8 Best SEO Practices To Avoid Google Penalties
How would you feel if your site was nowhere on Google after dominating the SERPs for a while? I don’t know about you, but I would have my heart in my mouth. If you are like many of us, you would have that feeling too.
You see, over 90% of the Search Engine traffic comes from the first page of Google. Here is a detailed analysis of the click-through rate based on various factors like industry, title, keywords, and so on.
Over the years, Google has penalized numerous websites. Some were using black-hat SEO techniques. However, there were also many website owners who had no clue of why Google penalized them. Many entrepreneurs have lost their primary source of income due to Google Penalties.
Here is the list of corporations that were penalized by Google.
How to Stay Away From Google Penalties?
There are times when you will be tempted to follow some shady practices to boost your rankings. In the short run, you can observe an increment in your search engine ranking positions (SERP). However, you will be penalized by Google at some point after that.
Google has evolved a lot since its birth. Gone are the days where you can get spammy links or submit spun articles to directories for the rank boost. Keep in mind that not all Google penalties are the same. Here is in-depth information about various types of Google penalties. The specific penalties also greatly depend on their algorithm update. Here is a source of information to keep you updated with Google Algorithm changes.
It is possible to rank your websites without black-hat SEO practices. Some excellent Online SEO courses can help you to gain extensive SEO knowledge and broaden your learning, thereby, aligning you towards at least an adequate approach to search engine optimization.
Some great SEO courses cover almost everything from basic concepts such as keywords, to advanced concepts like backlink monitoring. Having extensive SEO knowledge will reduce your temptation to go for unethical practices.
Let us get back to the central theme of the article and discuss SEO practices that can get you in trouble.
1. You do not care much about your content quality
There is a chance that you may be posting too many pieces of content without focusing on their quality. There are many cases where Google have warned many big websites for this issue.
Image Source: Vertical Leap
As your website grows, it can be challenging to keep track of all your old content and ensuring it is compliant. Consider revisiting older content to ensure it meets current standards and has no broken links. Not abiding by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines can quickly make your posts lose their rankings.
Say No to filler content.
2. Trying to Bring Down Your Competitors To Gain Ranking
We have seen webmasters bombarding their competitors’ websites with low-quality backlinks to bring down their websites’ rankings.
Image Source: Neil Patel
The webmasters thought that they would get to the top by eliminating their competitors. However, their techniques backfired. Google is too smart, and they can find almost all kinds of shady methods that webmasters can use.
3. Cloaking Pages
Cloaking pages mean building two versions of the article, one for search engines and one for a human audience. The black-hat SEO guys and some affiliate marketers use this technique to get traffic by fooling SEO bots.
If you have ever found an article that ranks for a specific popular keyword with little to no value, it is an example of a cloaking page technique.
Check out the image below to get a clear idea.
Image Source: CLICK UPDATES
4. Relying on Paid Links
I’ve encountered an online course which emphasizes paying for links to rank for specific keywords. Google is smarter than ever. One of the most important ranking factors is the number of backlinks. Some people may tell you that backlinks have lost their importance. Yes, it is true that many other factors decide the website’s ranking, but backlink still holds the utmost importance in the eyes of Google.
Here is a complete study conducted by Backlinko after monitoring tons of websites on the internet. Below is the Backlinko’s insights regarding backlinks.
Image Source: Backlinko
Backlinks are so crucial that webmasters are willing to pay a considerable sum of money for getting lots of them. They get the rank boost, but their happiness does not last forever. Do not aim for quick results with SEO.
5. You Are Too Lazy to Create Your Own Content
Google cares about money, and they do not want their users to go away from Google. What will happen if users find lousy websites at the top of their Google searches? They might switch to Bing or another search engine. Google is strict when it comes to duplicate content and spun content that provides no value to its users.
A lot of webmasters who are willing to pay $5 for a poor article. But crappy material can drastically degrade User Experience. If Google finds out about your duplicate and spun content, do not expect it to let you go without a penalty.
6. Doorway Pages
Google hates doorway pages. Creating doorway pages mean creating multiple pages (sometimes making use of multiple domains) and making them rank for various keywords. The sole purpose of creating those pages is for fooling search engines. Those pages direct users to the real landing page of the webmaster for monetization.
Image Source: Shout Me Loud
Before choosing an SEO agency, make sure that they are not working with black-hat SEO techniques like this one.
7. Irritating users with interstitial ads
Google users click onto websites to find the information that they are searching for. Few are looking for your products or services. Google has found many sites using irritating interstitial ads that force users to land on a specific product page or making them manually remove the popups. It is an unethical practice in Google’s dictionary.
Google has announced that it will start penalizing mobile interstitial ads. These interstitial ads hinder user experience. That will hurt not only your website but also Google. And as already mentioned, Google doesn’t take kindly to being hurt!
8. Spam Comments
Spam comments are common. We can see many unrelated comments with irrelevant links in the comments section of many websites. Google considers it as a black-hat SEO technique. It is a good practice to post some relevant comments for some quality traffic, but that does not mean that you can blast irrelevant comments on various websites manually or by using some software.
Google knows the difference between sensible comments and spam ones. Beware of how you comment on websites.
Over to You
I’ve been around SEO professionals for a while. They all focus on getting their clients’ websites on the top of the various search engines. However, only a few of them focus on keeping their websites safe from penalties and black-hat SEO strategies. You’re among a few of them, and I want to congratulate you on your effort to keep Google Penalties at bay. You must also be updated with SEO trends and Google Algorithm update to maintain your ranking on Google.
Has Google penalized you before? If yes, I would love to read your story. I’m sure your fellow readers would also! One last thing. Please leave a comment about any SEO practices I may have missed, that may make Google penalize websites. Thanks!
You may also want to read: SEO Differences Between Google and Other Search Engines
Danish Wadhwa is a HubSpot certified marketing expert and IT pro. With a handful of experience in the web, he has served a number of clients across the world. As a techno-savvy person, he believes in experimenting with new tools and techniques. You can connect with Danish on LinkedIn here or tweet him @danishwadhwa
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