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How Not to Do SEO in 2017: On and Off-page Insights

March 6, 2017


When establishing an SEO strategy, many ask themselves whether to put more focus on off- or on-page, when in fact, they are both crucial for success. They represent two completely different sides of one fence in terms of improving search engine rankings, however, they should both be equally tended to.

The only question should be – which one to focus on first. Think of it like you’re building a house: on-page SEO would represent the basis, a solid foundation on which you will build the rest, that is, off-page search engine optimization. Occasionally, you will have to go back to the foundation and do some maintenance, but most of all you need to make sure you are constantly balancing between the two. Ultimately, you’ll help make your website bilingual, meaning it will be both user and search engine optimized.

Inspired by the latest February algorithm update many were shaken by, we’ve decided to list top SEO don’ts you should steer away from in 2017.

On-page SEO


Long Titles and H1 Tags

With Google’s mobile-first policy, it’s important to note that long titles get cut on smaller screens and penalize your CTR. Also, if you include too many keywords in it, you can lower the impact of the primary one. When looking to rank for a particular product or service, ensure the title contains the brand and the product name, as well as that the H1 tags include product reference to improve identification.

Indexable Pages for Individual Products

Letting Google index all product declinations can lead to penalization. With this in mind, we propose a system of doorway pages. This page would be the one ranked for the product page, but avoid linking to doorway pages which are not related semantically. Still, ensure they use Follow, as they can drive some link juice to close semantic-related pages.

Not Migrating to HTTPS

As SSL certificate stands as a proof that your website is secure, you might experience a drop in traffic if you remain in HTTP. During the process of migration, set aside the time to clean up the website as you are going to do a lot of 301s. So, if you have many old redirections, check to see whether Google fetches them; if not, feel free to delete them or block with the robots.txt. For more detailed explanation on HTTP to HTTPS migration, check out the Search Engine Land guide.


With search engines becoming smarter by the day, they can easily detect those who are developing two types of content on their websites: one for search engine and one for visitors. Cloaking basically means showing software generated content and ads to visitors, while hiding all the negative sides, only showing them to search engines. Nowadays, these double standards are instantly assigned poor rankings. 

Duplicate Content

Although most marketers are aware of the fact that duplicate content leads to instant penalization, there are still those who include it in their practices. For many years, marketing experts have debated on the definition of duplicate content, and Google defines it as substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match or are appreciable similar.

Off-page SEO

 Connect Connection Chain Bound Link Metal Water

Link Building

Although link building is a technique some marketers frown upon, if done properly and in accordance with Google guidelines, it can be the most reliable tool for all your SEO efforts. It is a well-known fact that inbound links play an important part in rankings and are a major ranking signal. In case the agency you are working with doesn’t provide link building, there are numerous services like SEO Reseller Hub that offer third party solutions in form of a white label agreement.

Supernatural Linking and Exact Match Anchors

If it happens that you get between 100 and 600 referring domains on a competitive query, chances are these links did not come naturally. The same goes for exact match anchors – it is highly improbable that one page receives them for a specific product or services you offer. Luckily, you can take advantage of SEO tools like Majestic or Ahrefs to monitor the quality of your links as well as anchor phrases.

Broken Links

Over time, it is only natural for a website to accumulate a few broken links here and there (but a few). Put yourself in Google’s shoes: which page would you feel like it is more up-to-date: the one with 10 broken links, or the one that has none? Other websites die, migrate or restructure, making your links disappear, so we advise using Google Webmaster Tools at least once or twice a year to detect broken links and correct them.  

Bottom Line

With change being the only constant in the SEO world, marketers need to learn to adjust to these endless alternations. Most search engine algorithm updates come unexpectedly, and to stay two steps ahead, you have to look in the past. Check out what Google has previously penalized, as this will give you an insight into what it will target next. Remember: for top results, you need to balance both on- and off-page optimization.

amirAmir Noghani is the general manager at His experience in digital marketing amounts to more than seven years. He has rich knowledge and skills in Online Marketing and Public Relations and also writing journal articles and blogs.

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