My Web Traffic Is Coming Back, Out of the Google Dog House

If you run a web site, you probably get spam from small companies offering to fix your site and increase your page rank in search engines like Google. A lot of this SEO spam is bogus. (SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The goal is to get your site to appear near the top of search result for certain key words and phrases that relate to your content or mission.) A bad SEO effort, however, can cost a lot and may destroy your existing page rank in the process.

I’ve finally figured out, without paying anyone, the strange truth about how SEO works on the Web’s biggest search engine: Google likes brands, real ones. Make your site a quality brand–even if it is a blog–with all the proper quality brand and business signals, and Google will reward you with traffic and a boost in their ratings.

Of course, you need good content, a good product. Don’t sell hot air in the desert.

trafficReturningReviving my site from square one is a fun exercise. To figure out the big SEO mystery, I accidentally did almost everything wrong and got my site almost completely knocked off of the Internet. Zero pages indexed, zero traffic for about a month. It has just started to come back this month. Here are some tips on how to destroy your Google search engine rank if you have a web site or blog:

How to get Google to Hate Your Site

  1. Password protect your entire site so no content is visible.
  2. Make your site very slow to load by using a slow host
  3. Load a lot of terribly written plugins for your WordPress site
  4. Make your site slow by having errors in your own custom plug-ins
  5. Don’t use an SEO plug in or ignore all advice therein
  6. Accidentally repost a few things from fake news web sites
  7. Have an RSS feed to a disinformation website on your home page
  8. Have thousands of broken links and redirect links
  9. Have a lot of missing, corrupt, non-optimized images
  10. Have your content exactly duplicated on more than one domain name
  11. Delete 10k+ pages on one domain without setting up any redirects
  12. Make content on your site load randomly each time the page refreshes
  13. Put up fake contact information in your whois page
  14. Have no subheadings in your pages
  15. Write many long complicated sentences with large words that scare people off
  16. Have a nonexistent or a very small, silly “About” page
  17. Get rid of your LinkedIn account and other social media accounts
  18. Change your Gmail name to Edward Snowden once in a while

There are a few more big ones, but I’ll keep those to myself as proprietary information for when I do occasional technical consulting gigs.

Getting Out of the Google Dog House

After fixing and undoing the above mistakes it has been interesting and exciting to see Google now starting to index my pages, bringing new traffic flowing to my completely advertisement free content.

The content I have collected and authored is interesting enough to “go viral” in many cases so it is a challenge to see how high I can get the traffic this year, by finally doing things right in the eyes of the search engines, cleaning up my pages, making them super fast, making them mobile friendly, utilizing social media well, etc.

I had 40 visits today. Could it be 400 within a month? 4,000 within three months? My site was getting an average of 5,000 visits per day years ago. I now think it is very possible to surpass this.

I hope this post helps someone. Feel free to leave questions about SEO in the comments. I may not know the answer, but someone else might stop by and help.

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