Getting punished by Google can be tragic. It could not only slow down your incoming traffic, but even worse it could halt it completely. Search engines are always looking for ways to improve their search results because they know that the search algorithm with the best results wins. In the past couple of years Google has made pretty big changes to improve their algorithm and stop people from tricking them for better rankings.
There have been several well-known companies that have recently fallen victim to Google’s wrath because of link building scams: iAquire, JC Penny and Forbes. Just to name a few. Some will argue that Google was too harsh or that these companies were punished for mistakes or not understanding what was considered a bad tactic. But, like it or not everyone has to follow Google’s rules, but for the most part though I think they have made changes with the idea of cleaning up search results to make them better for users.
Below are 3 tactics to avoid so that you don’t fall victim to the Google search results ax:
1. Joining Link Farms and Bad Link Neighborhoods
When you include a link on your site to another site it is similar to a recommendation. You’re saying, “I think this is a quality site and I recommend it to my visitors.”
So linking to a bunch of low quality site can damage your reputation. Plus, on the flip side Google looks at outgoing as well as incoming links. If shady sites link to your site Google will start to think you are shady too. Start paying for links or use Link Schemes and you will start to hear the whistle of the ax as it chops down your site.
Unfortunately you can’t always control who links to your site, but Google does give you some recourse. Make sure you sign up for Webmaster Tools and links you can’t get removed you can notify Google and ask them to ignore them.
So the old saying “You’re only as good as the company you keep,” works online too.
2. Duplicate Content
This is a pretty old tactic, but many people still fall for it. In the old days black hat SEOs used to create multiple pages with the same content hoping that it would increase the chances of getting ranked for keywords. One typical use was to use a page for every city a company serves using the same content except for the name of the city. Google picks up this duplicate content before most of us get out bed in the morning.
A tactic like this will likely get you served to the back of the line in terms of search results.
One thing to note it is possible to inadvertently create duplicate content with your blog via categories, tags and archive pages. This most likely won’t ruin your site, but it might be penalized.
3. Writing Content with a Machine
Let’s face it, it would be great if we never had to produce our own content and it just appeared on our site. Lazy marketers love this one.
Usually this content is created by scraping content from existing sites and re-posting it. Sometimes it is modified slightly, and sometimes it’s not. Either way, Google will punish this sort of content.
The rules of online marketing can be tricky and using tactics like these or a variation can be a slippery slope that could drop you in the abyss. In the end is it worth the risk?
The best thing you can do is pay attention to any notices Google Webmasters account and produce unique and useful content.