I love it when I come across golden SEO information from Google. Straight from the horse’s mouth… well the Google.com website in this case. Here is my latest find and it really is a great resource of what not to do: http://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/fighting-spam.html
Now I know that most of you reading this are not doing all, if any, of these things. Even if you are doing them you are probably not even aware that Google frowns on it. But here are my key take outs from the article:
“Unnatural links from a site” – I found this one interesting. Years ago, nearly every website had a page dedicated to “Useful Links”. Thankfully nowadays most of us realise that useful links are rarely useful and we have gotten rid of those pages altogether. Personally, I discourage this waste of a page, mainly because I think you could get much better bang for your web-design buck by putting truly useful content on your site. But now I have read it from Google that these pages could flag that you are participating in dodgy link schemes. Even if you are not participating in link schemes, why risk it. Delete your “Useful Links” page now because at best it is a dated concept, at worst you are undermining your Google rank.
User-generated spam – this mainly impacts those of you who have a blog or news page on your website. If it is set up to allow comments from users, make sure you vet every comment. Unfortunately nowadays most comments on lesser-known blogs are spam from link builders. You can pick them from their poor grammar and superficial opinion that usually just tells you how good the article is. Don’t publish these useless comments as you could get a Google penalty.
“Thin content with little or no added value” – Thin content means low-quality or shallow pages which do not provide users with much added value. Google goes on to define these as thin affiliate pages, doorway pages, cookie-cutter sites, automatically generated content, or copied content.
Note the last point in this definition is “copied content”. Those of you who know me, know this is one of my pet peeves. Just don’t copy other people’s content. There are so many reasons and this Google statement is a big one, but here are a few more I can think of:
- It is not ethical – think of how you would like a competitor to steal the words you spent hours writing or that you had paid for a copywriter to write.
- It does not show off your expertise– don’t your clients deserve YOUR expert opinion? Be a thought leader with your own words.
- It is not legal in almost all cases – I’m no lawyer, but this is copyright 101. Stuff someone creates belongs to that someone. This includes photos, paintings, poems but also business text on websites.
- Google will penalise you. (Yes, I am repeating myself, but it is important!)
“Spammy free hosts and dynamic DNS providers” – Even if you have a low budget, don’t fall for free hosting with one of those sites that enable you to build your site for free. If you have a low budget, be prepared to at least pay for a reasonable hosting service and learn how to create your own website using a well known content management system such as WordPress. Keep in mind that this is straight from Google.
There are 6 more points on this Google page, and I won’t rehash all of them here, as some are obvious no-no’s like hacked sites and pure spam. Suffice to say, the whole list is great reading if you are doing your own SEO or even if you have employed an agency to do the SEO for you. When it comes to SEO tips, you can’t get any more definitive than Google’s own website, enjoy the read and take heed.
For those of you who missed it, here is the link: http://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/fighting-spam.html