Yesterday, Google shut down multi-million dollar startup Rap Genius after they committed some suspicious link building practices. Since the release of Hummingbird, Google strives to award sites implementing natural, conversational and—most importantly—ethical SEO practices with the highest value search rankings. What does this mean? Every business can’t expect to rank for every slice of the pie.
As Google continues to ban websites that choose poor SEO practices, here are some tactics to avoid in your strategy:
Bad link building
Learn a lesson from Rap Genius. Sending a massive request to exchange links at a high volume—unrelated to what your brand and your content is actually about—is not only bad for Google, it creates a misleading and uninformed experience for the site visitor.
If you’re a B2B services firm, there’s no value in ranking for pop culture terminology. Any visits to your website aren’t there for your products or services, and certainly won’t be calling you for a pitch or meeting. But even if you know better (we hope so), even ranking for loosely related keywords can result in a slap on the wrist (e.g. acting as a small financial consulting firm yet trying to rank within national banks).
This practice wasn’t always frowned upon. In fact, Matt Cutts of Google Webspam recognizes that a good percentage of Internet content is duplicative. The line is crossed when creating multiple pages with the same content that is not related to your company website (e.g. creating a website for all the states in the U.S.). This attempt at monopolizing search results is manipulative and not allowed by Google.
Excessive HTML tags
Embedding keywords into the heading and title tags of a website is now being examined more scrupulously as Google finds many website with multiple tags to rank in search results.
The above are some of the major “Don’ts” to avoid or risk ranking as spam within Google. To stay on top of future Webmaster, we recommend subscribing to the Google Webmaster Help YouTube channel for straightforward advice from Matt Cutts himself. Meanwhile, we’ll continue our White Hat SEO practices for our clients and ourselves.