Following on from the recent Panda update from Google, the search giant is contuing its campaign against ‘Web Spam’ with its latest algorithm update, which Google have named ‘Penguin’.
Google’s guidelines are simple their announcement said, and I quote ” In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.”
So how do you comply to make sure you don’t fall foul of Google’s changes?
There are 8 “specific guidelines”. They are (verbatim):
1. Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
2. Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
3. Don’t send automated queries to Google.
4. Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.
5. Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
6. Don’t create pages with malicious behaviour, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.
7. Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
8. If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.
Take these eight ingredients and mix them with these basic principles and you will create a web site that Google will smother with love, or at least not kick it out of the search engine directories.
The 4 “basic principles” are:
1. Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as “cloaking.”
2. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
3. Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighbourhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
4. Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.
Many have referred to the last few Google updates as the ‘death knell for SEO’, but Search Engine expert Danny Sullivan looks on the exercise as a victory for ‘white Hat’ or good practice SEO techniques, and the end of the line for ‘black Hat’ practices which try to fool the search engines into ranking sites and pages highly by using Web spam and other techniques to bypass good practice.
We have looked at using Black Hat techniques (for about 5 seconds) but prefer to stick with the Google rulebook when it comes to SEO.
It may take a little longer for our SEO tweaks to lift a site’s rank, but when we combine this with all of the other methods we use to drive visitors to a website, from Social Media to viral campaigning, we can almost guarantee a sharp increase of ‘hungry buyers’ to a client’s website.
We just have to determine the cheese.
The cheese you say?
Ah… that’s a story for another day.