This is a guest post by John Craig.
I’m pretty sure you have heard this common saying about SEO before: “Content is King!”And it is true!
Google loves its searchers to provide them useless content. It wouldn’t even be the ruler of the internet if it doesn’t satisfy its searchers.
Based on actual experience, people who have little knowledge about SEO seem to underestimate Google.
One of my friends wants to start a moneymaking blog and planned publishing duplicate content. I know that his plan would never prosper in organic marketing. I told him about Google’s crawlers and how it can detect identical content and more. He can’t believe that crawlers can actually read and interpret web content.
I’m glad he did not push through with his affiliate website because it would be a disaster. He will just waste effort and money!
Like my friend, you might be interested to know more about blogging, especially in this day and age when people like Neil Patel can earn million dollars yearly. For you to totally flourish in the blogosphere, you need to know the right recipe for your content. More importantly, what ingredient can mess up your whole website.
Yes! One post can take down your website to the pits (metaphor for those Google pages only desperate people will visit aka SEO specialists looking for backlink opportunities).
Now let’s look at 13 types of content that will make Google hate you (and if we haven’t established that fact yet, you never want to mess with Google if you wish to thrive on the internet).
#1. Duplicate Content
If you’re thinking to build a website and scrape from various sources, I have to tell you now that your chances of success are slim to none.
First, Google loves and rewards original content. It can differentiate the original from the copycats.
Second, if your website lacks unique content, it doesn’t add value to your visitors, which could lead to Google Penalty.
Third, don’t even expect a penalty because your website will not even take off with duplicate content purposely published to manipulate searches.
You can always use Google to help you with copywriting to avoid duplication.
Try searching a sentence or a phrase on Google 1) with quotation marks and 2) without and the results will tell you of its uniqueness.
Duplicate content won’t just cause poor search rankings. It can also be filtered off of SERP.
Have you ever reached the end of SERPs and see this note: “In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 300 already displayed.”Yes! Google might decide your page is not worth showing to searchers.
Tom from seoservicesusa.co noted the following duplicate content issues:
- Multi page lists
- URL issues
- Product descriptions
- Software Plagiarism
#2. Spun Content
You might think of outsmarting Google by avoiding duplicate content and decided to spin. That won’t work either! You’ll be penalized by Google.
For startups, it is very common to buy articles to boost their content marketing campaign. They buy from shady companies offering hundreds of articles for cheap. Remember the common saying: If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. The catch from those companies is that they just provide you spun content which they also have provided to other buyers before you.
The solution is to write your own content or if buying articles, make sure to check them on Copyscape or Google as I detailed in Duplicate Content.
#3. Thin Content
The year was 2011, Google announced the Panda update. This update was focused on the quality of content which affected content farm to the point of losing 90% of their ranking keywords.
If thin content did not survive 2011, it definitely will not have a chance this year when Google Panda has become part of core ranking factors this year. Matt Cutts defined thin content as content with little or no added value to the searchers. He gave specific examples:
- Doorway pages - these are introductory pages which values links going to other web pages more than the main content.
- Affiliate thin pages - offer very little to no value to visitors. Commonly, their main content is grabbed from the merchant pages.
- Syndicated content - republished content from other websites.
Some people believe that thin content just means content that are shorter than 250 words. But that is simply not true.
The best search that could prove this point is by searching what time is it in a specific location. Most of the top ranking pages only have a sentence or two in the content, but it is not thin content. Why? The visitors got what they need with one sentence: the time in a specific location.
It is always the value you add to your visitors that matters. You don’t just write to have something to publish. You write to offer a solution to a problem.
#4. Poorly Written Content
Spelling and grammar are not ranking signals. But Google correlates reputable sites with better spelling and grammar.
But remember that Google Panda was created to hunt down content farms. And content farms represent websites filled with low quality articles. Poorly written content easily lands in that category.
And if you might unknowingly publish content with grammatical and spelling mistakes over time, Google will not categorize your site as a resource with E-A-T.
#5. Content that doesn’t offer Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)
Google loves its users. They actually care so much that they consider some niche as Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Pages. Websites categorized in it are believed to affect searcher’s future happiness, health and finances.
