How to Avoid a Google Penalty?
Are you worried of getting hit by a Google penalty? Well, you are not alone.
Google has clearly outlined its primary goal — which is to provide its users the best possible search experience. In order to achieve that goal, Google keeps rolling out new algorithm updates to improve its ranking algorithm, penalize low-quality websites, and showcase better results to its users.
In the last few years, Google has announced the following major updates:
- Google Panda Update
- Google Penguin Update
- Google Hummingbird Update
- Google’s Latest Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update a.k.a “Mobilegeddon”.
All of these updates have penalized a lot of websites. Some websites have lost readers while others lost a lot of business. So if you are wary of getting penalized of yet another Google update, you are right to be afraid.
In this post, we are going to outline several tips that you can use to avoid a Google penalty. Although there are no surefire ways to completely avoid a possible penalty, the following tips are aligned with Google’s advices and recommendations. So you should be fine.
Here are the tips that you must follow if you want to avoid a Google penalty.
The infamous Google Panda and Google Penguin updates were specifically rolled out to target websites with low-quality and spammy backlinks — also known as link-farming.
If you want to avoid a Google penalty, it is important to avoid the dubious technique of link-farming.
What is Link-Farming?
Simply put, link-farming is a technique in which a website generates low-quality and spammy backlinks just for the sake of getting backlinks. These backlinks are used to increase a website’s PR (page rank), but as they are not genuine, they don’t have much value in the eyes of search engines.
In other words, link-farming tricks the search engines. It’s a black-hat SEO technique which has been prohibited by Google and other search engines.
In order to avoid a Google penalty, just focus on generating high-quality and completely natural backlinks. And you should be fine.
2. Create Rich Content
Content marketing is an essential aspect of getting higher search engine positions and generating natural backlinks. There is no alternative of that.
Now, try to understand this.
There are so many websites and contents available in every niche on the internet. However, Google can only rank the top 10 web-pages of any topic on the 1st page of search engine results. The rest of the web-pages get buried down in search engines.
Furthermore, as Google becomes smarter and more intelligent, it now seeks rich, more comprehensive content to rank higher in the SERPs.
SerpIQ recently researched 20,000 keywords and analyzed that all the top 10 pages of each keyword had at least 2,000 words. In other words, the ranked pages are so rich and comprehensive in content that none of the posts had less than 2,000 words in it.
Here is a complete chart of their analysis.
If you want to avoid a Google penalty, make sure to create content that is lengthy, rich, and very comprehensive.
Make it so good and helpful to your readers that it becomes immune to any Google penalty.
3. Focus on LDR
What is LDR?
LDR means “Linking Domain Relevancy”.
What it means is that the links you generate for your website should come from a relevant niche/domain.
You see, earlier the Page Rank (PR) of a website used to be one of the most important factors for link-building. However, now Google is focusing more on the LDR.
In an interview, a former member of Google’s webspam team, said:
“Relevancy is the new PR.”
So in order to avoid any Google penalty, it is important that you only generate backlinks from relevant websites.
Whenever you are about to generate a backlink, ask this question: “Is the other domain within my niche?”
For instance, if your website is in the “mobile marketing” niche, should you generate a backlink from a “dog” related website? No.
The Google Penguin update now specifically targets websites with irrelevant backlinks. Here is an excellent analysis by Microsite Masters on how Google Penguin penalizes websites with irrelevant backlinks.
As you can see, websites with 100% relevant backlinks were not penalized at all! On the other hand, approximately 50% websites were penalized because they had irrelevant links.
So, in summary, if you want to avoid such penalties by Google, focus on your LDR (Linking Domain Relevancy) and only generate backlinks from websites that are relevant and within your niche.
4. Avoid Fake Social Media Signals
Here is another small tip for you.
Avoid fake social media signals, and this includes fake Twitter followers and fake Facebook fans.
Google penalizes websites that are unnatural. Similarly, it also penalizes websites with fake social media signals.
For instance, if your Twitter profile has 60,000 followers with 3 tweets and 0 retweets, it indicates that you have a fake Twitter profile. Based on the fake social media shares that your web-pages are receiving, Google may end up penalizing your website.
5. Diversify Anchor Texts
Diversification of anchor texts is another important aspect of avoiding Google penalties. Unfortunately, most bloggers and website owners do not pay enough attention to what anchor texts they are using across the web.
Here is a simple rule.
Ideally, the anchor texts that you use should be properly diversified.
Secondly, don’t just rely on generic anchor texts, e.g. click here, this post, etc. Such anchor texts don’t look very natural to either the human readers or the search engines.
So what should you do? Here is a blueprint for you.
Suppose your domain name is www.ABC.com and it deals with content marketing. The owner of the website name is John Doe.
Ideally, your anchor texts should be divided in the following proportions:
- About 30% of the anchor texts should be based on your brand, i.e. ABC.
- Approximately 10% should consist of the complete URL, i.e. http://www.abc.com
- Similarly, 10% should have the domain name, i.e. ABC.com
- You may use 3-5% generic keywords, e.g. website, this post, this blog post, here, click here, etc.
- 10% of the anchor texts should be about branding your own name, i.e. John Doe.
Although do understand that there is no magic formula of diversifying your anchor texts, but the above-mentioned blueprint should be followed.
Avoiding a Google penalty may seem a very difficult task. But if you play by the rules and don’t get involved in black hat SEO techniques, you should be fine.
The tips that I’ve mentioned above must be followed. A lot of websites and blogs get penalized because of link-farming, thin content, or irrelevant backlinks. So pay a lot of attention to those aspects and, hopefully, Google will not penalize your website.
Last, but not the least, SEO is a dynamic field. So stay tuned to see if there is an incoming update that may hurt your search engine rankings.