Reasons for being banned or penalized by Google

Search Engine Journal has a good post on reasons that your blog might be banned (or penalized) by Google. So if your blog has disappeared from their index you might want to consider one of these seven issues:

1) Duplicate Content – where multiple pages have the same content.
2) Cloaking – where pages are created purely for Search Engines – ie where readers get one version and SEs another
3) Hidden text or hidden links – links that are not seen by actual readers that are there purely for SE spiders
4) Keyword stuffing – putting too many of your keywords in your page (either in meta tags, invisible text, in image tags etc).
5) Linking to bad neighborhoods – linking to pages that use Spam techniques – or link exchange programs.
6) Buying links for Search engine ranking – hard for Google to detect but if they catch it penalties occur.
7) Machine Generated Web sites – spamy type sites created by automated systems – hundreds and thousands of pages at a time (usually only slightly different from one another).

Read more at Banned from Google and Wondering Why?

Tracking your Blog’s Performance in Search Engines

If you’re interested in tracking the performance of your blog you might like to start using UrlTrends – a tool that checks page rank in Google and Alexa as well as tracking the incoming links to your site.

It looks like a useful tool – although when you first use it the information might not be that dynamic as its not likely to have been tracking your performance previously. Your first checking of your blog will simply add you to their database and show you graphs with just your current performance. However if you come back over time you should see it tracking your performance.

I also use a free keyword tracker over at Digital Point which also tracks a number of key performance indicators for your site or blog. It Not only tracks your page rank and incoming links, but also checks how you rank on keywords in Google, Yahoo and MSN as well as telling you how many of your pages have been indexed in the search engines.

The only down side of this tracker is that you really need to use it regularly in order to get the best out of it as it only checks the above features for you when you manually stop by and ask it to. I do this as a part of my daily blogging rhythm.

Google is Updating Page Rank – Future Page Rank Tool

The word on the street from those who watch such things is that Google are currently doing a Page Rank update. These things tend to take a day or two to sort themselves out but there are a few tools that can help you work out what your page rank might end up at. Here is one such tool from SEO Chat. [Read more…]

Why Google is a Tactic not a Strategy

There is an interesting article over at SEO Chat titled – Why Google is a Tactic not a Strategy – which has some worthwhile advice in it.

‘The long and short of it, folks, is to plan your online marketing strategy so that no one tactic is responsible for supporting your business. The irony of the Web is that a lot of the tactics that don’t revolve around SEO actually help you with search engine positioning. Link placement, press release writing, content syndication and even offline marketing can all contribute to better placement in search engines.’

Wise words – don’t put all your eggs in the one basket – if if that basket has the potential to bring you a lot of goodness.

What To Do When Your Blog Drops in Google’s Rankings

Search Engine Journal has a good post on What To Do When Your Established Site Drops in Rankings and gives this advice:

‘All I can say is that many have suggested the same advice in the WebmasterWorld thread. Brett Tabke, the founder of WebmasterWorld, suggested to do “NOTHING”. He said, “The worst thing you could do, would be to go make a bunch of changes. Just let the algo work itself out.” A senior member said that he “made the mistake of making many changes after taking the hit, many months later no where to be found.” ‘

I totally agree with this advice out of my own experience of disappearing from Google late last year. The temptation was to make some major changes at that time but I decided to stick it out and just keep working on some of the basics including writing good content, making the coding of my site validate, building relationships with other sites in the hope that I’d get a few extra incoming links.

[Read more…]

More on Getting Yahoo Traffic for your Blog

A month back I wrote a tip about Getting Yahoo Traffic for your Blog that simply involves a technique where you add your blog’s RSS feed to the customizable MyYahoo headlines feature. I wrote in that post that after one day that I noticed a small increase in Yahoo referrals to my blogs.

I thought I’d give you another update on my Yahoo traffic.

It varies from blog to blog but I am pleased to report that Yahoo referrals have continued to rise since implementing this strategy.

On the majority of my blogs the rise has been reasonably small but with the most recent Yahoo index update in the past few days I’ve noticed a substantial increase in traffic to three of my blogs (blogs that until the last month rarely,if ever got any Yahoo traffic).

These blogs still rely on Google for most of their traffic but the new Yahoo visitors have increased overall blog traffic on these blogs by at least 20% (in one case traffic rose by 70%).

So if you haven’t implemented this simple technique to increase your Yahoo referrals I’d consider doing it today. No promises that the traffic will come flodding in – but it all helps.

Google Sandbox Explained

I hadn’t noticed this post over at Wayne’s on the Google Sandbox which I’m linking to here not only because I think many of you will find it valuable but because I am always getting asked about the Sandbox and this will be a great article to send people to in future to explain it.

‘What is the Google Sandbox?

The Google Sandbox is an alleged filter placed on new websites. The result is a site does not receive good rankings for its most important keywords and keyword phrases. Even with good content, abundant incoming links and strong Google PageRank, a site is still adversely affected by the Sandbox effect. The Sandbox acts as a de facto probation for sites, possibly to discourage spam sites from rising quickly, getting banned, and repeating the process.

How would you describe the Google Sandbox in one sentence?

The Google Sandbox is very similar to a new website being placed on probation, and kept lower than expected in searches, prior to being given full value for its incoming links and content.’

Read more at Google sandbox theory validated by search engine giant

Important Google SEO Information

A couple of days ago I mentioned the new Google patent that reveals a lot about the ways Google is now indexing sites. The patent is long and if you don’t know the ins and outs of the technical stuff can be a bit overwhelming – so I’ve been checking out what it all means from a few bloggers and webmasters who have the gift of translating it for dummies like me.

What they are saying is fascinating stuff (I’m shocked more people are not talking about it in the blogging community) – let me give you a few snippets.

[Read more…]

Is Google Page Rank Still Relevant?

Paul at Work Boxers asks Is PR Still Relevant?

‘However, it definitely isn’t as important as it used to be, since so many people have learned to game the system. PR is good for long term success in the search engines, but is not something that can be measured very well short term.’

I agree with Paul – Google’s Page Rank isn’t anywhere near as important as it has been previously – however I don’t completely write it off. I suspect that it still plays a part in how Google ranks sites in its results – but another important factor is that page rank can still be an important factor in working out how much to sell ads on your blog for.

I am regularly asked by people to sell them text links on my blogs and Page Rank remains one of the main factors that they ask about. The higher my page rank the higher amounts I’m able to charge for a link – so I’d answer Paul’s question by saying – in terms of Search Engine Rankings I’m not sure Page Rank is as relevant as it previously has but in terms of grading the value of a blog for other purposes it remains one of the few tools people use and therefore is helpful.