Bad SEO: Practices you should avoid in 2021

Bad SEO practices you should avoid in 2021 

Searching for ways and means to enhance a website’s SEO often leads to practices that are not in line with Google’s regulations and might significantly damage your website’s ranking in search engine results through Google penalties.

What are the practices that harm my website’s SEO?

What methods are incorrectly applied by many websites until today?

In this article we will answer all the questions related to the practices that are often referred to as bad SEO and are severely punished by search engines.

SEO Search engine optimization bad seo example
SEO Search engine optimization bad seo example

Bad SEO practices

In order to enhance a website’s SEO, i.e. to optimize your pages for search engines, wrong strategies and methods are applied, which bring the opposite results from the desired ones. These practices are either outdated or violate the requirements set by Google, in order to distinguish the highest quality websites within the internet.

Keyword Stuffing

You may already know that keywords are an important tool in terms of website optimization, included in the general SEO strategies. 

However, using keywords is one of the best methods, when done prudently and in moderation. The use of keywords should be done consistent with the content when needed, avoiding the excessive use for reasons of SEO enhancement in an “insidious” way.

Very often we come across websites, the content of which has no coherence and the keywords seem invalid and unnecessary. 

A practice like this, often discourages visitors who of course will not repeat browsing the site. At the same time, however, search engines perceive the abuse of these terms in the title, in the meta-tag of the description, in the main content as a way of “misleading” them for optimization and the results are the opposite of what one would expect.

One target keyword 

Along with keyword stuffing, another wrong method related to keywords that will not succeed in the SEO enhancement process of your website, is to use only one, unique keyword.

Search engines rank websites based on targeted keywords, their synonyms, other relevant terms and variations of keywords related to the content.

Without keyword variety and matches , you significantly reduce the chances of your website ranking popular and important keywords, damaging its SEO.


The term “cloaking” means the practice in which websites include texts and links “hidden” behind images, behind other content or in off-screen links. This content is “invisible” to users and does not directly affect the impression of visitors or their overall browsing experience

However, cloaking negatively affects the evaluation of websites by search engines. Google, for example, is able to detect content that is placed in “hidden” parts of the website. Of course google crawlers have the ability to judge whether the off-sight content of a website is related to what users see or whether it is simply placed in the context of cloaking for more chances of ranking.

This practice is a violation of Google terms and conditions and in any case is punished with corresponding google penalties.

Cloaked figure in woods as an example of cloacked keyword text
Cloaked figure in woods as an example of cloacked keyword text

Ads & pop-ups 

According to Google, the place of the website that the public sees as soon as they visit it (above the fold), determines whether they will continue to browse the specific site or not.

Balancing content and ads is key.

Google’s updated Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines explicitly states how pop-ups and ads that do not leave and do not easily close,inhibit users from navigating smoothly and pleasantly, resulting in a website considered not user friendly at all and therefore not a quality response to google searches.

Two business owners find out their business is declining due to bad SEO
Two business owners find out their business is declining due to bad SEO


Big headlines, exaggerated words, “shocking” news. Very often things like these are used by websites as a “smart” way of marketing in order to reach visitors, without realizing the negative consequences that clickbait can have on their traffic.

When internet users visit a misleading website get annoyed and certainly will not visit this site again. SEO is a difficult and demanding process that deals with the long-term traffic and popularity of a website. Given that, a website that promotes excessive titles that have nothing to do with its content, harms its SEO and thus can not attract new and active visitors.

Search engines use their crawlers to find out if the content you provide to your audience is relevant to the titles, descriptions and keywords you use. If this data is inconsistent and does not constitute quality content, then google can set the “penalties” that are worth for such a practice as clickbait, and thus reduce any effort you make to enhance your website’s SEO.

Short texts / limited content 

A few years ago, when SEO started being and appearing as an enhancing factor of a website’s value, short texts were the ones that were most popular for both the public and the search engines.

Now, when it comes to writing texts and articles according to the SEO factors of a website, what stands out are the detailed texts.

