SEO is one of the most effective methods of generating qualified traffic to a website. Even in times dominated by social media and other, pricier methods, it is still considered a mandatory technique for online marketers. Although the effectiveness of SEO can’t be disputed, there is a right and wrong way to approach it. Following is what you don’t want to do:

Abuse Keywords

For a while, content publishers were successfully using the keyword stuffing approach to boost rankings and increase exposure. They crammed keywords into their content, meta tags and wherever they could to attract the search spiders. Those days are over. Google is one search engine that automatically ignores any page optimized with this technique. There is no reason to waste your efforts with something that doesn’t work, so this route is out of the question. Let your keywords and content flow naturally. You’re trying to appeal to human visitors, not search engine robots. Use keywords wisely and the rest often takes care of itself.

Produce Duplicates

This one has always been a bit risky, but even more so now that Google has launched its assault on content farms. So what exactly is duplicate content? Let’s say you invest in a web hosting solution that allows you to manage multiple domains on a single account. You use those domains to set up five websites and start publishing the same articles on each site. While your intentions may be genuine, this is considered duplicate content in the eyes of the search engines, meaning it could result in a penalty. You don’t have to let a good piece of content go to waste. If you feel it has reusable value, spin it so it is unique and doesn’t draw the wrong kind of attention.

Commit Spam

Thought spam only existed in the email domain? Think again. It is also a major problem seen on pages all throughout the web. Links are a big part of the search engine algorithm so naturally they are often the target of spam and other schemes designed to increase page rankings. Linking to troubled sites, using link farms or doing anything that can be tied to trying to manipulate rankings is stuff you don’t want to get involved with. When it comes to SEO, it is the relevance and quality of your links that matter, not the quantity.

It Pays to Do SEO Right

These are just a few of several approaches that can stop your SEO efforts dead in their tracks. Optimizing your site may seem complex with all the rules and algorithm changes, but it is really as simple as it has always been: follow the proven best practices and avoid the pitfalls. If you can do this, then you can benefit from all that search engine optimization has to offer.