There are 7 Google Penalties that you must avoid at all costs. This is primarily because website owners can easily fall victim to these and these penalties are quite easy to commit. If you let loose a little bit, you can be surprised that Google has already penalized you. You could find out if Google has penalized you through different clues. The most obvious is if your page does not appear on the SERP (i.e. Google has de-indexed your page).
Google has been continuously improving and changing its algorithms for its SERP for decades. One of the most important updates (known as the Penguin) was back in 2012. Over 10% of pages on the internet were wiped out due to penalties and poor quality. Google penalties are not ‘paid up’ issues where you will be fined for committing them. Instead, Google will start to remove you from its SERP and you will see a massive decline in your page’s performance. In short, it’s basically wiping you off the internet which is far worse than any fine.
Here are 7 Google Penalties you MUST avoid at all cost:
This is one of the biggest no-nos for Google penalties – buying links. Simply put, some ‘brokers’ offer to place a backlink to your page on their website. Of course, any website will benefit from numerous backlinks. As backlinking is the foundation of good SEO, the risks of acquiring paid links are high. This is especially true since search engines put harsh penalties on paid backlinks.
This is very similar to reciprocal linking. Exchanging backlinks with another blogger is harmless. However, if your website is found to have exchanged links with numerous websites, it could cause penalties.
Link spamming used to be considered a ‘great marketing tool’. However, spamming is always equated to abuse. It is unclear how the algorithm determines which backlinks are bought, and there are discussions that it really can’t determine. However, link buying is often related to link spamming. If your website is backlinked to numerous websites unrelated to your niche is one evidence of link spamming. Excessive reciprocal linking is another evidence of link spamming. And lastly, a page with so many bad links is also evidence of link spamming.
Copyright Infringing or Content Duplicating
Simply put, doing this is internet suicide. Not only is it unethical to duplicate content from another website, but it is also not advisable as Google could flag your page. As the author of the website, you could be fined by the original owner of the content. And second, Google could easily de-index your site.
If you are into guest blogging for another website or you like other writers writing for you, always be careful of this. Try your best to create new work for pages you guest blog for then link back to your page. Also, ask for the same requirements for guest bloggers who you invited to write for your blog.
It is tempting to keep repeating your chosen keyword all over your content. However, you must always be careful when doing this. One great SEO skill is to seamlessly inject a keyword without affecting the quality of the content. Maybe mention the keyword two or three times throughout your article. Or, install a plugin (like Yoast) that could check out the keyword performance for you.
Missing Sitemap Data
Always make sure that your XML sitemap is available and up to date. Google uses this sitemap to learn how about your site’s structure. Basically, it tells the search engines about your content, and where to find them. If you are having difficulties and issues with this, there are many ways to fix sitemap errors. Learn the importance of ALWAYS updating your sitemap. Make it a habit.
Website Timing Down
This is one of the most difficult Google penalties you must avoid. Maintaining a website once in a while is necessary to make sure that it is performing well. However, whenever websites time out, it is never a happy experience for the users. What happens when your website times out too often? If Google can’t find your website, it will probably de-index you.
Yes, sometimes your website could receive Google penalties from acts that are not your own. There are many sources that say spammy content could lead to a drop in internet traffic. Why does this happen? Google crawls will not be able to determine between comments and content. So if the algorithm detects too much spam on the comment section, it could lead to YOUR CONTENT being flagged. It simply cannot distinguish. To avoid this, always be vigilant in moderating comments. If you find this too difficult, turn off commenting for your website. However, turning off comments is not the best recommendation (albeit the best solution) as the readers will lose their chances to engage with your content.
There are so much more opportunities for which Google could easily de-index your website. You have to always be vigilant and perform audits on your own page. There is nothing wrong with investing in auditing tools and plugins that will keep you on your toes when moderating your website.