I’ve made mention from time to time about my website mistakes. After playing around with it a little over the weekend, I thought it would be nice to share with you the “What not to do’s” when it comes to creating a website. I’m able to create this list because it’s everything that I did when I created my website. I’ll share what I did and how Google hated it.
Actually, the list should be entitled “How to Piss Google Off with Your Website So They Will Stop Sending Traffic Your Way.” I learned this list by trial and error. My mistakes were made because I was a newbie and didn’t know any better. I wasn’t trying to buck the system or “get rich quick”. As a matter of fact, I didn’t put any ads on the site until several months down the road. When I created the site, I didn’t even know what Google AdSense was. I was basically testing my HTML coding skills and my writing ability. (Yes, I hand coded the Tidbits site).
Here’s my list of 8 Things to Do to Piss Google Off with Your Website So They Will Stop Sending Traffic Your Way:
- Create a broad site. The first way to piss Google off so they won’t send traffic your way is to create a website on several topics rather than a well researched niched website.If you visit my Tidbits and Stuff website, you’ll notice that the topics range from Beauty to Household tips, to Insurance to Writing and so on. This is a no-no. It would have been better to create a separate website for each topic that I have listed in my top navigation. However, being the schizoid that I am, I decided to include my favorite topics all in one website.
- Don’t use original content. When I first created the site, I wrote all of the articles. Realizing it was a slow process, I went to a few article directories, such as Ezine Article, and selected a few articles that were well written and offered valuable information that would benefit my readers.Back then I didn’t realize that original content was king. I wanted more information on my site so I went out and got it. I added content at the rate of an article or two a day. On occasion, I would write something, but the rest came from article directories.
- Register several domains to point to the same site. This, I understand, is a big no-no. In my search for the ultimate hosting company, I had to suffer through several duds. Each time I went to move my site from one host to another, I registered a new domain name, similar to the old name, so that my site wouldn’t suffer any down time. As a result, I had the original name tidbitsandstuff.com, then I registered tidbitsnstuff.com, then tidbits-n-stuff.com and finally tidbitzandstuff.com (I had to go through several hosting companies until I found Hostgator. I’ve been happy ever since).
- Forget about keywords. When I created Tidbits and Stuff, I didn’t know what a keyword was, never mind write articles using them. My choice of meta tag keywords were laughable. If you view the source of several of the articles, you’ll see how pitiful the meta tags are. I never bothered to correct all of them, because I don’t think meta tags are as important now as they once were.As far as keywords in my articles, they didn’t exist. It’s amazing that I get any traffic at all.
- Place tons of ads on each page. Once I discovered Google AdSense, I went crazy. I placed ads everywhere on each page, as many as I legally could fit. This not only made each page look like a walking spamvertisement, it detracted from the aesthetics.Later, as I understood the error of my ways, I went back to remove most of the ads. Some pages still have the old spamverstisement format, but I change them as I see them.
- Stop updating the site. As a freelance writer on the internet, I’m able to indulge my every writing whim. The wind blew and I got tired of Tidbits and Stuff so I created a few other blogs. As I got more and more engrossed in my other blogs, I forgot all about Tidbits and Stuff. Therefore, months went by without me even checking to see if it was still there. Google doesn’t like stagnant sites.
- Don’t try to get backlinks. Back in the early days of my site, I used to write article for free directories in an attempt to get backlinks (Another mistake. Instead of writing new content for the free directories, I used content I had written for my site…boy what a big mistake). As you can see, I’m holding nothing back. All of my mistakes are here for you to learn from.I stopped writing articles and I stopped adding my content to Digg, Reddit or any of the social media sites (BTW, I got banned from Netscape because I treated them like Digg…they didn’t like that so they banned me).
- Lose Google Page Rank. As a result of all of the above, I eventually lost my Google page rank. I believe my site has a 0 page rank now. I removed the utility from my browser that displays website page ranks because I got tired of watching it drop. The only place left for my rank to go is “Not available.”
The final outcome:
Here’s the interesting thing about that website. Although Google has dropped me like a hot potato, I still get quite a bit of traffic from the other search engines such as Yahoo, Ask, Life Search, MSM, AOL and others. All of my “Google” mistakes are just that…Google mistakes. The other search engines are more forgiving. After all if you ask Yahoo “how to cook sirloin,” an article I wrote about cooking sirloin comes up as number one (at least as of this writing). The article isn’t all that good, and bottom line, I’m not much of a meat eater, so it’s surprising that it should show as number one.
Periodically, when Google lets its guard down, the same article shows as number one on Google too (but not too often anymore).
The cool thing about all of the mistakes is that even though the site is a Google disaster, I make anywhere from $300 to $500 a month in advertising revenue each month (from Google and other sources). I guess if I took the time to spruce it up and start correcting the massive errors, it might be a real money maker.
Moral of the Story
It’s kind of hard not to make money from a website.