Google hell?

google-hell-evil

The SEO blogosphere is abuzz with talk about this Forbes article: Condemned to Google Hell, talking about Google’s Supplemental Index (AKA “Google Hell”).

Reading the article, I was struck immediately by one thing: what were these site owners doing “depending” on Google’s organic search results for their business? No matter how long a site has been perched at #1, the possibility always exists that a new competitor or a change in the algorithm can come along and knock you down.

Personally, I would be scared to death if my business depended on something over which I had so little control. What was their backup plan? And if they didn’t have one, why didn’t they?

And before anybody gets all up in arms over pages in the Supplemental Index in the first place, it might be a good idea to read what Googler Matt Cutts has to say on the subject.

Turns out it’s not about spamming, and it’s not about duplicate content. According to Matt, the major factor that puts pages in the Supplemental Index is low PageRank — basically having few, if any, links of value pointing to those pages.

What to do? Don’t go exchanging links with everybody who comes along the pike. It’s not about the quantity of your links, it’s about the quality of your links. As Matt says:

Reciprocal links by themselves are not automatically bad, but we have communicated before that there is such a thing as excessive reciprocal linking.

Just imagine what that one site owner could have accomplished if he’d taken the time and energy spent building pages to hold 329 different categories of reciprocal links, and instead turned that toward improving his site’s content and usability! Better websites tend to attract higher-quality links, after all. And higher quality links keep you out of the Supplemental Index.

This ain’t rocket science, folks… Make a better website = attract better quality links. Base your “site optimization” campaign on exchanging links with every Tom, Dick and Harry who has a “link partners” page = end up in the Supplemental Index.

So, what have you done to make your website more link-worthy today?

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