There are lots of things you can do to improve your website’s visibility in the search engines (quality content, regular updates, valuable backlinks etc…) but what about the things that can have a damaging effect on your SEO?
Get found out by Google for a low-quality website and you risk a falling PageRank, disappearance from page one of search results or worse, having your entire website removed from Google’s cached search results.
But there’s no need to panic because when you think about it, Google aren’t asking for much. They reward websites that provide a great user experience and penalise those that don’t, simple as. And after all, why wouldn’t you want to provide a great user experience to your visitors? They’re the visitors you want to stay and convert.
1. Above the Fold Ads
Large ads that appear above the fold (the section of the page that users can see without having to scroll) don’t go down well with Google. To accompany their algorithm change in October 2012, the search engine announced that they would penalise sites for featuring ads in this location. Google regards these ads as damaging to user experience and therefore degrading to the quality of a website.
If you’re going to feature ads, make sure they are of subsidiary importance to the content on your website. They should sit on the sidelines and give your visitors the opportunity to click rather than invading the user’s visit.
2. Keyword Stuffing
Use too many keywords in your copy and not only will you annoy your site visitors but you won’t get away with it. Keyword stuffing blights the readability of your copy and in turn damages your website’s user experience. Google can see stuffing and if they do, you’ll see your site falling down the search ranks.
If you write copy that is relevant, easy to read and written with your audience in mind then your keywords will appear naturally.
3. Low-quality Content
Even if your copy isn’t stuffed with keywords, throw it together without a second thought and you risk going down in search. Your copy should be well-written, easy to understand and useful to your audience. Take care of clarity, consistency and sound grammar and Google will reward your site for its value.
4. Duplicated Content
Neither can you cheat and steal quality content from elsewhere. Google can easily find duplicated content across the web and will penalise any guilty party. All content on your website should be unique and should never be published in more than one place within your site.
5. Missing Meta Tags
Meta tags include descriptions, titles and alt tags in the coding of your website and these should be fully optimised. These tags pass information to Google’s algorithms and help the search engine to rank your website for its relevant terms. Use your keywords in these tags and write to encourage your search audience to click.
Broken links obstruct the path of Google’s spiders from one link to the next, telling the search engine that your site is low-quality, neglected and providing a bad user experience. Likewise, your users cannot navigate your website easily and this is likely to result in a high bounce rate (people leaving your website quickly). Google isn’t a fan of a high bounce rate so fix your links and maintain them.
Want more tips about optimising your website? Check out our recent blog post on Conversion Rate Optimisation.