Did you know Google can make your blog disappear from its search results?
One day, you’re getting a nice little trickle of traffic to a few of your posts. No, it’s nothing major, but it grows with every new post you publish, and you can see Google becoming a major source of traffic for you in the future.
But then it stops.
Poof, every single post and page of your blog disappears from Google. No warning, no alarm bells, nothing. You’re just gone, like you never even existed.
And the worst part?
You don’t even know why. It just feels like the biggest, baddest bully on the Internet decided to knock the crap out of you, leaving you whimpering and bleeding, wondering what on earth you did wrong.
With Google though, ignorance is no excuse. You break the rules, you pay the consequences. End of story.
That’s why it’s so important to learn what the rules are.
The Truth about How Google Works
It’s evolving. All the time.
Every day, they tweak their algorithms to filter out spammers. Every year or two, they also roll out major updates that cause huge shifts in search engine rankings for nearly everyone on the web.
What works today may not work tomorrow. In fact, it might even hurt you.
Once upon a time, Google didn’t penalize people for making mistakes. They would withhold benefits, yes, but they wouldn’t actually reduce your ranking or make you disappear.
Now, they’re much more punitive. Even if you don’t make a big enough mistake to get yourself blacklisted, you can still see your search engine results drop overnight if you do something wrong, potentially by dozens of pages.
What, exactly, do they punish you for?
Well, the list is ever-changing, but here are the six sins most likely to land you on their naughty list:
#1: Buying Links
#2: Joining the Wrong Link Directories
When considering submitting to a directory, I’d ask questions like:
– Does the directory reject urls? If every url passes a review, the directory gets closer to just a list of links or a free-for-all link site.
– What is the quality of urls in the directory? Suppose a site rejects 25% of submissions, but the urls that are accepted/listed are still quite low-quality or spammy. That doesn’t speak well to the quality of the directory.
– If there is a fee, what’s the purpose of the fee? For a high-quality directory, the fee is primarily for the time/effort for someone to do a genuine evaluation of a url.
Matt Cutts, on behalf of Google
#3: Article Marketing
#4: Keyword Stuffing
“Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking.” –Google
#5: Unnatural Anchor Text
#6: Broken Links
Check for broken links and correct HTML. –Google