Keeping your site optimized for SEO requires adjusting to changes introduced by search engines. SEO is unpredictable and its rapid changes can catch you off guard if you don’t stay abreast in new trends and techniques.

Implementing outdated strategies can get you downranked or booted off Google. Because of this, you need to practice updated SEO tactics and avoid those that can get your site sanctioned.

Here are 10 SEO traps to avoid in 2016:

1. Improper Link Building

Google has clarified that link building is not a black hat practice per se. In fact, as long as the strategy is used correctly, link building can benefit website owners. What Google wants webmasters to avoid is “unnatural” link building and spamming. If you use this technique, make sure that you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Failing to adhere to the standards could get your site penalized.

2. Using Exact Anchor Texts

Google’s updated Penguin algorithm penalizes overuse of exact anchor texts. The practice is interpreted as over-optimization. Of course, you cannot entirely do away with hyperlinks especially when you have to cite or direct readers to an authoritative website. However, be sure to limit anchor texts and use only around 5 to 10.

3. Targeting Specific Pages

Experts recommend that instead of targeting specific pages, webmasters should aim to build a credible link profile. A good link profile is one of the important factors that determine site rankings. You can start by evaluating your link/s through the Google Webmasters account.

4. Failing to Develop Fresh Content

Content is a major factor that affects rankings. It must be refreshed regularly to keep the users interested in the website and to promote user engagement. Maintaining stale content negatively impacts your site’s credibility.

5. Providing Content of Inferior Quality

The content that your website provides should not only be original and fresh but also valuable. When producing content, try to ask yourself what the user wants to know. Make sure to provide informative and useful articles.

6. Failing to Keep Users Engaged

With so much competition, you have to strive to make your website stand out among the thousands of sites that offer the same information.

To better optimize your site to promote user engagement, you can perform A/B testing. This entails comparing two design versions of a webpage to help you figure out which format your audience prefers. You can use the results to tweak your webpage so that users are encouraged to keep coming back to your site.

7. Promoting Poor User Experience

In recent years, Google has placed a premium on user experience and satisfaction. How a user reacts to a site plays a significant role in assessing a website’s rankings. For instance, if a user quickly leaves the site and returns to the SERP to find more options, it means that he is dissatisfied with the page’s content. Thus, make sure to provide engaging and visually appealing content to keep your readers interested.

8. Being non-mobile-friendly

Mobile-friendliness now affects site rankings, and that’s why you should optimize your webpages for mobile devices. Since most people now access the internet on smartphones, you need to provide them with a satisfying and convenient experience when they browse, read, or download your content from their mobile devices.

9. Using interstitial ads

Interstitial ads are those that cover the entire screen and often appear before page content is fully loaded. These can be very annoying to the users because such ads disturb the browsing experience. Google has recently announced that it will begin downranking mobile sites that use interstitial ads. If you continue to use interstitial ads to promote app downloads or other forms of marketing, prepare to lose your mobile-friendly status, which could be very detrimental to your rankings.

10. Misusing consideration requests

Whenever you implement a tactic that runs afoul of the Google Webmaster Guidelines, you automatically receive a manual action notification for being penalized. However, after you address the issue and make necessary adjustments to your site, you may send Google a reconsideration request. This permits you to revoke the prior notification.

Should the penalty be successfully revoked, you have to ensure that you don’t repeat the same violation as you aren’t likely to get a second reconsideration.


With search engines getting smarter at the SEO game, you need to stay on your toes and tread carefully around the traps. Make sure you don’t commit the mistakes discussed above. Don’t risk downranking because you can’t afford to compromise your business by losing your site’s competitive edge.

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Michael Transon

Michael Transon is the CEO of Victorious. He's a big fan of ASU football, his cat Tux, and dinner parties. He lives at Ocean Beach in the Outer Sunset Neighborhood.

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