Archive for November, 2008

Specific Quality Guidelines

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

This is the final post in a series of blogs discussing Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Today, we are going to look at some specific techniques that should be avoided when building or optimising a site. Most of these have been discussed to some degree in previous posts but are specifically mentioned in the quality section of the guidelines.

Avoid Hidden Text And Links - This is one of the oldest black hat techniques in the book and should be avoided.  Don’t hide text by changing colour, size, using no script tags or any other methods.

Avoid Cloaking And Sneaky Redirects - Cloaking is much the same as using hidden text, just a little more sophisticated. Ultimately, any technique that is purely for the benefit of search engines or sacrifices user experience should be avoided.

Don’t Send Automated Queries To Google - As mentioned before, this is unnecessary and will probably be used less and less over the next few years as solid listings become a thing of the past. Thankfully, this is not commonplace and is not something that most people need to be concerned with.

Don’t Use Irrelevant Keywords - Keep lists short and relevant. It’s as simple as that. If you target too many phrases, you will spread yourself too thinly and miss out on a lot of potential traffic. Remember to only use words in your meta structure that occur in your page content.

Avoid Duplicate Content - As well as having unique content on each page, ensure that you also have unique meta tags.

Avoid Doorway Pages - If you do want to write extra pages to get more traffic, make sure that they have some intrinsic value.  Do not create pages exclusively for the search engines.

Although many of the points laid out in Google’s webmaster guidelines are common sense, all site owners; web designers and optimisers should be familiar with them. If in doubt about a particular practice, try thinking from the search engine’s point of view. Concentrate on relevancy and user experience and always put users before search engines and you can’t go too wrong.