The 5 Don'ts of SEO – A Quick Guide

headline-redlight_23When designing an SEO friendly website, there are many Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind. Among these Do’s and Don’ts is being compliant with webmaster guidelines that are put in place by search engines. This list includes a few of the most common “Don’ts” along with suggestions from Google.

1. Don’t Deceive Your Users – Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. The practice of presenting different content or URLs to users and search engines is commonly referred to as “cloaking.” Some examples of cloaking include:

  • Serving a page of HTML text to search engines, while showing a page of images or Flash to users
  • Serving different content to search engines than to users

2. Don’t Deceive Search Engines – Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. These tricks may include but are not limited to:

  • Hidden text
  • Hidden links
  • Cloaking
  • Sneaky redirects

A good rule of thumb is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

3. Don’t Participate in Link Schemes – Everybody knows that links play a big role in ranking your site in search engines. What everybody doesn’t necessarily know is that the quality and relevance of links count much higher than the quantity of links. Participating in link schemes can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.  Some examples of link schemes can include:

  • Links intended to manipulate rankings
  • Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
  • Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”)

4. Don’t have Duplicate Content – Creating multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantial duplicate content can result in a drop in rankings or even removal from a search engine’s index.  Here are some suggestions on how to handle duplicate content issues:

  • Consider blocking pages from indexing (robots.txt)
  • Use 301 redirects
  • Use top-level domains ( vs.
  • Minimize similar content

5. Don’t Keyword Stuff – Keyword Stuffing refers to loading a web page with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in search results. Typically, keyword stuffing will be found in lists or paragraphs of keywords, hidden text, hidden in title tags or alt tags. This practice results in a negative user experience and can harm your site’s ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.

Following these guidelines will get you going on the right track to having an SEO friendly website which will help search engines find, index, and rank your site.

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  1. Jacob S. says

    Nice list! The common thread is user experience. If we forget our users and only think about the search engines, then we are missing the point of SEO which of course is getting the user to the site, giving the user an experience that is highly related to what they’re searching for & user conversion.

    Great article, thanks for the info!

  2. Steve says

    I always think the most challenging part of SEO is to optimise the page so that it is optimal for both the user and the search engine.

    My philosophy is to try and balance traffic and conversions.

    100% traffic & 0% conversions = NO RESULT
    0% traffic & 100% conversions = NO RESULT

    50% traffic & 50% conversions = GREAT RESULT

    and of course the one we all aim for –

    100% traffic & 100% conversions = TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!!

  3. Spencer says

    First point is very interest, perhaps many website business owners should read this point. Yes is absolutely right that we should make the website for visitors/users not for the owner themselves and not for search engine. When plan and develop a site, be considered and give what your visitors/users want in priority, when this is useful site for them, people will sure give u a credit.

  4. Mike Glover says

    I agree….GREAT basics article. If you are new to SEO these are definetly the basics you should be following. Greg, thanks for sharing !

  5. Riaan Aggenbag says


    In terms of Duplicate Content, what would your recommendations be when you find a wonderful article somewhere on the web, that can add value to your own followers but you don’t just want to pop the link there and say “hey, read this”?

    Would writing and intro and outro, wrapping a summary + link to such an article be an option, or what would you recommend?

    Your thoughts are much appreciated,

  6. Luke says

    Thanks for helping me out,world of seo is a very confusing skill as you have the black hat and white hat methods that both say its their way or the highway hehe. I will stick to this 5 rules of don’t do seo techniques on my way to rank my website higher and to satisfy my costumers.

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