Negative SEO Content Tactics To Avoid

Negative SEO Content Tactics To Avoid


On-page SEO allows you to turn your research into content your audience will love. Just be sure to avoid falling into the trap of low-value tactics that can do more harm than help!

Your web content must exist to answer searchers’ questions, guide them through your site, and help them understand your site’s purpose. Content should not be created solely for the purpose of ranking high in search. Ranking is a means to an end, ultimately to help searchers.

Let’s dive deeper into some of the low-value tactics you should avoid when creating search engine optimized content.

Thin Content

Although each site is unique on different topics. But the outdated content strategy is to create a page for each iteration of your keywords to rank on page 1 for those specific queries.

Tactics like these are clearly not helpful to users. So why do publishers do it? Google wasn’t always as good as it is today at understanding the relationship between words and phrases (or semantics).

This practice has created tons of thin, low-quality content all over the web. Google specifically addressed it with a 2011 update called Panda.

This algorithm update penalized low-quality pages, resulting in more quality pages taking the top spot of the SERPs.

Google continues to repeat this process of removing low-quality content and promoting this high-quality content today.

Google is clear that you should have one comprehensive page on a topic rather than multiple weaker pages for each keyword variation.

Duplicate Content

“Duplicate content” refers to content that is shared between domains or between multiple pages of a domain. Crawled content goes one step further and entails blatant and unauthorized use of content from other sites.

This may include taking the content and republishing it as-is, or modifying it slightly before republishing it, without adding any original content or value.

There are plenty of good reasons for duplicate content internally or across domains. So Google recommends using the rel=canonical tag to point to the original version of web content.

While you don’t need to know about this tag yet, the main thing to keep in mind right now is that your content must be unique in terms of words and values.


Bypass The “Duplicate Content Penalty”

Google has no penalty for duplicate content.

This means, for example, if you take an article from MyIMWorld and post it on your blog, you won’t be penalized with things like Manual Actions from Google.

However, Google filters duplicate content versions from their search results. If two or more pieces of content are essentially the same, Google chooses a canonical (source) URL to show in search results and hides duplicate versions.

That is not a punishment, it’s Google filtering to show only one version of a piece of content to improve the searcher’s experience.



The basic tenet of search engine guidelines is to show the same content to the engine’s crawlers that you would display to visitors. This means that you should never hide text in your website’s HTML code that a normal visitor cannot see.

When this principle is broken, search engines call it cloaking and take action to prevent these pages from ranking in search results. Cloaking can be done in any number of ways and for many reasons, both positive and negative.

In some cases, Google may allow technical obfuscation methods. Because they contribute to a positive user experience.

Keyword Stuffing

If you have heard “You need to include {important keywords} on this page X times”, you have seen the confusion about how to use keywords in practice.

Many people mistakenly believe that if you only include a keyword in your page content X times, you will automatically rank for that keyword.

The truth is, though, Google looks for mentions of keywords and related concepts on the pages of your site. But the page itself must add value beyond just plain keyword usage. If a page is going to be valuable to a user, it won’t look like it was written by a robot.

So incorporate your keywords and phrases naturally in a way that is understandable to your readers.

Auto-generate Content

Arguably one of the most frustrating forms of low-quality content is the auto-generated form. Or created programmatically with the purpose of manipulating search rankings and not helping users.

You might recognize some of the auto-generated content by how much it makes sense to read – technically. They are words but connected by a program, not a person.

It should be noted that advances in machine learning have contributed to more complex auto-generated content that will only get better over time. This is probably why it’s in Google’s quality guidelines for auto-generated content.

Google specifically calls the trademark of auto-generated content attempting to manipulate search rankings, rather than any and all auto-generated content.

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