Have you lost your rankings and traffic in the previous Google Algorithm Update?
I can understand how it feels like…
You did hard work and finally gained the first position of Google’s first page but one Google’s update ruined everything, you lost your ranking and traffic.
It is very painful… Right?
But it does not always happen because of Google algorithm update(like penguin and panda). Sometimes, Google takes manual actions to the websites they found violating their guidelines, like buying backlinks, copying content from other websites, using black-hat SEO etc.
Even there is no major Google algorithm update announced. Some still fight with Google’s Penalty.
Do you remember the famous JC Penney Google Penalty?
Google giants once found that retailer JC Penny has tons of backlinks but all are from the irrelevant websites with descriptive anchor text. It was clear that they are involved in black-hat SEO techniques to grow their backlinks profile.
This was a clear case of violating Google’s algorithm just to grow their link profile and gain top rankings. Google took the action against the site and as a result, JC Penney lost its top rankings and traffic.
There are tons of other examples where the site got penalized just because they were violating Google guidelines just to grow their link profile and bring traffic.
Sometimes, a Google algorithm comes in play and snatched their rankings and traffic.
But you don’t need to be worry because you found this article, where I am going to share some tips that will help you to avoid Google penalty on your site.
But before moving further, let’s take a look at types of Google Penalties.
Table of Contents
Types Of Google Penalties
#1 Manual Penalty
This is the manual action taken against certain websites when Google finds them violating any for their guidelines.
Manual Penalties/Actions are not like automated penalties like Algorithm update, It is done by Google reviewers against the website violating Google’s guidelines.
If your website got hit by any manual penalty by Google, you will get notified in your Google search console under the Security & Manual Actions.
You will also get notified by email.
#2 Google Algorithm Update
Google often announce new algorithm updates that hit the websites that are using black-hat SEO techniques or violating any kind of Google’s guidelines.
If you might be aware of Google’s panda and penguin update if you are in SEO field from a good time.
Google algorithm updates are not easy to identify whether your site got penalized or not. Because you aren’t going to receive any kind of notification in Google search console neither an email notification.
However, SEO tools like SEMrush can help you in identifying the Google Algorithm Update through its Sensor tool.
7 Ways To Avoid Google Penalty
Always try to be Google’s favourite one, always use best practices to grow your website’s ranking and traffic. This is the mantra to avoid Google penalty forever.
Here are the 8 ways that you can keep in mind to prevent Google penalty for your site.
1. Guest Posting Carefully
Guest Blogging is one of the most effective methods to build authority backlinks, no doubt in that!
But you shouldn’t aim for too many backlinks from one guest post because it can easily identify by Google giants. Try to find relevant guest blogs to your niche and use meaningful, natural anchor texts to link back to you.
The best way to avoid Google penalties(especially Penguin) is to keep your backlinks profile natural.
Google once penalized SEO Doc Sheldon’s entire website just for a single guest post, he wrote an open letter criticizing the manual penalty. His site got penalized because of using a keyword-rich anchor text “hispanic data” for linking back to his site.
See the tweet below to know what Matt Cutt’s explained:
@DocSheldon what “Best Practices For Hispanic Social Networking” has to do with an SEO copywriting blog? Manual webspam notice was on point.— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 24, 2014
So, when linking back to your site choose natural and relevant anchor text. If you use an anchor text that looks unnatural or irrelevant from your niche then you might bring a Google penalty for your site.
2. Keep Your Eyes On Your Backlink Profile
Google strictly against of the following kinds of backlinks practices:
- Buying and selling links
- Link exchanges
- Massive guest posting campaigns (targeting certain anchor texts)
- Article submissions
- (Excessive/spammy) Forum/comment posting
By monitoring your site’s backlink profile, you can eliminate the risk of getting penalized because of having low-quality or toxic backlinks.
If you keep monitoring your backlink profile, you can disavow the toxic-backlinks as they occur to be safe side on Google.
Google allows webmasters to use the disavow tool to notify Google about the toxic backlinks and ask them to ignore.
3. Uniqueness & Freshness Of Content
Content is King!
You surely heard this many times, if you are writing useful content then you don’t need to be worry.
Google hates the following kind of contents:
- Automatically generated content
- Content from other sources like Scraped content or low-quality guest blog posts
- Doorway pages
- Copied content
- Thin affiliate pages
A website with any of these kinds of content will surely get a Google penalty or a new algorithm update will ruin its ranking and traffic.
