How to avoid a Google penalty
3 June 2016 Leave a comment ALL-HANDS SEO
What is the hardest thing in conducting online business on Google? Climb to top positions, increase an amount of traffic, positions…you might say. Wrong. The toughest thing is to achieve all your goals and to avoid Google penalization.
In other words, to satisfy both users and Google’s algorithms simultaneously. As time goes, this task is getting more complicated. The only way out is to stay up to date with relevant information.
So, read the tips given below very carefully and put the knowledge to use. Believe me, it’s a lot painless to apply preventive actions and avoid penalization rather than recover from it when your website is busted on breaking some rules. Moreover, there were cases when it was much easier to give up with a site instead of keep trying to fight Google.
How to know that you’ve got a Google penalty:
Obviously, the brightest sign of penalty consequences you recognize at once is ranking and traffic sudden drops when you are sure they are not caused by any actions you have made. A Google penalty can be manual or it can be resulted by an algorithmic update.
First of all login to your Google Webmaster tools account. Being penalized manually, normally, you receive a message that some of your site’s pages don’t meet Google’s quality guidelines, suggestion to make needed changes to your website and to send a reconsideration request after that.
If being penalized by Google manually you are at least notified the ranking and traffic decreasing caused by algorithmic updates are not so easy to detect. Nevertheless, if you hopped on an unexpected and sharp decline in the website performance indicators and found no messages from Google you should check if any Google algorithmic update took place recently.
How to avoid a Google penalty:
Sure, you do know that SEO has a set of techniques that are used by specialists in this field to improve website ranking. The thing is that pretty often those techniques are overused and might hurt a website instead of help to get success. You are able to protect your website from that by following the advice given below. It will simply allow you not to cross the line doing SEO:
1Content farm. It’s a big “NO” since Panda algorithm appeared. I believe you clearly understand that there is no high quality for a low price.
2Duplicates. Avoid duplicating of pages’ content and their metadata as well. Actually, it is a pretty frequent cause of a Google penalization but, fortunately, it is an easily prevented issue if you conduct website analysis constantly.
3Landing pages. The one who tends to improve site’s positions on SERP through a creation of multiple pages optimized for one single keyword and the only purpose of which is to redirect users to another website, get the opposite result in the end. Google detects such smarties and smites them for cheating.
4Website structure. Keep your XML sitemap up-to-date and available for Google by submitting it in your Webmaster tools account. Using your XML sitemap Google parses the website’s structure and studies how it is put together.
5Keyword density. The presence of oddly high number of keywords on a page is regarded by Google as keyword staffing which is a sign of poor content and, thus, worthless for Internet user.
6Bought links. Despite the multiple claims that it doesn’t influence Google’s decision to penalize a website as practice shows it does. So, don’t risk and try to prove the opposite yourself.
7Rapid backlinks growth. The one-time occurrence of enormous amount of similar backlinks directing to the same place points at automation of link building in Google’s eyes.
8Hide and seek. All links on a page should be visible for the search engines and for users as well. Don’t try to outplay Google.
9Backlinks profile. Always look after your backlinks profile. It will help you to avoid possible troubles with bad links appearing. If you’ve detected some get rid of it immediately.
I believe it should be allocated as a separate set of actions aimed to avoid a Google penalty. Beside the tips given above it seems that solid Brand reputation has one of the strongest influence on Google’s attitude toward your website. There are a lot of examples when sites are forgiven some deviation from the rules because of having solid Brand authority. So, work on your Brand name as hard as possible. Although, it won’t guarantee your website total immunity but surely will increase your chances to live through Google’s expected and unexpected updates with minimal losses.
Here are several tips that can help you to improve your Brand reputation:
- Make sure to be presented on all popular social networks and don’t forget to warm up visitors’ interest with regular and useful posts.
- Create a list of relevant review sites and place yourself there in the most favorable light.
- Find a few leaders in your niche and comment their posts. Take it seriously and leave truly professional comments and suggestions.
- Become a market leader yourself. Your main purpose is to be known as an authoritative thinker on the subjects related to your niche. Get your own solid reputation and let people associate your name with the Brand you want to gain authority for.
- Listen to what your users think. Encourage them to share their opinions on your product and suggestions on how to improve it. Being a participant in the creation of some new feature, for example, they more likely share this novelty when it appears.
- Keep an eye on online conversations where your Brand is mentioned. It is very important to know when, where and who talks about your business and react properly.
- Collect positive feedbacks. Make certain that your users have an opportunity to leave a feedback or a review on your products or services. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes if they occur, apologize and try to minimize the damage. In no circumstances should you ignore the complaints. Show them you really care about your customers.
Of course, it is not the full list of possibilities that can be used for wide spreading the good word of your Brand. Nevertheless, it is great tips on how to get started. Boost your Brand authority and it will pay you back with such results that you couldn’t even imagine.
Now, after we discussed all major ways to avoid a Google penalty, it is time to consider what to do if the worst has already happened. So, how to bring back Google’s love and to deserve its favor.
Recovering from a Google penalty
Panda filter was written to detect websites which have duplicated or low-quality content, first of all. That is why the very first thing you should do if you’ve noticed that Panda update badly affected your site’s ranking is to de-index all pages that could cause such poor results. No Google nor Panda in particular care about your content till you make it indexable on SERPs.
The next step, as it is obvious, is to create quality content. Uniqueness is still highly valuable for any search engine and there are no prerequisites to the fact that this will change in the nearest future. Conversely, everything is going to making the existing algorithms more smart, accurate and strict. And as a result, it will lead to more stringent preventive measures by Google.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not tending to frighten you or something like that. Just try to see bigger picture and you’ll understand how pointless all the attempts to cheat Google and other search engines. Unless you are chasing for short term results.
So, what else you can do to decrease Panda affect. Check your site’s load speed. Although, this parameter itself doesn’t influence website rankings much, nevertheless, if the site is too slow it may be defined by Panda as troublesome for users and put far lower in SERPs.
One more reason for Panda to pay attention to your site is its insecure. The best way to find out if your website has such issues is to go to your Google Webmaster Tools account. You will see a warning message if security problem exists.
I’m sure you know that Panda is not the only one Google’s algorithm that can make you suffer after its update. So, let’s talk about Penguin update consequences. Will you be penalized or not, it totally depends on the state of your backlinks’ profile. If it happened, there is what you have to do immediately:
- Create a list of all your backlinks. There are a lot of tools you can use for this task. Choose the one you trust and using which you can be sure that not a single link will escape your attention.
- The second logical step is to analyze all your backlinks carefully. Look for the links from irrelevant and non-indexed sites at first place. Also, check links from blog networks, directories and forums.
- After analysis is complete and the links that should be removed are defined it is time to act. Send requests to webmasters and ask them to remove those links. As a rule, the majority of webmasters react adequately and comply with a request. But, unfortunately, not all of them. In this case, use the Google Disavow Links tool. But only after you’ve tried to get rid of bad links in a way described above. Because, to be honest, Google doesn’t like much when you use Disavow tool.
When you have conducted all necessary actions to clear out your website don’t forget to send to Google a reconsideration request.
In conclusion.Considering everything written above the main tip should be: try your best not to break Google’s rules from the start and there will be no need to prove that your website deserves to occupy top positions on SERPs in all terms. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to convince you that one or another rule is some sort of fable. Believe me, they just don’t know it for sure. Stay up-to-date with Google news and use your own experience and common sense.
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