Does Google Hate Your Site?

Before I even start, I have to say that while I’ve known about the following principle for some time, it was only this last few weeks since reading about it in Mark’s Dominating Google course, and then doing some tests that I learned how deep this really goes.

And what I learned shocked me.

Even in the first version of Firepow, we included a feature so users could add a set of “page templates” like About Us, Contact Us, and Privacy Policy to their blogs, based on the principle that Google looks for the presence of pages like these on your site to judge your legitimacy as a content provider. In other words, having those pages is an advantage. I first heard it a couple of years back from a guy who mainly did Adwords marketing but it’s equally relevant to anyone who’s hoping Google to view and rank their site well in the paid or organic listings.

However it turns out that what the big G is looking for is much more than these 3 pages.

It starts HERE, a little page in the Adwords guidelines about Quality Score (one of Google’s measures of the quality of a page or a website) where they discuss (if you scroll about half way down) a little thing called Transparency.

To quote them:

“In order to build trust with users, your site should be explicit in three primary areas: the nature of your business, how your site interacts with a visitor’s computer and how you intend to use a visitor’s personal information, if you request it.”

And more specifically, that they want to see you:

* Openly share information about your business. Clearly define what your business is or does.
* Honour the deals and offers that you promote in your ad.
* Deliver products and services as promised.
* Only charge users for the products and services that they order and successfully receive.
* Distinguish sponsored links from the rest of your site content.

If you read between the lines, you can guess what each of these mean… An About Us page, a Privacy Policy page, and an AFFILIATE AGREEMENT.

In case it’s not perfectly clear at this juncture:

This is Google telling you exactly how they want your site to be, in order for them to consider it high quality. If you are looking for traffic from Google there’s every reason to follow these guidelines as strictly as possible!

What I learned from Mark at Dominating Google, was a full list of the templates or pages that you need to have, that are required for you to be seen as a “quality” site. They are:

About Us
Contact Us
Privacy Policy
DMCA Policy
Anti-Spam Policy
Terms Of Use
Affiliate Agreement

What I mean is, and what Google wants to see, is both the presence of these posts/pages, and links to these posts/pages in your site’s footer (or somewhere on your site) so they are visible on every page/post of your site.

Now To My Tests

In sending traffic from Adwords campaigns to various landing pages (landing websites) this past few weeks I’ve noticed some extraordinary things.

First of all, I tried putting up a landing page with a unique piece of content, not heavy on affiliate links, on a keyword targeted domain, with a highly keyword targeted ad campaign…

Quality Score = 1 – Google wouldn’t even let the ad run. They refused to send traffic to a landing page without those templates as part of their site content.

This was only meaningful when compared to my other landing pages that were exactly the same in every other way except they DID have these pages. Quality Score there = 8 – sending traffic no problems at all.

But it got even more interesting…

I had a landing page up that had just 3 of these templates up, About Us, Privacy Policy, and Contact Us.

At first, the quality score was ok, but after about a week… bang… mysteriously dropped to 1 and the ad stopped getting traffic. Again it had NOTHING different from the other site with the 8 quality score except it had less of the pages from the above list… and that was enough… it was out.

Are you starting to see how important Google considers these pages?

What makes you think they are going to treat sites differently in the organic search algorithm?

What this means is that without those pages up you might be sabotaging your success, your free traffic suffering without you even realizing it.

What To Do About It

In which ever way suits you, you need to get these pages onto your site ASAP. There are a few options:

1.You need to do some searching online and find you some templates for each of these pages that you can craft for your own sites. Find the template and add the pages (or posts) to your blog/website as quickly as you can.

2. Mark has a set of templates that he gives away as part of Dominating Google – which as I’ve mentioned this month, is a fantastic course anyway.

3. We’ve just implemented a new feature into our Firepow software, where you can add ALL of these pages to any blog you have, in ONE click. It will add the templates and replace the relevant information so they suit your site in about 10 seconds. (Patrik, if you’re reading – thanks for the suggestion!) If you’re not an FP member, you can try it out for $1 here.

