Does Google ever feel like the popular kid at school that everyone wants to be friends with? Or that magnetic teacher that students are falling all over themselves to impress? Sometimes, Google seems eerily human, and if he/she doesn’t rank you high, it can get personal. What did you do to earn Google’s contempt anyway?
Relax, breathe deeply, and remember that Google is powered by emotionless algorithms—then read this article to learn what to avoid so that those algorithms can fall in love with you, technically speaking of course.
Laura Peters, Creator of Mike & Laura Travel and, most recently, a new niche site called Travel Blogging Success.
Table of Contents
They Don’t Provide In-depth Content For Readers
For many, Google can be tricky to please. One of the most common reasons Google ignores or “hates” websites is because they don’t provide in-depth content for readers. Google is looking to rank websites that answer questions and focus on user intent. When a website creates shallow content that doesn’t solve readers’ problems, Google will ignore you.
To please Google and show up in search results, you’ll need to create content that is a one-stop-shop for users. This content should answer all of the readers’ questions regarding a certain topic so they don’t have to go looking elsewhere for answers.
Speed, Reader Focus, and Layout
I run two websites. One performs really well on Google, the other is a complete fail. I’ve found that the main reasons Google hates one website but loves the other are speed, reader focus, and layout.
Google loves a good layout, a website that is easy to navigate. Creating content hubs helps to create very specific categories with content focused on one subject. It’s easy for Google to pick up on your hub’s main topic.
Google ignores sites that are too slow. You need to take steps to increase your website’s speed. If you’re losing readers because pages are slow to load, you can be guaranteed Google won’t index them either.
Finally, you need to write content for the reader, not Google. I come across too many articles that are so keyword-optimized, they’re awful to read. If readers don’t like to read your content, Google won’t either. These three things have helped me significantly grow my current blog, while the old blog is still dead in the water.
Thin Content, No Backlinks and Load Too Slowly
Thin content: Google doesn’t like websites with little or no content. Google wants to direct users to helpful, relevant websites. If your website has little or no content, Google can’t determine whether or not your website is useful. If your website is thin on content, try writing a few blog posts about topics in your niche.
No backlinks: Backlinks to your site indicate to Google that your content is helpful. Every backlink you receive is an endorsement of the content on your website. If your website doesn’t have many backlinks, Google may interpret this as meaning that your website isn’t helpful.
Loads too slowly: Fast page speed is important for any website. 53% of people will abandon a mobile website if it doesn’t load in three seconds. If your website has a high bounce rate, Google may interpret that to mean that your website wasn’t a helpful source of information for the search query the user entered. Setting up a CDN and Accelerated Mobile Pages are two quick ways to speed up your website, especially for users on mobile devices.
Here are Two of the Most Common Reasons
Google’s percentage of the search market is up 71.98%. This is why it’s not surprising [that we] make it our life’s mission to know how to please Google.
Here are two of the most common reasons why Google would hate your website:
High bounce rate. When it comes to Google, this is not a metric you would like to be high. Bounce rate is the measure of how long people stay on your website before they ‘bounce’ or hit back. Obviously, a high bounce rate means that people aren’t spending tons of time on your website. To solve this, one of the most effective strategies is to make sure that your page loads fast. Apparently, people are too busy to wait for a slow website to load.
Too much marketing. Google wants websites that want to help people and not exploit them. Understandably, Google doesn’t want those websites that are overly promotional. When your website is more focused on earning money rather than adding value to people’s lives by producing great and relevant content, expect Google to hate you.
Three of the Most Common Reasons
Not up to date with practices:
If your website is not up to speed with the current industry trends then you most probably will struggle a lot. Taking an example of website speed, your website has to be fast enough to hit FCP (First Contentful Paint) before 0.50ms, or you are not up to the standards.
Optimizing for crawler, not user:
Many SEOs optimize the website especially for the search engine crawlers, not the users, like writing 3,000 words of content so all the keywords can be covered within a single piece, which is wrong. Google prefers short and meaningful answers to queries.
This means writing a false heading or title to bait users to gain attention, meaning the content inside the page is different than what the heading says. Google hates this the most as this is misleading, and it is a black hat technique.
Weak Content and Broken Links
Google processes around 70,000 search queries per second. This shows how pleasing Google will be essential for the success of your business website, online content, or anything that you publish on the internet. The more you rank in the search trends, the more you get to the good side of Google.
