SEO Guide: How to Avoid Google Penalties

Many businesses were oblivious to the powers of digital marketing in the beginning. But, as technology becomes a greater part of everyday life, more business owners and webmasters are becoming well aware of the importance of digital marketing. Particularly the strategies related to Google.

Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine around the world. Therefore, you have to make your site appealing to Google to find success.

To get in Google’s good graces, you can utilize a lot of strategies. However, you can also face Google penalties that can decrease your search rankings, lower your site traffic, and lay waste to a lot of good effort.

Furthermore, it’s neither cheap nor easy to recover from the penalties. You will need the help of seasoned professionals for lost keyword rankings recovery.

Therefore, you should try your best to avoid Google penalties and not give your competitors an open chance to pass you.

What Is A Google Penalty?

Since December 2000, Google has been changing its algorithms to stay ahead of the other search engines.

Since then, Google has made a significant number of changes to improve its search results for its users. Therefore, it wants to remove the poor quality sites from its index while bringing the best stuff on the top of the SERPs. That’s the whole purpose of penalties.

Before the Penguin update hit in 2012, people were getting on top of search engines in any way possible. As soon as the Penguin update was rolled out, it affected a massive number of sites and even wiped many websites out entirely.

Since then, everyone has been more careful about going against Google’s wishes. However, many websites still get penalties because they either don’t know about the rules or don’t care about them. Either way, any Google penalty can be devastating for your site.

How to Avoid Google Penalties?

Now that you’re aware of Google penalties, you may realize the importance of avoiding them. While these tips can help you out significantly, you should look into as many Google penalties to be on the safest side.

Now, here is what you need to avoid.

Keyword Stuffing

Putting keywords in your content is a great SEO strategy. You can target certain keywords and rank higher for them in the search engines.

However, many people may think the more keywords in the content, the merrier. But that is not the case.

Google shows no mercy to websites that stuff keywords, and it has been like this for over a decade. Yet still, many people got away with slightly stuffing their content.

Now, Google’s BERT update is a game-changer. The BERT update can understand the content on sites like or better than an average user. Therefore, it can easily pin down the content that doesn’t have a natural flow or doesn’t pass the “smell test.”

Buying Links

Even though buying links is considered to be a horrible strategy, many so-called experts keep scamming amateur website owners to purchase links. They use really convincing sales pitches and present some appealing jargon to reel you into this mess.

However, you shouldn’t trust them at all. Even if they are telling you their links are “undetectable.”

If you get caught buying links, Google will show no mercy.

Plagiarized or Non-Unique Content

Call it duplicate, plagiarized, or non-unique; Google is very strict against this type of content.

The general indication an average person may get from this is they can’t use plagiarized content. While that is the basic concept, some people don’t seem to realize it also applies to using the same unique article they wrote on multiple sites.

Either way, you can get penalized, or that particular webpage may not show on Google at all.

Shallow Content

If your content has a natural flow, you don’t stuff in keywords, and follow other basic rules, you may still have to face penalties for shallow content.

When writing content for your site or getting it written, you should go in-depth on your chosen topics. This will help you avoid unnecessary penalties.

Since Google is still rolling out BERT to affect more and more sites, there may still be some time before you face penalties.

Ads Causing Difficulties in Navigation

A website’s layout is significantly important to Google. If your site is anything but simple to navigate and easy to use, Google may give you a hard time.

In this case, Google doesn’t like webpages or entire sites that are covered with ads. Also, it’s worse if those ads don’t allow users to properly go through the content.

Another disadvantage would be your website visitors will leave your site immediately. That could harm your website rankings on SERPs as well.

Zero Outbound Links

You need to show Google that you’re a credible site displaying useful and quality content.

When you add outbound links into your content that lead to authoritative and credible sites, you’re showing Google that you are a credible website as well.

If you don’t implement any strategies that separate you from spammy websites, you may receive a penalty.

Not Using NAP

If you have a physical location, whether it be an office, store, or any other site, you should add the details on your website.

The acronym NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. It’s incredibly popular among marketers.

Basically, the whole idea is to add your business’ NAP on your company website and other places like Google My Business. When you do, Google sees that you’re a legitimate, trustworthy, and credible business.

If your business doesn’t have a physical location, you can add phone numbers, emails, and other info.

Unclear and Search Engine Targeted URLs

Many people create URLs filled with particular keywords to make them more suited for Google searches. However, that practice is going out of date as well. Not only that, but your webpages can suffer for doing that as well.

Therefore, you should try to write a clear URL for a user instead of Google. While it’s still perfectly fine to add keywords, try not to overdo it.

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