Final Tip

Since I use blogs, I’ve been adding these pages of content as POSTS, and using a plugin called WP Hide Post (find in your WP admin >> Plugins >> Add New >> then search that name) to make sure they don’t appear on my blog’s home page for visitors to see. It also saves you making them as “Pages” after which they will take up valuable room in your “pages” menu usually located somewhere prominent like your blog header or sidebar.

After seeing the aforementioned results this couple of weeks I can’t stress enough how important these pages are to your chances of success with free OR paid traffic, not even just for affiliate marketers but for EVERYONE.

If you have time, do it NOW. It’s an easy way to knock over a bunch of your competitors who haven’t realized this yet and in doing so get a bunch of traffic and a stack of new income.

Comments

  1. says

    Good info. Too bad google is like the kid who takes his ball and goes home when you won’t play by his rules.

    But, like the old bank robber said, in reply to the question of why he robs banks “That’s were the money is…”
    Peace,
    Mr Ed

  2. says

    Good stuff Andrew. I knew about some of those “required” pages but not nearly all of them. And as a FP member I’m thrilled that you have incorporated that feature into Firepow!! Keep it coming!!
    Marc

  3. Sohail says

    Thanks Andrew. As always, high quality stuff. That is EXACTLY why I will always be your customer (Plug And Play Niche Cash) 🙂

  4. says

    Hi Andrew, Very interesting post. Question for you: I’ve searched and can’t find a template for a DMCA policy to put up on my blogs. I get other website’s policies, but no real template. Can you tell us where to find them? Also, since I am an affiliate marketer – not having someone sell my products, but rather, selling other people’s products, do I need an affiliate agreement page on my blogs? Seems like the only affiliate agreement template out there are for those who want to set up an affiliate program. So, what kind of affiliate agreement page would I need to put up? And where do I find that? Thanks for your excellent information.

    • says

      The interesting thing about this is, we don’t really know how much/if at all Google scrutinizes the content of these pages or whether they solely want to see that links to them exist. What that means for your question is that if you can’t find a templates, it’s better just to have something rather than nothing, particularly for the Affiliate Agreement. If you can’t find templates for those maybe you can piece together little parts from different people’s that you come across – the parts that are relevant for your site. As long as you’ve got a page (say for affiliate agreement) containing a couple of paragraphs getting the major point across, that will be fine, at least for the short term.

      Hope that helps.

  5. says

    Andrew-

    I had been using the standard privacy, contact, and endorsements pages for some time but the other pages are a bit of a surprise to me. Not a complete shock, mind you, but surprising nonetheless. I think google has stopped being run by entrepreneurs and is now controlled by attorneys and legal wonks. Their stock price is going to suffer terribly long term as a result.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  6. says

    Andrew, thank you. It does make sence that Google would want to see all these things on a site. How much of a difference it makes does come as a surprise. I’ll be sure to heed your advise ASAP. Thanks again.

  7. says

    Hi Andrew, thanks for the information. It makes sense really.

    I’m not sure why you advocate to hide these links from your homepage though. As Google says “Openly share information about your business”. If you don’t have clear and visible links from your homepage, then you’re not openly sharing information??

    A simple footer navigation is all that’s required, with links to the relevant pages. Visitors expect to see that at the bottom anyway.

    Appreciate the case study, will be adding some extra pages to my sites now!

    • says

      Hey Peter,

      Oh no, I mean, hide the actual post, the piece of content from appearing on your blog’s home page in amongst all your other real content.

      The LINK appears in the footer of the home page just like every page. Hope that clarifies.

      Andrew

  8. says

    Sounds great — I didn’t know this about Google.

    And thanks for the tip about the WP Hide Post plugin. I will try adding these pages to my sites and see how much traffic improves.

