It's a simple question... Are you asking Google to penalize your website?
I'm sure you're probably thinking; Well, of course not! Yet daily I see new people complaining in search engine optimization forums that their websites have been banned by Google and they "have no idea why".
These people claim they've done nothing wrong and are absolutely clueless as to why their site is no longer in Google. The purpose of this article is to teach you one VERY important thing.
What NOT to do when optimizing your website, to make sure you don't get banned.
How do you know if you've been banned?
First let me show you how to see if you're clearly banned by Google. Often times people think they've been banned, when in reality they've just dropped in ranking and can't find their website.
There are a couple of things you can do.
- Check Google's search results.
- View the Google toolbar.
Check Google's search results
Go to Google and enter your entire URL into Google's search box. In this example we'll use a made up domain name. (www.jkhljkhkjh.com). On a side note, I tried www.somerandomdomain.com and www.fakedomainname.com and both were already taken. Apparently we've got some creative people out there... :-)
Anyway, we'll go to Google and enter our entire URL and click "search"
Notice that Google says there is no information available for this URL? This means that the URL is no longer in Google's database (a.k.a. index)
If you enter a brand new website into Google, you'll always get this message until the website has been indexed. But, in this case, the website we entered has been banned by Google for some reason is either banned or is brand new. If we know our website was once in Google and do the search I just showed you above, and Google says "Sorry, no information is available for URL [whatever your URL is]", then chances are... you're banned.
Another way you can quickly see if your website has been banned is by:
Viewing the Google Toolbar
Download the Google Toolbar here: http://toolbar.google.com
Once it's installed, simply visit your website. If the Google toolbar is completely gray, this may meen that you have been banned by Google.
Ok, so now we know how to tell if our website has been banned.
Why your website banned?
There are many onpage ranking factors AND offpage ranking factors that can cause Google to ban your website. Before I begin, I want you to know that many websites still get away with doing some of these things. They DO NOT help your rankings and are simply a waste of time, so don't try them. Sooner or later Google will catch up to these websites and will remove them.
It's just not worth the risk when doing them no longer helps your ranking to begin with.
Hidden Text is simply text that users can't see when they visit your webpage. Some webmasters will do this so that they can add keywords throughout their webpage without it interferring with what the visitors actually see. Yet, the search engines can still see hidden text.
For example, let's say you have a white background on your website. If you wanted to hide text, you would simply make the color of your text white (#FFFFFF) and users couldn't see it.
I did a quick search in Google and quickly found an example of a website using hidden text. Have a look below:
At first glance, you're probably wondering where the hidden text is...
Let me show you. I went to the website and clicked "ctrl + a" on my keyboard. This will highlight the entire webpage as shown below:
Now we can clearly see the hidden text at the very top left side of their website that says "fat loss body fat abs weight loss diets bodybuilding dieting tips abdominals"
These are keywords that they want to rank well for and want the search engines to see when they first visit their website. Yet, they don't want their visitors to see this text. So, they've made the text white, to blend in with the background.
Alt image tag spamming
This is another way that people will try to cram keywords into their website, allowing search engines to see their keywords, but not allowing visitors to notice any difference in their website.
The following is a website that wanted to rank well for "cabbage soup diet". What they've done is inserted a graphic of a cabbage. They've then added an alt image tag to the graphic. When a visitors visits the website, and hovers their mouse over the cabbage soup graphic, a little popup will appear.
Notice how many times they've repeated the word "cabbage soup" and "cabbage"? Way too many! It serves no purpose other than to cram as many keywords as possible into their webpage.
The real purpose of an alt image tag is if a user visits your website and the graphic will not load, or is disabled by their web browser, text will appear instead of the graphic. This is often used for blind people.
Alt image spamming is something you want to stay clear of. Using alt image tags are good, but you can overdo it, as you can see above. A good alt image tag in this case would simply be: cabbage soup diet graphic
Meta Tag Stuffing
What I'm referring to here is when people throw in thousands of the same exact keyword into their meta tags.
For example, the following website is trying to rank well for the keyword "tents".
<META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="tents, TENTS, Tents, tents tents tent supplies, tents, tents tent, tent, Tent, TENTS, tents, Tents,tents, TENTS, Tents, tents tents tent supplies, tents, tents tent, tent, Tent, TENTS, tents, Tents,tents, TENTS, Tents, tents tents tent supplies, tents, tents tent, tent, Tent, TENTS, tents, Tents,tents, TENTS, Tents, tents tents tent supplies, tents, tents tent, tent, Tent, TENTS, tents, Tents tents, TENTS, Tents, tents tents tent supplies, tents, tents tent, tent, Tent, TENTS, tents, Tents">
This is obviously ridiculous. Google, and other search engines no longer use Meta Tags to rank websites.
Google WILL penalize it, and it WILL NOT help you... so, why would anyone do something like this?
Stay away from it.
Title Tag Stuffing
The title is what appears in the top left hand corner of your webpage. Below is an example of Title Tag Stuffing.
Don't do it... You only need to include your keyword(s) one time in your title tag.
Anymore than 1 time will only dilute the effect, and if you overdo it as shown above, you may get severely penalized and drop in the rankings.
Those are just a few of the things that people are continuing to do online. These things WILL eventually get your website banned or penalized and WILL NOT help you rank well. It's just a waste of time and effort, plus it's just plain ignorant to waste your time on something that doesn't work and will get your website banned from the search engines anyway.