Three things to avoid if you want a good Google ranking
I wrote this post a while back. The content can still be relevant but the information I've linked to may not be available.
We were asked to look at a couple of websites recently and offer some advice about Google/search engine rankings. The websites were not being listed by Google despite the fact that the type of business was not particularly over-represented in the listings. Should be easy, right?
Unfortunately, there were a number of problems with the websites in question:
1. Do not use frames
Frames-based websites may have been a good idea about 10 years ago but their time has come and gone. There are a number of small business websites that still use frames but if yours is one of them, get rid! In general, frames-based websites only offer one ‘page’ to search engines which makes it difficult to optimise each page for its content. Sure, you can add your keywords and page links to the <noframes> tag but this is not as effective in search engine terms as a non-frames website. Even a basic 2-3 page website has a better chance with search engines than a frames-based website.
[There are other problems with frames-based websites which I won’t go into]
2. Do not try and con Google
Creating duplicate websites with many pages with minimal content is not a good idea. Google is not stupid and it will see through this type of trick. In the example that we looked at, two ‘supporting’ websites were created with 20-30 pages each. On every page, there was a single keyword-rich paragraph (no other content) with links to the ‘main’ website. Ask yourself the question; is the ‘supporting’ website likely to be useful to web users? Not really. In which case, will Google want it in their index? Not really.
3. Website validation
“The website was created in my spare time. I don’t bother with all that validation stuff”. This is not the right approach for the simple reason that you should be making it as easy as possible for search engines. Sure, they can index all sorts of content but if you have unclosed tags, missing title tags and a bundle of other errors in you website code, it stands to reason that search engines will favour your competitor’s website with its well-constructed, CSS-based, streamlined code.
You may be reading this thinking “I know all that – it’s obvious”. Unfortunately, it’s not so obvious for a lot of websites. Many of these are small business websites where getting it wrong can be expensive.
There are other things that you should avoid but don’t get me started on those!