Google penalty refers to a negative impact on a website’s search engine rankings based on Google algorithm updates including major algorithms like Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. Be careful of incurring search engine penalties because it can significantly reduce your website traffic. Avoid an algorithmic penalty and stay in Google’s good side to get better results in search engines and keep your business running.
There are two types of search engine penalties – manual and algorithmic. Manual penalties happen when a Google decides that you need to face penalty and send you a Google Webmaster Tools notification accordingly. Algorithmic penalty occurs when your website violates Google’s quality guidelines and you lose your status in the search engine. Subsequently, your rankings decline and recovery is slow. So it is necessary to avoid penalties in the first place, and for that, here are a few steps you need to follow:
Know the Rules and Make a Point To Follow Them:
Read the rules and guidelines that Google has set and do exactly what it says. They have a set of guidelines that you have to follow in order to keep your website up to date. Read them carefully and if possible, memorize them. The simplest way to make sure that you are outside the range of any penalty is to create awesome content for your readers.
Content Audit is Necessary:
Content audit sounds formidable but it is very important to avoid penalty. It is the best way to know if you are doing anything wrong. After the audit, take essential and crucial steps to get out from algorithmic penalties.
Content audit is a simple process of following the Google guidelines on every page and content on your website. Content auditing ensures high quality of your content with no keyword stuffing, guaranteed tagging of all images and zero violations.
Keep no room for error and use Google Analytics to target your top pages, according to the number of visits, if you have thousands of content pages in your website.
Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages, in the Google Analytics
Just start with these and also focus on fresh content. Don’t copy, steal or spam content! Spam is the number one cause for penalties. So improving your content takes care of half the problem.
Keep a Clean Link Profile:
Do a link profile audit once in a while to avoid even manual penalties. Google indexes your site based on many factors, one of the most important of which is the quality of your link profile. Link Profile is the list of all your links.
Google algorithm ranks your website based on the quality of the source of the links, i.e., whether the links belong to a good or a spammy website. The links also should have superior text. You can get a list of all the links of your website from Google Webmaster Tools.
Go to Search Traffic > Links to Your Site > Who Links the Most > More > Download Latest Links.
You get the list of links that Google is using to rank your website. Review the list every month or alternate months to check for ‘Spammy Linkbacks’ and ‘Optimized Anchor Text.’ Spammy Linkbacks are the number two cause for an algorithmic penalty.
Whenever you find any harmful link, send a request to the webmaster of the site to remove the link via email. If the link is not removed, use the disavowal tool to remove it from your profile. Keep your link profiles clean and you may never get a penalty.
Make Sure You Follow Good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Content Marketing Strategies:
Some SEO companies may harm your website rather than helping it. They may be spamming your website with poor quality links from content websites and directory listings. They may also use outdated techniques such as optimized anchor texts, keyword stuffing and cloaking that harm your site considerably.
Stay updated about the work of your SEO with relevant questions and discussions on topics like what are they doing on the site, what pages are they working with, the quality of content, the code and internal linking they are using and ask to view their work.
Some other pertinent topics to be aware of are where they are getting the backlinks from, the domain authority of the websites from where the backlinks were gained, and the anchor texts used. Make sure it is not backfiring on you and that you are really benefitting from your SEO.
Keep Track of Google’s Algorithm Updates:
Algorithms keep changing from time to time. To know that you are not violating any rules, always stay updated on the changes. A tool called Moz’s Algorithm Change Log helps you to stay up-to-date on every algorithm change.
Keep your eyes and ears open in the search community to get the whiff of any change. Mostly, only major changes like Penguin or Panda can affect your website.
Last word: Expertly Written Content Because Content is the King:
The fact of the matter is that nothing is better than great content. Content marketing takes hard and daily work. Create content reliably and without fail. Offer the best writing you are capable of and make sure that the topics of your writings are many and varied.
Incorporate infographics and videos, as they are valuable in getting your message across and are a great medium to engage your users. They also generate more interest and increase traffic to your website.
To conclude, play smart with Google’s algorithms. With practice, you will start to get an idea on how Google and the algorithm work. You will also gain knowledge on what steps you need to take to be successful. With good content, content marketing and following rules, your rankings will rise and you will be avoiding all penalties.
Zahoor Bhat has over 10+ years of experience as an online editor and media manager. He has worked with major online news and content sites as a media manager. He is well versed with major content management systems and web platforms such as WordPress and social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google Business, Yelp, Instagram & Linkedin. He is an expert in content creation, proofreading and finally making it live. Being a social media expert, he is able to make relations with social media influencers and make sure to generate leads and grow business via different social media platforms.