I sure did learn the hard way in my recent Google fiasco, the case where I mysteriously disappeared from Google’s pages.
My site Bitter Tonic was out of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for a total of 9 long, painful days. Then one day, just as easily as I had disappeared, I reappeared. And in pretty much the same positions, if not better.
In the meantime, I had done a whack of research on what could have caused my ousting and how I could fix it. The most interesting result being that a lot of the information that is out there is mostly speculation – and not fact. And because Google is very secretive about it’s algorhithms and the way it ranks pages, the speculation will no doubt continue.
I got pretty spooked when I read a bunch of horror stories of businesses being locked out of Google. Some were led astray by Search Engine Optimization companies promising them high rankings, only to be booted out for cheating (called black hat SEO). Others didn’t know why they were on the outs. Some of these companies were losing thousands of dollars in business a month. Some of them had been trying to get back in, begging on their knees unsuccessfully for months.
Which should make everyone’s number one rule – don’t go cheating on Google.
Hell hath no fury like this scorned search engine. And since Google is the preeminent and undisputed leader in its field, you should definitely play nice.
If that wasn’t bad enough, some think there are things that you could be doing that Google frowns upon and you don’t even know it.
I knew I hadn’t cheated the search engines on purpose. But what if I had been caught for duplicate pages? I read a post that the way WordPress archives its pages may be considered duplication by Google. That scared me, mostly becuase I didn’t even know what it meant.
Perhaps I was linking to “bad neighbourhoods?” Or the nighbourhood used to be clean but unbeknownst to me, got bought by a scammer, and has since deteriorated in Google’s eyes. Did I have too many internal links? Too many affiliate links? What was too many?
Your number two rule should be – be super squeaky clean.
As I said earlier, I think the reason I fell out was just one of Google’s admitted glitches. But in the meantime here is what I did to ensure relisting:
- I got the WordPress Duplicate Content Cure plugin from Badi Jones
- I got the Google Sitemap Creator for WordPress plugin by Arne Brachhold, and submitted it to Google. Whatever Google wants, it gets
- I removed lots of affiliate links. Noone was clicking on them anyway.
- I removed most of the cross-posted links, though I don’t think it mattered.
- I asked to be re-instated into Google, and clicked that damn check box that says you admit to committing a crime
- I kept researching, reading and posting to forums
- I was patient. Well, more like dejected, but patient sounds better.
I also was really happy to find a wonderful and giving SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and web community out there. I found no shortage of great sites, forums and communities offering up great tips and advice. So make sure to read on to my next blog entry where I list the places to go for SEO help.
Which brings me to my last point – write and create honest to goodness really good content. That’s what we humans like, and that’s what Google likes too.
Hmmm. I don’t think I ever said “honest to goodness” in my life – but it seems to fit in well here.
It’s true. The reason Google became and remains a popular search engine is because it manages to filter out the scammy and spammy sites, so that its results feature quality web sites and content with each query.
So, write for humans, and Google will follow.
[tags] google, search engine optimization, advice, SERP, page ranking, demotion [/tags]
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