Last Updated on September 9, 2020
Reminder About Manipulative Techniques
On the official Webmaster Tools blog Grey Hat SEO practitioners got yet another warning to stop manipulative and deceptive behavior. Before you read any further be warned that this post is a bit of a rant. If you dare read on I promise to provide useful information about the recent Webmaster Tools announcement last Friday and the guidelines your website should follow to stay out of trouble.
I wish these guys would spend their IQ points on making their websites worthy of user compliments rather than complaints. In a nutshell, Google issued a warning on this Grey Hat SEO practice:
Inserting New Pages Into Users’ Browsing History
Imagine doing a Google search and clicking on a link that promises to answer your burning question. When you land on the site you realize it doesn’t have the information you’re looking for. You want to return to your original Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to find a better result. You hit the “back” button on your browser. Instead of returning to your search, you are taken to yet another page. It looks similar to a SERP but it’s actually a bunch of advertisements that mimics your search results. Frustrating? Absolutely. Manipulative? You bet. Unethical? I think so.
Webmaster Tools & Google Quality Guidelines
What do you do when you encounter this problem? Report them. Google takes action against sites that violate their quality guidelines. So what are Google Quality Guidelines? They are pretty simple and straightforward:
- Make pages primarily for users not search engines.
- Don’t deceive your users.
- Avoid tricks to improve search engine rankings.
- Make your website unique and valuable.
That means you don’t:
- Generate content via a program, have doorway pages (crappy pages optimized for specific keywords) or scrape (read: steal) content from someone else’s site
- Participate in link schemes
- Cloak or use sneaky redirects
- Hide text or links
- Use other manipulative Grey Hat SEO techniques to game search engine ranking
If you are using an SEO firm, ask them if they follow the Webmaster Tools & Google Quality guidelines. I suggest you ask some pointed and very direct questions. You may be gambling with your reputation and not even know it.