How to Avoid Getting Hit with a Google Penalty
Avoiding getting hit with a Google penalty isn’t really all that hard if your focused on creating a great site for your audience, but if your still trying to game the system it’s another story.
Google uses hundreds of “signals” to determine where and how to rank websites in its search results. Some of the signals are obvious, such as backlink quantity and relevancy, whereas others are not-so-obvious, such as Facebook likes, domain age, etc. Furthermore, Google may penalize websites for certain manipulative practices, causing their rankings to plummet – or in some cases, to remove them from the index altogether. So, what measures can you take to avoid getting hit with a Google penalty?
Don’t Purchase Links
One of the most common mistakes that webmasters make is purchasing links. There are dozens of companies (and individual sellers) who will gladly sell X amount of backlinks for a small price. Granted, it’s probably easier to purchase links than building them, but this could attract a Google penalty. Google has cracked down on paid links in recent years, penalizing offending sites with lower rankings.
Diversify Anchor Text
When building links to your site, try to get into the habit of using a variety of different anchor text. Building all of your site’s links using a single anchor text looks unnatural, which could attract a penalty. Rather than using a single anchor text such as your primary target keyword, use variations and even your site name or URL as the anchor text. Maintaining diversity with your backlinks is essential to achieving a top search ranking.
Of course, it’s also a good idea to analyze your site’s backlinks on a regular basis, looking for “bad” links that could potentially trigger a Google penalty. If you come across one or more bad links, log into your Webmaster Tools account and add them to the disavow tool. Once added, Google will no longer factor those links into your site’s ranking. So even if they were bad links, they shouldn’t have a negative impact on where and how your site ranks in Google.
For more information on analyzing back links, click here.
Focus on Content
Want to know the common denominator among the net’s leading websites? They all provide exceptional quality content. By focusing your marketing efforts around high-quality content, you’ll encourage more traffic and ultimately higher search rankings while simultaneously protecting against Google penalties.
How does Google define quality content? Click Here.
Read (and Follow) Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
If you haven’t done so already, read up on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to determine what’s acceptable and what’s not. Here, you’ll find a list of tactics and techniques that are prohibited, some of which include the use of automatically generated content, link schemes, pages with little-to-no original content, cloaking, sneaky redirects, hidden links or text, doorway pages, scraped content