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13 Deadly Google Sins – Is Your Website Committing Any of These?

Posted in: CSS,Google,Search Engine Optimisation,Search Engines,SEO by Richard Hearne on October 16, 2006
Internet Marketing Ireland

With so many webmasters constantly courting Google for some search love, it is easy to overlook some of the most fundamental and basic reasons why Google wont show you as much affection as you’d like.

Here’s a list of my top 13 sins (in no particular order) that will see your advances spurned by Google:

  1. Flash-only sites

    No matter what people tell you, getting any sort of decent ranking for Flash-based websites is always going to be far tougher than for the HTML-based equivalent. Flash may look great and often offer a great user experience, but from a Search Engine point of view Flash is a death-trap.

  2. Canonical URL issue

    It’s quite well documented that Google sees the non-www and www version of any website as different pages. If your site is accessible via both www and non-www URL you may have some indexing and supplemental issues with Google (to test this type your website address into your browser using first the www.yoursite.com and then yoursite.com and see if either redirects to the other). You can find an entire post about this over on Matt Cutts’ blog.

  3. Zero backlinks

    I am yet to see Google index any site that has no backlinks from an external website. While Google may crawl your site (e.g. if you use Google’s submission tool), your site must have at least one backlink to get any pages indexed. The higher the quality of any backlinks the quicker your site will be indexed. (Oh, and just a quick mention that Google’s link: operator only displays a sample of the backlinks your site has. If you want a more complete listing head over to Yahoo SiteExplorer.)

  4. Nothing or little to index

    By their nature Search Engines love text. They really love text. Text contained in images cannot be indexed by Google so that beautiful page you just created in Photoshop and uploaded to your webserver as an image file won’t get much lovin’ from Google tonight. Similarly, if your pages contain little text you shouldn’t expect Google to attach much importance to them. (Flash sites also come under this heading but are so notoriously difficult to rank that they deserved their very own listing :))

  5. Duplicate content

    Google has a thing for original content. It just eats it up. On the other hand it particularly likes spitting out content which the filters think has been ripped off. So when you copy someone else’s website word-for-word Google isn’t going to think you’re too clever. Duplicate content issues can also occur when pages on your site are accessible via more than one URL (the canonical URL issue in #2 above can also come into play here).

  6. Where’s your server? What’s your ccTLD?

    If you are thinking about what TLD domain to use and where to host your website consider this: a site hosted in the US with a .com TLD will not show up in the ‘pages from Ireland’ index. Only sites which Google deems Irish will appear in the Irish search index.

  7. Linking to ‘bad neighbourhoods’

    Google tries very hard not to penalise sites based on where their backlinks come from (which makes sense). They do however come down hard on sites that link out to bad neighbours. What constitutes a bad neighbour? Well you can be pretty sure that if you link to adult sites, drugs (pharma) sites or gambling sites that Google isn’t going to look favourably on you.

  8. Dead-end objects

    Have you ever clicked on a link to be taken to page with no links? Doesn’t make for a good user experience and search engine spiders aren’t too hot on these pages either. Spiders like to be able to move from one page to another via links. When there are no links on a page the spider is likely to head off elsewhere. So be friendly to the Googlebot and give him as much direction as you can.

  9. Cloaking/doorway pages

    Now this is a really big no-no. If there’s one thing Google dislikes it’s when a website displays one version for human visitors and another for the Googlebot. Commonly referred to as a black-hat technique, cloaking is becoming far less prevalent. Do you remember what happened to BMW?

  10. Artificial link networks

    When your site goes from having a handful of backlinks to having several thousand overnight you can be quite sure your site is going to be flagged by Google’s quality algo. Google is constantly on the lookout for link networks and rapidly devalues links found to be less than genuine.

  11. Hidden text

    Another big no-no is hidden text. As with cloaking, Google likes to see exactly what your human visitors see. If you hide text via CSS or otherwise on your pages you risk the wrath of a Google ban. (If you want to quickly check a page for hidden text press CTRL+a to highlight all text. FireFox users can click CTRL+Shift+s do disable external style sheets.)

