Many sites and blogs talk about what to do to get Google to rank you but very few talk about what not to do. With that in mind I like to present a list of 12 things that you should not do, or Google might get mad at you. And we don’t want that do we? While I have named this posts Google DON’Ts, it really applies to all search engines.
1. Never Seek Quick Fixes: If a service promises too much, it probably will not deliver any real long-term value. Products that promise millions of unique visitors or services that email millions of “eager” recipients are anything but quick fixes – they are immediate problems. Subscribing to these services usually results in search engine banishment!
2. Avoid Link Farms: Link farms are sites that link to numerous other sites with the hopes of improving page rankings. Beware: link farms spell immediate trouble – so avoid them at all costs! Engines like Google interpret link farms as spam and actually remove participating Web sites from search engine indexes.
3. Avoid Splash Pages: Flash and heavily graphic introductions prohibit engines from crawling your site. Because crawlers work best with text links, splash pages are very troublesome. A good rule of thumb: always keep your most valuable and compelling information up-front and in text. Bob’s Big Boy (www.bigboy.com) uses a splash page and, as a result, prohibits crawlers from reaching the body of the site.
4. Avoid Frames: Never use pages with frames. Frames are too complex for the crawlers and too cumbersome to index.
5. Avoid Cookies: Never require cookies for Web site access! Search engine crawlers are unable to enter any cookie-required materials; similarly, crawlers are unable to enter or index secure pages (https, password protection, etc).
7. Avoid Search-Box Navigation: Never rely on search boxes for site navigation; engine crawlers are incapable of entering text into search boxes and will be unable to find those pages.
8. Avoid Redirects: Search engines frown upon companies that use numerous Web sites to redirect to a single Web site.
9. Avoid Internal Dynamic URLs on the Home page: Though many sites incorporate internal dynamic links, they should not incorporate those links on the home page. Engine crawlers are currently ill-equipped to navigate dynamic links – which often pass numerous parameters using excessive characters.
10. Session ID’s: Do not leave URL session ID’s on for engine crawlers; they will be unable to access and index your site.
11. Eliminate Pop-Up Ads: Search engines frown upon pop-up advertisements – especially when they occur on the home page! Eliminating all pop-up ads will win favor with the engines and make your site more crawler friendly.
12. Eliminate Hidden / Invisible Text: Search engines immediately recognize hidden text and consider such practices to be “cheating.”
For more information on natural search best practices, see Google’s Webmaster page.