» Getting It Right the First Time
You don’t have to do a thing to get listed in the Google index, now comprised of more than 1 billion pages of spidered text — and growing as we speak. If you launch your site, a Googlebot will pay a visit within a couple of weeks, spider your site and get you listed on Google. A couple of problems with this passive approach, however:
- you waste time, weeks, maybe a month, waiting around for Google to spider your site and that’s time when you’ve got lots of outgo (hosting fees, design fees, SEO software, etc.) and virtually no income — because no one knows you’re there. And two;
- you’re allowing a digibot to assess and describe your site — not a good thing. Bots, for example, aren’t too good with graphics, so important text that appears in a graphic may well be missed entirely. Key in-bound links may also be missed. Think about it, you’re much better off submitting your site for review. The thing is, you want to get it right the first time since you won’t be notified if you don’t get listed. You’ll find out the hard way — by doing a search for your site and coming up with ‘Sorry, no matches found’. Oh, and three more weeks of no sales have passed.
Go to the Google home page. Below the search box, click on ‘About Google’. This will take you to a broad array of services and features offered by Google. Click on the ‘Submitting Your Site’ link and follow the directions. Simple, right? Wrong
Google does a squeaky-clean search of all submissions and there’s about a million ways you can get blackballed — even banned from this search engine so critical to your site’s success.
Title and Description Tags
Site text is built using HTML or XHTML coding which employ various tags designed for search engine spiders to get a feel for what your site is all about. A title tag might look like this <your site’s title here>. So far so good. However, if your title tag describes your site as <Granny Good-and-Sweet’s Penny Candy Shoppe> but, in fact, you’re all about selling scuba gear, you’re going to be rejected. Your title tag or tags (you can have one for every page) have to be right on the money. Anything deceptive (or stupid) will lose you Google time.
The same goes for other HTML tags. Description tags are used to provide a brief description of your site — and it better be accurate. Alt tags are used to describe graphics and visuals to spiders, so if it says
Black Hat Tactic #1: Invisible Text
Another way to flunk the Google submission test is by using invisible text — and get this — you may not even know it’s there! Invisible text is simply text in a specific color against a background of the same color. You can’t see it, visitors can’t see it, but digibots sure can and they don’t like it one bit. SE bots equate invisible text with deception. You’re hiding something, otherwise the text would be visible.
So, how is it possible for invisible text to appear on your site without you knowing it? Simple. Ask your free hosting service. It’s a fairly common practice for those free or low-cost site hosts to add a little text of their own, usually pointing to the web sites of their other clients. Go through each page of your site, hit control A and see if you can find any hidden text. It may not be there, but if it is, Google doesn’t want you.
Black Hat Tactic #2: Cloaking
Cloaking is presenting one home page and HTML title and description tags to Google, while displaying something completely different to the visitors to your site. So, your site comes up during a search for basketballs, but you’re selling refurbished M-16 rifles to kids. According to Google — “You are outta here” — banned for life, as in, try another business.
Black Hat Tactic #3: Redirects
Very unpopular with Google. Sometimes called ‘doors’, ‘doorways’ or ‘trapdoors’, redirects are sites set up for one purpose — to mislead Google users and redirect you to another, usually unrelated site. It’s happened to all of us.
You click on a Google link for antique Chinese fans. Such a site appears for a nanosecond before you’re hijacked over to a site selling the latest in drug paraphernalia.
Any perception of deception — black hat tactics — will get your site submission filed in the digital dumpster, and may get you banned from Google for all of eternity.
You want to get it right the first time so you’re site is indexed properly and you’re a law-abiding, Google citizen. So:
- get all HTML tags right, no matter how many you use. Review all codes with your site designer and ask to be shown title, description and alt tags for your approval.
- avoid free or low-cost hosting services. Pay a few bucks a month for the peace of mind. The last thing you want is to get booted from Google because some unscrupulous coder added invisible text to your home page. Who needs it?
- wear a white hat, not a black hat. Anything that even has a whiff of impropriety will have your site gone and quickly forgotten. No invisible text, no cloaking or stealth activities, no redirects.
Finally, read the detailed Google submission guidelines on the Google site. Yes, they will grudgingly accept automated submissions (unlike Yahoo), but submissions made by software are given lower priority than those submitted by humans. And to sort one from the other, they have that ‘enter the curvy letters in the box below’ thing to tell human from machine.
Simple. Play by Google’s rules, follow their procedures and you will get it right the first time — no hassles, no worries, but lots of quick sales.