May is Mental Health Month. What a great, light-hearted opportunity to review your SEO strategy to keep yourself from wasting time and money and ultimately going crazy. Here are five SEO things that you should avoid, and if you or your SEO company are currently doing them, stop. Just stop.

going crazy

1. Ineffective Keywords

What’s the point in being on page 1 of Google for a keyword that no one searches? Make sure that whatever you are targeting has enough search volume to justify your efforts. Do some competitive analysis and keyword volume research before starting your campaign.

2. Copying Content

The goal in days-past of copying content was to increase the number of times important keywords show up on your site. This is known as keyword density. Copying content is a way that shady or lazy SEO companies have attempted to increase keyword density on websites. As of February, 2011, Google’s “Panda” algorithm aims to weed out sites that copy or largely recycle existing content from other sites.

How does it work? If Google’s algorithms detect an excessive amount of duplicate content, the search engine will decide on its own which site is the original author and deserves credit, and will penalize the other site(s).

3. Keyword Stuffing

Similar to reasoning behind copying content, the goal of keyword stuffing in days-past was to increase the number of times important keywords showed up on your website. In theory, the more times a keyword shows up on your site, the more relevant your site is to that word . The more relevant a word is, the more likely it is for search engines to find and display your site in a search result.

If your site has multiple pages, using the same keywords on every page is not an effective SEO strategy. If individual pages do not have a unique value, what’s the point in having additional pages? Keyword stuffing makes for boring, gibberish content that is sure to send visitors away. Besides, Google’s Panda algorithm tackles this outdated SEO practice, too, as it knows that all you are trying to do is deceive their search engine algorithms.

4. Bad Link Building

Google’s PageRank metric is the original algorithm used by Google to determine where pages rank and show up in search results. The theory is that higher quality sites will naturally attract other sites linking to them. Therefore, sites with more external sites linking to them (a backlink) represents a higher quality site that should rank higher. Once SEO companies learned that an increase in backlink quantity could positively affect their clients’ rankings they began to artificially and build backlinks. Well, it was good while it lasted.

Google’s Penguin algorithm hammered down on bad SEO backlink building practices. As soon as SEO’s begin to manipulate one variable, Google puts a stop to it.

Some SEO’s just don’t learn and continue to exchange or submit backlinks in less than appealing ways. While you may find some success with short-term gains, is it worth being penalized or even completely removed and banned from Google’s search engine results, like BMG of Germany?

5. Using numerous outgoing links

Some SEO companies believe that incoming links are not the only factor that can harm your site. Outgoing links are also believed to have negative potential.

No, in general, outgoing links are not bad. However, as bad SEO companies continue to try and manipulate variables on a site en masse, Google catches on to these footprints. Some SEO companies use link exchanges. They board a new client, add dummy pages of content to insert links to other clients, then do the same on the other sites and link back to the new client. At some point, you begin to harbor a lot of outgoing links. This is why a large number of outgoing links can have a negative impact on your rankings, whether intentional or not.

Did you learn something? Keep your sanity this Mental Health Month. Avoid or stop bad SEO practices today. Friends don’t let friends use outdated SEO practices. If you find yourself a victim of SEO penalties from Google, we can help.