We’ve come to that time once again where we’re going to discuss some common SEO questions put forth to chief of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts. First up is a question about no-follow links. Specifically, the user wanted to know if no-follow links could hurt their site. Cutts answers straight away with “no,” these types of links typically can’t inflict damage on a person’s site. However, he warns that if you’re an excessive blog commenter and people report you for spam, Google might take a manual spam action against you. It would have to be huge scale abuse, however.
The second question had to do with sites that have a script that automatically generates pages based on user search queries. These pages that don’t offer any original content and often just say that the site you’ve clicked to has no search results for that subject matter surrounded by ads. The question was about what Google does in response to these sites. Cutts answered that sites with pages like these offer no value to Google search results and are actually in violation of the Webmaster Guidelines. These are very bad for SEO. He asks that anyone who comes across a site like this to report it as spam and that webmasters be careful to block pages with no results on them from being indexed.
The third and final question about SEO we’re talking about this week has to do with the impact of Panda on websites and how webmasters will know whether or not they’ve been affected by it. So, Panda rolled out a few years ago and Google made incremental updates to it every month or so. After a time, Google found that each update was small and that it was affecting a small enough number of sites that they could integrate it into the regular indexing process.
The way to avoid being affected by Panda in general is to create high quality content and not focus on keyword stuffing or any other short-term tactics. In all reality, SEO has a lot more to do with structuring your site and content in the proper way, then allowing that content to stand on its own two feet. You have to be consistent to build your visitor count and that means committing yourself to a strategy that places quality on a pedestal above everything else.