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Google on Avoiding Duplicated Meta Descriptions

Duplicated Meta DescriptionsIn this video, Google’s Matt Cutts discusses Avoiding Duplicated Meta Descriptions

In this YouTube video Matt goes on to say that it is best to have no meta description at all than to use the same meta description on different pages.

On Matt’s own blog he uses no meta descriptions at all, he leaves it up the content to create a ranking. Google creates its own descriptions for pages with no meta descriptions based on the page’s content, usually the beginning body text of the page.

Watch this video to get more information on this important news about Avoiding Duplicated Meta Descriptions:

How to balance your SEO activities

Whatever you want to achieve in life, you usually get the best results if you find the perfect balance of all the factors that are involved. Search engine optimization is no different.

To get the best possible rankings for your website on Google, Yahoo/Bing and other search engines, you have to find the perfect balance of on-site ranking factors and off-site ranking factors.

SEO activities

Easy to do: on-site ranking factors

On-site ranking factors are the elements on your website that influence the position of your website on search engines:

  • The text and the keywords that you use on your web pages.
  • The elements that you use on your web pages.
  • The number of web pages on your website.
  • The links on your web pages to other pages of your site.
  • The links on your web pages to other websites.
  • The navigational structure of your website.
  • The robots.txt of your site.
  • The HTML code of your web pages.

All of these factors can influence the position of your website on Google. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to change these elements.

More difficult: off-site ranking factors

Off-site optimization ranking factors are the ranking factors that are largely beyond your control:

  • The number of backlinks that point to your website.
  • The quality of the backlinks that point to your website.
  • How often your website is mentioned on social media sites.
  • The number of Likes, Google +1 clicks, etc.

Search engines use both on-site factors and off-size factors to determine the position of a web page on the search result page.

The right balance leads to the best results

Some webmasters invest most of their time in on-site optimization. Others swear that links from other websites are the only way to get high rankings on Google.

Depending on the keywords for which you optimize your website, you can achieve good results with both methods.

You will get the best results, however, if you combine both methods. Optimized on-site factors make it easy for search engines to list your website for the right keywords.

Improved off-site factors show search engines that other people also find your website relevant to a particular topic.

How to find the perfect balance

Finding the perfect balance can be a difficult task. That’s why we offer several SEO Packages to choose from. Depending on how much or how little you want to be involved in your own SEO process.

Two technical website errors that will send Google away

Technical website errors can have a major influence on the rankings of your web pages on Google and other search engines. If you’re not actively monitoring your website, it might be that you are not aware of these errors on your site.

technical website errors

The following two technical errors are common errors that prevent Google from indexing your web pages correctly:

1. The 301 redirects on your website are broken

  • Most websites use 301 redirects after a website redesign. If done correctly, these redirects can help you to keep your rankings on Google.
  • If done wrong, 301 redirects cause a lot of ranking problems. Even if your 301 rankings worked in the past, they might have stopped working in the meantime.
  • Code changes on your website, new website plugins or broken databases can be the reason for 301 redirects that lead to non-existing pages.
  • Broken links can destroy years of natural link building. You should make sure that all links on your website are intact.
  • Tip: Use the Redirect Check Tool at PageRank.com to check the redirects on your pages. The Redirect Check Tool automatically checks all links and redirects on your pages and it will warn you if something does not work.

2. The rel=canonical attributes on your web pages cause problems

  • The rel=canonical attribute can help you to avoid duplicate content problems. Unfortunately, it can also lead to major problems.
  • For example, some websites add a rel=canonical attribute that points to the index page to all web pages. Other sites use a rel=canonical attribute that points to pages that use the ‘noindex’ attribute.
  • In both cases, the web pages won’t be indexed by Google. Only use rel=canonical with duplicated pages and do not use this tag instead of 301 redirects.
  • Tip: If you’re not 100% sure that you know what you’re doing, do not use rel=canonical at all. The potential benefits are much smaller than the damage that you can do to your website if you use the rel=canonical attribute incorrectly.

Technical errors on your website can damage the SEO work of several years. There are other factors that can also damage your rankings, but misuse of the 301 Redirect and the rel=canonical are some of the most common errors we find, and some of the most easy to rectify. When using WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, be careful of some SEO plugins that have 301 Redirect and rel=canonical settings that can be easily misconfigured.

Official Bing SEO Statement: 25 things that help and hurt SEO

Bing recently published a list of things that influence the position of a website in Bing’s results. Although the list was for Bing, it is very likely that the same factors also influence the position of a website on Google.

bing seo

Bing SEO: 15 things you should pay attention to

According to Duane Forrester, the following 15 elements have a positive influence on the rankings of your web pages (if used correctly):

  1. Title tags
  2. Meta Descriptions
  3. Clean URLs
  4. Images and Alt descriptions (also called alt tags)
  5. H1 tags
  6. Rel=Canonical
  7. Robots.txt
  8. Sitemaps
  9. Social sharing options
  10. Unique content
  11. Depth of content
  12. Matching content type to visitor expectations (text, images, video, etc.)
  13. Usability Page load times (to a certain point – faster is great, but not at the expense of usability and usefulness)
  14. Crawlability (AKA discoverability, so can we actually get to all your content)
  15. News – if you are actually a new site, submit for inclusion

All of these elements can contribute to the rankings of your website. However, you should make sure that you use these elements correctly. If you stuff the H1 tags on your website with keywords, this will have a negative effect on your website’s rankings. You have to understand why an H1 tag is important to a reader, and learn how to write optimized content for them. Just ‘having’ a tag in place doesn’t mean that your tags are doing everything they can for you.