As we have stated in another article on good practices for writing your content for SEO, long and detailed texts mean for search engines that the content is relevant, detailed and thoroughly mentions many aspects of a topic while answering to the many questions that Internet users are asking through google searches .

According to backlinko, in a survey among 11 million Google results, the texts that ranked highest were the long articles at the expense of the websites with small and comprehensive content.

Plagiarism / Duplicate content 

Copying content naturally has a negative effect on the SEO of a website. Logically, the content of a website to be attractive to the public must be unique, genuine and genuine. So when there is duplicate content it is not difficult for it to be noticed by your visitors and gradually lose traffic rates.

At the same time, in the search engines the content appears as stolen and not as genuine, as a result of which it does not work positively for the ranking of the website in the first impressions.

Another inspiration from the content of another web page and another or word for word copy. Stealing content from another website not only does not help SEO but can even have legal consequences due to plagiarism.

plagiarism is a no-no for your SEO

Malicious links / Bad backlinks / Guest posting 

Whether it is backlinks or guest posts, what you need to constantly check are the websites to which your website is linked and associated.

When it comes to backlinks, it is extremely harmful for the SEO of your website to get link juice from websites of dubious quality. Do not forget what we have emphasized several times in another article about backlinks. The hyperlink that connects two websites carries data and value from one to the other. Thus, it is difficult to gain quality through a backlink to a website with unreliable and low quality pages.

Similarly, in the context of guest posting, it would be good to do your research on who you choose to write and publish texts on your page, and to be informed about his own website and its quality. In case something does not work transparently and looks suspicious, it would be better not to accept it to prevent google penalties.

Old and dated content 

We often visit websites whose content has not been updated for a long time and thus gradually lose the trust that they would once have gained from their visitors.

When the content of your website remains the same and you do not systematically and constantly add new, it is less likely to rank high in the search engines. More content = more keywords and more possibilities for high rankings in search engine results.

Many researches have shown that those websites that are constantly updated get 4 times more traffic than those whose content is old and not enriched.

Bad SEO in conclusion 

Google has one and only goal: to respond fully and adequately to the searches of its users, giving them the best answers through the highest quality websites that it evaluates. For this reason, it has set some rules through which it encourages websites to follow practices and methods that will promote and enhance the quality of their content. Opposites from these practices often damage the relationship that Google has with the respective website, as they often result in the imposition of “penalties”, such as reduced traffic, low ranking in the results of engines, etc.

Any website that aims to enhance its SEO both for ranking high in search engines and for the most quality and enjoyable browsing of its visitors, should be informed and avoid the application of the practices we mentioned above, as they cause significant harm to every effort for increased SEO and consistently higher success rates.

Our article doesn’t end here

As we have already pointed out, a particularly important method for every website and online store of your business, is the constant and systematic updating of its content, even if it has not yet reached the size you want. The important thing is to often post new material and then you can enrich it with new data and relevant information.

This is exactly what we do! We update the content of our site very often and it is highly likely that when you visit our website again you will find other useful information and data in our other articles – as in this one!

In order to see the new content we upload for our loyal readers and to learn about the best articles in the field of marketing, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and we will make sure to inform you as soon as we publish something new!

Are you interested in reaching your website’s full potential with DevSeg?

DevSeg means Development Segment and what we are most interested in is to apply our creativity and experience, in order to fulfill the vision and wishes of each of our customers individually. 

We pride ourselves in the work we’ve done, and our innovative point of view is what sets us apart.

We are looking forward to helping more people achieve their business goals.

We’ve made it our mission, to make our customer’s wants and dreams a reality.

The passion and skill that we put into it helps us achieve it and makes our work special.

So If you are interested in reaching your website’s full potential and rank higher on search engines, contact us and we’ll make it happen for you.

Don’t be a stranger.

If you found this article informative leave a comment and share on your social.

Share this post

Client Area


Like what you’ve seen?

Got a Project?