    Happy day,
    Paula

  9. says

    Do you know if you can have all that info on just a few pages instead of having a page for each?
    Also, you said Google wants your visitors to be able to see these pages. So isn’t it defeating the purpose to hide them?

  10. says

    Thanks Andrew. I’ve wondered about this. Can you make it easy and tell us where is the button to push? I cant find the new feature on the Firepow website.

  11. says

    Dear Andrew,

    I found this post very interesting because we deleted some of these pages in Plug and Play Niche Cash. So, I think I will try what you recommend here.

    I’m ashamed to say that I started the course a while ago but, because I tried one or two products but could not find a cpa site that ‘worked’, I gave up and moved on to another idea. Very foolish!

    I have been running my site and trying different ideas sice then. I am getting quite a few visitors, but I am still not making any money! Can’t understand it really, there are some clickbank products on there too with my ID details given, but still no money. Some of the cpa links do not ‘go anywhere’.

    Mind you, I wasted a lot of money on Aweber (not using it properly) and then cancelled this, so I suppose it’s no wonder really.

    Surely someone must have bought something though out of all the visitors! I don’t think my site can be monetised properly. Or do they just want backlinks, which I don’t really understand either!

    However, the main reason for my comment is on the subject of themes.

    Can you change the theme for individual pages or does WordPress automatically change them all, if you change the theme for a new page?

    I think I tried once but I daren’t try again because I ‘muck so much up’ so regularly.

    I have had an article on page one of google but I did not stick to article writing, looking at the latest ideas but never finishing anything.

    I seem to get so much wrong these days.

    Do you think that you could help me, please, although I have just started something else?

    Your help would be much appreciated.

    Kind regards,
    Marlene

  12. says

    Thanks a lot for the great info, Andrew! However, on my little sites these pages will be more than my content pages – just kidding. But with the G having more clout than me, I’ll do this asap. Di

  13. Susan says

    Hi Andrew,

    I’ve been using the “WordPress Policies Plugin” which has templates for 10 different policy/disclaimer pages that you can customize with your site’s name/contact info. You also have the ability to add and delete pages as you see fit. Insert the given php code, and all the pages titles show up in the footer. Would like your opinion about using this plugin.

    Wasn’t aware of the ‘WP Hide Post’ plugin. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be following your suggestion to make the policies posts — great idea!

    Like ‘BusyMOM’, I’m an affiliate marketer. Since I don’t run my own affiliate programs, I had discounted the necessity for that page. Based on your article, I guess it should probably be included just to cover the possibility that Google wants to see it.

    Thanks for the useful information.

    • says

      Susan, Many thanks for mentioning that WordPress policy plugin. That should be invaluable to anyone with any type of site, even non-wordpress sites, as the text of each policy can be found as text documents in the file provided – and it’s free!

  14. Chris says

    Hey Andrew
    Do we really have to add those pages to our sites if we’re not selling any affiliate products? For example, if my website is just a content site with Adsense on it?

    I always put a Privacy Policy, About us, contact us and site map(for humans) on these adsense content sites and had never had any problems ranking. Is that all I need on the site?

    Thanks

  15. says

    Thanks for the case study, Andrew.
    A couple of questions:
    1. Are all the ‘quality scores’ you mention take from adsense statistics and do those conclusions apply to sites with no adsense?
    2. Do you know if it would be acceptable to Google to group all these links into maybe just one or two links. For example:
    About Us /Contact Us = one link
    Privacy Policy/DMCA Policy/Anti Spam Policy/Terms of Use/Affiliate Agreement = one link

  16. hui says

    Andrew, thanks for the post.

    I never know you need to have so many pages on your site.

    Do you have a site that consist of all these pages?
    If so can I use your template?

    Thanks

  17. says

    Great article, Andrew. Just recently I was reading a long thread in a forum where a number of people were arguing that such pages aren’t necessary. I mean, if Goiogle “says” they want them, then what can the problem be. Biuts are free, it’s not like it costs extra money to have these pages on a site.

