I still get amazed when I hear about people trying to cheat Google’s search results.
So do Google, it seems. A recent post on its Webmaster Central blog has a much darker tone than what usually goes up there:
“Repeated violations may make a successful reconsideration process more difficult to achieve. Especially when the repeated violation is done with a clear intention to spam, further action may be taken on the site.
“In order to avoid such situations, we recommend that webmasters avoid violating our Webmaster Guidelines, let alone repeating it. We, the Search Quality Team, will continue to protect users by removing spam from our search results.”
In keeping with Google’s friendly online persona, most posts are attributed to the people that wrote them and their role within the company. Not this time; the above was only posted by ‘Google Search Quality Team’.
What does it mean? It’s clear Google’s had enough and is set to dish out much harsher penalties for repeat offenders and people with no intention of following its guidelines and search engine optimisation tips.
That could lead to sites being deindexed or possibly even banned and blocked from Google if they don’t keep their noses clean.
Is Google right to clamp down on people that try and manipulate it or are they overreacting? Let me know in the comments section below.
Total search crackdown
The reaction’s been mixed. I’ve heard opinions ranging from ‘good, about time they clamped down’ to ‘it’s hard to get rankings that matter so we’ll do all we can for our business’.
You can see both sides of those arguments but it boils down to one simple thing. If you want to use Google to promote your business then you simply must follow its guidelines as you would do with anything else. You wouldn’t take a bucket of KFC into McDonald’s to eat, would you?
So why word it so strongly, and why now? There are all sorts of theories; the simplest is that Google is simply fed up with people trying to cheat the system and have had enough.
They point out an example on the blog. A site gets penalised for a bad/paid link. Said site puts a nofollow on that link and submits a reconsideration request. The penalty is lifted. As soon as it is lifted the said site owner removes the nofollow and carries on as if nothing had happened.
You can see why that would irritate them. It’s a message that repeat offenders could get kicked off the world’s biggest and most popular search engine.
The decline of Google?
There’s another, more interesting (and delicious!) school of thought that Google’s doing this because it’s in potential decline.
Figures released by comScore last week suggest that Google’s time as desktop search king may have peaked, and that the search engine’s search share is down four points from last year (in the U.S.).
That looks pretty significant, even if Google still commands an outrageous percentage of the international search market. The shift to mobile is certainly a factor, but so could the introduction of Windows 10 to PCs across the world.
Its admittedly smart new browser, Edge, has Bing as its default search engine, and users have to jump through a couple of irritating hoops to change it to Google. Microsoft’s prerogative, though, and all’s fair in love and war, after all…
There are also social media factors to consider. People may be using social networks to find things, but Google will more likely put the fall down to people turning from it because of a drop in the quality of its search results.
What are your top tips for search success? How much are you relying on Google to generate inbound leads for your business? Let me know below!
No more Mr. Nice Google
As I’ve written before Google is a business and has to make sure its search results are as relevant as possible to the searcher. People manipulating Google to appear higher in certain search results is obviously hurting the quality of those results, no matter how many algorithms it releases.
So, as well as its philanthropic efforts and reinventing the way people discover information, Google is adding quite a bit more steel to the way it operates.
But what about those businesses that have employed a less-than-reputable search company to do their work for them, and they get thrown off the search engine? I’m sure Google isn’t made of stone, and an appeal to the right people with the right evidence should help you get reinstated.
Is it worth that risk, though? If a third party is doing your search engine optimisation for you then make sure you have as transparent a relationship as you possibly can, and always ask what’s being done and why.
It’s worth informing yourself of the world of search; it’s not as complicated as people make out. It’s worth it for your reputation – imagine having to explain to customers that they couldn’t find you on Google because you were banned from it…
So, what can you do to stay on Google’s good side?
#1 Create original content
Unique, engaging, original content on your website and your blog is a great sign to Google that yours is a well-curated website.
#2 Maintain a natural link profile
Build relevant, high-quality links back to your website and build relationships with similar sites to show your authority.
#3 Ensure a great user experience
A site that considers the user, loads quickly, is mobile-friendly, and is easy to navigate will help you to climb the rankings.
Most importantly, though, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket and rely on Google. Invest in social media, content marketing, email marketing, and other effective outreach methods to attract the right people to your website and keep them coming back for more.
If you’d like to learn more about how to do search engine optimisation the right way to boost your rankings speak to a Webpresence representative now!