Thanks to the recent (April/March) Google updates, ‘tread lightly’ has never been better advice to anyone in the SEO industry.
Between extra offers in my inbox to ‘exchange links’, ‘sell links’, ‘purchase links’, that all seem to be coming from GMail accounts, and reports of simple Java-script causing pages to drop from Google’s index, I’m about ready to dig a fox hole and hide in it.
First off, lets talk about how dumb it is to even offer to sell/buy/exchange links at this stage of Google’s anti-spam efforts.
Even if the offer came from some part of the universe where blatantly spamming services, using GMail of all things, was not the most painfully obvious way a person who SHOULD be hiding every effort could get detected, it still doesn’t bode well for the ethics of the company trying to sell you some ‘success’ when they can’t even afford their own mail account and have to use a free one.
Further, if the offer came from someone who was magically smart enough to send out all the spam and not have it tracked, if they are at all successful what you’ll be doing is adding your site to a group of sites ‘cheating’ the system. The more sites in the ‘exchange’ the more likely it is to get you caught and penalized. So technically, any success there is to be had, will also be your successful undoing.
Secondly, lets consider how you would try to catch people buying/selling links if you were Google? It’s an invasion of privacy to snoop through someone’s GMail to see if they bought/sold links, but if Google sends you and email asking to purchase a link on your site, is that an invasion of privacy or just a really accurate way to locate the worst spam sites on-line? The same would go for selling a back link to your site, just send out an email, wait for positive responses from the verified site owner, start demoting the site. Talk about making it easy for Google.
Heck as an SEO trying to do things the right way, if I get enough offers to sell/buy links from a particular spammer, wouldn’t it be worth my time to submit a report to Google’s quality team? I think the ‘lack of wisdom’ of these offers should be very obvious now, but they still persist for some curious reason; Perhaps they are all coming from those relentless Nigerian email scammers?
The next issue is on-page Java Script with questionable tactics. I know Google can’t put a human in-front of every page review, even if they actually do a LOT of human based site review. So the safe assumption for now is that your site will be audited by ‘bots’ that have to make some pretty heavy decisions.
When a crawler bot comes across Java Script the typical response is to isolate and ignore the information inside the <script></script> tags. Google, however, seems to be adding Java Script interpreters to their crawler bots in order to properly sort out what the Java Script is doing to the web page.
Obviously if a Java Script is confusing the crawler the most likely reaction is to not process the page for consideration in SERPS, and this appears to be what we’re seeing a lot of recently with people claiming they have been ‘banished’ from Google due to Java Script that was previously ignored. We even did some tests on our blog late in 2011 for Java Script impact and the results were similar to what I’m hearing from site owners right now in this last update.
So, the bottom line is to re-evaluate your pages and decide: is the Java Script you’ve been using is worth risking your rankings over?
If you are implementing Java Script for appearance reasons, using something very common like jQuery, you probably have nothing to fear. Google endorses jQuery and even helps host an on-line version to make it easier to implement.
On the flip-side, if you are using something obscure/custom, like a click-tracker/traffic Java Script which is inserting links to known ‘SEO’ services, I’d remove it now to avoid any stray rounds from Google’s anti-SEO flak-cannon.
I did toss some Minecraft demo map videos on-line last night/this morning, but they didn’t turn out so swell for a bunch of reasons and I’m just going to re-record them with better software. Stay tuned!