When Google began operations in 1998, a cottage industry devoted to manipulating its search algorithms was created, and has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. Fooling Google was the main objective of this cottage industry, but unfortunately for its members, Google has access to the best and brightest engineers, and has employed a veritable army of them with a singular purpose: to make the search engine as difficult to manipulate, as possible…. so fooling Google has become very difficult to do.
Google continues to move steadily toward providing organic, content-driven search results, while at the same time, frustrating the SEO efforts that try to fool Google. Since the implementation of the latest Penguin and Panda algorithm updates, old SEO tactics are no longer effective. Unless you change your game, your efforts to fool Google are likely to fall flat.
Tactics Once Used for Fooling Google That No Longer Work
- Keyword stuffing actually hurts your site’s rankings – At a certain point in the evolution of Google’s algorithms, the frequent use of keywords ceased to be a positive force for driving a site to a higher place in the rankings. Some even called Google’s revised handling of keywords vindictive, because sites that were more focused upon keywords than content found themselves going through the floor in the rankings.
- Scraping – Copying text verbatim from other sites is aggressively targeted by Google’s Panda update. The practice will not only drop your site’s ratings, but egregious examples may eliminate a site from the search database altogether.
- Paid ads are becoming obvious – Ironically, even those ads which Google places via its AdSense option are often misguided. Imagine that an ad for your site’s “miracle” weight-loss product appears on a website that is devoted to debunking weight-loss scams. The ad would hardly be considered productive, for either your product or the debunking website.
- Google is coming down hard on cloaking – If you have more than one page promoting your site, product, or service, Google may drop all those pages’ rankings – making them harder to find. If you try to get around their one-page-per-flavor rule by using graphics to promote your product alongside invisible text to attract search engine favor (called cloaking), Google will find it. The result for most is lowered rankings or elimination from the database.
- Google’s Panda update recognizes when you link to other sites whose content isn’t relevant to yours. It used to be that other sites linking to yours was a plus where your site’s credibility was concerned. Not so much anymore. Google looks at the links on other websites, and even in the comments on other blogs, and does a pretty good job of determining whether the other site or blog is relevant to the linked site. If it isn’t, your site will have the honor of making it to Google’s list of Spam sites.
What you need to keep in mind as you attempt to improve your search rankings is that Google has made it their mission, day-in and day-out, to make certain that their search results are organic, rather than manipulated or gamed. If you or your favorite SEO guru think that you’re clever enough to outsmart and defeat the army of Google engineers, tasked with delivering the objective, you might well be in for a very unpleasant surprise. As Google continues its efforts to make its search results more useful to users, SEO experts who continue to follow the old rules are increasingly likely to be marginalized by the search engine.
This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from Freepeoplesearch.org. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com. Epecially if you want to know more about why fooling Google is a bad idea.
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