  12. Build it and they will come

    Well no they wont actually. If your content has no link popularity then don’t expect to come top of the SERPs for anything other than the most off-beat search queries. The most important variable required to achieve good rankings for any page in Google is the link swarm pointing at that content (note: this is my opinion and relates to all but the least competitive search terms). This variable is measured across both the quality and quantity axes – the right links are far more powerful than a mulitude of ‘wrong’ links.

  13. Session id’s in your qury string

    Google explicitly states that having any variable in your URL that could be mistaken for a session ID is likely to cause problems for the Googlebot. If your URLs use anything that looks like


    you might want to consider revising your page names.

The above list is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to Google indexing problems, but I hope it covers some of the issues that I see recurring fairly often on many webmaster forums and the Google Webmaster Group. (I post under the nickname RedCardinal on quite a few forums and the Webmaster Group.)

In my next post I will be looking at the steps you can take to get the most love from Google.

P.S. If you are looking for Google’s webmaster guidelines they can be found here.

P.P.S If you have any items you would like to add to this list why not leave a comment below :)

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  1. Hey Richard,
    Some good stuff there.

    It should be clarified in point 6, that it will show up if it has a .com but has an irish IP address.

    I’m holding off on an Irish IP address while waiting on research on weather the Irish IP will have an effect on global results.

    Comment by Dave — October 16, 2006 @ 11:21 am

  2. Hey Dave

    I was going to go into the details in my next post.

    I have been wondering myself recently if it might be effective to target two separate territories by hosting in one and using the ccTLD of the other.

    If you come across specific evidence on this would you mind dropping me an email?



    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 16, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

  3. I have been asking around but no one seems to really know anything definitive. Setting up identical sites on two separate domains would obviously lead to a duplicate content penalty.

    I have been doing my own research and it seems that the best option is to stick with the .com yet use an Irish IP address. 2bscene do this with their .net TLD and it seems to work for them.

    I’ll be doing an official test in the coming weeks, so Ill keeo you informed.

    Comment by Dave — October 16, 2006 @ 7:00 pm

  4. [...] In ‘13 Deadly Google Sins‘ we looked at a few of the most serious issues that can affect a website’s ability to rank well in Google. [...]

    Pingback by 10 Steps to Getting Into Google And Staying There (How to make Google Appreciate Your Website) | Search Engine Optimisation Ireland .:. Red Cardinal — October 19, 2006 @ 10:40 am

  5. Hey Richard

    Great post! What about ‘Don’t keyword stuff and over-optimize your page.’?

    I love your stuff by the way and am citng your AOL clickthrough analysis alot at the moment – there seems to be a flurry of questions on the boards about position 1 vs 10, or 10 vs 11 etc, and your stuff is very applicable!



    Comment by Laura — October 20, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

  6. Hi Laura

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Good point about keyword stuffing – I probably should have mentioned it alright. I’m still amazed that people stuff their pages and then post on the SiteMaps Group asking why they have been penalised.

    Can I ask which boards you referring to?



    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 20, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

  7. Hi
    I work on a well known insuers website. And we’re based in uk and Ireland.. and it is v. tricky to get indexed for both UK and Ireland. However we have managed with irish hosted sites to get our .co.uk version indexed on google.co.uk for pages from the uk.

    Duplicate content was a deffinate issue originally, but we split our content so that it was different enough. Also we changed address behind our domain registration details to our local office address (which apparently google can look at) so our co.uk now has a relevant local address when you do a whois lookup.

    However we’re still trying to get all our pages indexed and it is a slow and painful enough process as we’re also trying to build up inbound links to our site to help improve our ranking for our main product specific keywords.
    currently we’re only really ranking for our brand name searches.

    We tried google sitemaps early on at one point and it killed our rankings and we ended up having to start again.

    our .com has and still gets indexed in ireland, as it has irish IP address, and does quite well on the serps.

    don’t know if this is any help to you.


