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Google’s thou shalt nots

Google’s thou shalt nots

Somewhere in a computer in Mountain View, California is the most important code on the Internet. Google’s search rules can knock down the biggest of businesses; it’s called a Google Slap. The actual calculations are a closely guarded secret, but Google does share its thinking, so there is no excuse to break these five big rules.

1 – Links must be good

JC Penney is one of the US’s biggest retailers, but that didn’t stop Google chucking them off their search results for three months when they were found guilty of dodgy link building. It was the result of a New York Times investigation, which found phrases like “evening dresses” cropping up in odd places, including pages on medical conditions, and linking directly to JC Penney’s homepage.

The retailer gave their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) experts the push quickly, but it must have cost them millions.

SEO should always be honest or white hat. Toolkit can help you increase the chances that visitors will find your site without getting on the wrong side of Google.

2 – Close the Doorways

Doorway pages are a so-called black hat SEO practice according to Google, and they’re the only ones that really matter. They say that doorway pages are poor quality pages crammed with a particular keyword or search phrase.

Google’s great breakthrough in search methodology was to use links as a measure of importance and relevance. They take messing with this very seriously indeed.

BMW were the biggest casualties of this particular Google Slap, when they were found guilty of setting up doorways. Google reset the German auto giants’ page rank to zero.

3 – Selling is bad

Anything that involves the exchange of cash or goods for incoming links is a Google no-no. They say that the guiding principles of their link ratings are to penalise:

Inaccuracies: False popularity and links that are not fundamentally based on merit, relevance, or authority
Inequities: Unfair advantage in our organic search results to websites with the biggest pocketbooks

When Google found out that Interflora was giving bloggers flowers to write nice things about them and link to their site they were kicked out of the index.

4 – Scrape

You may remember the rather odd story of Grant Shapps MP and his internet-marketing network of sites operated under a pair of pseudonyms. Shapps – or Michael Green as he often called himself – promised those who followed his advice big returns from Google ads.

Unfortunately, the sites were full of ‘scraped’ – basically ripped off – content and they were blacklisted by Google. Make sure all of your content is your own and you will have nothing to worry about.

5 – Stay away from networks

When links became the currency of search, whole networks were set up to trade them. These networks – the best example is Build My Rank – have now been sent to Google hell. Don’t have anything to do with such networks and if you employ someone to do your SEO then make sure you make it very clear that you’re a white hat business.

Not everyone has the time to keep on top of what Google is up to. At Toolkit we follow the news from Mountain View very closely and can help you design SEO that will really work without breaking those important rules. We can also take a look at your site in the same way that the search giant does – our Site Analysis service – and help you redesign it to suit their priorities.

Take a look at our website to find out more or just call our local call centre on 02380 633 644 to find out how we can help.

Get in touch with Toolkit Websites, Web Design Southampton, Hampshire, UK and see how we can help your business grow.