SEO Risks

SEO Risks to Take and to Avoid

SEO can be confusing for many people which is understandable. If you would like to find out what SEO is and how it will benefit your business, take a look at our previous blog – “Why You Shouldn’t Ignore SEO“.

An effective SEO strategy can increase a company’s online exposure and see your website traffic and profits increase too. However, it doesn’t happen overnight and it can take many months until you see the results.

It’s only natural for people to be wary about trying something that they don’t know too much about. However, there are many risks that businesses have to take in order to be successful. Some risks should be taken, whilst some risks should be avoided. The same can be said about SEO.

That’s why we have taken a look at the SEO risks you should take, as well as the ones you should avoid in order to have a successful website.

SEO Risks to Take

1. Making and Testing Changes

The main goal for any SEO strategy is to increase website traffic to your website and in turn, increase conversions. For this to happen, it has to be easy for people to find you and to click through to your site. Even if it is easy for people to find your site, you may still not be seeing an increase in traffic or conversions you were expecting. There may be many reasons for this and it will take time to find out exactly what the problem is.

The only way of finding the problem is by making and testing changes. Are your meta titles and descriptions appealing enough to encourage users to click-through? Maybe the content on your site is hard to understand or not showing what your customers were looking for.

What makes this a risk? It will take trial and error to find the right combination. It can also take time for you to see what the results are from the changes. Whilst changes are made, you may even see a drop in traffic and conversions in the short-term. However, once the right combination has been found, you can focus on these changes to continue increasing traffic and conversions.

2. Optimising your URL structure

Your homepage URL should be short, simple and rememberable such as The URL of your specific pages should then be targeted towards the content and keywords on those pages. However, still keeping them as short as possible.

If your URLs are too long, Google will cut them down in the SERPs with “…”. Changing URLs is risky as it’s important to add 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new URLs. Also, by adding these redirections, there could be a dip in rankings and therefore traffic to your site.

However, by doing this right, your URLs will be more streamlined for both search engines and users alike.

3. High-Quality Backlinks

High-quality backlinks are an important part of any SEO strategy. Receiving these backlinks to your site can increase your rankings and your site’s authority. It’s also not just about receiving backlinks to your site, but also adding external links. Having external links open in a new tab can help to keep them on your site.

It is important though that the backlinks you receive and external links you add to your site are of high-quality. Knowingly adding external links to low-quality, spammy websites as well as receiving backlinks from those sites can get your site penalised by Google.

4. Redesigning your website

At some point, your website will become outdated and unappealing to users. Maybe the user experience is poor. Making large changes to your website always come with a risk to your rankings as Google is re-crawling your site. However, it’s a bigger risk leaving your website as it is and you will soon see a decrease in traffic and conversions.

Google understands that all websites will go through this process and your rankings should increase again, given you have optimised it well. Patience is key here. By updating your website and providing a better user experience, you should see your current users appreciating the changes as well as new users visiting and converting.

SEO Risks to Avoid

1. Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are usually created to target specific search queries. They are usually avoided as Google does not like these types of pages and will penalise them. This is because they can lead users to pages that are not as useful than the final destination. Therefore, giving a poor user experience.

2. Deleting or Condensing Pages

You may think that deleting pages that are no longer needed, such as a product or service page that is no longer offered, will improve the user experience. However, you will lose the keywords that the page was ranking for when the page is deleted. Also, it’s highly likely users will leave and increase your site’s bounce rate when met with a 404. You could get around this by creating 301 redirections to a page that offers a similar product or service.

However, if a user wants to look at a specific product or service is redirected to another page without an explanation, they may get confused and leave. If you keep the page live and have a message saying that you no longer offer the product or service along with links to pages on your site which offer similar, users now have an explanation and are more likely to stay on your site.

If you are condensing two pages into one, for example, if two blogs are similar, instead of deleting one of the pages, creating a 301 redirect will ensure you don’t lose out on the traffic.

3. Using Exact Match keywords in Anchor Text

You may believe you are doing right by having your targeted keyword as the anchor text for a link to your website. You obviously want your site to rank for that keyword. Although this was an accepted SEO tactic in the past, it was taken over and became a “black hat” tactic. There would be a large amount of exact match keyword anchor text which would link to their site and a lot of the links ended up not being the most authoritative sites.

Once Google realised this tactic, they started cracking down and will now penalise websites which create too many links like this. With more natural ways to create backlinks, there is no need to risk this.

4. Making Too Many Small Changes to your Site for SEO

It is important to keep the content on your site fresh and up-to-date. Google will even reward you for doing so. However, by consistently changing your site and the content on there just for SEO purposes will not go unnoticed by Google. Your site will then get flagged up and could be seen as suspicious by Google who could then penalise your site.

If you are making too many changes to your site just for SEO purposes, it could also end up creating a poor user experience for your users – leading them to leave your site. If Google sees users leaving your site quickly, you can expect your rankings to also decrease.

Risks Equal Rewards

Like with most things, SEO does come with risks. However, by knowing which SEO risks to take and which to avoid, you know where to focus your efforts. The biggest risk you can make is by not doing any SEO on your site at all. If you would like to discuss how SEO can support your business in more detail, get in touch with our team today.

Written by: Thomas Coughlan
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