    Comment by Dara Walsh — November 8, 2006 @ 9:13 am

  8. Hi Dara

    The issue of sitemaps hurting SERPs is one that rages on. I sometimes wonder if the sitemap isn’t showing structural problems in the site itself rather than anything else? I personally believe that it is more likely to be site specific as opposed to a Google issue. But only Google knows for sure :grin:

    There is constant debate over on the Sitemaps group (and just about every WM board around) about this.

    Interesting comments – thanks for those.



    Comment by Richard Hearne — November 8, 2006 @ 9:31 am

  9. Nice Article. I just fixed the canonical url issue at my own site. If your interested you can do it quickly by putting a rule like this in your .htaccess file:

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.aidanf\.net [NC]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^$
    RewriteRule ^(.*) http://www.aidanf.net/$1 [L,R=301]

    This says that any url that doesn’st start with www and has the HTTP_HOST set will be redirected to the same url with www appended to the start of the url.

    Comment by Aidan Finn — January 30, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

  10. Hi

    We have a .co.uk website hosted in Ireland with an Irish IP address. Does this effect Google ranking??

    anyone have any thoughts. Is it enough that it is a .co.uk??

    Comment by Mark — February 5, 2007 @ 9:25 am

  11. Mark

    What country are you targeting? Ireland or the UK?

    Can you email me your URL and I’ll take a quick look – richard at redcardinal dot ie

    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 5, 2007 @ 10:58 am

  12. Hi Richard
    The UK – We are well indexed by google.co.uk.

    We originally were hosted in Ireland, Changed platform to a UK company. Ranking did not increase substantially now want to revert back to Irish IP/ hosting.

    what I am worried about is could there by an adverse effect?

    Comment by Mark — February 5, 2007 @ 11:06 am

  13. Technically it should have no, or little, impact on your ranking. It should only affect searches that are filtered for country (i.e. ‘Pages from UK’ searches).

    The reason I ask about your domain is that I am interested in seeing whether you are included in both the UK and Ireland filtered index.

    Unless you have good reason to host in Ireland I would probably recommend keeping your site on UK IP space.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 5, 2007 @ 11:13 am

  14. Richard sent you the url

    Comment by Mark — February 5, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  15. Great stuff for anyone, like struggling writers, with a website they are trying to get noticed. I became a pro promoter in 1997, quit when they changed the net from art to the blasphemy of pay per click, but I still work my own sites–good pointers. Google is tough to crack, gotta play by their rules. Thanks,

    Comment by Jeff Fruedberg — February 18, 2007 @ 9:29 pm

  16. Hi Jeff

    Thanks for your kind words.

    Best rgds,

    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 18, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

  17. [...] 13 Deadly Google Sins – Is Your Website Committing Any of These? http://www.redcardinal.ie/search-engine-optimisation/16-10-2006/13-deadly-google-sins/ [...]

    Pingback by SEsc: The day in SEM, March 01, 2007 at Michael Visser — March 7, 2007 @ 8:50 pm

  18. “Another big no-no is hidden text. As with cloaking, Google likes to see exactly what your human visitors see. If you hide text via CSS or otherwise on your pages you risk the wrath of a Google ban. (If you want to quickly check a page for hidden text press CTRL+a to highlight all text. FireFox users can click CTRL+Shift+s do disable external style sheets.) ”

    What about sites that have text, that is hidden, but actually replaced by images? So that people using, say linux with images turned off get relevant/extra information instead of a stupid empty area where an image previously was?

    Comment by Pete — March 16, 2007 @ 10:34 am

  19. Hi Pete

    That’s what the ALT tag is for. If someone decides to turn off images why would they want to get text that wouldn’t normally appear? I think they make a concious decision to turn off images and they understand the outcome of that decision.

    Any site that displays text as you suggest is running a risk of a Google penalty or ban.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 16, 2007 @ 10:54 am

  20. So technically Google punishes good css practice? I think thats a little unfair.

    For example, I have often used text on a page as a placeholder, and then made it “invisible” using css and have it replaced with an image(s) – purely so I can do simple things like rollovers, etc without having to use javascript – and that runs the risk of Google punishing me for that?

