Whether it is a red card, 2 minutes in the box or a flag on the play; getting a penalty puts your team at a disadvantage. Google is the referee of the internet. It encourages good quality and penalizes poor plays and bad behavior. Unlike sports, Google does not offer a rule book on how to avoid penalties or what the penalties may be. As our online habits change and loopholes are created, Google aims to maintain quality over quantity. Its various algorithms updates have sought to punish low quality sites while offering users good quality and accurate results to their queries.
What is a Google Penalty?
In an attempt to maintain its standards Google implemented the Penguin algorithm that eliminated poor quality content and elevated sites that followed the rules. When this algorithm was launched it relegated a lot of sites to back pages, it took some sites completely out of the search results and made people reconsider their marketing strategies.
Why is Google Punishing my Website?
Google aims to provide the best results possible, it is continuously looking for ways to improve it indexes content. Its algorithms adapt to encourage good quality websites and prevent people from finding loophole that can tarnish their name.
How can I tell if my site has been Penalized?
Sometimes you can be informed of a penalty, but sometimes you may not be informed because the algorithm flagged your website. Ways to know you are being punished for your content are:
- Your website is being relegated to back pages without doing anything
- Your website is not the first option for your keyword Brand name or it doesn’t rank well anymore
- Your website has been removed from Googles’ cache
- Your listing links to a web page that is not your home page
The Best Ways to Prevent Penalties
Now that you know what and why Google does to promote good ‘internet’, how can you keep yourself on page 1? We can not claim to know every way to prevent being exiled to page 25, here are a few ways to avoid penalization:
Only have a few, TOP quality links:
Try and avoid putting excessive links on your pages. Regardless of what the income might be, keep your page focused on your service. Maintain a single language forum. Odds are your readers want to see a creditable site, having foreign links can make you appear to be less reliable and can be red flagged. Finally make sure you know WHERE the links go, do not just share what is provided, investigate the same way you would do if you were reading something online.
Do not try and hide:
Keep links in the open and not hidden in a footer. Audit your site often so you can avoid broken links. If you have links, make sure they work and offer something beneficial to your readership. Keep your promotional links unique and minimal. Momentum for your site will build with the credibility of time.
Keep it honest:
If you are sponsored, let everyone know because Google will know. Do not put invisible or cloaked links on your site. Google is looking for fraudulent sites, hiding something in plain site is still dishonest.
Do not overuse anything:
Excess H1 tags, links (incoming and outgoing), or keywords are all penalty worthy. H1 tags help Google understand what the page is about but excessive amounts can be seen as an attempted to fill Google’s indexing with keywords. Excess keywords may or may not be flagged, you should always aim to have correct grammar and content on your site. If it looks like spam it will be punished like your stomach trying to digest spam.
When in doubt Audit:
Auditing your site can help you see if you have too many broken links, duplicate content, or possible errors on your site. You should always be looking for ways to improve your site and check that it is all in working order. NO duplicate content. This will be flagged as not useful. It is also important to ensure that your host server is fast enough to have all your visitors. Delayed and slowed sites can be penalized because they are not optimized.
We are all Here to Help
While we do not have a list of the tips and trick you can do to prevent penalization, just doing these few measures can keep your site on its rightful result page 1. Google is there to help all of us find what we are looking for and its’ implementation of algorithms is for consumer and brand protection. Contacting an SEO expert can help you learn more and take the necessary steps to stay on top of your market.