Unethical SEO Practices & Google Penalties
SEO Business Services: New Algorithm Fights Unethical Business Tactics
The new 2011 business year brings with it Google's new algorithmic strategy to search engine findings. For those that both hire and provide freelance SEO business services for websites, this means that it will certainly affect how online business interact with their customers and/or web traffic. Part of the algorithm will downgrade listings with bad ratings and bad customer reviews, due to a recent “weakness” in the current algorithm that has been brought forward. This will inevitably affect strategies within SEO business services.
After the infamous “DecorMyEyes incident,” an e-commerce site with wretched user/customer ratings, Google was horrified by their smarmy approach to page rank and traffic acquisition – so they immediately got to work creating a new algorithm, which will render the DecorMyEyes' unethical business tactics not only useless, but will also now create a negative impact upon their page rank – Google's way of saying, ha! Take that!
For those of you unaware, DecorMyEyes, a sunglasses and eyewear e-commerce store, provided terrible business and customer service to customer after customer. When DecorMyEyes was complained to or about, they responded with an almost bitter glee, and admitted that they were intentionally using negative attention to gain better Google rankings and more sales. Because their notoriety reached Google, who immediately convened a team to work on this weakness in their algorithm, we now face yet another factor consider within SEO, in order to optimize business website page rank and search results.
Some have suggested that now, both customer reviews, ratings, and perhaps even complaint or external business review sites will be indexed for the new improved Google algorithm and page rank. Google algorithms have never been discussed in detail, for obvious reasons – there are already widespread attempts to manipulate its search results, and DecorMyEyes is a prime example.
Various suppositions are being made about how this will affect SEO and search engine listings in general, and which additional content, information, and/or pages will be crawled and indexed by Google, in order to provide this “lower rank for bad customer/user-rated businesses” result. While it is a great idea to combat unethical slimy e-commerce sites like DecorMyEyes, I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering how this will affect truly decent businesses that have a few disgruntled customers who write bad reviews, while the satisfied customers often do not leave feedback. Call me a pessimist, but it's not out of the realm of possibility this could incite certain opportunists to use it as “Gimme this free or I'll get 30 of my friends to write bad reviews about your business” leverage. Yeah, I know, it's a bit cynical, but if there are people like the owner of DecorMyEyes who use bad business tactics to their advantage, certainly there are bad customers who are willing to do the same.
Top SEO Factors:
If you look up the most important factors for search engine ranking or SEO, experts and sources will list the same factors at different levels of importance. Some have their number one factor listed on another expert's #20 reason, and so on. You can debate until you are blue in the face as to which factors are most important. After looking at several expert sources, the list below provides the top 5 SEO factors most agreed upon by different experts.
External links AND their anchor texts
Google ranks your business website based upon what other people are saying about it when they provide those links. If you can get other sources to provide a link to your site with a suggested anchor text containing optimized keywords, that is an ideal external link.
Diversity and popularity of the sources that link to you
This means that if 'some-little-known-3-page-website-about-petunias.com' has your link listed 300 times, it won't make much of a difference. It does mean, though, that if the Wall Street Journal website provides a link back to your site, with an anchor text full of relevant keywords – you should do a little dance of joy.
Keyword Usage in the Title Tag
Titles of business pages are extremely important; more-so than you think. This is because search engine algorithms do their best to provide quality content for each searched phrase or words. A good idea is to use free keywords tools like Wordtracker or Google Adsense in order to get an idea of what keywords to use in your title pages.
Domain factors associated with competition
For almost every keyword search you want your website to get hits for, or a high rank for, there are other competing sites – many of which could be years older than yours. Age of domain and links will rank higher than newer ones. This is also where keyword research comes in handy. If the keyword you are aiming for has a ton of long-standing competition from high-ranking websites, you may want to move onto the next keyword.
On-site or page keyword content
This includes heading tags (H1, H2, and so on), bold-faced keywords, and in naturally occurring language throughout the content. However, never keyword-stuff your content, or create content simply for search engine ranking. Your audience/readers are still people – not search engines. And now, with the new algorithm including bad user reviews as part of their rank results, it's all the more important to ensure that your site provides a positive user experience. That includes natural content that reads well, is informative, and completely relevant to the search terms that you use to draw users/readers/customers/clients to your site.
If you have just begun, or are working to improve SEO for business website, it is also important to know what NOT to do, i.e. - do not purchase paid links, or use tricks to manipulate search engines to get a higher ranking – this will typically backfire, and these are some of the top most negative ranking factors. If you do not know all of the negative ranking SEO factors, or strategies that lower page rank, you can find out here.
Another thing to remember is when you provide SEO services for business websites (or any website) it does not provide instant gratification. SEO does not happen overnight. It takes time to build online visibility, status, quality links, and gradually get your pages more frequently crawled and indexed by search engines. Do not expect SEO improvements to provide immediate results. However, if you work at it regularly – and SEO does require regular, updated, ongoing work – your website (or the website you provide SEO for) will become more visible, get higher rankings, more traffic and sales – but only over some time.
Campbell, Micheal. “Top 10 SEO Factors Revealed.” Internet Marketing Secrets. January 28, 2010. Internet Marketing Secrets. December 31, 2010. http://www.internetmarketingsecrets.com/the-top-10-seo-factors-revealed/
Fishkin, Rand. “Search Engine Ranking Factors.” SEOMoz. Janurary 2009. SEOmoz.org December 31, 2010. http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors