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Keep your website off of Google's naughty list

Angela West | April 12, 2012
Google's principal engineer, Matt Cutts, dropped serious hints in March about an imminent change to Google's algorithm that will penalize websites for being "overly optimized". Unfortunately, he didn't specify exactly what "overly optimized" means, or when this big shift will come--but you'd be wise to prepare your website now.

4. Link Farm Building

There's a huge difference between link building and link farm building. Link building is asking your nice online neighbors to link to your fantastic site. Link farm building is building up a massive network of links totally unrelated to your site that may or may not come from reputable sources. There's a distinct line, and you'll know if you're doing it wrong. If dubious websites are linking to yours, then try a discreet, "Can you please take me off your website?" email.

How to Tell If Your Website Is Naughty

Lewis recommends plugging your website into a free tool called Majestic SEO, which gives free reports for domains under your control. If you are looking for something more robust, SEOMoz costs $99 a month and up. The reports, which include useful things like anchor text profiles, should tell if your website looks unnatural to Google and if there is a problem.

Where to Go for Help

While you can easily handle small issues that crop up on your website, if there are multiple problems, hire a professional rather than stabbing in the dark yourself. Lewis recommends checking the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization's (SEMPO) website. Because Cutts is speaking publicly about changes, it indicates they've been in the works at Google for months, so time is of the essence.


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