Posted Thursday, October 21, 2004
You keep hearing about how to get better rankings at Google, right? Well, now it's time to hear a few reasons why Google will penalize your site's rankings. Take heed, or your own site may suffer.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but I assure you that Google will give your site search-engine rankings a cumulative beating for the following things:
1. Submission. What the...?! Submission?! Yes. Direct submission of your site's URL to Google will result in a small penalty to your ranking. That means that every month from now on, when you would normally be faithfully submitting your site to Google, kick yourself instead. It's okay to submit your site once, but there's no need to do it again.
Here's how to get around that little bump in the road if you've got new content you really, really want Google to see sooner than later: Submit a page from a different site. Let's call your site "site A." What you'll do instead is submit site B, which links to your site, site A. That way, the Google spider will give a small penalty to site B, and think it discovered site A on its own, which will result in a boost to site A, at least no penalty to site A. Follow?
2. Fail to buy Google adwords. This one is simple. If you're not willing to spend a little dough, you're not willing to do what it takes to get to the top of Google. It doesn't take much, either.
In the long run, spending even five dollars at (http://adwords.google.com) will boost your site's rankings for the keyword ads which you purchase. Inexplicable though it may be, it works.
3. Title your pages badly. For example, a page with a title that is too long, or a page with a title which is unrelated to the content of the page. That's an unpardonable sin at Google.
There is nothing more important to any page's ranking than the title of the page. Keep it short. Less than four or five words, if possible. The shorter the title, the more focused and relevant Google will consider that page to be.
4. Lots of small font on your pages. That's considered spam! In theory, you could use tags or size 5 font on all your text and receive a boost for all the words in that size, but that would be impractical because of your surfers, who might actually want to read what you wrote on your page in the first place. Forget that idea.
Just use size 2 or 3 font, and if nothing else, at least you won't get penalized.
5. Invisible keywords on your page. i.e., a whole bunch of white words on a white background, on the bottom of your page. Spam again. It's easy for the Google spider to pick up, and yes, they will hammer your ratings for it.
Instead, write relevant keywords, high in your page text, and make your most important keywords come out first in the Title tags of your HTML page.
Your overall best shot at getting good rankings for your site: Useful content. It's like the old saying you heard in school: "If you spent as much time studying as you did cheating, you'd be in the top of your class." (I'm sure you never heard that directly, but I think you get the point.)
The ultimate fix: There is no traffic-builder like high-quality content. You will find people linking to you without your asking for it, and that will catapult you to the top of the search engines. Your site's visitors are real people, with a real need you can fill. If you'll use your website to provide them with reliable information, services, or products, it will be as successful as any offline venture.
About the Author
Mike New, a free-lance search engine and site optimization consultant, specializes in getting top rank listings for websites at Google. Aside from optimizing and promoting, you'll find Mike developing websites in ASP or PHP, and upon request, doing it ASAP.