As a business, nothing can be more frustrating than blending in. You want to set your brand, products, and services apart from the competition and make a statement. However, if you don’t listen to what Google wants and how they want it done, you’ll probably end up in a sea of internet anonymity. Learning how to appease the search engines will pay off in the future, so listen up and stop making debilitating mistakes.
The Mind of Google
Hate may sound like a strong word, but Google stakes its reputation on the quality of the search results it gives users. Instead of thinking about things from your perspective, try looking at it from Google’s point of view.
If you’re Google, would you want your site showing up in its coveted first page of results? Look past your bias regarding your product’s usefulness or service’s superiority, and consider the value and appearance of your site. Are your pages filled with cheap attempts to trick people into sticking around, or do they provide something of value to the visitor?
While Google’s algorithms are mysterious and the specifics are relatively unknown, we know one thing for sure: Google strives to give people what they’re looking for. In most cases, this means sites that both look good and provide valuable content.
7 Things Google Hates
With that foundation in mind, let’s look at some of the things Google hates and why they may be holding your site back:
- Slow page loads. Google has long incorporated site speed into its search rankings and takes page load time seriously. Sites taking longer than two seconds to load aren’t reliable and lose visitors. PageSpeed Insights is a great tool for checking how you stack up and industry experts suggest making a change if your score falls below a 90 on the 100 point scale.
- Malware. Google can and will scan websites for the presence of malware. Whether intentional or not, a website that’s infected with malware will be identified as such, and likely dropped in the search rankings. It’s best to proactively prevent malware by taking proper website security measures. If you’ve been flagged by Google, take action immediately to resolve the issue.
- Content shortcuts. Google considers itself the judge of substantial content. Sites that attempt to mask their status as a keyword repository with poor, unoriginal content will be sought out and likely penalized. Google hates thin content and wants to eradicate it from the rankings. The best thing you can do for your site is only post fresh, educational content.
- Duplicate content. Google doesn’t like duplicate content, and for good reason. Even if you wrote the content yourself, Google doesn’t want to see it on more than one page. Change up the wording at a minimum, and make each page unique for best results.
- Too many ads. As a user, nothing is more frustrating than overwhelming advertisements, banners, or pop-ups. Google understands, and believes sites over-saturated with ads lead to poor user experiences. As a result, they make these sites pay in the search rankings. It’s not that they don’t want ads —in fact, Google is all about paid advertisements —they simply want them to be subtle. If ads fill the pages of your site, consider taking a different approach to ad implementation in the future.
- Deceptive keywords. Much like any other visitor, Google doesn’t like to be tricked. Using deceptive keywords to attract additional traffic can land you in big trouble. Google actively searches for black hat techniques like keyword stuffing, keyword cloaking, and over-optimization. They don’t have anything against using quality keywords, but they want to protect the interests of their users.
- Paid links. There is a lot of stuff that goes on under the table, but one of the things Google keeps an eye out for the most is paid links. Buying links is a popular practice, and can be effective, but you should know that it can have negative side effects if you’re exposed. It’s best to avoid buying links altogether and instead build genuine, sustainable partnerships with other reputable sites.
Google Wants to Trust You
The bottom line is Google wants to trust your site. In a perfect world, they wouldn’t have to monitor these things and the highest-quality sites would naturally rise to the top. Unfortunately, the internet isn’t always ideal, and consequently, Google will continue to favor sites they trust and penalize pages they don’t. Overall, the best thing you can do is focus on the following three aspects:
- Quality content. If nothing else, invest in high quality content. Google believes content is king and wants to reward sites that adhere to this principle. If you want to succeed, invest in content and never stop producing it.
- Good UX. User experience is a somewhat vague term, but always keep it in mind when making a change. Ask yourself whether it positively affects your visitors and you’ll probably end up making the right choice.
- Fast speed. There’s no excuse for having a slow moving site. Use any possible resources, and invest in a site that loads in the blink of an eye. Your bounce rate will diminish and Google will take notice.
In the internet age, your business’success may very well depend on how visible it is in the search engines. Instead of trying to fight Google every step of the way, learn to give them what they want; your company will thank you and your business will likely thrive.
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