It is quite tough for your website to recover from a penalty. You may also have to struggle a lot to get the ratings back! Hence, as they say, ‘prevention is better than cure’. Yes, it is always better to avoid penalty.
There are a number of things you can do in this regard. First step is to understand why Google Penalizes websites.
Google values, trust put by visitors while making a search. It makes sure ONLY the best websites with the best user experience comes to the top of its search results. A website posing as a hurdle in this objective is immediately penalized by Google. The search engine also has a set of guidelines for websites who want to legitimately make it to the top.
Types of Google Penalty:
There are two main ways Google penalizes a website:
Manual Penalty – Someone from the Google team reviews your site individually and penalizes it. These are very rare, but they do happen! When it happens, you get a notification in your Google Webmaster Tools account.
Algorithmic Penalty – Google uses this for mass destruction. This occurs when Google makes ample changes to its search algorithms. And these modifications impact all. A single algorithm change is enough for Google to penalize or reward as many hundreds of thousands of websites.
Ways To Avoid a Google Penalty
First, stop being overly cautious about Google penalties. Websites that get penalized are usually involved in dubious activities. These are against Google’s regulations. Hence, the best way to avoid a penalty is kept from grey area. Stay within the rules. Also make sure you are aligned with Google’s main objective – to provide a smooth user experience.
Here are a few things you need to do to avoid Penalty:
Make double sure your site is updated regularly with relevant content for the target audience. Being regularly unavailable will make Google completely de-index your pages. Use a reputable and secure web hosting service which guarantees over 95 percent website uptime. Track server uptimes of your website with Pingdom.
Mobile Friendly Website Design
Switch to mobile friendly design as soon as possible. A mobile friendly site makes use of a responsive design that automatically adjusts dimensions according to device of the user.
Website Speed and Performance – Optimize
Speed and performance of website have a huge impact on user experience. No wonder Google has developed page speed as the key to search ranking factor. Do not let your website load slowly. If it does, the search results will be lower! An average internet user will leave a website within 3 seconds if it takes longer loading. Website bounce rate increases and Google sees it as your inability to give users what they’re looking for. The rankings drop drastically. Use Google’s Page Speed Test to know where your website stands. The tool provides you with a list of suggestions and recommendations to improve your page speed. For best results, you may hire the top SEO company for your online business. Professionals know what it takes to ensure optimum results for their clients.
Some of the other ways to increase page speed include use of high quality content delivery network (CDN), optimize images on your website, use of a fast and secure web hosting service, and eliminating unnecessary WordPress plugins and files.
Relevant Backlinks – Helps Avoid Google Penalty
The more backlinks your site has the better, right?
It’s not just about the number of backlinks you have. Google also closely monitors the relevancy of your backlinks.
It doesn’t matter if a backlink is coming from a very high authority site. If it’s not relevant to your niche or the content of the site, you will be penalized.
This is precisely what happened with Google’s Penguin Update. Sites with a lot of irrelevant backlinks were penalized. This is clearly visible in the study below as well.
As you can see, sites with 100% relevant backlinks were not penalized at all.
Building links is very important for your rankings. But you need to make sure that you build natural and relevant links only.
For example, if your site is about pet training, too many backlinks from a personal finance blog, or a tech news blog will be considered as unnatural.
Say Yes to Natural Anchor Phrases – Avoid Anchor Words
Use of keyword rich anchor text for back linking is no less than inviting serious danger. Google does not like this. It considers these links unnatural. So if you are serious about not getting penalized, simply switch to natural anchor phrases.
The idea is to work around keyword rich anchor text. Link to your content in a natural way. Don’t use the target keyword as anchor text. Instead, use a longer phrase which includes the keyword. Avoid use of similar phrase or keyword all the time. You can choose a variety of synonyms of your main keyword and use in anchor phrases.
Disown Low Quality, Duplicate Content
You simply cannot rank well in Google search by using low quality content. SEO has evolved and Google bots are smart enough to detect any duplicate or spun content. Google likes to treat its users with fresh and highly comprehensive content. So if you are looking forward to rank well in Google search results, develop content that it loves.
Focus on developing longer content. This should typically be in the range of 1500-2000 words for each post. You need to link it to high authority research papers. Also make sure you develop content backed by data. Your content should be such that people love sharing and reading.
Since Google is biased towards unique, highly relevant, well-researched and high quality content, your rankings and overall SEO health depends on the type of content you develop.
Guest Blogging – Targeted and Relevant
With the formal announcement by former head of web spam team of Google, Matt Cutts about risks associated to guest blogging, it was seen as a suspicious practise by many. Guest blogging is certainly an amazing and highly effective way to build brand image. It also ensures exposure of your business to a larger audience. However, it is crucial to be cautious while using it only for link building.
When building links with guest blogging, you need to make them look natural. Also make sure these are relevant to host blog content.
Earn Google Trust – Avoid Penalty
You need to focus on developing strong brand signals. This will help you earn Google trust. Understand SEO ethics and significance. The emphasis should be put on user experience. Also developing a strong brand will provide you with a major advantage over competitors.
Remembers that brands are synonymous with credibility and trust. So website holding strong brand assets and signals is given preference in search results by Google. There are certain things you can do to build strong brand signals for your business. Start by developing a professional website. Make sure it has a valid phone number and a physical address on Google Maps. The information will help Google know you’re a real business.
Next, focus on maintaining social media profiles for your brand. Using mediums such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and various other major social networks. Make sure you use company branding and colors on your profiles. You should update them on a regular basis.
Another tip is to develop as many backlinks as you can to your site. Here, you need to use brand name as the anchor text.
Avoid Google Penalty – Remove Harmful Backlinks
A website with dubious content such as penalized site, porn, hacking forums, blackhat seo etc. is harmful for your site. When these website links to your site, Google will look at you suspiciously. Make sure you keep close tabs on backlinks you get. Simply get rid of any potentially harmful links.
You can use disavow tool using by Google. It allows you to inform Google about links you believe are irrelevant to your site.
Let’s Wrap Up
When it comes to avoiding Google penalties (all kinds), you need to understand how important user experience is for Google. Hence, when devising SEO strategy, end user experience should be kept in mind. Your content needs to focus on people instead of Google. Also create natural backlinks and make all efforts to ensure the super smooth user experience to visitors.
Google is not in love with penalizing websites. Stay within search guidelines and it won’t penalize you.