I am one of those people who frequently use Google as a search engine, and I can say that I mostly rely on the first set of results that appear. So if you can get on top of those results, it will be a great opportunity to gather more site visitors.
Here are 2 common reasons why Google will hate your website:
You should always offer stronger content for your readers to stay longer. Visitors staying on your page for an extended period of time means that you have provided valuable substance. Google will acknowledge that your site is worth showing [based on] how much others interact with it.
Broken links are links to another webpage that does not exist. Google dislikes frequent 404 File Not Found errors, so it is best to regularly check on your site, fix your broken links, and update the old ones.
A Questionable Backlink Profile, Reliance on Thin Content and Keyword Stuffing
A questionable backlink profile
If you have a lot of low quality incoming links, you’re storing up trouble for the future. Think of sites that scrape the majority of their content, or are very spammy link farms. Comment system abuse is another no-no. Outsourcing your link-building on the cheap can prove very expensive in the long run.
If you operate in bad neighborhoods – and someone in that neighborhood gets collared by Google – you’re part of their network. If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. We all get the occasional questionable link, but I wouldn’t worry about disavowing any questionable links that you didn’t actively build yourself. If negative SEO attacks were that easy it would be the biggest industry on the planet!
Reliance on thin content
What qualifies as “thin” will vary depending on the subject matter, but if you can take a detached view of your content and concede it doesn’t provide value to a reader, then it probably shouldn’t be on your site.
There is no agreement on acceptable wordcount, but I’ve taken 500 words as my bare minimum to say something worthwhile on a topic. In fact, I’d be surprised if I’ve published anything under 1,000 words in the last 12 months. Note that thin content can also include things like duplicate, scraped and automatically generated content.
Yes, people still do this in 2020, almost a decade [beyond] the Panda algorithm update.
By all means increase the topical relevancy of your article and expand its scope – it’s good to update content, and adding a little more meaningful wordcount won’t hurt anyone either. Relevancy is key here, though. Avoid the temptation to stray off into the realm of wordcount for wordcount’s sake.
The days of tricking Google with such a primitive method are well and truly over, and you run the risk of attracting a penalty sooner or later.
Most Common Reasons
You have no right to make claims on life-changing topics.
Remember that the sole purpose of search is to deliver the best and most relevant solution to a user, and when it comes to certain topics such as personal finance and health, Google wants to show accurate and evidence-based results. When it comes to personal finance and health (weight loss, cures for illnesses, etc.), Google wants to promote transparent websites. That is, the authors are identified and each have valid credentials for the topic that they’re writing on.
You are not an expert on the topic.
Google likes to promote websites that are niche specific rather than generalist websites that cover every topic under the sun. Similarly, if you have always published content about sports but decide one day to pivot across to health, it will take significant resources to develop yourself as an expert on the new subject.
Your content is superficial.
We create a lot of content as our business model is heavily organic traffic-based. From my experience, Google prefers web pages that offer users a solution. Therefore, short and top-level content will tend to be outperformed by in-depth long-form guides. I’m not saying you need to write 20,000 words, but the length and depth of content should be reflected in the question that is being asked. In short, your website and its pages must fulfill search intent.
Jason Scott is a Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist at JCS Digital. He has over 8 years industry experience and has helped businesses of all shapes and sizes improve their online presence.
They Are Not Mobile Optimised
One of the main reasons Google hates websites nowadays is because they are not mobile optimised. In July 2019, Google announced that it was switching to mobile-first indexing by default, which means rather than looking at the desktop version of the page, it will look at the mobile version when indexing your website. Unfortunately, a lot of webmasters are still designing their site for desktop users, which means their site doesn’t always function well on mobile devices. Non-responsive pages, slow mobile load speed and poor usability are all things that could hold you back from ranking. Fix these to make sure Google doesn’t hate your site.
Here Are Some Examples Of What Google Hates
To answer this, we must go back to Google’s original webmaster guidelines and ethos about how it ranks sites. Google wants to provide the most relevant content to the search based on their entered keywords and intent. With that said, here are some examples of what Google hates when it comes to ranking a page or website.
- When the page does not provide relevant content to the user, especially in the context of the searcher. Content needs to answer a question, fulfill a task, or complete a list. This content needs to be provided well, in a concise way both in forms of presentation as well as coding.
