It seems that the hot topic of most SEO conversations is to give clear guidance to all of how to top the rankings in your search engine of choice. But, doesn’t it make perfect sense to find out what will put you at the bottom of these lists to start with? What will drive you into Search Engine Hell? Making this kind of mistake will be very costly to your business and its crucial to understand how to avoid this kind of disaster. The impact of search engine shunning can mean the bans and blacklisting – you won’t even realize that you’ve crossed the big divide into Search Engine Hell – until you are avoided like the plague and blacklisted! Getting out of this situation is also not easy – once in you will have to fight very hard to have calls answered or email read – as your information will become ‘data non grata’.
So how can you avoid the Search engine pet hates? Well firstly, a good dose of common sense will do wonders to avoid the decline into Search Engine purgatory! Search spiders are set to search for human friendly functions – things that relate to real people and not automation. If the site is ‘clunky’ and has an automated feel then it will drop in the rankings. The search engines hunt for things that would be supportive and useful to a human visitors – a good website does this.
In terms of mistakes – all mistakes are not born equal to search engine spiders! Here’s a quick guide as to what to avoid:
This is fairly easy to avoid if you think about it. A human sales rep wouldn’t be very effective if they used the same phase over again and again. Repeated information splashed across a site doesn’t sit very well with the Spiders – they are looking for key terms that sit alongside decent examples and other words related to the industry. If write quality content, you’ll be fine – imagine you have a real person to describe to and the technique will take care of itself.
Keyword spamming also includes trying to include key words on a page that human visitors can’t see! These techniques are now fairly old hat – but if you are new to design you might pick this up on technique and be lead down a dark path towards the pit!!
Making key word the same color as page background or close to it
Placing key words in <input type=”hidden”> tags
Placing key words in image <alt> tags
Placing key words between the <head> tags
Placing key words behind css absolute positioned objects
Making the text really tiny so people can’t read it or don’t notice it
PopUps Overkill: Some sites (often pornography sites) will use irritating popups to hold a visitor on their site longer. Too much of this can get you shunned or banned. This technique is really best avoided – an over kill of PopUps in the past have made these very unpopular with the user and as such will be treated with distain by the Search engine Spider.
Broken links: A road to nowhere – sometimes you accidentally create a link on your site that doesn’t go anywhere. It might be a mistake in your code or maybe you’re linking to a page or site that was relocated or taken offline. Whatever the situation, broken links happen. But for the user – the experience is like a visitor turning up to buy items at a shop – that has closed early! This will be a disappointment to them and even if there is a nice sign, giving an decent explanation – the feeling of disappointment will not encourage the customer to return.
Spiders see this lack of continuity (even with entertaining 404 pages) when crawing through the site. They view broken links as an indication that your web site is not well created, taken care of or kept up to date – thus bad marks and bad rankings.
Load times: If your website takes a long time to load, people will click the back button or bounce. Search engines know this and will give you bonus marks for a quick-loading website and negative marks for a slow one. This comes down to good planning and resource use - and its well work checking the timings on your site at the testing stage and checking it against other reputable sites for loading times.
Other things you might be convinced to try via YouTube tutorials on the Web!! They will ensure at least a black mark against you name – and are not quite as clever as the are attempting to be!!
Page swapping: Once a high rank is achieved, swapping that high ranked page with a page of non-related content – fairly irritating if you are the user and a waste of time!!
Doorway pages: Pages designed for good optimization, but humans who visit the page are immediately forwarded to a different page. A very irritating experience for the user and a negative marketing strategy for whomever is stupid enough to be the second page!!
Cloaking: It’s possible to creating a web page that shows one page to spiders and a completely different page to human traffic. The spider page gets the rank and the human page displays whatever the cloaker wants. Harshly dealt with!!
Replicated sites: To try and get more search engine attention, some people will make duplicate copies of the same site under different domain names. Doesn’t inspire faith amongst the client community as they will wonder what the company is playing at!!
Page Phishing: If you copy somebody’s web site and put it under a different domain name, you can fool search engines and visitors into thinking it’s the original site. Really touching the dark side with this one!!
Scraper sites, spam blogs, and link farms: They create a group of fake sites with content on them (usually content copied from other sites) and then link each site back to your site to get more incoming links. Rumor has it that search engines will look to see where sites are hosted, and if they’re all hosted in the same place they’ll suspect something is wrong.
So before you drop into the Search Engine pit of despair – check out the list and make sure you can keep your site on the good side of the Search Engine divide – the force be with you!!