How to avoid Google penalties

In the ongoing battle for a search engine that delivers the best possible content for any specific search query, like it or not, Google’s algorithmic updates and ranking penalties are here to stay. Keeping ahead of the game is therefore critical if you are to avoid potentially devastating sanctions to your business, and our 4 top tips will help you do just that:

1.    Find a trustworthy SEO expert

With every Tom Dick and Harry purporting to be an expert in SEO these days, how do you know who you can really trust? If you are being offered SEO services, do your research and have a look into their twitter/blog/website history. A trusted source will be engaging in the online community by blogging about recent and/or future updates, and comparing your potential provider to reputable industry experts will help you ascertain whether or not a new provider will be beneficial to your business in the long term.  

These reliable sources at Google are great examples of trustworthy SEO’s. Following them on Twitter will show you what to look out for in an SEO expert, whilst keeping you in the know regarding the latest updates:

  • Garry Illyes @methode  
  • Pierre Far @pierrefar
  • John Mueller @JohnMu

2.    Work closely with your SEO provider

Have your SEO advisor carry out a full risk assessment on your links and start to clean up your site. Businesses of all sizes must understand, however, that this is not a product in a box that you can buy and apply, but an area of skill and expertise. You must work closely together with the SEO provider to help you move your business forward over time.    

3.    Be relevant

To ensure the best possible user experience, Google is continues to place increasing importance on relevancy. Make sure your website is structured into a semantic collection of information and relevant content that is in harmony with your business principles.

We are seeing more and more emphasis being placed on Linking Domain Relevancy (LDR). This refers to whether or not external links are in a similar niche to yours. Sites without relevant links were 50% more likely to get hit by Penguin than those with at least some relevant links, so to protect against future updates, make sure at least about one third of your links are niche-relevant.

4.    Get ahead of Google

Keeping a proactive approach is essential if you are to prepare for the next Google update. By regularly checking and fixing the following, you can put yourself in the best possible position:

  • Check the relevancy of the links bringing traffic to your site as well as those on your website. Delete any irrelevant links that could hurt you later on. This may involve contacting network owners if you used to buy links.
  • If you use guest blogging, make sure you don’t have too many links coming from one source or blogger.
  • Avoid duplicate content – make sure your content is adding value to your readers.
  • Make sure there is no ‘hidden text’ within your web page.

Getting as much traffic through your site as possible in the hope that a small percentage will convert is no longer a viable business option. In the face of Google updates, making your website the best it can be is now an absolute must, and this can be achieved with the help of an SEO expert and regular short checks to your site. By turning algorithm updates into something positive in this way, at the time of the next update your competitors can struggle with hefty ranking penalties while you sit back and enjoy steady traffic growth.

If you want help with your SEO strategy, please get in touch.