Nov 12, 2006

Google's 8 Specific Quality Guidelines Revisited

Being removed from Google's index and falling traffic are probably the two worst SEO nightmares. And as they say "ignorance is not an excuse" since Google have publicly stated their guidelines for websites. The article aims to inform the SEO newbies and remind the experienced SEO experts of the 8 Specific Quality Guidelines set by Google.

1.Avoid hidden text or hidden links

Hidden text are textual contents that cant be seen by the site's visitor, keywords or keyword phrases are added for the search engine, SERP and rankings. The simplest form of hidden text is creating invisible text by making the font color similar to the background color but it is also the easy to detect because simple highlighting can cause the hidden text to appear. Cascading Style Sheets(CSS) are also used to create hidden text using it's built in features that can hide your text.

Instead of using hidden text, SEO practitioners should focus on adding relevant keyword phrases throughout the text but be careful to maintain the copy should be read as normal text.

2. Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.

Cloaking is delivering pages designed for the search engines while providing people with different results. It is a technique where in the content presented to the search engine spider is different from what is presented on the user. The legitimate use of cloaking is for the contents that cannot be parsed like those pages made from Macromedia Flash. Today, cloaking is abused because it is used to trick search engine users. For example, a user made a search about "web design company" but the page was redirected into another site. On the other hand an example of sneaky redirection, is when a user click on a page in SERP and he got redirected to another page.

3. Don't send automatic queries to Google.

Using unauthorized programs to check rankings,submit pages, etc violates Google's terms of service, so if you really have to use such, use it with common sense or don't use it at all.

4. Don't load pages with irrelevant words.

Web pages should be made for the users, not for the search engines. SEO practitioners should focus on making sites rich in information and content. Loading your page with irrelevant words can attract traffic but doesn't improve sales because you do not provide the vital information needed by the visitor.

5.Don't create multiple pages, sub domains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

In addition to that, don't make multiple domains that are only established to increase site traffic. Don't use pages on other domains to redirect traffic to your site, don't use mirror sites, those with exact content but different domains and too many pages in SERP that redirects to your site. These techniques gives instant results but expect to be banned when you get caught.

6. Don't create pages that install viruses, Trojans, or other bad ware.

Everything that can cause harm to the Internet community should be avoided.

7. Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

Doorway pages are pages designed for driving traffic to another page and usually focusing on specific keywords. Generally, doorway pages are designed for search engines only and this should be avoided because the visitors do not benefit from this practice.

8. If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value.

You should not participate on link schemes designed to merely increase your Page Rank, don't exchange links with sites that are run by spammers, link farms, free for all directories, adult sites and gambling sites. Avoid establishing partnership with sites with no or little content and exclusively made to boost rankings.

In the end, you should aim to provide clear, unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit and return. The best thing to do is to avoid dirty tricks intended to gain instant engine rankings. Aim for long term plan of success, using organic search engine optimization is an option. It will enable you to make pages for the user and at the same time friendly to the search engines.

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