Google recently released a new update to their Webspam algorithm, called Penguin Update which is targeted on the websites that are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. Google has provided plenty of guidelines and elaboration on the quality guidelines in its help center.
Here are Top 20 tips from Google Help Center itself to survive any Google Panda or Penguin Update:
Quality Guidelines – Specific Guidelines
1) Avoid hidden text or hidden links
Hidden links are those links which are unreadable to Humans(readers) but are intended to be crawled by Google bots. Some people make links on their website Hidden by using the same text color and background color or using the link on a hyphen in a paragraph. These practices are deceptive and Google will remove your website from their index.
You Should Avoid Following Practices:
– Using white text on a white background.
– Hiding text behind an image.
– Using CSS to hide text and links.
– Setting the font size on your pages to 0.
2) Don’t use cloaking or Doorway Pages
Cloaking means the practice of showing different content or URLs to users & search engines. For example, Presenting a page of HTML text to search engines, while presenting a page of images or Flash to users.
Doorway pages are those web pages that are created for spamming the index of a search engine by including results for particular keywords with the purpose of sending visitors to a different page. They are also known as bridge pages, jump Pages, entry pages, portal pages, and gateway pages. These pages are created with the intent of sending traffic to affiliate pages.
Avoid these practices of manipulating search engines and deceiving users to avoid any kind of ban from Google.
3) Avoid Sending Automated Queries to Google
Avoid sending any kind of automated queries to Google. There are many software available these days to check how a website or webpage ranks in Google search results for various queries. These software send automated queries to Google and absorbs their resources which may result in banning your site from Google index.
4) Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords(Keyword Stuffing)
Keyword stuffing” is the practice of loading a webpage with too many keywords in an attempt to manipulate a website’s ranking in Google’s search results. This type of practice may result in negative user experience and also can harm your website ranking. Avoid any type of Over Optimization techniques on your web pages.
5) Avoid creating multiple pages, domains, or subdomains with duplicate content
Examples of Duplicate content could include:
Discussion forums that can generate both regular & stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
Printer-only versions of web pages.
If your site contains multiple pages with almost identical content, then you can use a technique called “Canonicalization” to indicate your preferred URL to Google.
You can use “301 redirects’ and Webmaster Tools to handle identical content. Or just try to minimize similar content.
6) Avoid creating pages with malicious behavior
Malicious Behavior covers all sorts of malicious software designed to harm a computer or network such as Viruses, Trojans and badware. Google immediately inform webmasters about their site being flagged as malicious and banned from Google Index. So, do check Webmasters Tools daily.
7) Use Affiliate Marketing but only if you provide unique and relevant content
Do not attempt to improve your page’s ranking & attract visitors by creating pages with many words but little or no authentic content and linking all those pages to affiliate marketing programs.
Quality Guidelines – Basic Principles
1) Make your site pages primarily for readers, and not for search engines.
2) Avoid using Black Hat SEO techniques, some of which are explained above. Black Hat SEO refers to the techniques that are used to get higher search rankings in an unethical manner.
3) Don’t participate in Link Building Exchange Schemes or Paid Link Building to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank.
4) Do not use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such kind of programs consume lot of computing resources & violate Google’s TOS. Google doesn’t recommend the use of programs such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic/programmatic queries to Google.
1) Monitor your site’s performance & optimize load times. If your website is taking too much time to load, Google may push your rankings. The main goal of Google is to provide users with the most relevant results & a great user experience. Fast sites increase user satisfaction & improve the overall quality of the web.
2) Use robots.txt on your site to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don’t add much value for users coming from search engines.
3) Make reasonable efforts to ensure that ads don’t affect search engine rankings. For example, Google’s AdSense advertisements & DoubleClick links are blocked from being crawled by a robots.txt file.
4) Test your website to make sure that it appears correctly in different browsers.
Design and Content Guidelines
1) Make your website with a clear hierarchy & text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
2) Keep the outbound links on your webpage to a reasonable number.
3) If your website contains lot of images. Then use relevant keywords in the ALT Attribute on the images.
4) Regularly check for broken links on your website and fix them.
5) Write original and high quality content.
Have you ever affected by any Google Panda update?
Share your experience in comments.