Avoiding Getting Blocked By Search Users

Gyi Tsakalakis
June 2, 2011

Over at SearchEngineLand, John Lincoln provides some insight about search users and blocked results:

We all know there have been a ton of updates to Google as of late. Many of these updates will affect search engine optimization as we know it. In particular, Google is now displaying an option to block results from certain websites. While websites will only be blocked when a user is logged into a Google account, this new development still carries potential implications that should be considered by website owners.

Why would users block your law firm website from their results? Here are a couple possibilities:

Poor Content

This is probably the most likely reason that you might get blocked. Remember all that cheap spammy web content that you bought? It may come back to bite you. Regurgitating local news stories, scraping from other poor quality websites, etc, may just give your users a bad enough experience that they block you from their results.

Website Them Doesn't Match Visibility

This is a trickier one. If some of your web pages get visibility for off-topic queries, this too might lead to a block. This is most likely to happen if your site is largely general and doesn't trend toward a specific theme or subject. Variety is a good thing however, if your site becomes so general that it loses its theme, you might find yourself blocked for this reason.

Titles & Descriptions Not User-Friendly

The title of your web pages is the most visible part of your web pages to search users. It's that blue link that you see in Google results. Your web pages' description is the text that appears below the link. If your page titles and descriptions aren't designed with users in mind, you may be at risk of getting blocked. This usually happens when a webmaster or SEO is optimizing pages for search engines resulting in keyword-heavy spammy titles and descriptions.

Various Bounce Back Reasons

If a user bounces back to the search results, it's likely they didn't find what they were looking for or had a bad experience for some other reason. This could be because of page content or because of a technical issue like slow page load speed.

So what can be done to avoid being search blocked? Here are some tips from John:

Make sure you are an expert first

Optimize for subjects that not only you consider yourself an authority on, but also others could potentially consider you an authority on. Before you choose a series of new long-tail keyword to pursue, do a quick poll by asking peers their thoughts on whether your site can really hold up as an expert on the topics.

Quality over quantity

If you are going to write on a topic, make sure you take the time to ensure it is good content and not simply a quick post in an attempt to rank for more keywords. If possible, really flush out the topic. This will not only help you keep the site from getting blocked, it will also support the long-term success of the page.

Make sure your first impression is the right impression

Page titles, snippets and/or meta descriptions tell the user what to expect on the page they are about to visit. If titles and meta descriptions are inaccurate, the user will become frustrated when they finally review the full piece of content. Make sure they get what they expect or you may be blocked.

In a nutshell, focus on your site's content. Search users are on the web for a variety of reasons. In the end, they are searching for something. If your site provides them what they are looking for, it's very unlikely that you will be blocked. On the other hand, if your site becomes one of the thousands of others that doesn't help them, it's likely to be blocked. It's also likely not to do well in organic search results over time as well.

Gyi Tsakalakis
Co-Founder of AttorneySync
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