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how to avoid a google penalty

Shackling your business – how to lose traffic and alienate search engines

A large number of you will know the true meaning of the term marketing. Whilst many think it alludes to selling and promoting, the real connotation is to address consumer intent


When a customer or client is looking for a particular product or service on the internet, they will almost certainly use a search engine and provided they aren’t looking for a particular brand, they will enter a generic keyword search.

The job of marketing professionals and companies across the land is to make sure that the products they are representing stand out in these keyword searches and that they are as high as possible up the search engine.

So just what mistakes can businesses and those in digital marketing make and what are the consequences?

Whilst other search engines are available, we shall take Google as our example, and since it is the most popular search engine, recording a staggering 2,161,520,000,000 individual searches last year, then getting the marketing strategy wrong on here can have disastrous results.

Google and other search engines have ‘wised up’ over the last few years and where marketers, bloggers, web developers and trolls previously manipulated page rankings with bad links, poorly written ‘spammy’ content, and low optimisation, the search engines have hit back with a series of algorithms designed to protect their integrity and promote best practice by filtering out duplicate or low quality websites and links .

Of the many problems that could occur from a poorly executed marketing strategy or business plan, the most severe happen when when companies and their websites are hit with Google penalties, and are ultimately sent sliding down the page rankings, into Google’s equivalent of room 101.

There are numerous ways to lose traffic and your place on the search engine ladder, and you can be sure that will happen if you choose not to remember the pointers below:

Content is king

Search engine algorithms are now so advanced they work as filters, funneling out duplicate copy. Make sure all of your text is original, rich in keywords and engaging.

Make an impact

It goes without saying that you have to make an impact. Last year, the average amount of time spent on a website was just eight seconds with nearly 20% of visits lasting less than half that time. If you only have four seconds to market then make them count.

Catch the eye

We all know the importance of linking your website to social media platforms, but as mentioned above, time is precious and the picture based format of sites like Pinterest and Snapchat or short videos from Vine can really help to engage your readers.

Redirect old URLs

If you have recently had your URLs updated to improve the performance of your website, and to make your onsite SEO operate better, then it is essential to check that old links are redirected. The last thing you want is potential traffic being ‘bounced’ from an old URL instead of finding you.

Carry your content

If you have had a full site rebuild to help you stand out then make sure your old content is carried over in some form, it could provide historical links to users or be stored in a favourites tab.

Optimise for mobile

2014 looks to be the year when we see mobile internet usage overtake desktop usage for the first time, so it is vital that you website is properly optimised for mobile and tablet.

Conversational searching

With developments in voice recognition technology such as Siri, Google Now and Cortana, it is now possible to surf the internet without having to type a word. It is therefore vital that your website is fully optimised to understand dialect, slang, grammar and synonyms.

Geo-targeting

One current trend is to shop online and collect in person. Consumers want to find out where they can get a product quickly and locally, meaning it is essential that you use geo-targeted keywords and plenty of them; fail at this and you won’t even feature highly in your region or area of expertise, let alone on the first few pages of a search engine.

It seems clear that by not using search engines properly or confirming to their way of working, you could seriously jeopardise your position in their search rankings. By alienating search engines instead of embracing them, traffic is sure to drop and the big danger is that your competitors get ahead and ultimately remain there.



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