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How To Avoid Getting Penalized By Google

After the introduction of Google’s Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird; websites that were using black-hat search engine optimization techniques were found to be in trouble as their ranks started to drop down. Manual actions were taken and site owners were notified the reasons for the penalty, causing for the first-time webmasters and SEO specialists to start looking at Google’s guidelines seriously.


J.C. Penney’s SEO scandal, BMW’s Ban from Google and Ginger Software’s penalty; are clear highlights of how serious Google is taking on refining its’ search engine to offer surfers only valuable information. So since every website owner wants literally their websites to be ranked in high positions on search engines as well as avoid any penalties, let’s look at certain facets that Google does not approve when doing SEO.


01)   Duplicate Content


Google puts more emphasis on having original, authentic, in-depth and fresh content, so that people looking for certain info, will find valuable sources with exact data they require. What Google is trying to do is, when a user searches for a term, it tries to provide multiple related sites that match the term as well as provide different in-depth views to the person on the subject matter. So a duplicate content site really becomes useless for Google and will try to lower it in the ranking to try and push instead unique and well-written ones.



02)   Buying Links


Paid links are not favored by Google as sites with less or/and spam oriented content could be involved with this cheap spammy SEO technique. Purchasing links for the sole purpose of passing Page Rank violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If you are involved in advertising or sponsorship activities using paid linking method, be sure to use the “nofollow” attributes appropriately to avoid any penalty.


03)   Excessive Reciprocal Links


Swapping links in an abusive way to manipulate search engines will be another method to get penalized. Nowadays there are link exchange programmes offered by various sites. Beware of them.


04)   Keyword Stuffed Content


Content on a website is made to be read by humans. Search engines like to promote websites with original, in-depth and fresh content, since people like to search and be able to visit sites that could provide them more clear details on what they wish to know. So if you are trying to over-do and stuff the content with keywords (a massive keyword density is a flag for feebly written content) in order to manipulate the search engines, then your site could be in serious trouble.


05)   Hiding Links & Content


The search engine bots have evolved and have become more sophisticated. These bots are able to crawl and identify any links or keyword stuffed content that have been hidden to cheat the search engines. Hidden links and content are considered to be suspicious and not useful to people.


06)   Broken Internal & External Links


Links that direct to a 404 page is considered to be not of use to people who wish to find useful information. When your site is experiencing these type of errors, search engines do not prefer to promote yours’ as these types of websites do not enhance the user-experience.


07)   Anchor Text Overuse


Every since the penguin update in year 2012, links that have been built using only a handful of SEO keyword phrases as anchor text, run the risk of getting penalized as they are considered to be a manipulative technique.


08)   Spun Content


Spinning content is a violation. You can find websites offering programs to distribute and spin-around articles, directory listings, PR news etc. These actions again assist in developing duplicate content in an automated manner and worse pointing towards your site with anchor text links embedded in the content, thus making it easier for search engines to identify and penalize websites.


09)   Meta Tag Keyword Stuffing


Overdoing the meta tag area with numerous related keywords are a sure way to alert search engines like Google that you are trying to manipulate them.


10)   Hacked or Down Website


If your website has been hacked, Google will take it off from SERPs as it could be hazardous for everyone who might arrive on that site. So if your website has been hacked, act quickly to avoid getting penalized or blacklisted. Similarly websites that are down or take too long to load are too earmarked to be penalized.


11)   Links From Bad Websites


If your website is getting links from low PR sites, spammy suspicious ones or unrelated sites such as adult material oriented ones, then your website has a chance of getting a penalty from Google.


12)   Robots.txt Mistakes


The robots.txt file informs search engines how to treat your site or certain pages. While using this method sparingly has its’ advantages, excessive blocking could lead to a penalty.


13)   Flawed Usage of Advertorials


Are you interested in visiting websites that have huge number of paid ads leading to other various types of websites that are not related to your search? These types of websites involve in such practice to deceive search engines into ranking them well. That is why Google had to penalize websites like Interflora for using advertorials to trick them.


14)   Redirection Flaws


Don’t ever re-direct a page or site that has been penalized using a 301 to a new location, as you will be carrying the penalty too with it. Try to solve the issue and clear the penalty to be on the safe side when re-directing. Other such mistakes include trying to mask a high number of affiliate links with redirects.


15)   Site-wide/Footer Links


While using the footer as a navigational aspect is approved, using it to manipulate Page Rank by trying to utilize it as a place to involve in anchor text spamming could yield a penalty.


16)   Exact Match Domain


When website owners tried to use EMDs to trick the search engines into ranking them higher for exact phrases as well as to lure users into clicking on their websites which were at times contain sloppy content or spammy ones (black marketing technique), Google thought it was time to rectify such an issue for the benefit of the users. So if you have an EMD, ensure the website is rich with fresh, original and in-depth content to avoid any penalty.


17)   Speedy Link Building


Don’t overdo link building quickly in an unnatural manner to try and reach top spots in search rankings. A sign of automation in link building is not preferred by search engines. Try and get links to flow towards your site from trusted and related sources in a natural manner over a long-period of time to be consistent.

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