Now that you have an idea of what SEO risks are worth taking, here are SEO risks that will likely do your business more harm than good:
1. Poor Doorway Pages (or any doorway pages at all)
Doorway pages are simple and easy to create in batches to target specific keywords and keyword groups. Trustworthy SEOers avoid doorway pages as a rule because Google greatly dislikes them and penalizes sites that use them.
Google’s opinion of such pages should be reason enough for you to avoid this particular risk.
The only time Google will let doorway pages slide is if they offer unique, clear and valuable content and information to the site visitor – in other words, only if it acts just like the regular content on your website.
There is simply no reason to bother with them, so don’t risk it.
2. Disallowing Neutral Backlinks
You want good backlinks to your website, not bad ones. What about the ones that are neutral, that don’t help, yet don’t hurt your website’s ranking and SEO?
Neutral backlinks may not give your website the SEO boost it needs, but they also won’t subject your site to Google’s potentially harsh penalties.
In fact, with Google’s Penguin update, some penalties for bad backlinks because the search engine realized that the websites themselves don’t have control over every site that links to theirs.
As a result, it is harder for a site to be punished by Google for malicious backlinks.
The only way you’ll be able to tell if the backlinks on your website are bad, spammy and low-quality is if you’ve noticed that Google has taken manual action on your site.
If no action has been taken against your website by Google, the backlinks on your website are safe, though they may not be high enough quality to boost your site’s search rankings.
It is possible to disavow certain links, but you need to be careful about it. If you attempt to disavow all your neutral links, you risk potentially blocking sites that can improve your ranking.
3. Deleting or Condensing Content or Entire Pages
It may seem like no big deal to delete a page from your website, especially if it is about a product or service your company has discontinued.
Once a page is deleted, the keywords it once ranked for are now gone. The same thing happens to the URL of the page, which also includes those page-specific keywords.
Instead of risking the loss of those rankings, consider keeping the webpage even if you’ve discontinued the product. Simply leave a message on the page for the visitor that redirects them to a similar page with a relevant product or service.
If you’re merging or condensing two pages into one, make sure to include 301 redirects on the old URLs to make sure that all the link juice and traffic isn’t lost.
4. Using Exact Match Keywords in Anchor Text
It may seem logical to have your targeted keyword as the anchor text for a link to your website. After all, you want your site to rank for that keyword or phrase.
This practice was popular for SEOers in the past who had the same logic. Unfortunately, this practice got abused by “black hat” SEOers who used an excessive amount of exact match keyword anchor texts to link to their websites – and the links didn’t exactly come from the most authoritative sites.
Since then, Google has greatly cracked down on this practice and will punish websites who overdo this practice. Don’t risk it. Look for more natural ways to link to your site and develop a more varied backlink portfolio.
5. Making Too Many “Small” SEO Changes to a Site
Occasionally, it is a good idea to update the content on your website. In fact, Google favors fresh, updated content.
However, constantly changing the content and the look and feel of your website, even a little bit at a time, strictly for SEO purposes, will not go unnoticed by your website visitors or Google.
Making too many changes to your website or making the changes too often will raise red flags for Google which will likely see your webpage as suspicious and likely penalize your site.
Over time your site visitors will also notice the changes (especially since most of the changes were likely done for search engines instead of them). If this happens, they may find your site harder to navigate and find value. Some visitors may even start to think your site is suspicious.
Balancing Risk and Reward
SEO is essential for any business to succeed. There are many risks to SEO, some of which are worth taking because they can produce favorable results for a business. Other risks can harm and hinder a company’s internet marketing strategy and online presence.
As risky as SEO is, the only thing riskier is for a company not to do any SEO at all.
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