Webmasters often become webmasters because of the freedom and financial independence it grants them. Being able to make money without having to go into work every day, wear a suit, or be at the beck and call of a boss is something that many people aspire to and that many webmasters will eventually achieve.
However in some ways this can be considered something of an illusion. On the one hand you will be able to avoid doing what a boss tells you, or having to go into work and get up first thing in the morning – but in some ways you will still be at someone’s beck and call – specifically you will be a slave to the whims of Google. As most websites get the vast majority of their traffic from Google, that means that we all ultimately have to satisfy our search-engine masters in order to succeed.
It’s a hoop we have to jump through, but unfortunately there is currently no alternative, and if we purposefully go against the wishes of Google then we will only find our websites moving down the search rankings and our visitors cut in half as a result. The penalties from Google are swift and unforgiving, so how can we go about avoiding them?
Well the main take home message is probably to go along with Google’s own motto for business which is ‘don’t be evil’. In other words, black hat SEO techniques are not tolerated by Google and while we need to work within the framework of link building, keyword research and article submission if we are going to rank at all, it’s important not to be aggressive in the way we do those things.
If you stuff your articles with repetitions of the same few key words, and if you bully your way into getting links on thousands of unrelated websites, then this isn’t going to help your business in the long run because Google will cotton on eventually and push you down the rankings as a result.
Likewise you need to make sure that you provide your visitors with lots of good quality and unique articles. Duplicate content is a big no-no for Google, as is badly spun gibberish content. So make sure that you either spend time writing good articles that people will read, or that you pay someone else who can.
It’s also wise to make sure that you avoid associations with anything illegal o that doesn’t play by Google’s rules. Avoid asking people to click your links for instance, or writing about black hat SEO on your page.
Going into the Future
These are some of the known ways to avoid getting penalized by Google, but you shouldn’t see this as just a list of nonos, but more as a general lesson in what the right way to go about your SEO is. Yes – optimizing your site in order to be found by Google more easily is recommended and you won’t be frowned on for that, but at the same time nor must you try to cut corners or be too aggressive.
Ultimately your main concern should be providing your visitors with good content. Try to get people to want to come to your website instead of tricking them, and eventually Google will want people to go there too. Their aim is to provide their visitors with good quality and relevant content, and so it stands to reason that if you should stop providing that then that’s when you will be ‘punished’.
Robin Gupta is experienced SEO consultant at whitehat link building firm. Apart from his professional work he loves to blog on SEO/SM techniques to help new comers learn more about the field.