Marketers know that there is a lot of competition for eyeballs, so search engine optimization is crucial for improving a company’s visibility. Web designers used to be able to stuff numerous unrelated keywords into the text in order to drive up their page position in search engines.

Those days are gone.

SEO is a constantly evolving technique, as search engine companies seek an ever-better solution to generating the results users are looking for, while at the same time preventing people from gaming the system. This means that once-viable methods for improving visibility can now drive down your site’s chances.

With this in mind, entrepreneurs from YEC advise marketers to stay away from these 11 SEO habits when trying to build a visible online brand.

1. Picking the Cheapest Option

I have seen plenty of brands with potential get buried before they get a taste of success because of poor SEO choices. Rather than dumping money into links or “SEO packages,” invest in PR and storytelling. When this is done right, the links come naturally, and they are far better than anything that can be purchased. This is how you build an online brand that will thrive in the long run.

Jonathan Long, Sexy Smile Kit

2. Stuffing Your Site with Keywords

Keyword stuffing will only hurt you in search engine rankings. Make sure you use long-tail keywords that people are using to search for products or services just like yours. Use variances of your long-tail keyword phrases throughout your content, and make sure your content is highly informative and readable. Finally, stay on top of ever-changing SEO practices to make changes on the fly.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

3. Getting Irrelevant Link Backs

There is nothing more pointless than reaching out to irrelevant companies, websites or bloggers to promote and link back to your content. Linkbacks in general can be highly successful, but not if you are reaching out to websites that have no relation to your business.

Dave Nevogt,

4. Spamming Blog Comments

If your strategy is to comment on as many blogs as you can every single day with a link back to your website, stop it. That is bad practice. Commenting organically is the way to go.

Humberto Farias, Concepta

5. Writing for Search Engines

Time and time again, I see sites stuffed full of unfriendly copy. They are designed for search engines and not for the people who find the site. The days of showing up first and making the sale are long gone, and there are great alternatives to anything you have to offer. What sets you apart is how well you can connect with me as a visitor. If I feel like you’re addressing Google instead of me, then I’m out.

Jeff Jahn, DynamiX

6. Ignoring Broken Links

Broken links can get you penalized. You can use tools like Screaming Frog and Dead Link Checker to identify any broken links on your site, and then fix them ASAP by adding redirects.

Pratham Mittal, Outgrow

7. Copycatting Competitors’ Content

When building a real online brand, the worst thing I’ve seen happen is when new startups try to copycat their big competitors. They take the competitor’s best blog posts and then make a lame version of their own or, even worse, they use the wrong keywords in the main pages because competitors did so.

Yoav Vilner, Ranky

8. Working Against the Search Engines

Five years ago, everyone was trying to game the search algorithms. That doesn’t work anymore. Instead, focus on creating high-quality content and making sure your site is crawlable. Modern SEO is all about working with the search engines, not against them.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

9. Trying to Buy Visibility

Don’t take shortcuts. They don’t work in life, and they don’t work for SEO. It might be tempting to buy backlinks, cheap content, social media followers, etc., but it doesn’t work. Focus on what the end user is looking for and provide good value. With value comes success.

Magnus Simonarson, Consultwebs

10. Producing Meaningless Content Just to Have Content

The idea is not to produce content for the sake of new content just to show that the website is active. It’s important to focus on relevant and interesting content that actually does something for the audience.

Peter Daisyme, Due

11. Providing Vague Answers, or No Answers at All

Don’t publish an article with a keyword-stuffed title (“How Many ___?” or “Can I _____?”) if you don’t have a concrete answer. A hard number or a definitive “yes” or “no” should be included prominently in the article so that people can get the information they’re looking for. Publishing when you don’t know the actual answer will result in a high bounce rate and will frustrate your readers.

Roger Lee, Captain401

Top Methods for Ranking Higher with SEO in 2017

Now that you’ve read through some of the top working methods and habits from industry experts when it comes to SEO and ranking higher in the search results, it’s now time to put such tactics into action. To get started with this process, why not run an SEO Audit or use these methods to increase the speed of your site right now?

Also, if you enjoyed this expert round up, be sure to read our previous ones on top recommended entrepreneur books and also 7 low cost site builders to consider when creating your next site.