Getting penalized by the search god Google for what they consider to be inappropriate SEO tactics is no laughing matter. It can hinder, and even cripple, your online presence and make it almost impossible to rank high on any SERP. The search engines are critical to your survival and landing on the second page of a search, at any search engine, could cost you dearly in your bottom line. You must play by Google’s rule until the search game somehow changes. So, what are some of the strategies that can get you penalized?
- One particular strategy that gets used is called “cloaking”. With cloaking, a company will present a different version of their website than the actual one that visitors end up clicking to. If you are cloaking content and images, you will be penalized. Google is quite clear about displaying information to Google that isn’t anywhere to be found at your website. If your website team made a mistake that is just too bad. Google will nail you anyway. They are the 600 pound gorilla that does what it wants. To repair a cloaking situation, you first must determine which particular sections of your site have been cloaked. There are several tools to do that with and, after you find the cloaked portions, just go to Google and compare your site with their version. Then, simply remove what has been cloaked and also take care of any suspect links that may have attached themselves to you.
- Spam is another strategy that is widely used and which is hated by Google. Often, small companies can inadvertently be sending out what they believe to be relevant information but is interpreted by the search engines as spam. There are fine lines that you need to be on top of especially if you are using some manner of automated system. Check your system regularly and scan for potential spam related information. If you are in doubt, remove it.
- Finally, Google is big on “value”. Value, of course, seems to be a relative and subjective kind of a call. Your site must have value for visitors according to Google. The more value your content has for a particular visitor that is looking to buy your product or service, the higher your site will show up in the rankings. Remember, Google ranks pages, not websites. Every single page of your site must prove valuable to a potential customer as they proceed through their buying journey. Google has software to detect this and even if you use some particular software to try and fool the algorithm, Google has humans on staff to determine the value your pages and site might have for a particular visitor.
-Written by Kevin Sawyer