Welcome to our two-part series on SEO. Today, we’re going to discuss four things you should avoid when doing SEO. But first…

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of getting traffic to your website from free (also known as “organic” or “natural”) listings on search engines. The major ones like Google, Yahoo and Bing show search results for webpages, videos, etc. based on a ranking system rooted in what the search engine deems most relevant to users. Unlike paid search ads, there’s no fee involved.

At Whitehead Agency Group, we know the most important thing in any business is getting customers. The higher your webpage ranks in the search engine world, the more hits you will get. But don’t make the mistake of thinking “more hits” is the be-all end-all marketing goal. It’s not all about quantity, but quality. What does it matter if your web traffic has more than doubled if the average time per visit has significantly dropped? You don’t just want people clicking on your webpage, you want them to spend time perusing your content and eventually converting into customers. So while SEO is important, it’s slightly more complicated than just increasing web traffic. Here are four things to avoid when doing Search Engine Optimization.

Link Farming

Link Farms are a group of sites interlinking with one another in order to influence their search engine rankings. Simply put, link farming gets you more backlinks in a faster, easier way. Search engine optimizers began the practise in the late 1990’s and many continue to use it today. The problem with link farming, however, is that search engines have become smart enough to devalue the benefits. This is especially the case after the Google Penguin 2.0 update back in May. There are more restrictions than ever on reciprocal linking and this strategy is no longer effective, particularly after webmasters started creating websites solely for the purpose of exchanging links.


You can probably guess the term “cloaking” refers to some kind of deceit. In Search Engine Optimization, cloaking occurs when the search engine is presented with a different view of the website than users. This is a huge, “no-no.” Webmasters who practise any form of cloaking risk having their sites de-indexed, which means you’re banned from appearing in search results and achieve the exact opposite of your desired goal.

Linking to Bad Neighbourhoods

Many webmasters unknowingly make the mistake of linking to “bad neighbourhoods” (like xxx and gambling sites) thereby moving their site into a different rating. What happens is search engines then start to consistently link your webpage with these “bad neighbourhoods” – somewhere you don’t want to be – and your SEO efforts become futile.

Excessive Links from Low Quality Directories

Directory submission is a basic strategy for getting a backlink to your site. In recent years, however, Google has started to ignore the backlinks from low quality, “SEO friendly” directories. These sites are created solely for the purpose of giving out a backlink to a website and don’t maintain any quality. They’re known as “FFA” or “Free for All” sites and the links they produce are of such poor quality that search engines deem them as spam, achieving (can you guess?) the opposite of your desired results.

We hope these pro-tips help with building your online presence. If Search Engine Optimization seems complicated, it’s because it is. Unfortunately for some businesses, they’ve fallen victim to these and other mistakes by going with SEOs who don’t seem to understand the bottom line of marketing: getting customers.

If you’re concerned about your website’s rankings, sign up for our FREE Search Engine Optimization Analysis to discover how your webpage measures up and what we can do to help. Make sure you tune in next week where we will discuss the “dos” of SEO.

Whitehead Agency Group is a leading Toronto, Ontario, healthcare marketing agency with over 25 years of specialized health and wellness experience.

Start profiting from the new age of consumer-driven healthcare with marketing that clicks. Contact us today at (416) 365-6884 or by emailing us at hello@waginc.ca to arrange a complimentary, no-obligation review of your current marketing.