    Comment by Pete — March 16, 2007 @ 4:08 pm

  21. No I wouldn’t say that. It boils done to intent. There is quite some debate over what does and what does not constitute best practice. Generally if it’s good for users you should be safe. But as soon as you start jamming large text nodes into hidden divs that are not for users then your into dangerous territory.

    How do you replace a textnode with an image without JS?


    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 16, 2007 @ 4:40 pm

  22. Hi Richard,
    We have a .ie hosted in Ireland presently and want to have .co.uk, .net and possibly use other country specific tlds. Will there be a big difference in google rankings if it is all hosted in Ireland? Would you recommend a per-country hosting solution?


    Comment by Dermot O'Sullivan — March 19, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

  23. Hi Dermot

    Google uses the IP and the ccTLD to filter you into country level searches. A .co.uk hosted here in Ireland should get the same result as a .co.uk hosted in the UK.

    If you have a hosting arrangement here then having the applicable ccTLD should suffice.

    Hope that helps.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 19, 2007 @ 8:05 pm

  24. Sorry, Richard, are you looking for an example of the technique I was talking about?

    Comment by Pete — March 20, 2007 @ 9:21 am

  25. Hi Pete

    If you like post it or send it to me [richard a t redcardinal period ie].

    I presume you are using absolute positioning? I cant think of any other way to do this?


    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 20, 2007 @ 10:11 am

  26. email sent :)

    Comment by Pete — March 20, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  27. Oh I’m glad you wrote this. I went through the check list and could not check a yes to any of them. Seems I maybe on the right track with my site. Great post.

    Comment by TerryG — March 27, 2007 @ 1:40 pm

  28. Eh… what happened to BMW?

    Comment by Nixon — May 10, 2007 @ 8:56 am

  29. Home page it’s also a duplicated content issue.
    For example http://www.domain.com/index.php and http://www.domain.com shows up the same page, so best is to give up on the index.php

    can be easily done in .htaccess like this
    #redirect index.php or htm or html to /
    RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^GET\ .*/index\.(htm|html|php)\ HTTP
    RewriteRule ^(.*)index\.(htm|html|php)$ /$1 [R=301,L]

    Comment by Louie — May 16, 2007 @ 7:58 pm

  30. @Nixon – Google is your friend.

    @Louie – was advising a very large website about that very point just last week.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — May 20, 2007 @ 4:03 am

  31. I think is one of the most common mistake made when it comes to SEO.

    Comment by Louie — May 20, 2007 @ 9:17 am

  32. Funnily enough, from recent observations this may no longer be an issue. It seems that Google is able to see that index.* is one and the same as the root page. Certainly the cache timestamp for both seems to be identical for most sites. PR seems also to be identical.

    I’ve not checked on a large number of sites, but it seems like a no-brainer for Google to fix this particular issue. Of course, that’s not to say that redirecting index.* onto root / won’t benefit your site.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — May 20, 2007 @ 10:13 am

  33. I wouldn’t take that as a complete YES. Is still a grey area regarding search engines as is considered duplicated content.
    SE rewards well developed websites, and the index.* or no index.* is part of it, as are pages for print which shouldn’t be indexed and can easily be achieved by adding the meta tag nofollow.

    Comment by Louie — May 20, 2007 @ 11:28 am

  34. hi i have a forum within my portal. regard the /index.php issue i checked few top sites have this issue but are stll well ranked on googlesearch….

    Comment by abhishek — August 1, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

  35. Hi Richard

    I posted a comment today to one of your earlier posts on irishwebmastersforum. Link attached: http://www.irishwebmasterforum.com/search-engine-optimisation/876-google-com-vs-google-ie-2.html

    … and it relates to cardinal sin no. 6 above. Basically I want to get spotted on ‘pages from ireland’ searches but will have a .com hosted in Canada. You seem to be saying that this is impossible but have found some sites that are hosted overseas with a .com e.g.

    any advice would be appreciated

    Comment by a0nghus — August 13, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

  36. Hi aOnghus

    niceone.com also mirror on niceone.ie. You’ll find that that results in duplicate content issues. (niceone.ie has been dead now for many moons BTW.)

