Google isn’t the only search engine in the game but it’s the largest so if you want to increase sales, reach more people, and build authority you need to tailor your efforts to their guidelines, else you could find yourself in the sandbox.
Google uses a mixture of ranking factors whether from the timing of the posted information and search engine optimization of pages to the incoming links and semantic markup. Over time the factors which determine which sites rank well for search terms will naturally shift depending on the needs of those using Google search.
Many site owners, however, find themselves chasing tactics and strategies that rely on short-sighted practices for quick bumps rather than working on SEO & digital marketing strategies that provide long-term gains. These gains happen when a business begins working with experienced individuals/companies that provide services that keep with best practices for Google and other search engines.
But what about those that are currently affected in rankings with Google? What could they have done to put them in the sandbox? Here are five of the most typical reasons why these businesses are there:
- Link Spam – You bought into the idea that every guest post, forum profile, social update, email, and whatever else that could possibly get indexed needs to include some keyword-rich link. What you didn’t do is pace yourself and aim for authority – you went for quantity over quality. Google noticed this and gave you a slap because it came across as link spam; this one is hard to get away from once the damage is done but there’s no better time than now to start creating better, authority links to your site via solid content and relationships/networking.
- Low Quality Content – This is when you’re spinning, creating, or purchasing low quality content. People will notice a difference when compared to your competition – do you really want to represent yourself like this? Google notices, too. You want to use quality content for your site so it not only gives your regulars something to dig into but creates interest in those that stumble across it in search and social.
- Aggressive Paid Positioning – It’s a grey area but you can use finances to build a better, organic presence in the online world. However, when you get aggressive and are outright using paid links and promotion (that isn’t disclosed) then you’re probably going to be targeted and come under fire from Google. The rules are in place so placement isn’t bought out by major corporations so it’s a good thing – be happy it’s there – and don’t push your luck.
- Shifty Code/Site – Neglecting your website can lead to instances when the code becomes outdated so on-page SEO is no longer effective compared to new practices. Likewise, your site could be targeted by malicious individuals resulting in an injection of malware to your site. Google is going to prevent individuals from accessing your website once it’s been flagged as a site that contains malware. If you allow malware to stay on your site then you’re going to begin losing rank.
- Slow Adoption for Standards – Google aims to create a better Web experience for all and so in some ways they will use their might to “bully” sites into adhering to new standards. To some this seems unfair but the vast majority see benefits such as when they began giving higher rankings to those that faired a mobile-ready website. The shift was clear that society was going mobile so it’s only natural that Google wants to promote those sites. We’ll continue to see this need to adopt new standards as time goes on.
Google is tough to handle because it’s a beast of a search engine that is in a constant state of change. Best practices will help a business claim their base standing within rankings but it’s difficult to say what works today won’t be effective tomorrow – especially if those strategies are a factor in why your efforts turn into a small business mistake. Try to avoid these penalizations if possible and aim for the long-term gains of playing the SEO game.