Since the Google panda update we have seen sites deemed as having low quality content suffer degradation in search rankings. But what do all these sites having in common? I set out to discover what it is that killed their rankings so I can avoid it ever happening to one of my clients or to myself.
Qype.co.uk lost 96% of its visibility in the last month. This tells me that Google is not impressed with directories. Why would it be? If you think about it, when you do a Google search you are looking for information. Qype is a service that lets you search for local businesses. Hang on a second if Google aims to help people search for local businesses, then what is Qype doing? Does this not threaten Google’s entire existence? If I am looking for “cheap hotel in Guelph”, then why would the number 1 result be a website that helps me find a cheap hotel in Guelph? Is this the death of the web directory? Damn right, I own a web directory myself and know first hand that they are near impossible to rank. They just don’t make any sense. Isn’t Qype a lesser version of Google Places? These sites are a direct threat to Google Adwords and Google Places. If someone approached me wanting to rank their directory I would refuse. I will only optimize sites I know I can help. What is the lesson to be learnt here? Don’t make sites that threaten to take business away from Google. Don’t complain to me when Google decides not to rank your search engine.
While I am on about the recent Google algorithm update I’ll also go on record as advising against over advertising. I don’t like ads, and it seems like Google doesn’t either. If you must put ads on your website then I would advise you to keep it to a minimum. Make sure the ads don’t outweigh the content. If Googlebot crawls your site and sees that you have 10 ads on a page with only 3 lines of content then of course you aren’t going to rank. If Google has the option of ranking your competitors site which has 1000 words of content and only 2 ads then it’s going to rank that over yours. Makes sense right? When you are flicking through TV shows looking for something interesting to watch, what do you do when you flick to an ad? You instantly change the channel looking for quality viewing. Google is no different.
Last but not least, Google updates their search ranking algorithm twice a day. Play the game right and you have nothing to worry about, if you are one of those people that is trying to game the system then you do so at your own risk. More often that not if a site has lost ranking it’s for a legitimate reason. Have you lost rankings and you believe it was a mistake? There is a form you can fill out in Google webmaster tools which allows webmasters to resubmit their site to Google for consideration. Good luck guys! I hope this article doesn’t come across as negative, just helping my peeps clear of anything that could kill their business.