While your objective may be to get more visitors to your site, getting views by any means necessary is not quite the best approach. There are certain tactics that seem like short-term solutions to boosting SEO that can actually be detrimental to your ultimate goals. Just as there are best practices to improve your website’s rank in Google, there are also ways to diminish rank or even get banned from the search engine completely. Here are 4 ways to get banned from Google:

Cloaking when designing a website.

Cloaking is when you design your website so visitors see something completely different than what search engines see. Doing so with redirects and programming is strictly against Google’s rules and grounds for being banned. Not only that, it is simply poor practice to trick people into thinking they are visiting a website for their search query when it’s about an entirely different subject.

Duplicating content.

Duplicate content on multiple pages is a common practice of spam sites in order to gain more page views. This refers to repeating body content on pages exactly or with a slight variation. You should never duplicate content from your own pages or violate copyright by duplicating someone else’s content. Google has banned sites that have done this or at least penalized their rank in SERPs.

Misusing link exchanges.

Linking is generally considered a good practice as a website owner. That being said, it should always be quality over quantity. You are not obligated to link back to a site if they link back you and it is important to avoid website SEO mistakes like linking to bad neighborhoods. In fact, spamming sites are referred to as “bad neighborhoods” and Google may lower your page rank if you link to them. While this type of mistake lowers page rank, paid links, link exchange programs, and other manipulations of SERP ranking are ways to get banned from Google. It may be possible to get away with it in early stages, but Google always catches on and your search results will quickly plummet. A real-life example of this is JC Penney’s SEO blunder when they hired a firm who built a web of links to entirely unrelated websites.

Including hidden keyword text.

Keyword stuffing is when people fill their web page with keywords to manipulate a site’s ranking on Google SERPs. For example, font matching, or hiding more keywords in fonts to match the website’s background color, is an old trick that never works, yet people still try. Google is sophisticated enough to catch onto this practice quickly and penalize website by lowering their rank or banning them. Similar to cloaking, this is a tactic that gives users and search engines different experiences. It is deceitful and can make your website looks like spam.