Google loves white hat SEO. But how much white hat SEO are people practicing, and do people still believe some popular (and bad) practices from a decade ago, or more? Today’s blog post will be all about pointing out the glaring (and perhaps other not so obvious) errors that may be affecting your website’s performance on Google.
1. Main content and interstitial ads – The main content of your home page should never be covered by interstitial ads, pop up ads, and other forms of intrusive advertising. Ads that appear a second after the user has opened the home page of a website reduce the real estate that should have been devoted wholly to engaging content.
2. Too large ads on the homepage – Displaying a huge ad in front of homepage’s MC, so that the user is forced to read the ad first before even getting to the MC (main content). The problem with this approach to advertising is that people come to your website with a promise of information, but they are prevented from doing so within the first few seconds of access.
3. Non-intrusive code matters – Not using non-intrusive offers and ad methods, like exit pop up ads. Apparently, ads that are offered when the user is done reading the page do not interfere with UX and can help increase the organic sign-ups to your website. Offering free stuff like reports or tip sheets are an excellent way to get sign-ups without being too “in your face.”
4. Website purpose – Not knowing and presenting the exact and singular purpose of having your website in the first place. Identify this one aspect of your website and you can greatly improve your chances of pleasing your users and search engines.
Specialized websites can provide better user experience to its users because they would find everything they need about a topic in just one place. Visitors would no longer ‘bounce’ because they have found what they needed in your website.
5. Visitor satisfaction – Not making visitor satisfaction your number one priority when designing your website. Think of it this way: your website, apart from being a platform to generate revenue, exists to provide user satisfaction to people who visit it.
6. Visitor length of stay – Not paying attention to visitor duration or stay and what people are clicking on your website. Google may not be able to figure out everything that people do on websites, but if they are not staying long enough, there’s something wrong. The ideal duration for each visit is at least three minutes.
7. Black hate SEO techniques – Making a page “spammy” by using black hat SEO techniques like adding invisible texts/links, multiple redirects for the purpose of increasing ad revenue, stuffing content with multiple keywords just to attract people who are using the keywords, adding PPC ads purely for revenue and not to aid people who are surfing your website, etc.
8. Spun content – Using scrapped or spun content from other websites that do not provide any real value to users who visit your website. Google now pays close attention to what kind of content webmasters use on their website. In-depth and compelling content is now more important than thin, keyword-stuffed content.
9. Doorway pages – Utilizing numerous doorway pages to generate traffic for just one website. Using doorway pages is considered a grey hat SEO technique and it would be best avoid it. Instead of using doorway pages, aim to create compelling content that would naturally create editorial links from other authority sites.
11. Fake blogs – Creating fake blog sites that have spun or rewritten content only. Normally, fake blog sites are updated infrequently and the content is often nonsensical and stuffed with keywords. Instead of providing useful information, fake blogs tend to waste people’s time because of the low quality information.
12. Purely PPC efforts – Creating pages purely for PPC purposes, and not to help website visitor find information they need, or solve problems they have (which is why they searched for information on the Web in the first place).
What does a purely PPC page look like? It would have lots interstitial ads, PPC ads and very thin main content that the page would have more commercial links than actual content.
What Google wants now is for websites to prioritize useful and compelling content instead of prioritizing advertisements.
13. Ad revenue-centeredness – Establishing a website that is only meant to generate ad revenue. Google now considers these pages spam.
A website must be able to provide value by providing genuine information that people will be able to reference or use when they go to your website.
For example, even if your website is about commercial plumbing services, you still have to provide information that visitors might find useful.
14. An unremarkable website – Creating a website that is not remarkable in any way, and not exerting any effort for people to create buzz for your content.
Google now looks at how shareable content is, how many people are distributing content from websites, and if people are talking about the website in question.
Buzz on social media is now considered a factor, a signal for Google that a website is exerting effort to make its content useful for the most number of people.
15. Duplicate content – Creating pages on a website that seem to be optimized for specific keywords only, and generate traffic specifically for the main website. The main website on the other hand, would be purely promotional in nature, and would also not provide the type of information that users might need.
The definition of doorway pages have changed over time, but basically, Google views doorway pages are considered duplicated pages that serve only one website.
16. Creativity matters – Not being creative enough in designing a page, to the extent that supposedly genuine pages begin to look like duplicates or doorway pages. If you cannot create engaging content, it would be a good idea to reach out to an SEO agency who can network with writers for you.
Professional writers can boost traffic to your website by creating information-packed blog posts and articles. This way, you can attract free, organic traffic to your website and eventually, increase your rank on Google search results.
17. No to content aggregation – Creating websites that primarily use content aggregation as the main source of content. Content aggregation means a website is harvesting content from other blogs and websites and creating a news roll of sorts.
This type of site can be set up in a short period of time. Since there is no curation at all and the content is automatically generated from other websites, Google believes that these types of sites should be given the lowest search rankings of all.
18. The EAT Model – Not following the EAT Model. The EAT Model focuses on expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of a website through proper website structuring and excellent content. There really is no other way around it: provide better content for your website, or face Google’s wrath.
19. Supplementary content – Not paying attention to supplementary content. While Google focuses on your home page’s MC, the SC or supplementary content of the website enhances the user experience and provide additional information to users. Supplementary pages can land on the first page of Google, too.
What we can suggest is simply focusing on making the main page as good as the supplementary pages and content, and sustain this quality if you want to maintain your good rank on Google.
20. No supplementary content – The low quality rating of some websites that offer files like images and PDFs would be the fact that there are no meaningful supplementary content associated with the MC.
21. Page tabs and new pages – Not making it the choice of the user to create new browser pages or tabs, thereby reducing the user experience and making the user a hostage to your website’s structure. At best, links that need to be opened in a new page or tab have to be marked properly, and the link description needs to be as accurate and descriptive as possible.
22. Ad quality – Not checking the quality of ads that are running on your website. If you haven’t actually checked yet, now would be a good time to do so. Not all ads are hated by surfers, and removing ads that are annoying or greatly reduce the usability of a website should be remedied.
23. Website division – Not delineating carefully what is genuine main content, supplementary content, and advertisements on your websites. It would be a good practice to not dedicate a large percentage of your homepage to advertisements. The priority is always the information that people are looking for. Balancing conversions would take place after you have prioritized your MC and SC.
24. Regular updates – The website has not been maintained and updated for a long time. Information changes constantly, and not updating your website with new content regularly means the information there has become outdated. Adding content shows that your website is abreast of the latest trends in the industry, and you want to become an authority in the niche.
25. 404 pages – And finally, websites that have broken or problem-ridden pages will also lower the rank of your websites. 404 errors are bad news for website who want to rank higher on Google search results.