Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Top 5 Negative SEO Factors

We often write about important things to do, both on your web site and off, to improve your rankings in the search engines. What we don’t talk about quite so often are the many ways to shoot yourself in the foot. But if your web site is subject to some of these bad influences, they can undo all the good things you’ve done.

Here’s a quick list from SEOMoz.org of the top 5 things you need to avoid at all costs.

Top 5 Negative SEO Factors

  1. Your web site is often down or down for a long time – If your site is down for more than  48 hours, your rankings are likely to plummet.
  2. Duplicate content – if you have content that is substantially identical to another web page, whether on your own site or on someone else’s, you’ll suffer in the rankings. Search engines see no value in presenting searches with the same information from different web pages.
  3. Linking out to bad neighborhoods – if your site links to low quality or spam sites, the search engines will paint you with the same brush. Similarly, avoid linking to other bad neighborhoods like porn, gambling, and hate sites.
  4. Participation in linking schemes or actively selling links – Google is on a rampage to identify paid links and discount them. Penalties may accrue to the site selling the links and at a minimum, the links will cease to have any value for the site buying them.
  5. Duplicate page titles and/or meta tags – this is fairly common. Often many (or all) pages on a web site are copied from a single template and given content. That assures a common look and feel to the pages. But if you don’t take the time to hand-craft page titles and meta tags uniquely for each page, you’re likely to end up in Google’s supplemental results. That pretty much means you’re nowhere.

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