SEO Tactics That Will Get You in Trouble

When Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, first picked up steam in the digital marketing world, it was a relatively uncomplicated process. However, recent years have seen the death of old tactics that deliver irrelevant results to the searcher, which has made the SEO world change drastically from its humble roots. Now, using outdated tactics in an SEO strategy ensures a business’s search engine ranking will tank and could cause them a lot of trouble. Ever hear of getting blacklisted on Google?


Ecommerce sites rely heavily on their ability to rank high in search engine results. Owners of these businesses must understand what tactics to avoid in their SEO strategy. Below is an explanation of what SEO tactics to never use.

Keyword Stuffing Google Blacklist SEOKeyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing became a widely used strategy in the early days of SEO and is a common mistake for those new to the SEO world. Oh yeah it’s tempting and delicious but don’t have that “second helping”.

Keyword stuffing involves cramming the page full of the keywords they would like to target to trick search engine crawlers into thinking the content is highly relevant to a person’s search. Doing this ultimately makes the content look disingenuous and does not provide much relevance to the person searching.


In the last several years, search engines have become wise to this trick and have started using latent semantic indexing to punish pages for doing that rather than boosting them higher in the search results. Yikes!

This means that search engine spiders look at the page’s content as a whole and check for words and phrases related to the targeted keywords to prove the page contains good content. Despite this, keyword targeting is still incredibly important to a page’s search engine rank, but the content must be useful to the reader.

Paid Backlinks - Black Hat SEO
Link Buying

Another popular tactic in SEO’s early days, link buying was a sneaky tactic used to boost a new page’s credibility. To use this tactic today will cause the page to be shut down and the owner to penalized heavily, which would be detrimental for an eCommerce business. Link buying involves a website paying a third-party website for a backlink that brings the visitor back to the purchaser’s website.


Link building is an essential part of any SEO strategy. However, websites must do this by forging relationships between other businesses that are willing to offer backlinks, creating high-quality content that is relevant to the target market, and doing so frequently and offering other businesses backlinks as well. Some examples of approved link building are guest blog posts that link back to another website, citing a website as the source of an image, or including a website in a link roundup.



Cloaking is a particularly dishonest way of directing traffic to a website and search engines will take swift action to stop it when caught. Cloaking involves giving different information depending on who it is that requests that information. Generally, this is done to hide the true purpose of a webpage from a search engine, typically because the true website is a spam-riddle sales website.

Anyone who is operating an eCommerce business should avoid this tactic at all costs. Not only could it result in serious penalties to the website itself, but it will give users a bad impression of the site, garner negative reviews, and decrease the likelihood that the eCommerce venture is successful. Website owners need to keep in mind that even if they get away with this for a short while, the search engine website crawlers always find out eventually.

Spend your time developing great content on your website that your niche audience will love instead.

SEO Tactics That Will Get You In Trouble Ecommerce Business AdvisoryAllowing Spam Content

Many eCommerce sites allow its users to create profiles, leave comments, and post content to their website. While this is an excellent way to encourage the development of a community around the website’s brand and services, it is also a potential funnel for spam messages, links, and content from dangerous websites. Having a lot of this content on a website sends a red flag to search engines and it will hurt its ranking significantly.

Make sure you don’t have your comments to auto publish. There’s settings in WordPress and most eCommerce carts to disallow auto publishing of comments to help guard against comment spam.

Anyone who has ever visited a recipe blog only to see the comments section filled with links to sketchy sites knows exactly what this looks like. The key to avoiding this is effective community management. While having a blog is an invaluable resource both in terms of SEO and involving the community, allowing spam to go unchecked hurts the website’s reputation and rank significantly.


Website owners should make sure that the comment section of their blog is set to “no follow” for outbound links to avoid letting commentators leave malicious content. They should check their comment section regularly to make sure that outbound links posted by commentators are legitimate.

Google Blacklist SEO - Black HatHidden Text

Hidden text is yet another way that people attempt to trick search engines into giving the page a higher ranking. It is a violation of most search engine’s guidelines and, if caught, the page will be blacklisted. Typically, people use hidden text to stuff a page with keywords that cannot be seen by the search engine or the reader, falsely increasing its relevancy and search engine rank.


This is done by using text that is the same color as the background, placing text behind an image, using cascading style sheets (CSS) to make the text display off-screen, using size 0 font, or by hiding links by only hyperlinking a tiny character, such as a period. While it had been easy to trick search engine crawlers by using these tactics previously, they have gotten significantly more sophisticated in recent years and are caught much more easily.


The Bottom Line

A solid SEO strategy is critical to the success of any modern business and even more important for the eCommerce sector. With all the information available online regarding SEO best practices, it can be easy to get sucked into strategies that can get a website in trouble.

Unfortunately there is no fast and easy way to get great organic traffic, there are only so many top slots to go around. It takes planning, strategy, quality content and maintenance to keep content fresh and at the top of the SERP results.

The SEO world is not the free-for-all it used to be, and website owners must know what to do, and more importantly, what not to do when planning their website’s content. Visit this site for more information on building a high-quality eCommerce website and creating the perfect SEO strategy.


Travis Romine