GOOGLE PENGUIN UPDATE
This week Matt Cutts (pictured on the right) from Google, announced more changes to their search engine algorithm that will reward high quality sites and further penalise sites using “black hat” SEO . Google is refusing to give away any details about the changes, as they fear that would make it easier for people to find ways around them, but they have said that sites violating their quality guidelines will be affected.
“Black hat” – or “webspam” – techniques are sneaky ways that web developers can boost their search engine rankings, such as using link building schemes, hiding text on a page or stuffing pages with irrelevant keywords.
The alternative – “white hat SEO” – is what we at HodgesNet use. Google has long acknowledged that it needs to be possible for people to employ techniques to help their websites rank well for searches, but that the tools used must not affect the user experience of the website.
Google’s quality guidelines are a good starting point to determine which techniques are “black hat” and which are acceptable. The guidelines give web developers a number of hints on how to build websites with search engine optimisation in mind but without breaching the rules, such as:
- Build pages for users, not for search engines.
- Avoid any tricks that could improve your ranking – if you wouldn’t be happy with your competitor doing it, don’t do it yourself.
- Don’t participate in link building schemes where you exchange links with irrelevant or spammy sites.
- Don’t use unauthorised programmes to submit your pages to search engines.
- Avoid using hidden links, hidden text and irrelevant or spammy keywords.
- Don’t build multiple sites, sub-sites or pages with duplicate content.
- Don’t create malicious pages/sites, e.g. Trojans, viruses, phishing sites etc.
- Don’t build pages with very little content.
Google’s advice is that they want people to be able to focus on creating “amazing, compelling sites” that deliver great content and a good user experience – and that sites that do this will benefit from the algorithm changes regardless of whether or not they use “white hat” SEO.
Ant Hodges, MD of HodgesNet said: “All of our clients have seen an increase in their rankings because of the way that we help to optimise the on-page content of their sites. It has always been about quality. These changes from Google last night will, over time, show up the bad SEO practices and increase the rankings for those that are doing it right.”
If you’d like to talk to HodgesNet about SEO and how we could help improve your site’s ranking in a way that Google will approve of, give the team a call on 01793 608777.