- A page that has duplicate content from another page or website
- When the page loads slowly
- When the page cannot be displayed properly across different devices, especially mobile
- A site that tries to manipulate the user into seeing something they shouldn’t, or not seeing content they should
- A site that goes against the webmaster guidelines, or tries to abuse the algorithm
- A site that has spammy links pointing to it
Poor User Experience
One of the main things that Google looks for on a website is good user experience, and there’s nothing that Google (and users) hate more in leading toward a bad user experience than unavoidable motion. This is coming from a website designer who hears all the time, “Let’s make it pop.” Typically, that means let’s add something flashy to it. A little flashiness on a website is fine.
Trying to make everything flashy is an issue. Try to limit it to 1 moving item. If you have an item pulsing, on top of an animated background, which itself is on top of a background video, that’s three layers at once. Yes, it’s a call to action, but it’s also a call to the emergency room for a seizure. Google will notice your users always backing away, back onto their search pages, whenever they click on your site. Instead, focus on having one main element, and use any motion in a limited way as the final step of emphasis. Motion can be your friend, but it’s often the first culprit that gives Google unease and even vitriol toward your site.
Hidden text, Missing sitemap data and Duplicate content
Do not use hidden text on your website to manipulate Google’s search ranking. The hidden text is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and as a result, Google will permanently delete your site from its index. The search engines take countless factors into account when they rank your website, and Google can easily pick up the deceptive behavior of hidden text in the web-pages if there is any.
Hidden text is incorporated while using the same color text on the same color background, by hiding the text behind the image, by using CSS to move text off-screen, or by making the font size 0. Sometimes hiding links are also added as the anchor text. Trying to sneak [around] like this will make your site less trustworthy, and ultimately, Google will ban your site from its search results.
Missing sitemap data
If you fail to add a sitemap on your website, Google will find it difficult to crawl your site. Since the non-submission of your sitemap hinders Google’s job, there are fewer chances that your website will appear on search results. Google uses the XML sitemap that praises the structure of your site, so make sure that you have added an up-to-date XML sitemap submitted to your Webmaster Tools account.
Google will not love your website if it contains any duplicate content, and it often results in a penalty. Make sure that the content material is original and very well-written. Most of the time, owners copy the content of other websites with good intentions. It might look like an innocent error, but Google watches this action as a pointless duplication of content.
However, if the owners want to intentionally duplicate the content for different reasons, like for different languages and localities, then the owners must notify Google about the purpose of duplication using the Hreflang [attribute].
Wrong ad positioning and Non-appealing content display
Wrong ad positioning.
Google AdSense is one of the significant services of Google, but it hates the websites that exceed its use. Some sites have only one source of earning money, i.e., displaying ads. They end up displaying so many advertisements that the ads even start covering the content. As a result, it becomes difficult for the visitor to read content or focus on it. Ultimately, readers leave the websites, shuttering the average stay time. This parameter indicates the minimal user engagement and website rankings drop.
Non-appealing content display.
It is a rule of thumb, Google likes what visitors like on the website. Readers do not want to read a long piece of content not divided into headings, bullet points, infographics, or anything that makes going through the content easy. The non-appealing content display annoys the reader, and they leave such websites. This lowers the SEO score. Additionally, Google also analyzes headings and images to understand the context. The search engine cannot [make sense of the content] when it is not divided into proper sections. Ultimately, it does not display it in SERP because of ambiguities.
Two Common Reason Google Hates Websites
Google prides itself as the number one search engine, which is why they can’t tolerate plagiarism, and they don’t take too kindly to recycled content. You also have to take into account that even if your content is 100%, it won’t rank high on Google if your topics are something that’s been covered a couple of times. If you want Google to not “hate” your website, make sure that you post fresh and helpful content.
Linking to Unrelated Sites
If you’re a bit knowledgeable about SEO, you know that linking to websites with better DR (Domain Rating) will help boost your rankings in Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). By linking to authoritative sites, you are showing Google that you are a website that can be trusted.
However, linking to just any website with good DR is a bad idea since this will make Google “hate” your website. You’ll be showing them that you’re not here to post relevant and helpful content but, instead, you’re here to leech off of good sites so you can artificially enhance your SEO. Google doesn’t like this, and they’ll lower your SERP ranking as punishment.
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