    I cannot find nightcourses.com using a ‘pages from Ireland’ search. Same goes for irelands-directory.com.

    Perhaps you can post the URLs for the searches where you say they appear?

    One thing I can say with 100% confidence – if you host a .com in Canada you will not appear in any Google searches with ‘pages from Ireland’.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — August 14, 2007 @ 2:26 am

  37. [...] you’re into major duplicate content issues there… @aOnghus – I posted a response over on my blog 13 Deadly Google Sins – Is Your Website Committing Any of These? | Search Engine Optimisation & … Rgds Richard __________________ .: Search Engine Optimisation Ireland & Online Marketing [...]

    Pingback by google.com Vs google.ie - Page 2 - Irish SEO, Marketing & Webmaster Discussion — August 14, 2007 @ 2:30 am

  38. My site is 6 weeks old, and I am getting an insane amount of backlinks from having my link in my sig on web forum posts. The sig is retroactive and displays on every post I’ve made in the last 3 years that included a sig.

    Is Google going to penalize me for having so many backlinks when my site is so new?

    Comment by mlankton — September 17, 2007 @ 1:41 pm

  39. Hey mlankton – this is very delayed as your comment got caught where it didn’t want to be :)

    I doubt it will cause you much trouble. If it’s from multiple forums then try easing it in. The best thing to do is experiment a little and watch your rankings. But bear in mind it might take some time for Google to crawl and find all those edited links.

    Also – sig links are going to be pretty low value. And it really depends a lot on what fora your sig links come from. Too difficult to really advise you. Just watch the reaction from Google and act accordingly.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 6, 2007 @ 8:01 am

  40. Yeah, apparently I got on akismet’s blacklist for a week or so, and I didn’t catch it right away. Akismet is great, but it’s kind of scary that you can get stuck in akismet limbo so easy and they don’t give you a heads up. They were nice about it when I contacted them and removed me right away.

    Comment by mlankton — October 6, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

  41. Hi Richard, very informative blog, how ever the issue of local tld and local host seems a little off to me , i think if google deems you relevant enough they will include you in the country filtered results, if you search for my site via the ireland results we are still in the same position as the web filter, main keyword phrase is web design tipperary despite using a .net hosted abroad, would love to hear your thoughts on the matter,
    Kind regards Mick

    Comment by mick — October 26, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

  42. Hi Mick

    Seeing more and more of this, which signals to me an increasing ability to discern where a site is ‘from’. However, we’re still not clear on what drives this and it seems to be still the exception rather than the rule.

    My advice – stick to the guidelines until such time as they are updated by the powers that be.

    Thanks for popping by

    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 26, 2007 @ 5:15 pm

  43. Thanks for the quick reply, my own personnel opinion is that it relates to relevancy , as i have come across plenty of sites which return in the country filter whilst being hosted elsewhere for example a search for free games via the ireland filter will return http://www.popcap.com/ as number one despite ip address for america and being a .com, as they would be the most relevant return for the query free games, relevancy must be the overriding factor, even for my own keywords im coming out on top of a lot of locally hosted local tlds,
    Kind regards,

    Comment by mick — October 26, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

  44. I wouldn’t consider that result for free games to be relevant at all – I ask for pages from Ireland, and that quite obviously has no relation to Ireland (that I can see). Nice find though.

    Your second link gets nofollow BTW.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 26, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

  45. Hi Richard im unsure if i submitted last comment ,
    you may of wished for more relevant results ,but the site still returns in the prime position none the less,watering down the argument for the previous, maybe the bot is given more weight to the query item than the query country ?, also on another matter as a site { red cardinal} with a good page rank, what are your views on googles plans to do away with page rank and replace it with the new page rate system that they are currently working on, where by the surfers will decide on whats popular and whats not,via on page vote for page and the trip over option on the toolbar
    regards Mick

    Comment by mick — October 26, 2007 @ 5:54 pm

  46. A ‘Pages from Ireland’ option to me quite clearly states my desire to be returned Irish results. In this case I think it’s a feature they have introduced which may have be buggy. I know that they are currently hunting international bugs.

