How You Can Hurt Your SEO and How to Avoid It

By: | December 19, 2019 | Tags: , , ,
on site and off site SEO tips, SEO guru

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Do you need on site and off site SEO strategies to boost your traffic in 2020?

Guest author Sean Dudayev is an SEO guru. As the founder of a marketing company, he is well qualified to give you on site and off site SEO hacks to boost your search engine traffic in 2020.

By the time you’re done reading these strategies, you’ll have two action plans: One plan to follow and another plan to avoid following in order to boost your SEO.

How You Can Hurt Your SEO and How to Avoid It

Sean Dudayev

Over the years, SEO has evolved tremendously.

There has been an update after an update that has seen many websites, including very prominent ones, fall from the rankings, never to be seen again.

Many large businesses and small business owners took a huge hit to their revenue and many of their peers learned their lesson: spammy SEO tactics were dead.

However, these days, you don’t have to be intentionally spammy to hurt your SEO.

Let’s talk about some things you want to avoid when doing SEO. 

On Site and Off Site SEO Tips

How You Can Hurt Your Rankings 

Here are some of the most common ways that you can be hurting your efforts when it comes to SEO for your business

Poor Foundation 

Many website owners, especially those that build the websites themselves, don’t realize that they have spent months working on SEO while having their robot.txt. Blocked.

What does this mean?

This means that there was a piece of code in the website that was invisible to the visitor, but visible to search engines, and it told them specifically not to crawl the site.

This means that no matter how good the website is, search engines wouldn’t know because they are blocked from crawling it.

So when we talk about the “foundation” we’re talking about the way the website is built and optimized. This can also include things like not being optimized for mobile or not having a site map. 

How to Avoid 

The best way to avoid this is to work with a content management system like WordPress which is normally very SEO friendly and automates a lot of the technical stuff for you.

You also want to set up a Google Webmaster’s account. Google Webmasters tells you every time there is an error with your site. This includes things with mobile indexing, crawling or even search penalties. 

[Related Reading: How to Boost Your Success With 30+ High DA Sites See Section 1, Submitting to Google Search Console.]

Another way to hurt yourself is bad links.

In the modern-day, this can often be a silent killer.

Sometimes SEO’s build links from sites that seem harmless thinking they are doing themselves a favor.

When in reality they didn’t vet it good enough. They just looked at the Moz DA and called it a day. If a website is of low quality, has spun content, or has adult content, it can often have the opposite of the intended effect. 

How to Avoid 

Usually, when a website charges or has very loose guidelines and standards, it’s probably not the best place to put your link.

What you want to do is stay away from sites that are too easy to get on to.

Focus on quality over quantity. Stick to websites that have strict guidelines and don’t accept thin content. 

Or, if you don’t want to mess with these things it’s best to acquire and buy outreach link building online from proved companies like OutreachMama which can help you get quality links and build your online presence better.

Over Optimized Anchor Texts 

This also has to do with link building and will hurt your website if you overdo it. When doing SEO, the goal is to not look like you’re doing SEO.

For example, if you’re a website about red shirts, you don’t want all of your anchor texts to say “red shirts.” This is really unnatural and tells Google that you’re really trying to manipulate the search results, and for that, they will punish you. 

How to Avoid 

What you want to do instead is vary it. You want your anchor texts to be a mix of the keyword you’re targeting, your domain name, and random text like “click here” or “this article.” This doesn’t create a pattern and will be much more helpful to your rankings. 

Thin Content 

This has been the case for a long time but has become close to a penalty in 2019. With the most recent update, a website with thin content has lost most of its traffic. This update hurt websites that were publishing articles of 500 words or less. Google wants to see long, in-depth content and will not stand thin content websites trying to rank for a million different keywords. 

How to Avoid 

The way to avoid this is pretty simple: Do the opposite.

What you want to do is to 

Research all your competitors ranking for any given keyword, and write content that is 10x better than theirs. Expand on things they may have missed and go deep.

Also, try to be a combination of all the results on that page. Make sure to aggregate everything discussed in the rankings and combine them. This will give you an edge over all the other search results. 

Duplicate Content

Some SEO’s still learn the hard way. Surprisingly you will still see websites stealing content from other websites.

This hurts everyone involved but hurts the person doing it more than anyone.

When it comes to SEO, forget about your college days of plagiarizing papers. Duplicate content has the potential to kill off your whole site rather than the one-piece you plagiarized, stay away from it at all costs. 

How to Avoid 

This is a pretty simple fix. Simply write original content and try to avoid staring at someone else’s work and trying to reword it. DO your own thing, speak your own way, and be original. 

Keyword Stuffing 

Many people still try to optimize their content for keywords.

What happens, in reality, is they end up unnaturally adding a ridiculous amount of keywords into the article. This makes it awful for both the visitor and your rankings.

What Google focuses on is something called “Latent Semantic Indexing.” So rather than just keywords, they look for a natural flow based on other keywords that go with that topic.

So unnatural stuffing will most likely get you banned. 

How to Avoid 

The way to avoid this is to focus on adding your keywords to the headings and subheadings, while not worrying about including the keywords within the content.

Instead, be an expert and write a well researched and well thought out article. There is a really high chance of you ranking it if you do so.

Don’t even think of adding one optimized keyword into the paragraphs, just write for the reader and optimize your headings and meta tags. Everything else will be good to go. 

Do the Right Thing and Reap the Rewards 

All you have to do is ignore the shortcuts to success. Instead, follow the best practices set to you by experts and you will be good to go.

SEO is by no means an easy sport but it can be a lucrative one if you do it right and stick through the 6-12 months of nothingness while you work.

Eventually, it will pay off and you’ll get the traffic whether you’re working or not. Go white hat and be stress-free. 

