November 11, 2008
Let’s face it; any website owner wants to rank high in Google! So budding webmasters jump online, read a few forum posts and try to get their site ranked on the first page of Google. Many people, however, stumble at the first or second ‘SEO hurdle’ and either struggle to get rankings, to no avail, or get some decent positions only to then be slapped with a Google penalty!
It’s not just newbie website owners trying to promote themselves that get hit by penalties by the mighty Google Gods, large corporations and even some SEO companies are also fair game for a penalty if they don’t act within Google’s terms.
So, Why Do Google Penalise? – Are they really that Evil?
Like any argument, there are always two sides (At Least!). On the one side, the webmaster whose livelihood may depend on high Google rankings can understandably feel aggrieved by any penalty that Google may impose on them, after all, if someone in the ‘real world’ did something that could potentially shut down your business, then one would be rightfully P*#sed off at them!
It would pay for webmasters both small and large (No, I am not talking about waist girth here either!) to try to understand Google’s motivations a little before passing judgement though. Whilst Google may seem like some huge corporate entity that can never be hurt, it may well be that like a wounded animal, Google penalised you in defence…
Look at it this way, if you ran one of the largest, most successful companies in history – and your continued success depended on you returning the most relevant results for any given search term, which of course you do, due to the great algorithm you invented (An algorithm that, by the way, completely revolutionised the way that search engines… well, search!) – And then people came along and tried to manipulate their search positions, what would you do?
If you allowed people to manipulate their search positions, what would happen? Would you still bring the most relevant results for any given search? – If not, would you maintain your current position as the market leader in online search?
What would you do? Would you stand by and watch your company suffer, or would you act to stop the manipulation of your search results?
Once you understand that Google motivation for penalising webmasters and their respective websites is all about protecting their business, perhaps you may judge them a little less for the penalties they dish out.
It is unfortunate though, that some webmasters are ‘taken for a ride’ by certain SEO companies that promise to get them 1st page Google rankings, and use dodgy techniques that manipulate Google’s search results, and risk getting the website banned.
How To Avoid Google Penalties
Avoiding penalties that Google dish out to websites they suspect are manipulating their own search positions is pretty simple… don’t try to manipulate your search position!
While this may sound ridiculous, it isn’t really! You can still ensure your site ranks highly without resorting to trying to manipulate Google’s algorithm.
Try to think about why Google penalises… to protect its business by making sure it continues to return the most relevant results. On that basis, don’t waste your money with people that promise to get you ranked JUST by building links… that IS and probably ALWAYS will be in breach of Google’s terms!
In contrast, an SEO company that takes a broader view of Search Engine Optimisation can help your site a great deal.
The sort of work that SHOULD be done by an SEO company is checking your websites structure, internal linkage, and making sure there are no errors.
Next they would ensure that you have no ‘bad SEO’ techniques in place on your site, nor anything that the Googlebot could possibly mistake for ‘bad SEO’.
After this, advice should be given about how your site can be made more informative and accessible to your visitors, including how to keep the site relevant. There are a few on page factors that need to be considered, such a page title tags, heading tags etc. All of these, whilst they should be optimised for the search engines, should be optimised in a way that just helps confirm the relevancy of a page, and not in a way to ‘trick’ the Google algorithm.
It is hard to choose an ethical SEO companies as, to some extent, this is an oxymoron. All SEO companies are employed to raise your search engine rankings, and so the line between ‘Ethical’ and ‘Grey Hat’ SEO is a very fine one. If in doubt, be sure to pick a company that will be transparent, and will treat your site as an individual business, and not merely a statistic to be worked on.
Truly ethical SEO companies will be fine about taking the time to chat about your site, and they will make a custom plan about how your site can be improved, and how you can promote your online business without slipping into the old, tired techniques that may get you a Google penalty.
About the Author By Mike Gracia: kingpin-seo.co.uk are leaders in the field of forward thinking Ethical SEO. They provide excellent SEO services for their clients, enabling them to access the huge market that the web has to offer. Choose kingpin-seo for search engine optimisation uk