Web marketers will turn to different strategies to score a high serp score. There are those who will stick to the rules and a good percentage of marketers will try and use imprudent methods. If you are using dishonest marketing practices or you are trying to trick Google, chances are that your website will get slapped with heavy penalties. These punishments can lead to significant drops in rank, revenue and reputation.
There are numerous marketing practices that will see you getting penalized not only by Google but by other search engines. The shortlist of unscrupulous practices doesn’t start and end with black hat SEO practices or page cloaking. It’s true that Google algorithms are always evolving. If you are caught using tactics that borrow from outdated algorithms, you risk not one but several penalties.
Factors That Cause Google Penalties
Since their inception Google algorithms, Panda and Penguin will flag and punish sites that resort to black hat SEO, link spamming, content duplication/plagiarism or blatant use of scraped content. To be safe, you need to research and understand every serp rank aspect and practice that could lead to a penalty before you launch your marketing efforts.
Publishing Keyword-stuffed Content
In the past, rich content with a flurry of keyword used to work for marketers. The practice of spamming keywords was the most coveted trick until Google came up with algorithmic changes. The frequent algorithm changes drove marketers to whittle down keyword density. A page whose content is found to be stuffed with keyword is likely to get stripped of its rank and a penalty as a bonus. The unwritten rule is that pages with less than 2% in keywords are deemed to be safe. You don’t want your reader to keep coming across the same phrases. It simply waters down the content and there is no value you will be giving to your readers. With proper keyword research and tools, you can avoid such a mistake and resultant penalty.
In the past, the trick was to create as many links leading to your site. It was the best link building approach. Webmasters and SEOs could rely on outreach programs where the use of reciprocal links was rampant. There are sites that ended up garnering hundreds of irrelevant links. Today, you need to show Google that the links on your sites are related to your business nature, mission and value. To avoid link related penalties, always audit your links and remove the ones with zero relation to your business. If you have a link from a high authority site that doesn’t relate to your niche, it could lead to a penalty. For example, if you are an online casino in India – the best thing you can do is get or give links from/to sites that are of high authority and not from/to every other site.
Your site needs to build links to high authority sites to the other way round. There are links that descend form poor authority and low value sites. They have the capacity to make your suite look like it has a poor profile, spammy or a poor domain authority. If you are courting low authority links, Google will judge your site according to the friends it keeps. The good thing with Google here is that it will discern whether there is a connection between the linking site and the link sources. If they are reciprocal links, a penalty will befall your site. Avoid such by linking to reputable link sources.
Links from Link Farms
Previously, the link farm concept was popular. Even though they are not as prominent as before, these farms still exist. Many sites used to submit their site link to hundreds of sites even when they were not directly related. If you are still relying on link farms, you are likely to get penalized regardless of the trick you may use to fool Google.
Although Hidden links are an internal affair, search engines will perceive them as sneaky and hideous. Your users will not see them but bots will. They can be obscured inside text or images. The smart bot technology of today will find such links, using them could spark trouble for your site. Once Google highlights these links, it will flag them and consequently view such practices as unscrupulous. They will definitely earn you a penalty.
In an attempt to meet your SEO targets, you are likely to outsource an agency. You have agreed that they should meet targets within a particular date. Not all agencies or SEOs are honest. Some will result to spamming comment links. This entails building links from blog post comments and incorporating your site’s id or URL. Sites that barley gets links will resort to comment spamming. There are various sites that will use this tactic. Some of them include gambling, music or adult content sites. You will avoid penalties if you specify and moderate comments. You can use no follow link disclaimers although the spammy comments will still affect your site negatively in the eyes of a search engine. You can avoid the penalty here by regularly reviewing your backlinks.
The number of websites that resort to buying links is quite high. It ends up in a situation where the website spends money on links for a high authority site that is unrelated to the business. Even though these links are paced on a page with many other purchased links, they a still make no sense. If the bought link is detached were the nature of the business is concerned, search engines will view it as a low quality link. Usually, Google will view your links with lots of optimism. You had better focus on building them organically. It’s better than buying links that can at times get a frown from Google and a penalty on top.
Repeated content is the same as duplicate content. Even though it might not lead directly to a penalty, search engines will note the repeated use of the same content. Google will notice that such content doesn’t offer your users any value. The kind of penalty you will receive from such is low ranking. If you cannot create valuable content, you can reach out to an expert to write the cost. This will be manageable compared to what you will be forced to spend to regain the lost rank.
Getting penalized by Google is something associated with smaller businesses. However, the big boys get the rap too. If you have hired a SEO agency or a professional, you have no guarantee that you will avoid the penalties. Some of them are incompetent and their strategies and tact can end up being the reason why your website is penalized.
To avoid penalties caused by inexperienced SEO agencies, take your time and evaluate their reputation as the success of similar projects they have undertaken for businesses in your niche. Always keep abreast with the changing Google algorithms. And don’t forget to put your agency to task to see if they are in the know. Ignoring these changes is the perfect way to attract a hefty Google penalty.
Recovering from a Google Penalties
Given that Google penalties can be meted out anytime, your focus should be concentrated around the obvious triggers. In your efforts to boost your brand, make sure you steer clear of any tactic you aren’t sure about. Also, look for ways and means of getting off a Google penalty. It’s not easy to recover but observing the basic rules will help you turn around. Remember, there are specialists whose work revolves around helping businesses deal with Google suspensions and penalties, make use of them.