    The number of folks who make their lives harder by swimming upstream and arguing about how to get ahead on line always amazes me. Do the easy stuff and relax is my motto.

    BTW in my last ‘dirt based” business back in the US I purchased a lot of goods an services from online sources or off-line businesses that I found from online search. Whenever I found a potential supplier with no physical address, no phone number and no real name, I’d just hit the back button an go look at the next listing.

    Business is done, at the end of the day, people to people, regardless of how the two people got connected to begin with.

  18. says

    Crappola! Will the legalese (and fun) never end?

    Like Busy Mom pointed out, I have found no ‘template’ for a DMCA policy. Then you are supposed to designate someone to handle the complaints and register your site with USCO? Sounds like a lawyer’s field day to me.
    I found one I like. If I copy and paste it, with personal modifications of course, wouldn’t it be ironic as hell to get a notice and shut down because I ‘stole’ someones DMCA?

  19. kfran says

    Nice one Andrew, would be even more nice if you would include all these pages for your plug and Play Niche Cash customer, Thanks Susan for your tip on the plugin, unforetunately it is incompatible to WP 3.0 and up

  20. says

    Thanks for this I have just added the missing pages.

    I read recently that Google also takes into account the length of the domain registration i.e. a domain registered for 5 years will rank better than one registered for 1 year. I had not heard this before – is it correct?

  21. says

    Andrew,

    It may be coincidence but I added these pages to a 2 week old blog today and 2 hours later the site is ranking as result 9 on the first page of Google, for the exact keyword it is targeting, this from being half way down page 4 before!!!

    Me thinks I’ll be doing the same to all my blogs right away.

    Thanks again Andrew

  22. says

    For anyone that does prefer to add these as pages instead of posts, you can easily edit your menus to not have these items show.
    One way is to use the Exclude Pages plugin, then you get an option when editing pages on whether to include it in menus or not.
    Then simply hard code the page links into your footer and they’ll only show at the bottom of your site.

    Great post Andrew.

  23. says

    If I am an affiliate, do I still need the Affiliate Agreement page? The ones I have found seem to be for companies that have affiliates not for affiliates themselves.

  24. says

    I don’t know if your test is conclusive. How do you know if Google just likes MORE content or if they like THAT specific content?

    Unless I’m understanding it wrong, it seems like the site with the legal info had more pages and more content. I think most people would agree that a site with more content and more pages would have a better quality score.

    It seems like a better way to test it would be to have sites with the same amount of content and pages. Then see how they compare.

    If you run AdSense on your website, you have to have a privacy policy. It’s in their terms of use. I can’t imagine Google’s algorithms factoring in whether a website has random legal information or not. Privacy Policy, yes. All the pages you recommend, no. Some of them might apply in some cases, some might not. Google is not in a position to make that determination through their search engine robots.

    The legal documents you mention are LEGAL documents. YOU and your visitors must abide by the terms you include on your website. If not, you increase your risk of exposure to liability. I doubt if most people know what the DMCA is for, let alone how to actually qualify for the protection it provides.

    To tell people to put up random legal agreements simply to improve their positions in the search engine rankings is really irresponsible. Not just from a legal perspective, but from an SEO perspective too. No disrespect to you. Just my opinion.

  25. says

    I only have the contact page at the moment but will be adding the others ASAP, but instead of hiding the posts I think it would be better and easier just to set the post for about a year or two ago that way it won’t show up on the latest homepage

  26. says

    This post is really helpful and informative but I didn’t pay too much attention with it. After the latest Google Farmer Update, my super thin Amazon sites (2-3 posts) with no transparency pages have all been shot out of the SERPS (they’re still indexed thank goodness).

    I was thinking that it was all just a dance because my sites would eventually come back at the top but I’m pretty sure that this isn’t a dance anymore. hehehe. Now I’m making the effort of posting more content and have added all of the transparency pages because these are sites that have been earning me some good online income.

    Thanks again for this post Andrew!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *