For the past few months I’ve been hanging out in Google’s Webmaster Forum because my friend Ashley told me how much good information is in there.
I’ve asked a couple of questions, but found out that it’s just as fun to jump in and answer questions. I’ve answered almost 1000 questions, and approaching that milestone made me think about the fact that many of the same questions come up over and over.
The question that I see at least a few times each day is a variation of, “Why don’t I show up higher in the Google search results?”
This question is asked by 2 very different people. As you can guess, one group is normal people who have put up a sub-par site and they are just generally novices – this group often gets the equivalent thousands of dollars worth of help for free. The second group is much more interesting. Many times it’s a low level domain farmer or someone who is a complete content parasite and are genuinely confused as to why they have disappeared when everything was fine for the past 9 months. Often people in the second group become combative when their flaws are pointed out, which often leads to mind-bendingly funny threads.
Many times the “normal people” answers revolve around a couple of common issues: canonicalization, 301 redirects, little or no original content and/or the site’s been hacked.
Group 2’s problems can be one of the above, but may also stem from blatent disregard of Google’s guidelines, buying or selling links or linking to or from “bad neighborhoods”.
Every person who asks this question thinks that there situation is different from the 10,000 previous people who also asked it, so they will often post the question without searching the forum, which can be infuriating, but understandable – I think it’s just human nature.
So if you’re having some issue, come on over and ask the people in the Webmaster Forum. Most of the time you get answers from people all over the world who just want to help you out, and if you ask a question that gets the attention of an official Googler – you may actually get an answer straight from the horses mouth.
My advice to anyone posting a question is, the advice you get is from a group of people who are passionate about understanding the black box of Google search. Most of us are not Googlers and can not state with certainty that doing X will lead to a #1 ranking for your keyword. You will get helpful hints on how to improve your site, often in excess of just search related advice. It’s free, and if you are polite and courteous, almost everyone in there will bend over backwards to help you.
How. Freaking. Perfect.
Maybe pgelqued should take a cruise through this post…