Has Your Business Incurred the Wrath of Google?
There’s this misconception that Google will show anyone pretty much anything. People tend to see Google as this neutral, unthinking engine that simply returns the most popular links that match the text that you entered for your search. But this simply isn’t how Google operates.
In order to maintain their reputation as the best search engine out there, they need to be very careful about the websites that are returned as search results. After all, there are thousands of new websites being created every day. So Google operates with strict algorithms that determine the quality of a website, and, thus, its ‘suitability’ for the search result pages. Because if Google started linking you to a bunch of broken, useless websites, then you’d stop using it.
It is crucial that businesses understand this. After all, your business needs to be online in some capacity, because most people discover a business through their website. And how do most people find business websites? Through Google, of course. So you need to be careful when creating your business website. If Google doesn’t like it, you may suffer penalties that will throttle search results that link to your business.
Understanding Google’s penalties
People don’t always know when they’ve been hit by Google penalties. It’s possible that if your website isn’t receiving enough hits then this is precisely what has happened. One dead giveaway is finding that using your brand name as a search term doesn’t bring results relevant to your website. This happened to the website Rap Genius (now just called Genius) when Google penalized them for shoddy SEO techniques.
If you’re not appearing in search results, or are slipping down the page, then it’s possible that you’re being penalized. But what exactly incurs the wrath of Google in such a way? Let’s go through some of the common mistakes that people developing business websites often make. If this is occurring in your business, you need to put a stop to it asap!
Advice from the villains
There are good SEO services out there, and then there are bad ones. The good ones, aside from being effective, do what they do without stepping into what we call “black hat” territory. Black hat SEO is SEO that purposefully uses unsavory techniques in order to get hits. As you can imagine, Google isn’t too fond of them. Black hat SEO companies are finding it harder and harder to operate these days. Google keeps finding them, you see. And if you’ve got a clear affiliation or working history with such a business, then you could find search results for your business being throttled.
Problems with links
There are so many mistakes you can make when it comes to links on your website. In fact, problems with links are not only the most common, but are also the easiest for Google to track down. Buying links is something that will get you caught pretty quickly, though it’s a practice that is fast becoming very uncommon. Using excessive reciprocal links – otherwise known as swapping links – should also be avoided. And if you’re linking to sites that are in a foreign language, are broken, or use black hat SEO themselves, then this could also see you getting penalized. Link building is important, but be very careful about how you do it.
Some websites duplicate content in order to bulk out their website. Unfortunately for them, Google can find this out pretty quickly! If you have the same content pasted in several locations across your website, then Google’s algorithms will catch you. Another content crime is calling “scraping”. Scraped content is content that you’ve pulled from other websites. This isn’t always done with nefarious intention. But Google doesn’t like it either way. They basically see this as another form of duplication. Just use original content! If you’re looking to work with copywriters to help with content creation, then make sure they have a good reputation for fresh, original content.
Those algorithms are also able to tell when you have a bunch of annoying problems on your websites. Do you have loads of 404 error pages on your website? Then you may get penalized. If your website suffers from a lot of slowdown, then Google can find out about this too. Their bots can record the response times on your website, and will penalize you if you have sitewide problems with loading times. This can also occur if your website has a lot of downtime. This is why you should be doing your best to make sure your website runs as smoothly as possible.