Today we have another wonderful video from Matt Cutts over at Google. For a change of pace this time around (sarcasm), Matt is talking about something that will get you penalized. Specifically, it’s a sketchy SEO technique that’s been around forever, but only seems to be getting more popular (despite being obviously sketchy). Let’s take a look at what it is, why it’s used, and what may happen to your SEO strategy if you try and utilize it.
Have you ever done a search for something like “the risks of drinking caffeine” and then found, on the first page of results, a page that says something like, “Sorry, we have no results for DRINKING CAFFEINE in our archive.” I’m sure you have. We all have at one time or another. The biggest culprit for me has always been looking for a specific file (like a driver). You search for the name, all the results come up, and when you click them they say “NO RESULTS FOUND FOR DRIVER MGD54” with a bunch of advertisements on the page.
Matt Cutts was asked if Google was going to penalize these sites, because they are so prevalent and it doesn’t seem like they are currently targeted by the search giant. According to Cutts, they ARE targeted, there are just so many of them out there they can be hard to catch. He encourages users to report these sites to Google when they are found. There’s no shame in being an online snitch, especially if it’s going to deliver a better experience for users.
To avoid this happening on your site, just don’t make search results visible. You may be getting traffic to these pages, but if you get popular enough, you could actually end up being reported and hit with a penalty. It’s not worth the hassle. Ask your webmaster today to make sure you aren’t delivering this kind of results.
Here’s Matt’s Video: