not as much as before anyway!) :)

  • Do write for the potential customer. (As best you can)

  • Don't use all in anchor as if every word in the sentence, containing several keywords were meaningful.

  • Do be accurate with anchor text and match the most important keywords to the page being linked to.

  • Don't bother with reciprocal linking programmes.

  • Do concentrate on adding as much informational content as you can. Content is still king in my opinion.

    If you have the content, natural incoming links will begin to flow your way.

    Brett recommends adding a page per day. I find that to be somewhat difficult as it usually takes me about three days to add just one really good page. Photos, maps, line drawings research, writing, layout or whatever is required for the topic takes me longer to accomplish than a seasoned pro I guess.

    I figure if I add a page per week I will be doing exceptionally well!

  • 1:06 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    I am confused. So are reciprocal links out now? I thought Google placed value on links from highly ranked pages.
    1:13 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    So are reciprocal links out now

    No they are not out but one way links 'appear' to work better.

    1:50 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    "Don't keyword stuff"

    of interest

    the No.1 for mytown real estate is 29.91% and the No.2 is 35.71%

    3:14 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    >the No.1 for mytown real estate is 29.91% and the No.2 is 35.71%

    Don't use anecdotal data to make wrong conclusions :)

    3:42 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    1. Don't jump on every new trick

    2. Don't advertise selling PR

    3. Don't rely on consistent SERPS for consistent income

    4. Don't get frustrated or impatient

    5. Don't change your site everytime there is a serp change

    I liked the above mentioned "don't" as well...don't jump to conclusions from a small sample data set

    6:01 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    "Don't keyword stuff"

    I have to disagree here. Not that keyword stuffing is effective but KWD can be quite high or low and not make much of a difference.

    6:18 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Don't go hyphen-happy in URLs, stuffing directory and file names with keyword phrases

    Very true, but there's a place for some hyphens and keywords in directory and filenames if it helps you theme your pages and keep track of what individual pages are about.

    For instance a (fictitious) url like www.biology-example.com/amphibians/frogs/common-frog.html makes sense and from my own experience Google should not object to it.

    [edited by: tedster at 1:33 am (utc) on May 10, 2004]
    [edit reason] change example url [/edit]

    6:20 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Don't forget about Yahoo and MSN. I find myself going to Yahoo much more often and finding what I'm searching for there. Others won't be too far behind.

    Avoid hidden text.

    Avoid new domains.

    Avoid SEO for Christmas related items (November update/backdate will kill you).

    Diversify!

    6:40 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Avoid new domains?

    What do you mean by that?

    7:54 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    What are the Top 5 SEO techniques to avoid for Google?

    Google doesn't seem to like new domains.

    6:28 am on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    >the No.1 for mytown real estate is 29.91% and the No.2 is 35.71%

    OK ... the thing is that everyone one uses different tools and different options to determine keyword density. When you say that so and so is #1 with a keyword density of "whatever" ... we need to know if that is strictly "on page keywords" including stop words, not including stop words, with or without title tags, with or without meta tags, with or without alt tags and which tool you are using and which options you've selected!

    It always amazes me that people talk about keyword density as if it were constant ,which of course ... it is not!

    Keyword density (and the tools used to determine it) are the single most misunderstood and misrepresented "thing" at WebmasterWorld.

    If we all based our "barometer" on the same criteria ... that would be nice. How about using "on page criteria only" (including stop words) as a launch point. Gauge the page as what the reader actually sees. That way, we can know for sure what we are all talking about.

    If somebody starts throwing around figures for the most "ideal" keyword density ... you need to find out which tool they use to make their calculations as well as each and every selection used to produce the results.

    Keyword stuffing is frowned up by Google. EVENTUALLY ... any site using this technique WILL be found and WILL be zapped. Its only a matter of time.

    7:24 am on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    "If we all based our "barometer" on the same criteria ... that would be nice. How about using "on page criteria only" (including stop words) as a launch point. Gauge the page as what the reader actually sees. That way, we can know for sure what we are all talking about."

