March 16, 2009

Google’s rules

It seems that recently Google has become more severe in appraising the sites that it visits and that applies more penalization in comparison to the past. For those webmasters that earn money working on Internet, be in a condition in which the site is penalized and it doesn't appear in the search results, corresponds to a catastrophe.

Because the basic rule to earn money with a Internet site is very simple and consists in the being on the first page for the search. No visitors from the search engines, and we know everybody that Google is used from more than the 90% of the navigators, means no money for webmasters. It’s happened to me, too, to be victim of this last wave of the penalizations, and with this article I want to revise the rules of Google together with you; this has been useful for me and I hope for you, too.

The basic condition during the process of the preparation of a site and during its promotion is to examine and respect the rules given by Google, that can be found on the following page:
Let’s see together the basic concepts. They are separated in three groups, and in this way I have prepared my exposure, adding something from my own experience.

Design and content

Shortly, it is advise to use the site structure with static link and that all the pages that want to be considered by, are linked from at least one other page: in this way the search engines can easily find all the resources of the site. The body text must contain the keywords, those tied to the topic of the site. Obligatorily use Title and Alt tag, and if Description tag is used, it should be at least 20 words long. There are also the councils how to organize dynamic pages, but my advise is to avoid them, when this is reasonable. Moreover, control that all the link are working and this is worth also for the connected images. The number of the link on a page would not have to exceed 100, considering the sum of internal and external links. At the end it is advised to write the important texts as text, not to insert them in the images; Google isn’t able to read the text inserted on the images.

Technical aspects of site

During the creation of the site and before putting it online, it is advised to control its “readability” using different browsers, as for example Microsoft Internet Explorer, FireFox, etc, in order to assure the compatibility and correct accessibility with all of them. It is important for the visitors, but also for the robots of the search engines, because they can interpret the same html code in a different way. I always try to produce the most simple HTML code possible, excluding Javascript, visual basic and css, where not closely necessary. These aspects contain also a series of the councils for the server settings, using the robot.txt files, and so on.

Quality requirements for the site

This part of the rules is the most important, because not respect of some of them can induce Google to penalize the website, as it declares explicitly. First of all Google insists to create your site for your visitors, and not for search engines. The fact is that if the site is enough good to attract attention of the surfers, the same should happened with the search engines, obviously if the site respects Google policy. There are the list of the “dangerous” actions that can cause the penalization or, still worse, expulsion of the site from the search results of Google. It’s prohibited use of hidden text (very used practice in the past, still remained in the memory of some webmaster), cloaking, the practice to show different pages to search engines and to visitors, duplicate content copied from other sites, and so-called doorway pages, the pages wrote only for the search engines, in order to obtain the placing for the several keywords.

On the other pages, connected to this with the guidelines, some details are explained, but the new ones can be found, too. One of this, very important, is the concept of the natural link, the fact that the site are linked spontaneously by other sites, duo to its quality. This concept produces another rule: no pay link, because buy links to own site isn’t natural. And here is another catch: also the links that link sponsors can be considered as pay link and your site can be penalized for this.

This rule is debatable, but the master (read Google) has always reason, so what can we do to resolve the problem.? Nothing fear, the solution is very simple and also confirmed by Google: it’s enough to insert the attribute rel=”nofollow” in all links that go to sponsors’ site.