SEO is a very technical and very specialized field. There are a lot of considerations to make in order to improve your website’s rankings. Unfortunately, this means there are also many examples of “what not to do” that can tank your search engine rankings. Therefore, it is important to have an SEO specialist working on your side to help you through the process. Of added value is learning from the mistakes of others, wherever you can. In other words, what not to do with SEO. Below are some examples of what other companies have done that have caused problems for them and how to avoid those situations.

  1. Repeated Migrations and Website Management Decentralization

One premium jewelry website frequently outperformed its brick and mortar showroom sales channels. That is until the business decides to change the domain from a longer name to a much shorter, more memorable domain name. The domain name change was not the problem in and of itself. It was the poor planning for the execution of the process that lead to problems. If a business handles the migration too quickly and does not account for Google’s algorithm for ranking the new pages after conversion, there are issues. A migration with hasty execution  and poor planning means an instant drop in rankings.

This was not the end, however. The site then had to roll back to migration after a few short weeks due to a legal issue. Then a third domain was created, and another swift migration occurred. Unfortunately this new domain’s past usage was not vetted, giving rise to a manual penalty, further tanking the site’s rankings. Then the company opted to allow non-centralized, third party CMS to add on content to the site. This led to a lack of site-wide consistency, adding more fuel to the already blazing fire.

In short, if you are planning a website migration to a new domain, proper planning and due diligence are key to maintaining your search engine rankings.

  1. Content Quality and Market Expansion

A travel aggregator site decided to increase the number of landing pages in order to carve out a larger market share. Again, poor planning and improper indexing with decentralized language translations meant the sites exploded in Search Engine Results Pages. What was roughly 3 million landing pages swiftly became over 1 billion landing pages due to indexable filtering and no canonicals. Googlebot then began revisiting old URLs and detecting new ones much less frequently.

In other words, more landing pages does not equal better content or more traffic. Businesses must carefully plan and curate market expansion in order to achieve success.

  1. Classic Overreach

A medical services platform, with an albeit narrow market, was quite successful with solid performance and positive reviews. A third party agency took care of their ongoing marketing needs both on and offline. In an effort to increase cosmetic appeal and address certain of users’ needs, the company launches an outreach and link building campaign. Failure to address backlink issues from years past led to an exponential growth of backlink profiles, in the end totaling around 7 million profiles. Google Webmaster Guidelines did not view any of these backlinks as complaint. This caused a moderate drop in rankings.

However, the company still built links. The third party agency was terminated without the situation being resolved. Only then was the campaign halted. Eventually a new third party was hired to resolve the issue, finding numerous substantial legacy backlink risks.  The appropriate corrections were made and the penalty was eventually lifted.

In short, with proper link building documentation and properly maintaining backlinks to monitor for spam methods, this situation could have been avoided.