10 Things NOT To Do When Optimising Your Website



Gaining top rankings for your website can be very time consuming so you don’t want to waste your efforts on doing things that will not help your rankings or even worse, have a negative effect on your SERPs.


So here are my top 10 tips on things not to do when optimising your website.



  1. Use low contrast text, black on black or white on white.
  2. Use tiny text. Any smaller than 9px.
  3. Keyword stuff your title tag
  4. Keyword stuff your description meta tag. This should not be any longer than 165 characters and be something that describes your service or products.  A list of keywords will not help your click through rate or your ranking.
  5. Keyword stuff your your header tag, body text or anywhere else on your web page! Only use keywords once or twice in header tags and 3 or 4 times in your body next.  Having a high keyword density will be considered as search engine spam.
  6. Submit to the search engines every week/month or pay someone else to do it. This is completely pointless.  All you need is one link from a website that has been indexed and the search engines will crawl and index your site.
  7. Submit your site to link farms, low value sites or 10,000 directories for $9.99. Another pointless exercise. The search engines probably  won’t even find these links.
  8. Try and attract business from out of town by creating loads of identical pages and just change the town name.  This will be considered as duplicate content and Google will only rank one of the pages.
  9. Use free hosting.  This will not help your ranking. If you are serious about your website pay for a domain name and hosting.
  10. Create a Flash web site. I mean Adobe Flash. While Google claims it can now read and index Flash .swf files they can not be optimised as well as html.

I’m sure there are plenty more big no-nos so if you have any leave me a comment.



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Roger Weavers

Roger has been working in the telecomms and IT industry since 1973 working for international companies such as BT and Honeywell. Roger founded Sytec Computers Ltd in 1996 and provided consultancy services to a variety of UK companies. In 2001 Sytec diversified into web design, marketing and hosting and now Roger specialises in SEO.

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  • Hey Roger, I don’t have another tip to add…I just wanted to say, great post! It comes at a good time for me, since I plan on launching a couple of new websites early next year.
    I’ll refer to this list to see what NOT to do when trying to optimize my site. Thanks!
    George Nieves recently posted..A Time For ReflectionMy Profile

  • Hi George,

    Thanks for dropping by. Good luck with your new websites next year. Once you are ready, come back here for some SEO help & advice if you need it. I will also be launching my new book early next year, “SEO Traffic Explosion”, which I am sure you will find useful.

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  • Hey Roger,

    That’s definitely a great no-no list for SEO and a really good one as well my man.

    I loved the fact that you addressed on-page and off-site bad practices and I want
    to add that focusing on writing killer pillar content is really important since
    more people can share the content and you won’t rely entirely on the search engine
    traffic this way.

    A few other tips might include tweaking our site’s loading speeds and proper image
    size usage.

    Great article Roger!

    Sergio Felix recently posted..Looking Back At Your 2012 GoalsMy Profile

  • Just wondering, if free hosting is a detriment, what about WordPress blogs– aren’t those free?

  • Hi Sergio,

    Loads speeds can affect your rankings and also your bounce rate which will in turn have a negative affect on rankings as well. I think I mentioned this is my last post 7 Google ranking factors. Image optimisation is another good one, I talk about this in my new book – coming out early next year, plug plug!
    That’s some ideas for 2 news posts.

  • Hi Dianne,

    The reason why I would not recommend free hosting is purely for speed and reliability. If you are not paying anything there is more of a chance that your site might be down for longer periods of time which will affect rankings as well as load speed. I prefer self hosted WordPress to hosting on WordPress.com. Google loves WordPress so I’m not really sure want effect, if any WordPress hosting would have on SEO. Something for me to look into.

  • Hey Roger,

    Very useful post, thanks. One “No-Go” I want to add is to use multiple H1 and H2 headlines in every post or page. One each is enough in my opinion.


    Philip recently posted..BounceRate Annihilator – Free Bounce Rate Plugin ReviewMy Profile

  • Hi Roger,

    Thank you for sharing the “NOT To Do” list. I am starting to explore more about SEO now that I have recently updated my blog for next year!

    I have always thought that having a flashy site is very cool. So, it i snot so cool after all, is that right?
    I will visit your site again for more insghts! Thanks!

    Viola The Business Mum
    Viola Tam recently posted..What’s Inside Navigating the Network Marketing MazeMy Profile

  • Hi Philip,

    Thanks for your comment. I agree with you about H1 tags, there should only be one per page as this is the main page heading but you can use more than one H2 tag per page as this is considered to be a sub heading.

  • Hi Viola, thanks for your comment. Having a “Flashy” site can be cool but building a site entirely using Adobe Flash is not good for SEO. Having a banner using Flash is OK for SEO because there is also html text on the page the search engines can read.
    Hope this clarifies things a bit more.

  • I used a flash slider on one of my websites a while back and I didn’t know that I had to block certain things from the search engines. Google had indexed over one hundred flash pages on my site..lol That really hurt my site..
    Julius MInor recently posted..My Simple Tumblr Traffic MethodMy Profile

  • Hi Julius, if you are using a flash slider this should not cause a problem. Google should only index the page once. Check to see what Google has indexed and it may be worth disallowing some pages in the robots.txt file. Having more pages indexed by the search engines will not damage your rankings but if the pages are duplicate Google will choose one as the master and the others will only be in the secondary index. Google may not choose the page you want to be the master so this is where the robots.txt file is useful.
    If yo would like me to take a closer look send me an email with your website URL

  • Hey Roger,

    Well, I’m going to be completely honest now and tell you that I can’t add anything to your list.

