Photo Credit: OlegDoroshin / Shutterstock.com
What’s Hate Got To Do With It?
Right off the bat, you’re probably thinking, “Come on, Rebecca. There’s nothing about hating my event website in Google’s mission statement.” And you would be right. Because Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Innocent enough, right? But if you read between the lines, there’s a little hate hidden in there. That’s because Google is a for-profit enterprise. Their market-owning business model is built on the idea that they serve up the right content, to the right people at the right time. An idea that depends entirely on the availability of high-quality content and their ability to find it. That’s two opportunities for Google to love your event website or hate it, baked right in to their M.O.
Two Roads To Happiness
So what can you do to stay on Google’s good side? Essentially, there are two ways you can make the search engines happy: optimize for organic rankings or pay to play.
There’s a time and a place for advertising but clearly, the key to long-term success is to focus on what makes Google happy as it relates to organic traffic.
So, let’s get to it! Without further ado, I present the top 5 things Google Hates about your event website.
#1 Lack of responsive design
Google has made it perfectly clear that they are not fans of sites that have not been built to be responsive to various screen sizes. See? They have also made it clear that this is a big deal in regards to rankings. Check the mobile-friendliness of your web pages by running your URLs through Google’s very own mobile-friendly test.
#2 Incorrect use of server redirect codes (301 and 302)
A 301 redirect is permanent redirect for when a page’s URL is changed or deleted. When implemented correctly, these redirects effectively pass all link credibility from the original URL to the new URL. A 302 redirect is interpreted by search engines as a temporaryredirect and should only be used when a resource will return to its original location (URL).
When your site has too many of either of these redirects or they’re being used incorrectly, it can slow site speed, making it more difficult for search engines to crawl your pages. If these redirects are being used incorrectly, it could lead to even bigger problems (think penalties!). Check out this video for best practices.
#3 Duplicate content
Duplicate content refers to pages within or across domains that share similar or identical content. This is typically due to a lack of canonicalization (the process of conveying to Google which version of the content should be indexed) or a lack of sufficient (in regards to volume) content on pages.
Duplicate content causes a web page’s authority to be divided among the many versions. Additionally, Google hasthe ability to index whichever version it chooses; which may not line up with your preferences.
Search engines do not like duplicate content because it suggests the content in question may not be legit or of the highest quality, and it forces them to crawl the same page multiple times. For thesereasons, a site may be penalized for duplicate content, resulting in lower rankings or de-indexing of pages.
Download this free tool to find duplicate content issues on your site. If you must have similar content on several pages across your site, use canonical tags to tell Google what versions of the pages you want to return for relevant search queries.
#4 Shallow content
This goes straight to the heart of doing your due diligence to help Google achieve their goal of providing the right info to the right people, on demand (and making them love you!). There are some basic guidelines you can follow for general page length and such but above all else, each page on your event website must serve a purpose. If you can say something better with an image or an infographic, go for it! But quality is king. Don’t have content just for the sake of hitting a word count.
#5 Keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose).
This is an old-school (black hat) SEO tactic and it’s an excellent way to make Google hate you. Just don’t.
True Love At Last!
Make a point of avoiding these five missteps on your event website and you’ll be well on your way to a mutually beneficial relationship with the search engine of record. For more information about what you can do to steer clear of these issues plus five additional things your website might be doing to irritate the folks in Mountain View, check out my full list of 10 things Google hates about your website.