Google makes the rules and we live to follow them.
Below are 7 things to AVOID doing, so you can stay on Google’s good side and rank high in their search results.
1. Absolutely "no thin" content.
A common practice among site owners trying to manipulate search results is to create thousands of pages targeting a different keyword search term and having very little useful content for its visitor. If a webpage's content consists of a short paragraph of text with a search term used abundantly within the text, it's not very useful to a visitor and is not worthy of a good ranking. Google changed search a few years back to decrease the power of keywords, opting instead to reward rich content. But if your content is thin — say just one paragraph describing an elaborate surgical procedure — Google sees that as not helping your visitors understand what your procedure is. Your reward for lame content? Demotion in ranking. We've said this before and we'll say it again - good content is the way to win the SEO war.
2. Absolutely no duplicate content.
Don’t steal content from your brother's site. A recent algorithm update has helped Google to find poorly written or paraphrased content. Your best bet is to remove any of this from your site and focus on creating unique content that creates value for your customers. Think of finding an expert in your niche to write an article for you and cross-share it on social media. That way, it’s new, fresh, and something people will want to click on. All of this will add together and google will reward you by helping people find it.
3. Leave text out of your images.
In short, text in images is not the best way to get your message across. While Google’s technology is developing, it’s not that advanced at reading these type of files. This means that Google will prioritize regular text over text in images, making them less valuable. Avoid putting text in images and Google will keep your content more accessible.
4. The faster the better, Google hates slow websites.
Google’s search results take speed into account. They like to show up-to-date, quick, websites. This is because Google cares about user experience and you should too. Your website should have compressed images, streamlined code, and a fast server. This will lead to more visitors AND to happy visitors.
5. If you’re not mobile-friendly, Google thinks you may as well just not.
Mobile design is key in drawing traction to your website — think of how many times you google something every day, most of the time it’s from your phone! According to Statista, in 2019 mobile searches exceeded desktop searches, and in March 2018, Google announced it would be using mobile-first indexing. When Google adapts, we follow suit, so make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
6. Clean it up, Google hates messy websites.
Again, Google wants to send its searchers to easy-to-use websites that will answer their questions quickly and be intuitive to use. Don't cut corners, make sure your website has a site-map and organization to it. The better the website the more likely it is to rank higher on Google.
7. Absolutely, do not pay for links.
Link schemes can violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines which will negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results (specifically any manipulative links to your site or outgoing links on your site). Exchanging money for links, exchanging goods or services for links, excessive link exchanges, using automated services to create links to your site, or requiring a link as Terms of Service with third-parties are all examples of link schemes that Google does not approve of. Linking other websites or them linking you can be great and will help your site, just be wary of HOW the links are getting there. If there’s money involved, it’s actually not going to help you.
So what does Google want?
Simply put, Google wants to give users the best experience and it favors websites that have the same goal.