About the Author 

Sean Dudayev is the Founder of Frootful Marketing who is passionate about all things related to business growth. After selling his first company, he chose to take what he’s learned and help other entrepreneurs scale their start-ups to the next level. 

Takeaways: On Site and Off Site SEO

Host blogger’s comments:

In this post, SEO Guru Sean Dudayev gave you two checklists: one list of on site and off site SEO practices to follow and another list of on site and off site SEO practices to avoid.

Readers, please share so bloggers and search engine marketers learn these on site and off site SEO tips so they can boost their success in 2020.

I look forward to your views in the comments section. Can you suggest any additional on site and off site SEO tips?

This post was made possible by the support of our readers.

  1. Enstine Muki

    Hi Sean,
    Good to see you here and thanks for these beautiful tips.

    Poor SEO can be really bad. I’ve had to deal with links from toxic domains. Looks like some bad guys did some negative SEO but SEMrush was able to help deal with it.

    Hope you both are having a great week

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Enstine,
      Thanks for coming by. Great to see you.
      Can you please give us more information about the bad links that negatively affect the site? I am, of course, familiar with SEMRush but never used it to identify harmful toxic links. How would I do that?

  2. Thabo

    Thanks for this informative post. I know that well most people agree that posts under 1000 words are too short, some disagree on how much to go over that number. I have been told that 15,00 to 2000 words are a perfect range and anything beyond that is too long. On the other hand, some well known bloggers say you should aim for a 5000+ word post. Still other say it’s better to publish frequent 1000 word posts than publish too few mega posts. What do you say?

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Thabo,
      Great to see you! Happy holidays to you!
      As a generic rule yes, the longer the better.
      I will answer the question differently now.
      I listened to an SEO podcast recently which said no one will read all that text on the phone. Table of Contents plug-ins enable them to jump to the section of interest.
      Back to your question about ideal post length: Google your headline. Make your post longer than whoever is in the number 1 spot on Page 1 of Google.
      Some people say to make the word count 10 times longer. Others say to make your number of tips 10x longer. I make my tip number longer. Recently, the post in the Number 1 spot had 29 tips. I was planning to go with 29 tips, but when I saw that, I went with 30 tips.
      Does this answer your question?

  3. Tejas

    This bolg is very awesome for 2020 bolging tips thanks you so much for providing this
    But , can you share SEO strategies for 2020 plzzzzzzz.
    And one’s again thanks for this blog

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Tejas,
      My post describing 2020 SEO strategies come out the first Saturday in January. Stay tuned!

  4. Phillip Dews

    More common sense stuff here. I would add also is to stand out the crowd if a blogger can by creating or getting someone to create a look and feel for their blog.

    It’s too easy to download a theme used by thousands of other bloggers. Each of us are different so why use the same theme that someone else is using.

    I keep going on about this but also the speed of a blog, the mobile responsiveness and finally I am still finding blogs that done have SSL certificates installed on them. All good ranking factors.

    Well that’s my two pennies worth.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Phillip,
      Thank you for coming by to comment on my blog last week. You’ve built me a wonderful theme I look forward to tweaking in the new year.
      Thanks for adding to the discussion about SEO factors.
      Happy New Year!

  5. Kayla

    Great post. I have seen first hand that longer post tend to do better in terms of ranking. But I definitely learned the hard ward way! Sigh. I’m looking forward to taking some of your advice that I wasn’t aware of, such as over optimized anchor texts. I try to write naturally, but I can stand to keep a better eye on it.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Kayla,
      I’m like you. I’m torn between knowing natural-sounding writing is better and knowing for SEO purposes that I should have my keyword in my post a certain number of times. Rank Brain, and Yoast before that, ensure I put my keyword in my post a certain number of times. If I over-optimize, the tools will tell me.
      Thanks for writing!

  6. Amanda (Evolve Digital)

    Hello Janice,
    Important Information!!!

    Firstly, thanks for sharing the article. Here is an important topic to discuss. We all know SEO helps our site rank higher. But it can still harm our online business. Here are some tips to help you avoid it. You sure are wondering how you can get more traffic. You must, however, pay close attention to the off-site SEO. Here’s how SEO has evolved over the past few years. So you must keep in mind the following topics before doing SEO website. Remember that SEO is very important and you need to do SEO. Happy 2020:)

    Thank You!!!

  7. Rising Star

    Hi, That is really awesome to find your blog. I was really looking for SEO Articles. I am currently on Premium package at I want to improve its SEO but I can’t install Plugins. any Good Suggestions for my blog. It is on inspiration and motivation. is the blog link.
    Rising Star

  8. Bella D. @ Self-Publishing Made Easy Now

    I am really glad to have found this article. This is so perfect. It contains all the relevant methods, the on-site and off-site SEO methods to follow and avoid. Thank you so much for sharing such a helpful article.

  9. Debby Winter

    You are wonderful and I TRUELY appreciate your insight and advice on SEO tactics. Off-site links have always worked best for my organic rankings, but indeed, it is very important where the links come from.Thank you so much for this article, you Sir, are an SEO Wizard!

  10. Debby Winter

    Hi there, thanks again for all these SEO tips they are really useful. I just finished creating an on-site SEO checklist and one of the SEO differences in 2020 is that LSI keywords have considerably more weight. I usually write long articles so focusing on related words becomes less important as they will most likely be mentioned anyways, but especially if you are writing short content you do not want to overlook them. Just thought I would share this. Good luck and be safe!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Debby,
      You raise good points. Since I usually make my posts longer than shorter, I don’t use LSI keywords as much as I should.
      Are you familiar with LSI Graph? It’s a site that provides LSI keywords for you.
      I don’t go as often as I should, but if memory serves, the site only gives you a finite amount of free uses.
      Thanks for commenting.

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