The importance of an effective SEO strategy can’t be overstated. If you want your website to be found, then it needs to perform well on search engine result pages when its words and terms are searched for. This strategy is both an art and a science and there are many different techniques available to help optimize your website for search engine algorithms.

However, many of the more popular techniques are deceptive and can actually damage your rankings. As their algorithms become increasingly more sophisticated, Google and other top search engines now have ways to detect these techniques and severely penalize your website's ranking if you are caught.

Here is a look at some of the more commonly implemented SEO techniques to avoid.

Cloaking

Cloaking is a deceptive SEO technique that displays content to search engine spiders that is different from the content that is seen by actual users. This technique is used so that more popular keywords will boost the ranking of content that would otherwise not be searched for. This trick is often employed to drive people to affiliate links, advertisements, and pages that contain malware. If a search engine detects cloaking on your website, you will likely be banned from its results.

Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are very similar to cloaking in that they attempt to boost a page's ranking by displaying content that is different from what is actually on the site. However, the doorway page does not actually trick the search engine spiders. The doorway page looks the same to an actual viewer as it does to a spider, but the page is often filled with keywords and terms that have nothing to do with the true nature of the site. As with cloaking, this technique is likely to get your website banned.

Duplicate Content

High-quality content is necessary to improve your search engine result page ranking and drive traffic to your site. However, duplicate content will lead to penalties that will severely hurt your ranking. Do not copy and paste the same content on multiple pages. You should also never copy content from other websites. Be aware that if someone else copies your content, it is possible for your site to be hurt. Be proactive about sniffing out content theft and reporting it to search engines.

Automated Content Spinning

To avoid penalties from duplicate content, some website owners try to use software to spin their content. These applications will make slight changes to the content in an attempt to avoid being identified as duplicate content. Although these programs do sometimes work, search engine algorithms are steadily improving at detecting spun content.

Artificial Link Networks

Normally, giving and receiving links from other websites strengthens your ranking. However, many unscrupulous designers attempt to exploit this system by creating artificial networks of links. Link exchanges and paid link placement will severely damage your website's visibility. Be very careful when linking to other websites so that you can avoid getting caught in what Google refers to as a "bad neighbourhood."

Wrapping Up

A strong SEO strategy is essential for running a successful website or online business. However, SEO shortcuts can undermine your efforts and completely ruin the chances of your website being found. If an SEO technique seems deceptive, Google probably has a way to detect it and ban you for employing it. And if you hire a firm to manage your website’s SEO, do your due diligence to ensure that they are only employing legitimate methods to improve your rank.