Focus on creating high-quality content and update frequently to keep it fresh.
4. Use Anchor Text Smartly
Anchor texts are the words and phrases that you use to link to your site from other websites.
Link anchor text is an important factor that helps Google to know about a backlink, people started abusing it and target specific keywords.
Here is what Google says:
Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. For example, there are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.
Just look at Backlinko’s Link Profile in the below image:
As you can see in the image, 66% of their anchor text is unique…
The rest is mix of brand, author name(brian dean) and URL anchor text. Here is the ratio of anchor text of Backlinko:
- Branded: Backlinko (14%)
- Domain: Backlinko.com (17%)
- Webmaster Name: Brian Dean
Using branded anchor text will not just help in ranking for your brand name but also helps in getting exposure for your brand. But overdoing so may bring problems in future.
Instead of using Keyword-rich anchor text always for backlinks, use branded, webmaster name and domain anchor text more often.
5. Keep Google’s Page Layout Algorithm In Mind
Google Page Layout algorithm clearly says that Google expected sites to show the relevant content immediately to fulfil searchers intent.
We’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away.
It is clearly connected with providing a good user experience, which Google deeply cares about. If a searcher/user needs to scroll a lot to see the relevant content he searched for, it is impacting the user experience.
Google penalizes sites which have lots of ads in “above-the-fold” rather than providing the relevant information about the topic.
Keep in mind that you need to serve to users first, showing lots of ads on your ‘above-the-fold” section can bring Google penalty for your site.
6. Combat Negative SEO
Just for throwing your rankings and traffic down, your competitors may build spammy backlinks to your website. Well, it is too easy for them to bring tons of toxic domains pointing to your site.
They can easily do this just by paying few bucks to any automatic backlink building gig over a freelancing site but in the result of that, you may get penalized by Google.
Read my complete case study of buying backlinks from Fiverr.
So for this, I always prefer running a site audit and backlink audit campaign for my website once in one or two months, to identify toxic domain linking or other negative SEO issues.
If I found any, I can easily overcome from them using Google disavow tool for toxic-backlinks.
7. Remove User-Generated Spam
You might heard it by the SEOs that User-generated content is the most valuable content, well it’s true!
But do you know that same may bring you Google penalty?
Mozilla penalized when Google found spammy user-generated content on its site. In this Penalty, Google wrote:
Google has detected user-generated spam on your site. Typically, this kind of spam is found on forum pages, guestbook pages or in user profiles. As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to your site.
So for keeping your site safe from being penalized, you can use the “rel=nofollow” tag to all to external resources from your user-generated content. It will tell Google that you don’t endorse any of these links from user-generated content.
8. Secure Your Site From Begin Hacked
There are lots of examples where websites that got hacked and then penalized by Google.
Let’s take one:
Christian Leadership University got penalized by Google’s manual penalty when it got hacked. Hackers created too many spammy backlinks to the website that is detected as manipulating Google rankings and then got penalized.
It was a manual penalty and confirmed by Google search console that it is caused due to unnatural backlinks.
Here is the estimated traffic dropped after being penalized…
You should take necessary steps to keep your website secure from being hacked. Here are some tips that you can follow:
- Choose A Secure Web Hosting: Purchase a secure web hosting for your website, avoid going with any cheap web hosting just to save some bucks which can throw you in trouble in future. I highly recommend SiteGround which deeply cares about the security of a website. Read the complete review here to learn more…
- A Secured Theme: Purchase a premium secured WordPress theme for your website, don’t go with a nulled or cracked theme ever. I recommend GeneratePress, you can read the complete review here…
- Don’t Use Nulled Plugins: There are some sites that offer premium plugin in very cheap pricing, don’t ever go with them. They usually are nulled themes which are being cracked to use without the license and contain malware and other viruses.
Google loves the sites which provide good user experience and useful content and hate websites which are following black-hat SEO techniques to gain traffic and ranking, and sites that are hurting the user experience.
If you don’t want to get penalized by Google ever then work on publishing quality and unique content, don’t follow any black-hat techniques.
Google only penalizes the websites that are trying to manipulate their rankings and traffic. To keep your site on the safe side, use genuine backlink building practices, don’t go for quick backlinks with fewer efforts offers.
I have shared some easy to use backlink building techniques, this guide can help you to build quality backlinks to your site.
I hope you found all the 7 ways to avoid Google penalties useful if you did then must share it others and help others in knowing how to avoid Google penalty for their site.