Google’s primary aim is to provide highly relevant, quality services to the people using it. This has lead to penalizing websites that do not conform to the guidelines of Google and white hat SEO. Google usually penalize websites in two ways: manual way and automatic or algorithmic way.

The first penalty i.e. the manual penalty occurs when a person from Google manually reviews a website and decides to penalize it for improper functioning or violation of the Search Engine Optimization guidelines provided by Google. When this particular penalization occurs, the owner of that website gets a notification from the Google Webmaster Tools.

The automatic penalty comes in practice when an automated search engine algorithm from Google detects violation of the SEO guidelines and automatically penalizes websites as a result. These algorithmic updates that were implemented by Google in order to make the content more relevant and accurate are Panda, Hummingbird and Penguin.

What are these SEO guidelines that are mentioned so often? There are many different reasons why Google decides to penalize a website and there are certain things that will surely get you penalized. The following are things that you should not do if you do not want to damage your site.

  • A link farm: This is a group of websites that are being created with the main objective of exchanging links with each other. Usually, the pursuit for such links is quite difficult and link farms tend to get stuck with completely unrelated blogs or websites. The algorithms of Google spot these very easily.

  • Automated bots: Unauthorized automated programs will surely get you penalized by Google. These programs for page and website submissions can easily impact the experience of the user.

  • Irrelevant keyword usage: Keywords that do not comply with the website content and excessive use of keywords is a great mistake when creating a blog or a website. This is a type of ranking manipulation and can easily be penalized by Google.

  • Stolen content: Do not copy the content from another website, even if you make slight changes in it. Google has ways of detecting stolen content, so make sure that your website presents only original content. Content is the king of SEO, but only if written and presented wisely.

As you can see, Google has implemented these changes with the sole purpose of protecting the search engine. What follows are 10 ways of avoiding penalties from Google.

  1. Do not use guest blogging for link building: Yes, guest blogging builds the brand image of bloggers, makes terrific connections and Google is definitely not against blogging. But, you have to do this carefully and selectively on relevant blogs with high authority because Google does not tolerate spam guest blogging for the purpose of link building and you will definitely be penalized for it. This is why you have to make sure that this is not the main strategy you will use for link building. This should not comprise of more than 20-30% of the total number of back links. Make sure that the links are within the content of the blog being posted.

  1. Create a professionally designed website: A well-designed logo, good text, trust symbols, contacts, physical location and address make a professionally designed blog or website. This must include a responsive design and perhaps even ecommerce features to add more credibility to your website.

  1. Avoid irrelevant sources for inbound links: Google is not only interested in the number of links you have, but also on the relevance of the sources linking to your website. This is why you have to avoid not only giving links to pages irrelevant to yours, but also having a link on such pages for your website. Link building is an important part of SEO, but do it right!

  1. Limit the number of guest posting: The number of guest post links shouldn’t take more than 25% of your profile. This will make the website look more credible and natural and if you do not follow this guideline, there is a big chance that Google will devalue links coming from the posts from guests.

  1. Make sure you focus on LDR: LDR is Linking Domain Relevancy. What does this mean? It means that the links on your website should be relevant to the niche of that website. They do not always have to be in the exact same niche or about the exact same category, but they should have some linking domain relevancy. A food selling site looks quite unnatural and unprofessional if it is linked, for example, with truck driving classes website.

  1. Anchor text diversity: Google does not find generic anchors natural, such as ‘here’ and ‘on this site’. This is why it is crucial that you use domain, brand and webmaster name anchor text.

  1. Brand signals: Branding ranks better and remove penalties. It is difficult to find a brand, but you really do not need a six-figure budget to build a brand for your site. Firstly, the site needs to be legit looking, with a beautiful design and trust-building brand signals. Secondly, you should have your social media profiles presented on the website. Google may use the social media following you have to determine your position on the brand market. So, do not only spend your time on link building and SEO, spend it on creating brand signals too.

  1. Social signals spamming: Do not lie and spam about social signals such as phony Tweets or Facebook likes. Google may hit sites that are linked to social media accounts that have fake followers too, so you will be their easy target if you do this. Be smart about these social signals, and do not build an unrealistic amount of likes and Tweets.

  1. Build up the trust: Even pages with keyword-rich anchor text can survive the algorithm pages because they have trust. The Trust Flow of a website should be at least half of its Citation Flow. That is why you need to gather as many links from sites that end with .edu and .gov, because they make you look trusted too.

  1. Prune bad links: Take the matter in your hands today and get rid of the links in your profile that are bad. Evaluate your link profile and pay more attention to anchor text distribution, trust metrics, deep links, excessive links and of course LDR. Delete any links that can hurt you and your website.

Make sure to follow these simple SEO guidelines to make your life easier. A penalty from Google means a lot of trouble for you and the chances of getting your website on again are very little. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Steve Nezianya
Host Media