8 Things Google Hates & Common SEO Mistakes. So Don't Do Them.

Author Allison Smith
by Palmer Barr , SEO Specialist

Last month we looked at what Google loves. This month we let you know what Google hates. And, if you've done any (or many) of the things below, you may be punching your screen when you disappear from the search results. We are looking specifically at what hurts your site's search rankings. This list is not all inclusive but it covers many of the practices that can cause your site to show up less frequently or not at all in the search results.

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Not ranking can be frustrating.

Buying a link: You may have heard that if another web site links to your site it benefits your search rankings. This is true. However, how did that link get on that other web site? Was it placed there because you had something interesting on your site that someone wanted to link to? That's excellent. Did you pay someone $100 to put your link in the footer of their site and it just so happens that the word in the link (anchor text) is a very highly searched term that has a lot of competition? That's bad. Many companies, including large corporations, have been penalized for buying links. Don't do it.

Sites full of ads: If your web site's real estate is covered with trash it is not very welcome in Google's neighborhood. It's not a bad thing to want to make a little money by having advertisements on your site. However, if it's difficult to separate the ads from the content and if the ads are intrusive enough to provide what Google considers a “bad experience” for the user, your search rankings will falter.

Hidden text: Text to the Googlebot is like chocolate to you and me. It loves to find text, gather it, and add it to its database. There is a bad practice that some site owners and webmasters follow and that is hiding this text so only the search bots can find it. This is done by having white text on a white background or manipulating the code of the web page to hide text from a person visiting the site yet enable a search engine crawler to “see” it without difficulty. Being sneaky like this is a great way to get your site banned from Google's search results.

Small business: Unfortunately this is becoming more and more apparent with each algorithm update. You may have noticed that the first page of the search results are more and more being monopolized by big brands. Conduct a search for a popular item to buy, for example a dishwasher, do you see any small companies in the organic (not paid) search results? We don't either. If your business is online only, it is becoming more difficult to compete with the big brands when it comes to search rankings. You may have the best prices and top notch customer service but to Google, if you're not a Fortune 500 company, then you're not going to be on page 1 for the most competitive search terms. This is one of the reasons to have a search engine optimization specialist work on your site, to use their expertise and knowledge in order to have your site rank up there with the big boys.

Thin content: A common practice among site owners trying to manipulate search results is to create thousands of pages targeting a different keyword search term and having very little useful content for its visitor. If a web page's content consists of a short paragraph of text with a search term used abundantly within the text, it's not very useful to a visitor and is not worthy of a good ranking.

Duplicate content: Google is looking for new and fresh content to add to their huge database. If it finds the same content it found on another web site it's not going to show much interest in what you have to offer. If your site sells a product and has the same exact product description provided by the manufacturer that every other web site selling that product is using, that is considered duplicate content. If you post an article on your blog from one of those free article sites that several other blogs have already posted, that is also considered duplicate content. Make everything on your site original and unique and watch your search results improve.

Flash: As mentioned previously in this article, Google is looking for text. Flash is a technique for building highly animated web sites that go beyond what can be done with standard HTML. The search robot that Google uses is not very good at reading web sites made using Flash. If you right click a web page and choose View Source or View Page Source from the menu you will see a similar version of the web page that Google sees. If your web site is made in Flash it will have very little text displayed when you view the page source. No text equals nothing for the Googlebot to read and no indication as to what your site is about and relevant for.

Slowness: Google is in a hurry and knows you are too. It wants to show the web sites in the search results that give the best user experience. If your web pages load slower than others it will not rank as well as one that is fast. Make sure your web site is optimized for speed with compressed images, streamlined code and a fast web server to ensure that your visitors are not frustrated by a slow web site.
That brings us to the conclusion of our look in to what Google hates. Be sure to come back again to learn more about the ins and outs of search engine optimization from OuterBox.