Business owners and Webmasters know that Google assessments are more important than ever. Now they have become essential to the success of a business. As a result, a Google penalties that lowers your search rankings can dramatically reduce your organic traffic, affecting your business and brand.
Remember that Google does not discriminate. No matter the size, the success of your business, if you do not play well with Google, you can end up with penalties that will massively affect your search engine rankings. Do not put money in the pockets of your competitors by getting a penalty and losing search traffic. Just follow these simple instructions with search engine optimization agency Sydney and avoid these 15 errors that will get you a Google penalty and reduce your search ranking.
1. Do not buy links
Purchase links will almost always give you a Google penalty. Do not expect the pity of the search engine giant if they catch you. Companies selling links can have a striking sales tone with a lot of flashy jargon, but do not trust them. If you purchase paid links then you will be caught eventually. Also, never believe when they tell you that their links are undetectable.
2. Keyword Stuffing
Any SEO expert or Digital Marketing Company in Sydney will tell you that keyword stuffing is one of, if not the biggest no-no you can do these days. For more than a decade Google has been actively against and criminalizing websites that stuff keywords. However, the update to Google’s BERT algorithm (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) has shown that the search engine giant can now understand major parts of the content in a good way, if not better than a human.
The update focused on understanding natural language. Therefore, Google search engine naturally understands better when content does not pass the test of being written naturally. Avoid a Google penalty by writing content naturally, similar to how you would speak in real life, and keep your keyword usage around 2 -3% is the standard rule.
3. Have shallow content depth
As mentioned above, Google’s update, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), can now come and understand website content similar or better than humans. This update does not affect all websites yet, but Google implements BERT to assign more and more pages on a drip basis. Therefore, using shallow content on your website may result in penalties for your website. A great way to avoid this is to keep a continuous industry-related blog with well-written content that is also in-depth.
4. Non-unique content or copyright infringement
Google takes duplication of content very seriously. It bars web pages containing the same content on other pages from being fully indexed, meaning they won’t even be displayed or shown in search engine results (SERP). You should not publish your content to multiple places, such as a guest blog with content simply copy/pasted from your website, as you may be penalized for publishing.
5. Including ads that make navigation difficult for visitors or are very heavy
That’s exactly why Google added its unique layout algorithm designed to mark pages and websites that are too saturated with ads or frustrates website visitors in finding the information mixed in between with the ads. Google penalizes web pages that have too much content at the top of their pages, making users feel overwhelmed and more likely to bounce away.
6. Never hide content
Google focuses, by default, on transparency. It’s not surprising that they don’t like when you hide content in an attempt to “fool” them to rank your website higher. Many SEO experts (Sydney Search Engine Optimisation) do things like matching their text to the page’s background color. Although they may think that it helps their ranking, it will certainly lead to a penalty. Be as transparent as possible with Google, including high-quality content.
7. Show that you are a legitimate and reliable company
Google wants to offer the best quality of experience to users that use it as their preferred search engine. Google search engine wants to ensure that users have a great experience and therefore want to ensure that their ads are relevant to exactly what people are looking for. As a result, Google tends to focus on websites design with a good and high-quality customer experience.
8. Have website URLs for humans, not search engines
If you want to prevent your website or specific pages from getting a penalty, create clear, concise, and user-typed URLs. Although it is correct to include specific keywords or phrases, your URL must match the content and not just be typed to attract traffic or to rank in search engines.
9. Another way to avoid Google sanctions is not to do what is called “link spamming”.
This is a practice that many agencies offer or include in their strategy without having detailed SEO knowledge (Search Engine Optimisation)). This is when people simply add a link to your website manually or with an automated platform with the belief that it will contribute to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). People hate seeing these spam links and are therefore marked by Google and the link spam website is penalized.
10. Didn’t notice a hacked website
Hacking is a bigger problem than ever, and even children ask to sniff a website’s content management system to add malicious content, spam, and links. When Google spiders realize that a website has been hacked, they add notification of “this site is hacked” next to search results, and this can be worse than losing some traction in your search rankings!
Although less common, cloaking is when websites and pages try to “cheat” Google using the SEO tactic “black hat” to show a different website to human searches than it does to Google. This is done using shifty redirect links. Google will penalize websites that do this because the search giant wants to ensure that users do not click on these links only to be redirected to a completely different website without the desired information.
12. No outbound links
Outbound links are important to prove that you are a credible company that is not afraid to link website visitors to other credible websites and businesses. Including quality links to high-ranking websites is important, but they should not look like a spam site as it can make them prone to receive a penalty. A good place to include these outgoing links is in your blog as you may not want visitors to leave your top-level pages.
13. Not checking for harmful inbound links
When a website is marked as dangerous, such as a spam website with questionable text, links to your website, create an incoming link. Google will start digging on your website suspiciously because Google found this your website link on this other website of low quality. Make sure that you monitor all third-party site links directly through the Google Search Console or third-party monitoring service. If you are not sure if an incoming link is a spam, you can use a third-party tool such as Moz Link Explorer or SEMrush to check their Spam Score.
14. Do not overuse anchor text
Anchor text is the actual text that you can click to be directed to another page or website. Excessive use of anchor text or failing to distribute it correctly can harm your search engine rankings. Excessive use of anchor text is one of the most common things Google penalizes for. As per Google, all links should direct people to the information they want while keeping the links natural.
15. Always include your physical address on your website
Your physical location (assuming you have one) will help you avoid a penalty and be considered legitimate because it shows that you are credible and reliable. This is directly related to how Google classifies websites and web pages. Assuming you have these three elements, you will want to include your company’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) on your site. This will prevent your website from being penalized by showing that you are a website that can be trusted.
How to check if your site already has a penalty
Google uses several algorithms, as well as audits performed manually to detect problems or violations with websites and web pages that require a penalty. You or your webmaster must perform frequent checks to see if there have been any penalties. The process is exceptionally simple. First, sign in to Google Search Console, a completely free tool, to check manual penalties. Then try to check any new penalty notice in your messages. You can also search under the Manual Actions sub-link on the left bar.
Conclusion: Avoid a Google search penalty easily
Google issues hundreds of thousands of penalties every month. Many of them could have been avoided. Remember that Google sanctions are avoidable. It is as easy as having a basic understanding of the rules that lead to sanctions and avoiding them. You can use the Google Search Console to monitor your website’s ranking for certain keywords and phrases. You can then resolve any existing issues to avoid a search penalty.