    Page Rate was a fake – do you honestly think they’d let surfers decide? Spam Central.

    Don’t believe everything you read :grin:


    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 26, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

  47. phew , had me totally taken in grrr
    Regards Mick

    Comment by mick — October 26, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

  48. Richard,
    Re Deadly sin #6
    This article: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/08/server-location-cross-linking-and-web.html
    seems to make it clear that if there is a top level domain name that has regional significance, thats the factor that will feed results from a regional search. IP address (server location) only comes into play if there isnt a regional domain name.

    That agrees with your answer #23 above, but perhaps the mention of server location in the deadly sin causes confusion.

    Isnt it enough to say that all you need is a regional TLD to match your target market? I think hosting companies overplay the importance of the location of their server…would you agree?


    Comment by Andy Millar — November 20, 2007 @ 11:36 pm

  49. Hi Andy

    Thanks for dropping by.

    Just in case you didn’t notice this post is over 1 year old now – a year is a long time in search :grin:

    The UK market in particular has been plagued with Google problems over the past year – .co.uk domains hosted outside UK not appearing in PFUK.

    Another point to make is that Google now lets you set your preferred target country for non-geographic TLDs (.com, .net etc).

    Most hosting companies dont have a clue about SEO, so yes I would agree with your last comment.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — November 21, 2007 @ 8:42 am

  50. Hi Richard,
    youre right I should have noticed the date!…just discovered your site and its great – very useful. And talking about dates and things changing, I’ve also just discovered today that google have a new tool that lets you specify your location even if your domain name isnt a geographic TLD



    Comment by Andy Millar — November 22, 2007 @ 12:10 am

  51. Hi Andy

    Just to clarify – you can only use the targeting tool if your domain is non-geographic. cTLD domains cannot use this function. They released the tool about 2 weeks ago. I’ve heard about results being quite fast, but I’m still waiting on a number of sites.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — November 22, 2007 @ 7:45 am

  52. My site is hosted in the UK on UK IP but has a COM.AU address and is targeted towards COM.AU but we seem to get more traffic from google.co.uk rather than google.com.au. Help!!

    Comment by Nige — July 11, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  53. Hi Nige

    My advice to you is to move off UK IP space. I really think that Google’s geotargeting is completely borked right now.

    Find a reliable Australian host and move your site into AU IP space.

    Best rgds, and good luck with it

    Comment by Richard Hearne — July 13, 2008 @ 3:07 am

  54. I would be more hesitant. Theres may just a lot more searches going on from the UK for your search terms. Moving server isn’t an insignificant task.
    You don’t mention whether or not your Australian traffic has declined in numbers or just in proportion? If its just a % change, I wouldnt move it without a lot more thought.

    Comment by Andy Millar — July 14, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  55. I would add “Over-optimization” as one of the deadly sins. Google has become adept at devaluing sites that stuff title, meta description, alt text and body copy with tons of keywords. And using the anchor text over and over again is another form of that.

    Comment by Integrisearch — August 7, 2008 @ 7:37 pm

  56. Re; Canonical URL issue

    Firstly may I compliment you on this most informative website.

    In an attempt to get my website ranked as high as possible, I
    verified my site with Google Tools, used all their checking
    resources and came out with a clean bill of health with no
    issues as far as Google is concerned.
    The only things I can think of is
    (a) that my website is fairly new(2 months) although I have had
    the domain for 13 months.
    (b) My site is a one page only and I have no back links.

    With regards to the subject matter, I did notice that Google give
    3 choices in the ‘ Set preferred domain’ option, does this mean
    I should select the www or the none www, or simply leave it on
    number 3 (default) as use both?.

    It is some years since I had a website, which was a geocities
    site for genealogy lookups where I had top rank, but it appears
    much has changed since those days.