    You are the go to man, for me, with this sort of thing so I learn all I can when visiting your site.

    All I do with my blog is just keep it natural. I think if you are writing about a subject your natural use of the keyword involved should be enough for Google. I fully understand that optimization is needed but you have to be genuine with it.

    Anyway I have a theory.

    What with Google improving their techniques all the time and getting cleverer month on month, they’ll soon be able to tell the more natural, genuine sites out there from the more blatant SEO stuffed sites.

    Dean Thompson recently posted..Celebrating with a Sulking DogMy Profile

  • Hi Dean,

    You are perfectly correct, keep everything natural. Any attempt to manipulate the search engines may give you short term success but in the longer term you will get found out and your site will suffer. My list is just the basic tricks that may have worked last century when the search engines were young but it is very difficult and dangerous to try and fool them now.


  • Hi Roger,

    I must admit, your list pointed out some things that I was totally oblivious to. Additionally, it has now moved me to rethink some practices I once thought were good safe tactics to use.

    I also read Dean Thompson’s comments on this article of yours and he brings up a truly valuable rule and guideline…”Keep it natural”!!!! Ah Naturale!

    Bottom line to me I guess is just learning how to stay on the good side of Google on a consistent basis. Is it honestly a Google World out there?

    It is interesting to note that so-called experts do not always agree on what makes for good content publishing practice. There are often experts on opposite sides of strategies and methodologies. Google says, “Bottom line is the ultimate ‘User’ experience.” But..hey, what exactly does that mean?

    Thanks for the list of “No, no’s”!
    See you at the top!
    -Dan Sacapano

  • Hi Roger,

    Just popped over from Dan Sumner’s blog. This is a great list – excellent advice. It seems to me that just about the best thing you can do to optimize your site these days is to make sure you fill it with lots of original, high quality content – I realize it’s important to do a bit of technical SEO, but it seems it’s becoming less and less important as the search engines’ algorithms become more sophisticated.

    Thanks very much for these helpful tips,

    Sue Neal recently posted..Content Writing Tips: 6 Lessons From Santa ClausMy Profile

  • Hi Dan,
    Yes there are many different opinions about SEO. Google doesn’t tell us the exact rules, just gives us hints, so we read, we experiment, we analyse and then form our own opinions. What may work for some websites may not work for others.
    I think I mentioned about the “User Experience” somewhere else on my blog. Just think how Google can measure this, website load times, time users spend on your site, how many pages they visit, etc. Just improve these figures and Google will think your visitors are having a good experience.

  • Hi Sue,

    Thanks for popping over. Yes, original high quality content is the best place to start.
    I know many people reading my blog are using WordPress so a simple tip to sort out most on page optimisation is to use the WordPress SEO Plug-in by Yoast. This will tell you what you need to do to optimise your pages.
    After that, build backlinks from authority websites in your niche.
    Oh, idea for another post. The 1-2-3 of SEO. Content, On page SEO, Backlinks.


  • Hi Roger,

    Ha ha… You got me there as I can relate to one now. I’m using free hosting as I’m on Blogger platform 😉

    I know SEO sounds important but for me pretty basic is enough right now 😉 I’ve been experiencing some bloggers that always hunting down SEO techniques and all that, but lack of the originality of their content. Mostly like technical manuals but well optimized for SEO. You are very true here that I’ve been witnessing most of it. Ugh… Where’s the user experience?!

    Lately a guy asked me to teach about all the SEO stuff I know via Skype but I said all I know is on my blog 🙂 I asked why you need SEO? He said “He wanna sell all his products and it can be done by being on the first page of Google search results” 😀 lol… Many online businesses sell their products without being on Google’s first few pages. I think there’s nothing to do with SEO, it’s people who has wrong attitude about it and obsessed enough.

    Mayura recently posted..How to Display Tweets of an User or List on Your WebsiteMy Profile

  • Hi Mayura,

    I don’t think there is too much of a problem if you use free blog hosting like Blogger or WordPress although you do run more of a risk of having you site shut down or loosing your data.

    SEO isn’t for everyone, many sites manage to generate a lot of traffic through other methods. If you are running a blog then most of your traffic probably doesn’t come from the search engines. Blogs are all about engaging with your visitors and building relationships.

    My SEO success stories are mainly for clients who have a bricks and mortar business and are selling a physical product or local service via a static website. People search on Google for their product or service, I get their sites on Page one and they make sales and pay me for my services – simple. I have also had some success with websites of my own selling software and affiliate products where most of the traffic has come from SEO.

    SEO, as I have said before is a long term strategy, if you are looking to make some quick sales for one product and then move onto the next product then you probably will want to use other traffic generating methods.

    Google is now giving better rankings to authority sites that are well established so if you are considering using SEO you should think about building one large authority site and not lots of small niche mini sites.

    I still believe that SEO can be the most cost effective long term strategy for getting the most targeted traffic to your website.


  • Hi Roger

    Nice touch! Usually we see the “must do” articles but anybody is seldom writing about the “must not”! I enjoy particular the flash website part. There are still hordes of flash sites on the web and they have no idea how they are hurting their sites. Another peculiar thing I found is that many people build their sites with photo’s. They put all their content on an image and then just upload the images…

    Helena recently posted..Inspired Innovation: 3 Creative Leadership PrinciplesMy Profile

  • Hi Helena,

    Thanks for your comment. People that build their websites using only Flash or images obviously do not consider SEO before they start. The must use other marketing methods. Each to their own.