BeYB welcomes guest post from Sara Carter!
Blogging is one of the best ways to build visibility for your personal brand. However, visibility alone will not grow your brand. Your blog also needs to be credible. Visibility plus credibility leads to likeability! One way to discredit your blog and your brand is by breaking search engine rules. In this post, Sara shares 6 ways your can ruin your credibility by becoming a banned, blocked, or censored blogger. Enjoy and follow Sara on Twitter!
6 Ways To Become A Banned, Blocked Or Censored Blogger!
After setting up your blog and working hard to first get it noticed by major search engines and then readers, the last thing you want is for all this hard work to go up in smoke.
Although the vast majority of bloggers will never deliberately do something that could get them banned, there are always a naïve few that break search engine rules without even realizing it. Before they know it, their blogs have been banned and their initial fame has all but vanished meaning they are stuck back at square one.
Read on to discover the things that could get you banned so that you can avoid them at all costs.
This is the act of showing search engine spiders information about a particular topic but providing completely different material to visitors.
For example, Google may read a page about sports helmets but search engine users are shown pornographic pages. This is seen as a blatant attempt to distort search engine rankings and is a sure-fire way to get banned. One of the main purposes of search engine algorithms is to rank according to what people see on the page and cloaking makes a mockery of this process.
2. Duplicate Content
This should be one of the most obvious offences anyone can think of.
“Don’t be a lazy blogger and plagiarise other people’s content.” (Tweet This!)
Search engines hate duplicate content and tend to punish sites guilty of it in their rankings. Bloggers that copy and paste multiple pages or use software to rewrite content are in danger of being banned as Google in particular looks to continue its mission to improve customer experience. Use Copyscape or similar tools to check and make sure you are not copying existing content.
3. Malware Distribution
This is another bannable offence that should be obvious and no self-respecting blogger ever needs to worry about doing this on purpose.
However, it is a sad fact that malicious viruses, adware, Trojans etc. are spread all over the Internet by unscrupulous parties. It is possible that you could accidentally upload infected files so make sure you double-check everything you upload to your blog. If visitors start reporting your site for malware offenses, it could be banned or blocked even if you are not deliberately spreading the viruses. Ensure that your site is secure and has the latest patches.
4. Keyword Spamming & Illegal Use Of Competitor Trademark
Google does not place great importance on Meta keywords any longer. However, when you use keywords, list ones that are directly related to your blog and keep your keyword density below 5% for each phrase. Best SEO practice dictates that this should be 2% but that’s another matter. Google will quickly lower your ranking if you are found guilty of keyword spamming and this could become a ban.
Yet this is nothing compared to the trouble you will face if you use the trademarked name of another company as your keyword.
Companies around the world have been found to have used trademarks of rivals that sell a similar product. Not only will your blog be banned, you may also face a court case! UK retail giant Marks & Spencer know all about this as they were sued by Interflora for using that company’s name in online advertisements. Holders of trademarks are entitled to prevent their property from being used as keywords online if these ads do not fully explain where the product/service originally came from.
5. Controversial Content
Although we are supposed to be living in an age of free speech, there are occasions when certain blogs are censored.
This normally happens when the blogger in question is posting incendiary material involving racism, illegal activities and bigotry for example. It is a known fact that certain government organizations and companies approach Google and ask them to forget certain URLs. It is estimated that this results in several million URLs being removed a month!
A simple way to avoid this is by keeping your more controversial opinions to yourself. Yes, this may be a form of censorship but is it worth losing all you have worked for over one topic? For those that wish to fight tooth and nail for what they believe in, it is. However, it is likely that your blog will be banned or at least censored.
6. Submitting Multiple URLs From The Same Site
It would be a major mistake to submit myblog.com and myblog.com/index.html to the database of a search engine for example because this is seen as trying to get two results for the same page.
Some bloggers may be tempted to do this because it gives them two spots on a search engine’s listings but they will be listed together. In essence, all you are really doing is bumping down other sites in the rankings and this is seen as an illegal tactic.