    Finally! how many of you are aware of the new search engine at
    cuil.com and what will its future be?.

    Again this is a great site.


    Comment by grafix — September 18, 2008 @ 5:05 am

  57. The first point about Flash sites is right on! I see an increasing number of new sites, especially for small businesses, that use only Flash content. They look pretty, but who cares if nobody’s finding them?

    I read recently that Adobe has provided technology to Google and Yahoo that will begin crawling and indexing Flash content. Does anyone here have any experience with this change and how it has affected their site?

    Comment by Demtron — October 10, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  58. Hi,

    With all the talk of having people move hosting to country specific IP spaces when a non country tld is used could we not just use Googles webmaster tool and set the preferred geo location there or doesnt that work.

    My site is irish, my audience I’d prefer are Irish but I use a .com and my host uses a dutch IP range. Do I have to move host or is that my only option?


    Comment by Gilles — November 1, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

  59. Hi Gilles

    Thanks for dropping by. You can set the geotarget to Ireland within Google Webmaster Tools. Then your .com will be perceived as Irish by Google. It takes a couple of weeks to kick in however.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — November 4, 2008 @ 3:29 am

  60. Does adding content that uses Irish locations such as Dublin, Ireland etc help then too to let Google know its Irishness.

    And we are talking about pages from Ireland Right as opposed to just under the general Google.ie. As many people dont seem to use “Pages from Ireland” does it matter. Once I come up in the main listing under Google.ie that would be enough.

    Comment by Gille — November 4, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

  61. Thanks for the tips. I didn’t know about the sessions – but I guess it makes sense because Google doesn’t want to send users to pages that require log ins.

    Comment by Jeff — November 9, 2008 @ 9:14 am

  62. @Gilles – It may add some benefit, but I’d imagine nothing like using a right ccTLD, hosting location, or setting your geotarget via GWT. I wouldn’t relay on text helping set your geographic relevance though.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — November 9, 2008 @ 7:58 pm

  63. [...] White hat or black hat: It sounds like something from Harry Potter but these strange terms relate to how search engines [...]

    Pingback by 5 steps to search engine optimisation (SEO) « Jenny Williams — November 20, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  64. Only 13 deadly sins I am sure there are more. Thanks for getting the word out there. There are many who don’t understand the rules and requirements and any education provided is welcome as far as I am concerned.

    Comment by Dave Gange — May 23, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

  65. [...] ‘13 Deadly Google Sins‘ I looked at a few of the most serious issues that can affect a website’s ability to [...]

    Pingback by 10 Steps to Getting Into Google And Staying There – The Ultimate Quick Guide to Google SEO - Red Cardinal [.] ie — July 13, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

  66. your guides are excellent, one thing I wonder about geo-targeting, does having a host in your country (Canada in my case) stack with having a Canadian ccTLD domain??

    is it one or the other, or is it better to have both?

    Comment by Evan Kendal — July 20, 2009 @ 2:10 pm

  67. Thanks for very informative article. To my horror, I was making more than one of these errors – now thankfully resolved!


    Comment by Alex Muir — February 8, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

  68. I think the majority if not all of those points are as valid now as when they were written. I think the comment about “both www and non-www URL” is a good one.

    Comment by Graham — February 26, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  69. @Evan – it’s one or the other or both. If you want to target CA then I’d use .ca ccTLD. If you think you might want to sell into US later then try to use .com gTLD and host initially in CA.

    @Alex – glad it was useful.

    @Graham – funny that after nearly 4 years most, if not all, of this is still absolutely valid.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 17, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  70. Richard,
    That is a pretty good list,
    I think it help me with my new flower shop.

    Hopefully, I can use this as checklist and do things right up front.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Comment by Aanee Flowers — July 14, 2010 @ 3:25 am

  71. Hi Richard,

    Thanks for this information. It appears that I’m guilty of a few of these “sins”. Looks like I’ve got a bit of work to do to get my site in order but at least I now have something to work on.


    Comment by Alex — August 17, 2010 @ 11:03 am

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