These Things Will Make Google Hate your Website
I’m going to be blunt with you: Google is the king of the internet, and we are the loyal servants. Whether or not you like it, you must play by Google’s rules if you even want a shot at visibility. Luckily, Google is pretty transparent about their preferences—but they are also uncompromising in their preferences. It isn’t up for debate.
Google has estimated that a majority—about 60%–of searches are conducted on mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, Google won’t give you the time of time. What’s more, Google will actively penalize you. There have been a series of mobile-friendly algorithm updates on Google. The digital marketing community has estimated that a few have likely happened within the last few months. Google rolls out algorithm updates without warning, and usually without verification. We are left to guess, and watch our rankings drop out of the blue—especially if we are unprepared. Creating and maintaining a mobile-friendly website will help strengthen you against unexpected algorithm updates.
Sitemaps can usually be found at the bottom of any Google-friendly webpage. It gives an easy outline of the pages you want Google to crawl, and it creates an easy-to-understand page navigation. Conversely, robots.txt files flag the pages you don’t want Google to crawl—they should never be placed on your main pages or information pages. It is also ideal for a website that is in the process of being built, but isn’t ready to be indexed. Either way, proper use of sitemaps and robotx.txt can make or break your reputability with Google.
It has Shabby Content
If you look through our blog, or any other reputable digital marketing blog, you will find a similar sentiment across the board: content, content, content! Don’t ignore our pleading, and the advice of Google when we say that content is critical, and flimsy content will undoubtedly land you on Google’s naughty list. We recommend that you read our posts related to content, but here’s a laundry list:
-Relevant to the keywords you are targeting, and the topic of your page
-Expansive (a recommended minimum of 400 words per page)
-Avoids duplication across webpages
Broken Links, Temporary Redirects, or 404 Pages
If you have a 404 error or temporary redirect, reconsider. Broken links are usually a result of deleted pages, pages that didn’t make the switch from an old website to a new website, or pages that aren’t properly redirected. If there are any pages that are associated with your domain, even if they aren’t in use, make sure they are permanently redirected with a 303 redirect. Any other option isn’t SEO-friendly.
No Meta Descriptions or Image Alt-Text? No Dice!
Meta descriptions help Google understand the content of your webpage, helps users understand the Google result above, and are a great opportunity for a brief yet descriptive explanation, and a few keyword placements. Image alt-text is incredibly easy to implement, yet it is crucial to an even tighter webpage. When Google crawls your page, it doesn’t exactly “see” an image. Google’s demand for image relevance is similar to its demand for content relevance. When uploading an image to a website, make sure you remember to include alt-text that is as descriptive of the image as possible. While Google can’t “read” the image, it can read the alt-text. Here is a great run-down of optimizing your images for SEO.
Don’t fear. Google dominates the internet for a reason, but their intention isn’t to deceive us—they make their expectations pretty clear. Keep your head up, and pay attention to what they have to say.