What are the warning signs of bad SEO? Warning signs of bad SEO can be something small like a sitewide link in the footer to something much bigger like paid backlink services. There are a number of warning signs that will arise in various ways when SEO is not done well. The warning signs of bad SEO can be very subtle or could be the reason website traffic stopped flowing. Without knowing what to look for and why it’s an issue could prevent further issues from forming.

After reading this article, you will be able to detect bad SEO tactics that go against SEO industry guideline. Shortcuts are often taken to save time from doing good on page SEO, but just because it saves time, doesn’t mean it saves money, if it has to be undone later on. Some agencies and SEOs just don’t know better and others use these ” shortcuts ” as part of their overall client strategy. Put a stop to it before it ends up costing you more then just time, as some tactics can end up deindexing a website.

Backlink Building Doesn’t Involve Buying Backlinks

Buying backlinks is against Googles guidelines, and many other search engines as well for that matter. The Google penguin penalty was a update to Google’s core algorithm that caused quite an issue for websites with shady and spammy backlink profiles in 2012. Since then, Google has incorporated the penguin algorithm into it’s ” rolling filter ” so it’s constantly checking backlinks and devaluing them as it goes. Google has a problem with spam in general and has a whole team dedicated to handling such issues called the ” webspam team “. Backlink audits normally can reveal purchased backlinks or other link schemes. There are whole services that are deemed ” blackhat SEO ” that offer the ability to purchase backlinks from PBNs ( private blog networks ) and for the time you have the services paid for, keyword rankings can occur. Some of these services are very good at fooling Google for a period of time and end up making a lot of money while gathering a huge user base.

The big problem with using any quick shortcut ” blackhat SEO service ” is that search engines eventually figure it out. When that happens, it’s either a plug is pulled then and the backlinks are devalued. However, some blackhat backlink services have grown so huge, that when Google does find it, to devalue these backlinks would be to cause another 2012 penguin like event, where many websites would drop in keyword rankings which is effectively website traffic opportunity. It’s more likely Google already knows about these massive blackhat services, and are working on ways to add in algorithm rules to filter out and devalue links using a specific set of variables. At any rate, the same amount of money spent on these blackhat backlinking services can be spent on whitehat SEO services and even rank without backlinks depending the niche. Good content naturally will bring in backlinks overtime and proper backlink outreach yields exceptional backlinks such as .edu and high DA websites.

Content Relevancy Isn’t Just Keyword Matching Its E-A-T

Website content is the only reason users even care about your brand, it’s the only reason they found you online. With that said, why have content that puts people to sleep or sent clicking the back button? Not only does content need to have E-A-T ( Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness ) it needs to relate to the users finding it also called content relevancy. Depending on the subject matter of your content, your audience may not be who you think it is, therefor the tone, quality and even level of technical speaking adapted. Otherwise potential customers won’t be able to connect with the overall message of the website. Content that is dry is fine for an informational website, but its better to connect that message with content more relevant to your targeted audience.

Another issue is duplicate content and what is called doorway webpages. Duplicate content is when webpage B uses content from webpage A and doesn’t use a canonical tag for webpage A. Searchbot see this as duplicate content and it harms keyword ranking and thus website traffic. Doorway webpages are low content, often ranking well for single keywords via spammy or vague webpages that only serve the purpose of linking to other webpages on the website. They have little to no use in general, as the blog page, search page or sitemap could provide the same results. However, users find these webpages ranking for keyword searches, leaving users unsatisfied or even leading users to potentially harmful websites. Proper content audits are recommended to check for and redirect any potential doorway or duplicate webpages.

The Website Is Mobile Unfriendly

If a website isn’t optimized for mobile, the website isn’t being favored by the mobile 1st indexing boost in keyword rankings. Not to mention using AMP pages, can also have it’s benefits to visual search presence and mobile visibility in general. Google and SEO founders alike have come out and said that using separate websites for mobile and desktop versions is bad for SEO, so if you’re still using a m.domain.com website, you might have bigger problems. It’s effectively like trying to rank two separate websites and the little one isn’t going to win. Responsive design is another mobile aspect that is vital to mobile optimization, due to all the different devices used. If a website can’t be viewed properly, it’s not going to be used properly. With more searches happening on mobile devices than desktop, not having mobile optimization in mind is to have bad seo in mind.

Lots Of Website Traffic With Little To No Conversions

When websites get a lot of traffic, there doesn’t seem to be a downside. Unless you have goals setup and there aren’t any. Then you need to look into whether there is a user optimization issue with user intent or you may have bot or paid traffic. There is only a few reasons you’d see paid traffic going to a website, an attempt to impress or cause harm. Bot website traffic can impress falsely making it appear there is more traffic than there really is, a good way to see this is from the no goal conversions and even more clues like no average time on page. Bot web traffic can also be used for negative SEO reasons like SERPs hijacking, DDoS attacks and so forth. If there bot traffic doesn’t seem to be the reason for the web traffic resulting in no conversions, then there is a user intent issue with the content. This can be fixed with some user optimization, user profile and revisiting the webpages with the skewed metrics. Once a proper user profile is established, content can be better crafted for the types of users more intended to convert into a goal conversion.

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