5 Tips to dodge an SEO Penalty from Google

5 Tips to Avoid Penalty from Google

On-page and Off-page SEO optimization techniques that breach Google’s Webmaster guidelines can result in a ranking penalty against your website. If you do not take these guidelines seriously, the forfeiture that your site receives, as a result, can be difficult to recover.

Hence, we follow five tips to ensure your website avoids the dreaded "Google penalty."

How to discover If You Have a Penalty?

A manual penalty comprises the Google team manually reviewing your site and determining that it has violated their guidelines; an algorithmic penalty is when your website generates a filter which is naturally selected by search engine algorithm.

You can check to see if your site has acknowledged a manual penalty by visiting Google Search Console and appointing Search Traffic > Manual Actions.

Knowing if you hit with an algorithmic penalty is a lot harder to tell as Google will not warn you, and you will likely discover through the harsh reality of seeing a sharp deterioration in traffic. By having an SEO agency/ consultant conduct an audit on your site, you can find out which rule you may have broken.

The solemnity of a penalty can range from a temporary ranking hit, all the way to a near-permanent expulsion from the Google search results. By taking the essential steps and following “white hat” ethical SEO, you can curtail the probability of being hit with a penalty from the search engine colossal.

Now, let's review the five tips below to help you avoid an SEO penalty.


1. Boost relevant links and get rid of harmful ones.


Obtaining relevant links is another term for quality link building. The more essential and organic the links, the better. For example, when an active user contributes high-quality content from your site, you earn a link to be pleased of which won’t have any risk associated with it.

When a site with dubious content links to your site, Google starts looking at you suspiciously – so you should regularly check your links through Google Search Console to assure that no ‘spammy’ websites are connecting to you. One way to check the ‘spamminess’ of a link is by checking the Spam score using the Moz Open Site Explorer tool.

There is a disavow tool in the Search Console, which you can use to tell Google which links to ignore.


2. Show that you are a trusted business.


One of the most important things to Google is ensuring the businesses listed in their search results are legitimate businesses related to the search queries from their users.

It is important that you come across as a genuine brand by offering a seamless user experience for visitors to your site. You can get more tips on how to do that by reading this post on our blog.

You should also ensure that you share your physical address across your site. You can reinstate this with a substantial social media presence and consistent citations with the same NAP (name, address, phone number). Combined, this will be viewed positively by Google and show that your website can be trusted.


3. Don’t hide keyword text or overuse/spam keywords.


Abusing keywords in an article is also known as keyword stuffing and has been very much against Google’s policy for over ten years now. Using the same keyword repeatedly in your web page content or the technical elements (such as meta keywords) is one of the most commonly known black-hat SEO techniques and doing it can negatively affect your website’s SEO.

Whether you have an in-house or outsourced web developer for your site, it is important to check with them and ensure they are not engaging in any spammy onsite SEO techniques. In the past, some webmasters even attempted to stuff keywords on pages and then color the font the same as their background so readers could not see them. It may have duped their audience, but not Google’s spiders and nowadays this technique would lead to a search engine penalty.

Keep the keyword density of your pages to no more than 2-3% to avoid stuffing and a potential penalty hit from Google.


4. Avoid duplicate of content.


Avoid using copied content at all costs – this is something which Google does not take lightly. The search engine will just not index pages that contain duplicate content, as it confuses searchers.

It includes not only posting duplicate content on your site but submitting guest blogs or other content to other sites that are already on your site.


5. Don’t abuse your anchor text.


Anchor text is a word or phrase that hyperlinked to a different web page (either internal or external). Relevant anchor text that linked to your website from a high-quality website can result in the target page ranking high in Google for that keyword phrase. It can be perfect for SEO. However, overusing anchor text can also lead to a penalty.

For example, let’s assume you sell office chairs in London and want to rank #1 on Google for the phrase "office chairs London." You decide to visit websites and forums and leave a comment with your anchor text as "office chairs London" with a link pointing back to your site. If you do this too often, you can automatically trigger the Google Penguin algorithm to slap your website with a penalty.

Generic or branded anchor text should be used most of the time to avoid triggering Google penalties. The key is to keep the anchor text natural.

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