A couple of days ago Eric brought up his views that overuse of the NoFollow attribute (or even use of it) may set off red flags at Google and other search companies that a site is savvy enough to practice advanced SEO and to look deeper into further site practices.
Matt Cutts debunked Eric’s theory about Google red flagging, but the discussion continued to go on about SEO and Red Flags; and The Mad Hat put together a recent list of SEO Red Flag rumors.
To follow it up, the other day I was talking to a friend who owns a funny t-shirt site and told me he was not getting much traffic from Google. So I loaded up the site and the first thing I noticed was that his site’s title tag was not optimized one bit for some of the keyterms he wants to rank for.
His response was “I don’t want to do too much SEO at once and have Google penalize me.”
My response was “Google’s not going to penalize you for making your site more Google friendly, change the titles.”
This really got me thinking, how much miseducation about SEO in forums and discussion groups has led to some aspect of fear amongst web publisers and businesses not to do too much SEO?
And what is ‘too much SEO’?
Google just produced an excellent guide in PDF format called Making the Most of Your Content : A Publishers Guide to the Web.
I highly suggest readers download this eBook and review some of the “advanced” SEO techniques Google suggests publishers use.
After a quick review, you’ll probably be convinced that the red flags you think may be set off via basic SEO changes like relevant title tags and quality backlinks are a result of misinformation and novices trying to cover their butts with excuses after Google slaps a penalty on them for something unethical they have done in the past (duplicate content issues, bad linking, reciprocal link farming … etc.).
[Of course, if I could convince my competition that using unique title tags and registering a site with Google Webmaster Central are red flags and would get them kicked out of Google, I’d be a happy clam]
What are some assumed SEO Red Flags you would like clarification on? I’d love to be able to deliver the correct answers to make sure these issues are settled for once and for all.