SEO Red Flags & SEO Misinformation : Let’s Put An End to It

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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.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Robert

    I read that article too and seemed just ‘wrong’ to me. If you are smart enough to put the nofollow tags in correctly and Google were to slap you down for it, then you would be smart enough to watch for it and then just remove them. All of which would make it pointless for Google to use it that way.

    So I agree with your assertion. Google will play nice as long as you play nice.

  • SeoMexFan

    Great Article Mr. Baker. It´s true there are several seo misconceptions out there. And, as every seo knowledge seeker, I´ve heard several misconceptions. The one I would like you to clarify me is: Will I be seen as Link Farm by Google or any other SE if I have multiple sites linking to each other (not Linking Back) in a non-reciprocal chain (example: Site A -> Site B -> Site C -> Site A)? Thanks for your comments.

  • SeoMexFan

    I forgot to mention: All these sites have different content, but are in the same topic, and in the same server sharing the same IP. Thanks

  • TheMadHat

    @SeoMexFan yes, that’s very easy to detect. If you do it once or twice, no, but creating a link profile is not that complicated and those kind of patterns stand out like a sore thumb.

  • SeoMexFan

    @MadHat, thanks for your answer. I will keep this in mind when linking among my own sites. MadHat, do you know a better way to do this (linking among your own sites)?

  • Jacques Snyman for SEO Results

    The no-follow attribute was 1st created by google in early 2005 to create a deterrent to spammers who were using automated programs to post comments and links on blogs. Using it means you’re playing by their rules and it should lead to any kind of penalization. Just don’t overdo it, as with anything in life.

  • Jacques Snyman for SEO Results

    …..should NOT lead to any kind of penalization, sorry… bad

  • chris boggs

    agreed with madhat – the tactics you describe seomex would be something that would most likely be easily detectable. However, there are “playgrounds” where this would be less detectable, especially if within an industry that already has strong interlinking. I think you could likely get away with some good anchor text manipulation between large sites that would create better value links out of those that already exist. Link reclamation is much easier than building them anyway, n’est-ce-pas? 😉

  • ödev

    Thank you for article