Friday, 12 September 2008

How to keep on the good side of Google

When people are trying to improve their ranking in search engine results page, a lot of people will use any advice they can find in a struggle to improve rankings. People need to be wary which advice they follow though. Some advice will cause you to be penalised by Google.

If a page on your website is penalised, it will not perform as well as it might in search results. Here are some tips to help avoid penalties. In the case of a new website, it may never get to perform well in the first place.

Remember that outside Google, no-one really knows what counts as good or bad in terms of SEO. There is some general advice from Google about having good, unique content and quality backlinks. Other than that, people are justing using their experience and guesswork to find out what works and doesn't. A lot of SEO information online is copied and spread as online myths.

With this proviso in mind, here's a fairly non-controversial list of things to avoid.

  • Avoid Exchanging Links
    Excessive link exchanging should be avoided as Google may see this as an attempt to artifically improve rank. A few link exchanges will be OK but avoid large numbers. Link farms - where a large group of sites hyperlink to all other sites in the group should always be avoided.
  • Do not Sell links
    Selling links is a no-no - unless the hrefs use the nofollow attribute. If your site sells dofollow links and Google becomes aware it may well be penalised. Google's WebMasters site allows people to report paid links. Rumour has it that Google may use this information to adjust its algorithms to improve detection of paid links.
  • Do not buy links
    Recently, Google has threatened to penalise sites they discover have purchases dofollow links from another site. Logically thinking though, this does not seem possible - or at least it would be extremely unfair! If this were to be the case it would be easy to penalise a competitor by purchasing links to their site and then reporting them to Google.
  • Avoid duplicate content
    If possible, avoid duplicate content. For example, don't make the same post to two different blogs. Google will ignore copies of content. A few copies will make it into Google's index but lots of copies will be ignored. Even on different pages within a website, try to keep the textual content unique and avoid repeating whole paragraphs of text.
  • Don't stuff keywords
    If you want to perform well for a certain keyword, stuffing your webpages full of the keyword will not help. Write you copy in a natural way so that it reads well. If you are writing a web page about Google penalties (for example), the keyword "Google Penalty" will naturally appear a number of times - you don't need to repeat the phrase scores or hundred of times.
  • Don't include hidden text
    Make the contents of the webpage visible to the user. For example, don't include extra content such as white text on a white background that the user cannot see.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Sitelinks update

Today, Google Webmasters shows an updates in my sitelinks but these don't seem to have made it to the SERPs yet. Three new links have been added to my sales, support and SliQ Submitter pages. When these links make it to the search results, the sitelinks will look much better than at present.