The internet is almost like a living, breathing organism: it is constantly in a state of evolution, and Google has to keep up with it, and constantly fight against the internet marketers and web masters who try to manipulate or take advantage of Google’s algorithms to rank on page 1.
Of course, it’s not always the big corporation against the little guy (though the whole Net Neutrality issue is about that, but that’s not a Google issue, but an internet provider issue, like Time Warner and Comcast).
This blog is about the cheaters against the ones who follow the rules, like the IRS has to do with corporations that try and cheat the tax code. Kinda like “inversion,” where companies say they’re no longer based in the U.S., but in a foreign country where they just purchased a smaller company to make the “transition” to being an entity of Ireland, or the Netherlands. But we digress.
Back to Google trying to keep companies honest.
Trying to trick Google carried big risks
For those websites trying to game Google, it’s not bad if the sites that do that are legitimate sites that are ranking for what they’re selling. But all too often, websites try to game the system to get on page 1 for something they’re not selling, to trick a visitor to land on their site.
Of course, by doing that you run the risk of being blacklisted by Google, or, by putting all your SEO eggs in one less-than-straightforward basket, you run the risk of whatever ranking you’ve achieved, falling away once they change their algorithms. Again.
So playing by Google’s rules is the best way to structure a solid SEO base. There’s no cheating in the long run. Doing that will catch up with you, whether it is Google or the IRS.
One trick that Google caught onto and changed it with an algorithm update, was creating a ton of back links to your site from websites without mucuh information on the wesbites, but with lots of back links to a single website.
Another was putting lots of articles or posts on what were called “link farm" websites. Sites whose only purpose was to let people put links back to their own websites, such as:
- Article directories like ezine and Squidoo
- Online forums and message boards, which can be places where no one was reviewing the articles, so they were poorly written stories with an over-abundance of keywords, when keywords should only be 5% of the total word count. When companies to “keyword-stuffing” it catches up with them.
- Informational sites like eHow, or
- Stupid email tricks like the one I get almost every day: emails with the subject line “outstanding article” that appears to be from a friend. The spammer sees your contact list and fills in a name in the “From” field from someone in your contacts, so it appears to be from a friend. The email contains a single link, most likely to a website that has tons of ads to click on. But that one lnk you mistakenly click on is counted as a back link to whatever website it goes to.
Like the one we received (below). Initially it APPEARS to be from a lovely friend of ours, Cristi Fox (see first screen shot), but when you roll over the name, the email of the actual sender shows up: rjohnson5838 (see second screen shot), someone we don’t know.
We’re amazed this works, though it must, because why else would spammers keep sending them out? But there must be folks who are so clueless, they click on these links.
The is why back links can count against you now
The more your back links are done by other folks sharing your content, the more they're seen as more "natural" links. What are natural, organic back links?
- links from a variety of websites (not just from link farms)
- links from established, credible websites that have good “page rank” (seen as authoritative site) from Google,
- links from credible website that are in the same, or parallell, industries as you, and
- links that aren’t using all the exact same phrase to link back to your website (that’s a giveaway that many people aren't doing the back links, but they're being done automatically by bots),
Websites that relied on those types of back links for their SEO, found their sites fell by the wayside when Google caught up with that “black hat” practice.
And this is why Google has become the most used search engine: because they smack down those who try to cheat. Because if everyone started seeing irrelevant results in their Google searches, they’d stop using Google pretty damn fast.
What’s happening in SEO now.
We keep up on this stuff so you don’t have to. We keep up on Google’s algorithms to help both your, and our, websites stay on the right side of Google. We do it to try and get your, and our, websites to rank on page one for certain keyword terms.
The current thinking from minds greater than ours is the “Content is King” theory. Having information people want to read, link to, Like, and share is how you get people to your website.
And if they like what they read, information that helps them with their jobs, or lives, they will come back. And according to Matt Cutts, head of Goole's spam team (though now on sabbaitical through this year), says "good content trumps good SEO." That tells us "Content Marketing" IS the new SEO.
So when you create blog posts for your website, or are publishing social media posts with back links to your website, you are doing marketing.
But creating good content, and getting the word out to people to come to your website is time-consuming. Not hard. Just time-consuming. And there’s no way around it for the foreseeable future.
This is what we’re doing with our blog posts, like the one you’re reading now: provide content that can be helpful to folks. As a Columbus Ohio web design and Columbus marketing firm, we adhere to “white hat” SEO techniques, so we don’t end up on Google’s shit list.
So if you’re looking for Columbus web design company that can, in the long run, help your website stay on Google’s good side, let us help you. Drop us an email and pick our brains for more information.