There are more than a few deciding factors that go into whether a page on your website will be served up by Google. Usability, design, and SEO techniques will help, but if you don’t adhere to the Google Spam Policy all those other things don’t really matter.
How Google Spam Policy Works
The policy is in place to help protect users and improve the overall quality of search results. Google has automated systems in place that help detect pages that violate their spam guidelines. They also manually review websites if the system is unsure or a website is submitted through their reporting system.
If Google detects a page is using spam tactics, it may result in a lower rank. It might also issue a warning message before users enter the page, or even be omitted as a result entirely. Google marking a page on your website as spam is incredibly detrimental and should be avoided at all costs.
Here are some of the things Google looks for:
Cloaking is a pretty directly malicious practice that manipulates the content shown to mislead users and search engines. So, if a user clicks your link thinking it is going to a blog about Google’s Spam Policy, it better go there.
There is also a more technical version of cloaking where a piece of text or keyword is only shown if a search engine is crawling the page, not a human visitor.
For more on how Google crawls and indexes pages, check out our other blog.
Doorways are sites or pages that lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination. It is also when you have multiple pages trying to rank for the same search queries.
Examples include having multiple websites with slightly different URLs and home pages, having multiple location pages for the same city, and more.
Hidden Text and Links
This attempts to manipulate search engines by making the content impossible or extremely difficult to see with the human eye.
Using white text on a white background, hiding text behind an image, setting opacity to 0, and hyperlinking a single hyphen in the middle of a paragraph are against Google Spam Policy.
It’s all about getting as many keywords as you can on the page right? Wrong.
Keyword stuffing is when you try to fill a web page with keywords in an unnatural or out-of-context way. A block of text with a bunch of cities and locations or repeating the same words or phrases. Google actually gives an example for that last one:
“Unlimited app store credit. There are so many sites that claim to offer app store credit for $0, but they’re all fake and always mess up with users looking for unlimited app store credits. You can get limitless credits for the app store right here on this website. Visit our unlimited app store credit page and get it today!”
These are only a few of the tactics they hate, so it’s a good idea to read the full spam policy.