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SEO horrors: tales of bad SEO advice

Halloween might have passed but terrifying tales of poor SEO are a reality 365 days a year – #anxiouslygnawsfingers.

For this month’s #AskEkaterina I decided to tell you three SEO horror stories that, in my humble opinion, are much, much scarier than this year’s roaring success of ‘Hereditary’.

Grab some popcorn and join me for this digital marketing nightmare.

A Nightmare on Duplicate Content Street

I once had a prospect that was looking for SEO consultancy.

I had a nosy on their website and it was structured pretty good. They were pushing content out and working on link building. But strangely they were hardly ranking well for any keywords.

So before I agreed to do anything on the website, I decided to check if the content they were publishing was original. Well, guess what! Their content manager was recycling articles from other websites and getting paid for it…

The moral of the story is to make sure you work with trusted freelancers and agencies, check credentials and ask questions.

(Makes Me Wanna) Scream

This one is from a fellow SEO who had the horrible fate of taking over a site with a bit of legacy. They were struggling to rank well despite his best efforts. He was scratching his head – they had decent content, fairly high authority and a good backlink profile. The site was fast & mobile-friendly. What could it be?

Turns out that the development site has been crawled and indexed by the Googlebot since forever and it was leaking authority. It even had backlinks built to the staging website. Imagine.

The Omen (of Bad Migration)

The final story for today comes from another personal experience. I was working on a niche local business website that had just been redesigned.

The nightmare with this one was when I discovered that their CMS was literally pushing hundreds of identical pages on Google with no canonical tags (these tell the search engines which page is the main one they should be looking at), all indexed and all with virtually the same content.

This is enough to make any SEO scream in horror. To top it all off, the internal linking was a mess and/or missing sometimes all together.

There’s a silver lining, however. I sorted the duplicate issues and implemented a solid internal linking strategy on their fairly simple website and they started ranking quickly afterwards – hurrah!


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