Below are the most common niche under it:
- E-commerce pages
Page Quality rating standards for web pages under YMYL are high. In fact, Google has a dedicated team to rate web page content from time to time.
Blogging requires expertise now (at least if you want to rank)! Remember the days of Publishing when people have to get signed before writing a book? We were back to those days and the publisher we need to get approval from is Google.
#6. Keyword Stuffed Content
The oldest way to manipulate rankings is to stuff your keywords in your copy several times. That may have ranked your web page in the 90’s (Wait! Google existed in the 90s?). Surely not now!
Google got smarter. It easily sees pages stuffed with keywords. The next thing you know, you have a message on your Search Console and your ranking keywords are nowhere to be found anymore.
#7. Content with Paid Links
Did you know that Google penalized Google Japan back in 2009 for buying links? I know! They are that serious about paid links.
Also, did you know why “Content is king” SEO tagline emerged? It was when Google went too strict about backlinks when Google Penguin was launched in 2012 cracking down spammy tactic of link buying or acquiring links through link networks.
Now, just like Panda, Penguin has become part of the core ranking factors as well.Google advises to make paid links nofollow to avoid penalties. Or if you are a victim of Negative SEO link building by your competitors, you need to disavow the links on Search Console.
#8. Content Irrelevant to Website’s Niche
Staying true to your main topic is highly important to be categorized as content with E-A-T.
Irrelevant content with links can be suspicious to Google as paid links which can lead to Google Penalty.
You should not focus on a general topic that has been covered by thousands of blogs already. If you were thinking to start an SEO blog, don’t focus on “SEO” keyword, instead you can write about specific parts of SEO like “content marketing.”
#9. Basic Content
Posting basic content like “How to fry egg?” can lead to penalization. Remember that content farms are filled with these kinds of articles that’s why we don’t see them anymore.
Instead of publishing an article discussing how to fry an egg, you can go micro-specific discussing what is the perfect heat to cook a sunny-side up eggs.
#10. Content Stuffed with Ads
Have you ever visited a web page where you can’t differentiate the main content and the ads recently? Chances are you found these sites directly or on social media since Google is good at demoting these kinds of pages on SERP.
If your website will monetize from Adsense, you need to prioritize your main content that accomplishes the purpose of the page. And no! Affiliate click is not the purpose of a page. The purpose should be to provide value to the visitors on that page and not through a link on that page.
Never put a block of Adsense as the first part of your blog post. It is too obvious to Google.
General rule of thumb: Main content should overshadow your Ads.
#11. Content with Misleading Ads
Some sneaky webmasters mislead visitors using Ads. Ads that are disruptive to main content is a red flag.
Google gives these web pages low rating.
It must be clear for the visitors to differentiate between the main content, supplementary content and ads. If visitors felt tricked or confused when clicking supplementary content and ads, the web page will be deemed low quality.
#12. Content with no Purpose
Every content you publish should serve a purpose, whether it is to offer products, serve valuable information or answer a question. A web page with purpose to monetize on links is given a low rating by Google or in extreme cases, penalty.
When drafting a post, you need to ask yourselves these questions:
- What is the purpose of my content?
- Which keywords are relevant to the purpose of my content?
- Will I provide added value to my visitors that they will not find on other pages?
#13. Deceptive Content
Content that seems to offer a valuable purpose to visitors but are actually created to deceive and harm them.
The two most common deceitful techniques include cloaking and doorway pages.
Cloaking presents a properly optimized webpage to search engines that serves a purposes while a poor page that serves the website’s purpose to visitors.
A doorway page is not generally bad but when it is bad, it can be penalized. When is it bad:
- Spamming SERP by adding more values that don’t add unique value for the visitors
- Targeting generic keywords when the content is very specific
- Duplicate page
- Sending visitors to affiliate website
The deceptive pages common purpose includes phishing and asking money. This technique will not go unpunished. Google will no longer trust your site which also means no favorable rankings for your site.
I hope I instilled some content tips to you in avoiding Google penalties or low content rating.
Always remember this: Write for the people not spiders!
Guest Author: John Craig is a content writer with specialty in SEO. He currently writes for seoservicesusa.co, an SEO company in Chicago.