Yeah, I thought that title would grab you. Google announced a new extension to its Chrome browser, an extension that could truly rock the SEO World. The extension does two things:
- It enables searchers to block domains from search results.
- It tells Google what domains have just been blocked.
Says Google anti-spam spokesman Matt Cutts, " If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results."
This blog post will tell you exactly how to preserve and enhance your search engine rankings in a world where users can send explicit feedback (this Chrome extension is neither the first tool for explicit feedback, nor will it be the last; but it might just be the most powerful, so far).
I should make it clear that I was always a big believer is both explicit and implicit user feedback. The search engines would be fools not to pay attention to which sites please their visitors when serving up sites to new searchers.
It was just over two years ago that I released Sticky SEO, essentially detailing how you can keep more visitors longer on your website, going deeper into the site. For the most part, this means pleasing more visitors even more than you already do, since that is what Google looks for.
So what do you do with this Chrome extension? Well, you want to please your visitors so that they don’t swear, curse and block your domain.
PROBLEM # 1: FREE LOADERS
There are a lot of people searching for free stuff on the Internet. You don’t give your stuff away free, but the "free loaders" show up at your website. "What? They want a million bucks to dig a hole to China? I want someone to do it for free. Bloody rip-off scammers. Block, block, block."
There are probably not too many people searching for "dig a hole to China" and expecting free service. Nor are there many people expecting to get new shoes for free. Nor gourmet coffee or gift baskets. Nor metal buildings or intercontinental pipeline installation. Not even free tattoos or body piercing. But there many niches that include freebie searchers, for example…
- website templates
- resume help
- music downloads
- online games
- learn Spanish
How do you make sure that people searching for freebies don’t block your website when they discover that you are one of those evil profit-seeking cannibals who wants to feed your family? You give them what they want, of course. You add something free to your site. You give them a free option, or you link to a free option. Somehow, you make sure you please them. Remember what your mother said? "You can never go wrong being nice to someone." Well, she should have said that.
PROBLEM # 2: GENERALISTS
Let’s say you sell a very specific item or service that is part of a bigger niche, but people don’t search all that specifically. In Sticky SEO, on page 14 (until I eventually get around to updating it), I tell the tale of a client who wanted to revamp its website back in 2006. They sold commercial fitness equipment, but their clients would search just for "fitness equipment". The problem was that ten times as many people looking for home gyms also searched for "fitness equipment".
Life would be easy if people searched for "home fitness equipment" or "commercial fitness equipment", but life wasn’t meant to be easy. What would they do about all this traffic from generalist searchers?
Please them, of course. Remember what your mother said? "You can never go wrong being nice to someone." Like I said, she should have said that…especially if she knew Google was going to give all those people an easy way to block your domain and tell Google your site sucks.
How to please those generalists? No point in reprinting page 14 here. You can read it for yourself. (Hey, it’s a free download. Did you think this was a sneaky sales pitch or something?)
PROBLEM # 3: EVILDOERS
Yes, the world is an evil place if you look at it right. Google’s motto is "Do no evil" (or something like that. But they never said anything about not arming your competition to do evil, did they? How much do you want to bet that across the Internet’s freelancer markets there will be an SEO arms trade: "100 domain blocks for $15 – from separate IPs in over 20 countries"? Maybe for $25, who knows?
So how do you deal with that? No inbound link is supposed to hurt your rankings, so that your competition can’t spam you out of the search results. But what if a coordinated group of offshore outsourcing in China and India and Greenland gang up on you?
Sorry, I don’t have an answer for you on this one. But I am sure Matt Cutts will be asked about it sooner or later, and maybe he will have an answer. Hopefully.