On Google, Paid Links and Spam

There has been a lot of news made lately about Google and the way they handle search engine results.

Google came in to 2011 announcing plans to fight spam sites and content farms. It seems that there are a lot of sites out there who were hiring writers to produce millions of pages of content about anything and everything. For some time a search for just about any topic would produce results from these content sites instead of more relevant and knowledgeable websites.  In mid-January Google made changes to their algorithm which supposedly corrected this problem. This war is not over, as the changes backfired in some instances hurting sites that were not meant to be hurt.

Next came the frenzy over a major retailer buying its way into the top search results by using low-quality paid links to game its way into the organic search engine results. The New York Times used a lot of type expressing Google’s displeasure with this type of practice. Their article ended with a description of Google’s response and resulting action which dramatically moved the retailers position downward from number 1 to number 70 and below.

A few days later Forbes.com was slapped for at least the second time for selling ads on their website, and shortly after that Overstock.com got busted for offering  discounts to students on selected products in return for placing links back to Overstock for vacuum cleaners and gift baskets. When will they ever learn?

Google owns almost 90% of the international search engine pie. They own almost 80% of the search engine market share in the United States. There are two lessons that can be learned from this information. Number one  – it does not pay to try to game Google.  Number two – it does pay to keep up with what Google wants and give it to them.

Google does not like paid links. According to Google’s official statement, you should avoid paid links at all costs. Grow your link profile by creating unique and engaging content and spreading it around the web on relevant sites, forums and directories.

Google’s latest algorithm change trumpets that Google is going to reward unique, high quality content. From the official Google blog:

Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking–a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries–and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites–sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites–sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

So, stay away from “Black Hat” techniques for optimizing your website. Safe techniques to use which lead to long lasting results are:

  • optimization of existing web pages, HTML code and web page contents
  • Create content your customers would want to read instead of what you think a search engine spiders wants
  • organic link building to get high quality backlinks

It takes longer to get high rankings with ethical search engine optimization methods but you will be safe and the results will be long-lasting.

Need some help with your Atlanta search engine optimization,  Contact SERP Solutions. White Hat is all we do!

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