It’s essential to religiously abide by the rules ascribed by Google and His disciples (such as Matt Cutts); but there are a few devious sinners out there who aren’t following the scriptures, which are clearly outlined here.
As Google attempts to banish these heathens with algorithmic updates like Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird; following Google’s gospel has never been so vital if one is to reach SEO heaven.
Thus, let these modern-day SEO commandments guide thee upon the path to righteousness, and may Google bless you with an abundance of number one rankings!
- Thou Shalt Love Thy Search Engine as Thyself
Google is your shepherd, so treat Him with respect; just as you would yourself or a loved one. This doesn’t mean you need to fly over to the head office in California with gifts of frankincense, myrrh or even gold (Google has plenty of that!). It simply means that you should follow the guidelines and produce quality, reader-focussed content.
It’s all about creating a positive user experience. Sacrificial offerings are not necessary.
- Thou Shalt Use Social Media Signals
Off-page links are no longer as relevant as they used to be. But social media signals are. In fact, even 100 Google +1 votes are likely to have a dramatic impact on your search engine rankings.
Each ‘like’ or ‘share’ acts as a vote towards your website. So the more you have the more Google will notice the interaction and ‘buzz’ around your brand or business.
- Thou Shalt Not Spam Comments
Nonsensical comments add zero value to a conversation. The same goes with adding them at the end of blog posts. If you’re going to blatantly insert your URL into a comment, Google will notice and likely smite you.
The comments box is for interaction, not a place to advertise. Make sure you remember this and resist the temptation to post your website.
- Thou Shalt Not Buy or Sell Links
This is a big no-no. The scriptures state quite clearly that paying for links to influence search engine rankings is forbidden. Do not ever pay for a link, and do not ever sell one.
If you are caught doing either of the above, there could be huge penalties, and you may even be sandboxed (sort of like getting kicked out of Google).
- Thou Shalt Not Cloak
Cloaking is an old technique that people use to game search engines. The content presented to the search engine spider is different to which the human visitor sees.
Cloaking is known as a ‘black hat’ SEO technique and can be detrimental to your online presence if caught out. Beware of using such a tactic.
- Thou Shalt Not Steal (or Duplicate) Content
Stealing content has been against the rules of search engines for a long time now. While you won’t lose a finger (or a hand) if you’re caught stealing, there will be a huge reduction in your search engine ranking.
Duplicate content provides no real value. Therefore, Google doesn’t like it.
- Thou Shalt Not Have an Unnatural Link Profile
Link building is still an important part of SEO. Your links should be natural. If you go from 0 to 150 back-links in 2 days, Google will see that something’s not right.
Remember that it’s the quality and relevance of these links that matter.
For example, if you own a pet grooming website, but your link profile contains back-links from adult industry websites, Google will notice this anomaly. Links should be from websites in the same niche as you.
- Thou Shalt Not Create Micro-sites for Links
If you’re creating micro-sites in order to build back-links…you better stop doing it. If you’re build them and creating valuable, informative content – then keep going!
Using these sites only for SEO purposes could cost you in the long run. It’s always better to have one quality website, rather than a bunch of ‘just OK’ websites.
- Thou Shalt Not Spin Content
Google is becoming much better in recent years at detecting spun content. If you’re not sure this means; it’s when a program goes through an article and changes some of the word to those with similar meanings. It makes the text difficult to read – especially for a human visitor – as opposed to a search engine.
The purpose of spun content is really just to try and trick Google into thinking you’re putting effort into producing content. It doesn’t really work anymore.
10. Thou Shalt Not Abuse Thy Ads
Having too many ads on your website is a form of spam. No one likes ads. Maybe one or two here and there is OK, but when they’re covering your content and dominating your website it makes for a poor user experience. Your bounce rate is likely to suffer too.
Incorporate the use of advertising sparingly on your website – if at all.
Do you abide by Google’s gospel? Or, if you’re using a search engine optimisation service – do they?