When it comes to small business, Google is the master of the universe. It’s by far the most used search engine out there on the internet, especially in countries like the US and the UK. As a result, staying in the internet giant’s good books is a good idea. Unfortunately, many companies don’t play by the rules (however unfair they might seem) and get blacklisted. Once blacklisted, they may disappear entirely from Google’s results. It can take months of hard work to work your way back up the search ranking, and even then, you might not recover. Bad news, eh?
So what it is that causes a company to get blacklisted by Google? Let’s look at some of the mistakes you can make that can land you in a lot of trouble.
Joining The Wrong Directories
Link directories were once part and parcel of SEO. But today, they’re one of the most misunderstood aspects of the entire process. It used to be the case that you could submit your site to a link directory for your particular industry.
But Google has changed the way that it views links today. It now works on what could be described as the “neighbourhood” system. Here sites that are in a good part of the link neighbourhood, next to trusted sites, have high ranking. Sites that are in a bad part of the neighbourhood, linked to by bad sites, get a lower ranking. This means that directories aren’t what they once were. Now quality links are becoming a lot more important. Too many bad sites linking to your site? You could find yourself on Google’s naughty list. The good news is that you can use the disavow tool to tell Google you don’t want a particular site linking to yours.
Back in the day, keyword stuffing was all the rage. Businesses would cram their websites with as many mentions of their keywords as possible to boost themselves up the rankings. Now, however, this is considered to be a “black hat” tactic. Google doesn’t like it because its users don’t want to go to sites that just spam the same phrases over and over again. It wants people to find sites through its search engine that are actually useful. The issue of black hat tactics is discussed further a blog entitled: SEO Services: When You Get It Right, The ROI Is Phenomenal. The bottom line? Avoid any so-called SEO experts who claim to be able to boost your site to the first page of Google in a few weeks. They’re a surefire way to have your company fall foul of Google’s naughty list.
Broken links are a big problem for businesses. Over time, some of the sites that they link to will stop working. Sites die, get updated or moved to different domains.
You might not think that this is a problem. But from Google’s perspective, it is. Google doesn’t like broken links because it’s an indication that a page isn’t up to date. A page with a dozen broken links is a lot less likely to be new than a page with none. Check for broken links every twelve months or so to make sure Google sees your content as fresh.