In a study conducted by seomoz.org, 37 leaders in search engine optimization voted on factors negatively and positively impacting organic search engine rankings. There is a lot of mention made of ways to increase search engine rankings, but far less written about things consciously or inadvertently done to negatively impact rankings.
According to the experts, here are the top five things that prevent higher rankings or send your current rankings into the tank.
- Duplicate content: The jury is out as to the extent duplicate content affects site rankings, but it can range from simply not getting indexed to a huge problem. Duplicate content along, may not impact rankings, but it could signal other bad behavior. Unique, high quality should be your goal if you’re serious about conducting business on the Internet.
- Low quality links: Experts agree that a slew of poor quality links can hurt your rankings. Many of the link farms have been cleaned up, some have gone legitimate, but the fact is fewer high quality links will enhance your rankings quicker than a laundry list of low quality links.
- Duplicate Titles and Meta Tags: Duplicate titles and Meta tags on every page of your site will suppress organic rankings. It discourages crawlers from continuing deeper into your site to index more pages. With this simple fix, you may see a boost in rankings.
- Server is down: A website down for 48 consecutive hours will suffer with the search engines. A site frequently down for sporadic periods may also suffer, but “frequent” is the operative word. If your site is frequently down, it’s time to get a new hosting company!
- Overused keywords: Sites excessively using keywords will either be ignored or suffer with lower rankings. Trying to trick the crawlers to rank you higher by purposefully stuffing content with keywords is not a winning strategy. Use keywords as often as they make sense for the reader.