We did assistance to several sites that were having indexing problems. Namely sites that never appeared in the SERPs or that first were well ranked and then disappeared.
There various factors that make that affect indexing. Below we tell you what NOT to do to index a site, focusing on practices suggested by Google.
Google’s quality standards
Google’s guides offer advice on how to develop a site so that it is fit for display. We will talk specifically about Quality Standards. Google lists specifications prohibited techniques that can lead to the site being omitted from Search results.
If any of these techniques are applied Google performs a’manual action to the site, to put a stop to attempts to manipulate the search index. This results in either a worsened ranking or exclusion in search results.
Below we will list, what has happened to us over the years, namely. what NOT to do to index a site correctly.
1. Avoiding impermissible redirects
Redirect means to send the visitor to a different URL than the one they initially requested.
Use the 301 redirects, when moving the site to a new address, is allowed. Other types of redirects, on the other hand, are used to fool search engines, such as:
- Search engines are shown one type of content, while visitors are redirected to significantly different content.
- Visitors from desktop view a page, while from mobile view they are redirected to spam content.
2. Don’t generate content automatically
Automatically generated content is considered content that has been unnaturally generated. Such as those that:
- Make no sense to the reader, but contain keywords for searching.
- They are automatically translated and are published without being reviewed first.
- They are generated by automated processes.
- They are copied, or slightly modified, from other web pages and therefore do not add any value.
3. Don’t repeat the keyword too many times
A special case of automatically generated content, which deserves a separate chapter, is the repeated use of the keyword.
Filling a web page with keywords or numbers by inserting them into lists or blocks of text, repeating them so much they sound unnatural., does not benefit the positioning at all.
4. Do not hide text and links
This is the one thing we’ve had to correct most often. Hidden text or links that repeat the same keywords. Not long ago we fixed a site that had keywords and links to external pages hidden in the footer.
Text can be hidden in several ways, for example:
- Using white text on a white background.
- Using CSS to place text off the screen or by hiding it behind an image.
- Setting the font size to 0.
- Hiding a link in a small font, such as a hyphen in the middle of a paragraph.
5. Don’t create link patterns
A link pattern is a set of links between different websites that follows a non-natural configuration.
All the links created to manipulate ranking of a site could be considered part of a link scheme and thus a violation. This includes both inbound and outbound links from the site. Some examples are:
- The buying or selling of links. That is, anything involving the exchange of money, goods or services in connection with links. Such as sending a “free” product in exchange for a positive review and inclusion of a link.
- Creation of pages made solely to have a link exchange.
- Use of automated programs or services to create links to the site.
- Advertisements or advertisements in text format that increase PageRank rankings.
- Links with lots of keywords, hidden.
- Comments in forums with optimized link insertion in post or signature.
Links to PPC (pay-per-click) ads that do not transfer PageRank to the ad buyer do not violate Google’s rules. To prevent PageRank increase, you can:
- Add the rel=”nofollow” attribute or a more specific attribute to the link.
- Redirect links to an intermediate page with blocked search engine access using robots.txt file.
6. No also to Cloaking
The cloaking is a technique by which it is possible to show search engines a content different from what the website actually offers to users.
- Create an HTML text page for search engines, but have users view an image or Flash page.
- Place text or keywords on a page only when the request for the page is made by a search engine and not a human visitor.
7. Protect the site from hackers and spam
Also the creation of harmful content for visitors is a violation of Google’s guidelines, which care about user safety.
When a site is hacked it may produce malicious content or alter its functionality, such as:
- Upon clicking a button, the user is sent to a different page than they expected.
- Displaying new ads or popups.
- Unwanted downloads Such as: malware, trojans, spyware, ads or viruses.
- Edit of the home page or the browser’s search preferences without visitor consent.
As we have just seen, not all violations are intentional, it could also be the case that it is generated spam by visitors or malicious users. For example, in the comments of a forum or blog, or in the reviews of an e-commerce, spam content could be posted.
These are some of the things NOT to do to index a site, during initial development, but a site must be constantly maintained and secured over time.