Ever heard of the phrase “Google slap”? The phrase has been misused a few times and quite a number of people assume it refers to any perceived punishment by Google such as de-indexing or a drop in rankings but it has nothing to do with that.
The slap refers to a situation where Google reviews and concludes that your ad and associated landing pages are of such poor quality that the search engine endeavors to get your ad removed from the paid listings and the way to do this is to lower its position and raise the current bid price so that the campaign ceases to make economic sense.
A Google slap is not pleasant at all, particularly when it hits your PPC. There are quite a number of horror stories relating to websites that got smacked by Google and never recovered, many of them choosing to abandon their domains and start all over.
In the interest of self-preservation, websites should attempt to avoid engaging in poor ad campaign that triggers the sabotage. Here are some of the ways smart markers stay safe:
1. Multiple page website
2. Avoid excessive advertising
A lot of people get tempted into trying out alternative avenues for boosting revenue aside from the paid traffic. While AdSense might make sense as a separate revenue stream, it raises the chance of your page being viewed as irrelevant.
3. Link to pages on your site
When a visitor gets to your landing page you don’t want them distracted. You want them completely focused on what you’re selling, and so you might have to remove the menu sidebar you have posted on your landing pages. It is important though, that you ensure to keep links to other parts of your website posted on the page; the bottom of the page is a good place to place them.
4. Bouncing visitors to affiliate links
Google does not view it as reasonable user experience when you send your visitors directly from your landing page to an affiliate website. The way around this is to convert the affiliate links into redirects, whereby the visitor will go through a page on your site, then finally direct them to your Clickbank hoplink.
5. Skimming on landing page content
As a marketer you will be tempted to send each visitor to your affiliate link as quickly as possible but try not to. Instead, consider that when you keep your landing page unique with relevant content to the visitor, it keeps your overall PPC costs down.
Most engaging pages contain a good amount of text, images and embedded video which all keeps the visitor glued to the page. Google doesn’t “see” some of these elements so it’s always a good idea to mention the keyword in the image name.
6. Optimize your landing page
You can do this by making sure that the content you create for the landing page is uniquely geared on the keyword. This is one of the main reasons it’s a good idea to keep two separate landing pages for two separate ad groups. The point here is to make sure the visitor gets the feeling that they found exactly what they’re looking for when they get to the page, and that’s harder to do when you combine ads.
It won’t be the end of the world if you get slapped but it will be the end of your campaign so if you don’t want to wait for months as Google reviews your case, and you don’t want to move to MSN or Yahoo, then your best move would be to avoid getting in trouble.
Marketers combine a bunch of techniques to ensure their ad campaigns don’t raise any eyebrows. Here are a couple more ways smart people protect their ads:
Become an authority
You may have heard this before that the more value a website provides the more traffic it gets. The more people read your website and like the content, then link it to their own social web copy via social media, the more Google takes you seriously. It grows over time and the more authoritative you get the higher you get ranked, and you never have to worry about your ads being whitewashed.
Obviously this involves a lot of work and it makes perfect sense that Google would reward websites that undergo this kind of work in an effort to become an authority figure. If you don’t update your blog or website regularly, chances are you’ll lose your connections and people will start to forget about your brand.
This will happen whether or not you post green information. If you go for six months without updating your site or blog, then most search engines will overlook you and rankings will drop as a result. Think of it this way, who would you rather affiliate yourself with- the person who works hard every day, learning new things and sharing them, or the guy who sits quietly at the corner, watching everybody else work and not doing anything?
Promote your content via social media
It doesn’t matter how much of an authority you are on a given subject. If you don’t let people know what you’re up to, you’ll be missing out. Let’s say you publish a new blog post, how do you let people know there’s new material? The best way to do this is through your social platforms. That’s why they exist, so you can establish a more personalized and direct form of communication with your audience.
Promotion is an essential element in online business but keep in mind there’s a right way and a wrong way of doing things. Social media is available to any business for the purpose of creating relationships that make it easier to learn tons about your audience and use it to grow the business.
Have you ever come across social handles from notable brands where posts are always perfect, and the stories in the posts feel as if the company is “one upping” the audience by being right and perfect about everything? Lots of people lose connection with their audience by constantly talking about themselves and it’s a sad situation.
In order for the social media experience to be meaningful to the followers, there needs to be a kind of give and take situation going on there, and it would be great if that give and take happened naturally. Take a look at your social media rants and count how many times you mention your brand or your website. If the only thing you do all day is talk about yourself and your website, try mixing things up a little bit by engaging your followers or recommending interesting topics from other websites (do that sparingly).
The social media aspect is an excellent way for you to build backlinks to your own website. This happens every time you publish links to articles online. You end up creating backlinks, which are invaluable in search engine algorithms.
It’s actually the third most common reason for websites getting penalized by search engines. Sometimes this happens innocently such as in situations where you restructured your site recently but other times people have malicious motives and will find ways to duplicate content strategically in order to manipulate search engines.
If you are engaged in site reconstruction, and you plan to set up a new domain for existing copy, ensure you set up 301 redirects, where your old text won’t show up in search. That way, users won’t be sent to the old URL, instead they will get redirected to the new one with the same text copy.
Affiliate disclaimers also get people in trouble, when used across different affiliate offers on the same website. It doesn’t matter if you copy paste the full disclaimer, or just a couple of small paragraphs; it could still get read as duplicate content.
In order to avoid this, don’t copy the same paragraph to different affiliate offers; instead, write a single page with the disclaimer and have other affiliate posts link to that page.
“Scraping” is the practice of copying material from one website to another, with complete disregard to the quality or relevance of content and its use to the reader. Some people scrape one paragraph and others copy entire websites, page for page, word for word.
Whether you do this manually or through a computer program, there is no actual value to scraping and it’s only a matter of time before you get banned from Google. Cases where you want to use a citation from specific content from the internet is certainly fine, provided you quote it and link the source article.
Another way to link that kind of information is through anchor text on the body of your site text. Aside from that, it makes no sense to copy-paste information from other sources. Besides, that constitutes plagiarism and that could get you sued for copyright infringement.