Google can give your site a penalty. Often, these penalties are done manually and will require you to submit a reconsideration request once you have corrected the issue. However, sometimes, these penalties will come will an algorithm update, which will require you to adjust the problem on your own. Today, we are going to dive into a few of the most common reasons people are penalized on Google.
Read The Rules
The first thing any webmaster should do is read the Google Webmaster Guidelines. How are you going to know what can lead to a penalty if you have no idea what the rules are? Read the guidelines set by Google and follow these guidelines. If you do not follow them, you will be penalized.
We are no longer in the wild west days of SEO. You can no longer pull many of the blackhat tricks of the past, and if you do, you will not be pulling them off for long. The longer Google stays around, the better they have become at catching these backdoor moves. Stick. To. The. Guidelines.
Do Not Keyword Stuff
Keyword stuffing is fairly apparent, and Google absolutely can tell when you’re doing it. You need to avoid keyword stuffing. What is keyword stuffing? Precisely at the term says, stuffing as many keywords on a page as possible. You want your content to sound natural, especially now that we are moving into the age of voice search where terms have become more conversational.
Keep it natural; don’t stuff your keywords. The days of gaming, Google have come and gone. You want your content to be worth reading and well researched.
Clean Up Your Backlinks
One of the best ways to avoid a penalty from Google is to check your backlink profile. You want to keep any relevant links: the more natural the link, the better. However, some links may be linking to your website that can be harmful. If the website seems spammy, irrelevant, or overall low quality, you want to disavow those links.
Google will notice that your website is being linked to by spam sites, and could very well lump in with them. Disavow low-quality links ASAP.
Also, make sure your internal links are all working correctly. If your website is riddled with broken links, Google will notice and penalize your site.
Remove Low-Quality Content
Do you have any repeated content or spun content on your website? Remove it. Do you have underperforming content? Remove it. Google will not index a page that has repetitive content or even low-quality content.
Your content needs to add value to your website. Google will quickly see through thin content such as affiliate pages only filled with nothing but promotional links or information that is scraped from other sites. In the eyes of Google, content is king, and they expect your content to be up to their standard.
Keep your content relevant and unique. Never reuse your content for any aspect of your SEO.
Hidden text is a technique used to hide certain pieces of text on a page. A few ways this is done is by trying to blend your text in with the background of your page by matching the color. I mean, do I have to tell you this a bad idea? Google is going to consider your site spam instantly.
Buying Cheap Links
We see this all the time, people selling huge link packages for twenty dollars or so. These links are generally irrelevant to your site, low quality, and overall not worth the money. These links will more than likely damage your website and are near impossible for you to clean up.
Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it is.
Cloaking is an old technique used to disguise your website in the eyes of search engines from what it is. Do not try to cloak your website. Google will penalize you.
Keep Your Website Online
Make sure your website stays online. This is a fairly obvious point, but if your server is consistently having issues, Google is going to penalize you. Do not use a site that offers “free hosting”. Often these hosts are incredibly unreliable and will spam your site with ads that you will be unable to control. Make sure your hosting is up to par.
That’s right, even specific niches will get you a penalty from google. Things such as Payday loans, adult websites, gambling, etc. are typically flagged quickly by Google. Do yourself a favor and avoid these niches at all costs.
The days of sneaky tactics to climb the ranks are long gone. If you are doing anything to try to game Google, it is only a matter of time before you receive a penalty.
Remember, SEO is not about overnight results. You want to build long term sustainable growth on your website, so skip the shortcuts and stick to the guidelines.