• 8 Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Website’s Google Ranking

8 Mistakes that Can Hurt Your Google Ranking

Google is very secretive about the core algorithms that power its search engine, but that doesn’t mean it’s all guesswork when it comes to figuring out how to get your website pages to rank. Google wants to provide good search results too, so they do share some of the dos and don’ts. Here’s a list of the 8 important don’ts you should avoid if you want your website to rank on the first page.


8 Mistakes that Can Hurt Your Google Ranking

8 SEO Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Rank on Google

Mistake #1: Using Images to Link to Pages on Your Website

Search engines can’t read images; they can only read text. If Google can’t see the text of a link (such as if it’s a clickable image or a button), the link may not be read properly. If you have any pages on your website that are accessible only through images or buttons, they may not get indexed by Google. Google recommends that every page on your website have at least one text link.


Mistake #2: Not Letting Google Know Which Page You Want to Be Your Homepage

If you know the web address of a site you want to visit, you can type “www.thewebsite.com” or just “thewebsite.com”. Either address will take you to the same website, but Google doesn’t like this type of ambiguity. It wants you to tell it which web address you prefer (www, or no www). If you don’t tell them, then you may be splitting the SEO authority of your website, which will drop your rankings in Google.  The solution is to choose which address you prefer (it doesn’t matter if it is the www or the non-www) and tell Google by setting up a 301 redirect. This is something our small business marketing experts can help you with if you need assistance.


Related eBook: 6 Ways to Google’s First Page


Mistake #3: Having a Site that Takes Too Long to Load

Google wants a good experience for their users and sites that take too long to load hurt that experience.  The biggest impact of slow load times is that your visitors may leave before the site loads, but it is also possible that Google will penalize your search results as well.  You can test your site, get a score, and get suggestions on exactly how to improve the speed of your site by visiting Google here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/.


Mistake #4: Using Link-Building Schemes that Add Little or No Value to the World

In general, having links to your site will improve your rankings in Google search results. The problem is that many people try to game the system by building links using dubious techniques. Buying links or trading links with sites that are considered web spammers is not a recommended technique. Just by linking to sites that are considered web spammers by Google could get your site lowered in search rankings. If there is a legitimate use case for why you should link to someone or why they should link to you, get the link in place. If you are building link relationships that really add no value to your content and no benefit to your readers, you’re only hurting your ranking.


Mistake #5: Hiding Links

A long time ago, one could increase their ranking in search engines by stuffing a bunch of links that were the same color as the background on a page (thereby hiding the links from users, but showing the links to search engines).  This doesn’t add value and it hasn’t worked in years, so don’t do it.


Mistake #6: Putting Keywords in Places Where they Don’t Belong

It is important to include keywords on pages where they belong. Google will penalize you if you put a bunch of keywords on a page that has nothing to do with the rest of the page.

Mistake #7: Duplicating Content

High-quality content is essential for your brand image and even for ranking purposes, but it does take time to create.  However, copying the same content and pasting it in multiple locations is not worth the time you’ll save. Google does not like duplicate content. You do not have to rewrite your content over and over again; there are many ways to recycle and repurpose content in such a way that saves time and maintains your value.

Mistake #8: Not Submitting a Sitemap to Google

As good as search engines are at finding all of the pages on your website, they aren’t perfect. If you submit a sitemap to Google, you can improve Google’s ability to find all of the pages on your site.  For more information on how to submit a sitemap, take a look at Google’s sitemap resources.

Overall, try to keep a mindset of helping Google to display relevant, quality content to its users when you are working on your website.  Once you have corrected any mistakes that you may have been making, you can submit your site directly to Google to increase the speed at which they will find all of your content.  If you want to dig into more details of Google’s guidelines for website creation, you can read their official stance here.


For more tips on improving your SEO, download our SEO pocket guide below:





This post was originally published on Sep 9, 2011 and updated on June 4, 2018.
ThriveHive combines easy-to-use tools and expert guidance to help businesses stand out and get found online. Learn more about our guided marketing and advertising solutions here.

1 Comment

  1. Great article. I stress these factors to my clients all the time.

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