Bing SEO: 10 things you should avoid

There are several things that can have a negative influence on the rankings of your web pages:

  1. Meta Keywords (fill them in if you like, keep it short and relevant, but not a big ranking factor)
  2. Duplicate URLs
  3. Overly long URLs (no set number, but you’ve all seen these)
  4. Cloaking (comes down to your intent, but risky business for sure)
  5. Link buying
  6. Selling links
  7. Link and like farms
  8. Three way links
  9. Content duplication content
  10. Auto following in social media

Just like Google, Bing doesn’t want to get cheated. Do not participate in linking schemes and do not buy links, likes or followers.

Use white-hat SEO methods that play by the rules. If you use white-hat SEO methods, you don’t have to worry about spam filters and penalties. In addition, you will get high rankings that last.

When it comes to ranking factors, Google and Bing aren’t that different. The influence of the factors on the rankings is slightly different but the basic factors are the same. If you want to get high rankings on Google and Bing/Yahoo, check out Gold or Platinum SEO Plans.

5 Steps: How To Check Your Website Usability

Official: 11 types of backlinks that Google does not like

Google has updated the link schemes web page that shows examples of backlinks that Google considers spam. New to the list are article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword rich anchor text links, advertorials that contain paid links, and links with optimized anchor text in press releases and articles.

 wrath-of-google

There are more backlink types that might get your website in trouble. Here’s the list:

1. Google does not like paid links

Buying or selling links that pass PageRank can negatively impact your website’s ranking in search results. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a ‘free’ product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.

Do not buy or sell backlinks if you don’t want to risk your rankings.

2. Google does not like excessive link exchanges

Exchanging links with other websites is fine. Actually, it is normal for most websites. For example, websites about dolphin research can cross-link to all other websites about dolphin research without getting in trouble.

If the cross-linking looks unnatural (the dolphin research websites links to a shoe shop and vice versa), Google might think that you’re trying to build unnatural links.

Use common sense when exchanging links with other sites. As long as the link exchange makes sense for a human website visitor, everything is okay.

3. Google does not like large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns

It’s okay to publish your articles and guest posts on other websites as long as you don’t do it in bulk. If you do guest posts just to get keyword rich backlinks, your website might get penalized.

Only publish articles and guest posts on other websites if you really want to contribute a valuable article.

4. Google does not like automated programs or services that create backlinks to your site

You’ve probably seen the ads for tools and services that promise hundreds (if not thousands) of backlinks with very little work. These tools that help you to ‘dominate’ the search results are a sure way to get your website banned from Google.

Avoid tools and services that automatically build backlinks to your website. If you were able to find these services, Google’s spam team can find them, too.

5. Google does not like text ads that pass PageRank

If you run a text ad on another website, make sure that is uses the rel=nofollow attribute in the link. Otherwise, Google might think that it is a manipulative backlink.

6. Google does not like advertorials and ads that include links that pass PageRank

As are rule of thumb, always use links with the rel=nofollow attribute if you pay for an article or an ad. If the ad includes a paid link that passes PageRank, it might trigger a penalty.

7. Google does not like links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases

If your article contains paragraphs that look like the following, you might invite Google’s spam algorithm to take a closer look at your website:

“There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.”

8. Google does not like links from low quality directories or bookmark sites

If you’re submitting your website to hundreds of Internet directories that will never send you a single visitor, you don’t need to bother. These links won’t help your Google rankings.

If a directory sends your website visitors, it’s worth getting the link. You can ignore other directories.

9. Google does not like widely distributed links in the footers of various websites

Some websites put keyword rich links to other websites in their footers. These links are always paid links and you should not use them to promote your website.

This does not apply to ‘About us’ or ‘Privacy policy’ footer links but to backlinks such as ‘buy flowers’ or ‘buy wedding rings.’

10. Google does not like links that are embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites

Some widget developers offer free widgets that contain links to other websites: “Visitors to this page: 1,234 – buy wedding rings”

If a widget developers offers you to advertise your site through these widgets, make sure that the links use the nofollow attribute or do not use the links at all.

11. Google does not like forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature

Some tools automatically post comments in forums: 

“That’s really great information! Thanks a lot!

Peter

buy wedding rings buy flowers best wedding”

Do not use this method to promote your website. Google does not like it. Avoid tools that automatically post your links to forums.

It’s really simple: Google does not like bulk links and they also don’t like artificial links. To get good backlinks that lead to lasting results, use the link building tools that come with our Platinum SEO Promotion Plan.

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