Google Penalty Got You Down? How to Avoid It Next Time
Over the last few years, Google has implemented several changes to their algorithm and actively gone after specific types of search manipulators. Your website may have been caught in these sweeps, either because you were trying to ramp up your search results and improve your marketing processes, or because you had been following outdated advice and didn't change your SEO strategy quickly enough. If Google penalized your website for any reason, then you can rehabilitate it with a thorough cleaning. However, it is a big job, and you might not be sure of where to start. In order to get a penalty removed, you need to fix the problems with your site before Google runs another filter. Once they do, your site will be reevaluated based on its new status.
Google has come down harshly on techniques of playing with search engine results, going as far as deindexing whole sites that were not following the rules. The goal in penalties is to give web users better results when they search. SEO techniques that were deemed acceptable several years ago when the search engine was less technologically sophisticated are now considered "black hat" or forbidden. So, what are the common acts that are punishable by a Google penalty that you may need to avoid?
A link farm, or link exchange, is a site that exists primarily or solely to manipulate the search engines by trading links. Members create incoming links that are false in that they are not relevant or naturally occurring. Links by themselves are still good SEO, but they must be related to the content. Most link farms are completely gone from the Internet now.
Hidden text is text that you cannot see on a page because it is cloaked in some way. Some techniques include text that is written in the same color as the background or text that is coded to be invisible, but that the search engines can see. This technique is completely forbidden because most websites that use it are attempting to hide an excessive use of keywords to improve search engine rankings.
Overuse of Irrelevant Keywords
Utilizing keywords and phrases to indicate to Google what your content is about is still one of the most important marketing processes you can take advantage of. However, you no longer need to hit the search engine over the virtual head with keywords. The technology is sophisticated enough to figure out most subjects by the context. Use keywords naturally and leave out the ones that are not relevant when you create content and Google will be happy.
This area is a bit grayer because there are numerous occasions when duplicate content is okay. For instance, if your article is picked up for syndication, you will have snippets all over the Internet. Product descriptions are often duplicate content. The bad duplicate content comes into play if you are submitting the same content to various sites for the purpose of manipulating the search engine results. Therefore, don't worry that your website picks up pieces of your product descriptions and shows them on more than one page — that’s okay. The problem arises from taking your content and putting it on several sites to boost your original page's rating.
Stay Out of Hot Water
It’s understandable that you want to implement powerful marketing processes to boost your site traffic, increase your page ranking, etc. But, you can accomplish that by simply adhering to Google’s newest rules. Stay up to date on Google’s algorithm changes to make sure you avoid a penalty in the future. If you’ve incurred a Google penalty, it’s important to stay out of hot water and rethink your strategy. To determine exactly where your site is in trouble, you should conduct a content audit. For instance, you may have forgotten about older pages that no longer meet Google's standards or links to and from potentially problematic sites. Whatever the case, you can bounce back from any penalty and get on the track to successful SEO strategies in no time.