    Forgive my ignorance but what are stop words and what are launch points?

    "Keyword stuffing is frowned up by Google. EVENTUALLY ... any site using this technique WILL be found and WILL be zapped. Its only a matter of time."

    I learned this the hard way. Some of my pages index.html and home.html for two sites appear to have been zapped. They still have page ranks of 5/10 and 6/10 and show up for

    "red widgits mycity"

    "blue widgits mycountry"

    They don't even make the top 100 for:

    "blue widgits"

    "red widgits"

    It's been a couple of months since I realized and fixed the keyword stuffing problem and they STILL don't appear. Is this a permanent penatly? Once zapped is it zapped forever? Will these pages ever return to the top ten? Does the fact that these pages still have decent pageranks and turn up high for other keyword combinations mean that there is hope? I still don't have a clue why they dropped out of the top ten to begin with.

    7:51 am on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    > Google doesn't seem to like new domains.

    Are you referring to the domain date of registration?

    8:46 am on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    >new

    Newly launched sites seem to set there on the back burner for a while before ranking.

    12:18 pm on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Don't sign lots of guestbooks or BLOG's and leave your URL.

    Don't pay to be included in one zillion websearch directories. (most of them add your URL to adult material and warez directories).

    Don't hunt for a unrelated links. For example you sell kitchenware and ask for a link from a computer page.

    Don't hunt for best of the web awards that ask you to link back to the award site. (actually every award is a sign of ego tripping and should be avoided by professional seo's anyway).

    Don't host your site on the same IP as a porn site or a spam site (check on spamhaus.org for abuse reports).

    12:21 pm on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Forgive my ignorance but what are stop words and what are launch points?

    Stop words = and, but, the, from, to, at, etc.

    Launch points = Cape Canaveral

    12:44 pm on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    re keyword stuffing

    What is Google's criteria for categorizing a page as keyword stuffed?

    Is the decision made when the page is indexed? Or is it made at the time of search based on keywords found?

    12:54 pm on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Don't submit spam reports. ;)

    Instead, put those spammy_as_hell sites you find in a bookmarks folder called "Quality Black Hat Sites" and study them carefully. They're worth their weight in gold for educational value. :)

    [edited by: Marcia at 1:50 pm (utc) on May 9, 2004]

    1:38 pm on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Keyword stuffing is frowned up by Google.

    Google could give a rats a$$ about KWD. Folks here should have stopped mentioning it around 2.5 years ago. It is exactly as relevant as metatags in terms of scoring for google.

    The KWD range of high ranking pages (using on page text only) can be from 2%-40% - and this is for years now. Take a peek at anchor text density (ATD) instead.

    Now keyword proximity is a slightly different story...

    1:54 pm on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    >>Now keyword proximity is a slightly different story...

    Granted that it isn't KWD so much, but it's been noticed that fewer instances of exact phrases can be a significant factor.

    Is that what you're referring to regarding proximity, rather than KWD of individual words - as opposed to the words being used in exact phrases?

    3:23 pm on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Yes, Marcia - that and phrase proximity itself. Google is far to sophisticated these days to reward or punish sites based on some "magic" KWD.
    5:28 pm on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Google is far to sophisticated these days.

    Sophistication is rewarding sites that follow their own guidelines, [google.com...]

    Are they really all that sophisticated "these days"?

    5:33 pm on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    by "new domains" I think they meant new Top Level Domains (like .info, .us, etc)
    5:36 pm on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    >>Are they really all that sophisticated "these days"?

    No, they are not. It's just a matter these days of how far we're willing to push the envelope. Some are, and some of us aren't - either out of respect or out of fear of reprisal.

    Choose your own definitions; that's what it amounts to, in the final analysis.

    4:58 am on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Please explain more about anchor text density and keyword proximity and the role they play in SERPs and pagerank.

    Thanks.

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