Businesses and web developers are becoming more aware of the importance of getting a spot on Google rankings. For a company to be successful in the current digital space, they need to understand how to properly rank. Sometimes, in their race to snatch a spot, they try to do this through inorganic means- buying links, pushing copyright-infringing content, etc., but beating Google isn’t an easy feat. When they catch you, they can penalize you by significantly reducing your organic traffic, thus negatively affecting your business and branding.
It doesn’t really matter who you are, if Google finds out you have been breaking it’s rules regarding linking, it will punish you for it. One of the most infamous cases of Google outright removing a big business from their search index together is that of Bing Discover. As a result, Google’s search results drove a significant amount of visitors away from Bing’s pages.
Google has always stated that it does not want search results pages in its search results, and it was using a bogus URL site.bing.com/discover to take advantage of Google image search users, which is a low-volume Google.com feature.
So, what are the good link-building practices when it comes to link-building strategy for SEO and how can we avoid Google penalties? Let’s discuss all the dos and don’ts below:
Types of Google Penalties
- Keyword-level – A keyword-level penalty indicates that one or (few) additional keywords in a penalized domain loses their ranking. This penalty does not affect all other keywords.
- URL- or directory-level – A penalty at the URL or directory level causes nearly all ranking positions for the afflicted URL or directory to plummet.
- Hostname-level (Subdomain) – This means that most of the keywords of the whole domain lose their rating.
- Domain-wide (sitewide); entire domain-name – This indicates that several of the keywords in the entire domain are losing ranking.
- Delisting (De-Indexing) – This is the maximum penalty imposed by Google. In one situation, Google penalizes a website by eliminating it altogether from the indexing of search results. As a result, no material appears in Google’s search results.
Guilty of committing black-hat SEO? Here’s what you can do.
Find all your backlinks
To begin, go to Google Webmaster Tools and download all of the backlinks that Google has identified. Click on “Search Traffic” in the left menu and then on “Links to Your Site”:
Click on “More” in the section “Who links the most” to see all of the backlinks. Click on “Download newest links” to export all of your backlinks:
You can now import all of your backlinks from Google Webmaster into your preferred SEO tool to gain more insights and SEO analytics for your links. You are free to use whatever tool that you are comfortable with. However, avoid utilizing programs that claim to automatically detect low-quality backlinks, since you may wind up disavowing some of your finest connections.
Identify your bad backlinks
Bad links have become simpler to identify with improved toolsets, higher link indexes, and greater understanding in the last several years, but it is still primitive for many in our business. While your professional wearing profile is the best situation to combine all links one by one for worries, it is simply too costly for many webmasters (and, honestly, an overkill).
Several components are involved in evaluating if the link is “bad” and should be deleted. In the end, we want the risk of the connection to be measured (how likely is Google to flag the link as manipulative and how much do we depend on the link for value).
Whether you wish a quick backlink audit by looking at Spam Score and PA, or a thorough dig that takes anchor text qualification into consideration, it’s made feasible by Link Explorer + Keyword Explorer and Link Lists. You can now be certain that the data you want will be on your fingertips with a much enhanced Backlink Index, which allows you to easily export to further analyze if you need to go down and dirty into Excel.
Disavow the bad links
We all know the power of backlinks to rank. This is an important first point when it comes to getting back to where you started and even improving. Link penalties are probably the most common penalty on the web.
Usually, this happens when there are unnatural links, which Google detects quite easily. It is often caused by participating in link schemes or outright buying links to increase traffic/rankings.
While it’s not really a good idea, if you’ve done it in the past you’ll easily have to fix it. Examine any suspicious links, remove or add “no follow” attributes to suspicious URLs and you will already be in a much better position. But what about the links pointing to your site? Fortunately, Google allows you to disavow such links. Generate a list of these URLs and submit them to Google from their “Disavow” page.
Avoid Link Buying
Don’t purchase links. That is not to purchase links if you care about Google’s long-term performance. You can mess up seriously. Links are like Google votes in very simple words. Further links may assist to “gain” a site for a certain search by Google. Problem is that individuals erroneously think that by purchasing votes they can purchase the election. However, the mechanism is far more complex.
Google enables some connections, if from reputable sources, to carry more weight than others. It also takes into consideration the terms surrounding the links in order to determine what a website could be linked to. There are many individuals connecting Amazon to the term ‘books’ in the connection, thus Google really sees that voting for Amazon ranks well for the word ‘books.’ You don’t see it ranking because a few links to Amazon utilizing the phrase “cars.”
Some links from sites it does not trust Google will also be discounted. You couldn’t carry any weight. Worse, if the Site intentionally purchased a link to try to “draw up the election,” a link may be used to punish a site in specific circumstances.
Best Link Building Strategy for SEO
Although penalties can strongly impact the image but also the turnover of a company, it is nevertheless possible to gradually move up in the rankings after an algorithmic penalty. But it is still quite uncertain.
But it is certain that prevention is better than cure. To do this, here are 6 tips to avoid being penalized by Google.
1. Use Google Adwords to search for keywords
Using Google Adwords is relatively simple. You only need to have a Google account. Google Adwords will help you find the most used words in your market, to offer the best service to users and make Google see that you are an expert in the field.
Once you have the keywords, it’s all about improving your on-page SEO. However, the excessive use of keywords can penalize your website. If Google realizes that you are using keywords irregularly and that your text is only based on keywords, it will think that your website is not aimed at improving the user experience, and this will be highly affected. It is important to use keywords, but without going overboard!
This is not only based on the generation of content, but also on the creation of anchor text for the links that link to a web. Five years ago, SEO experts used the same anchor text in all the links to make Google see that they really are experts in the matter they deal with, but currently, due to the Google Penguin update in 2012, not everything is based on quantity but in quality, and the excessive use of an anchor text is highly penalized.
2. Check the conformity of your content
Having content that complies with Google’s rules is the best way to avoid being penalized! Often webmasters do not attach enough importance to checking the content of site pages and yet this is the best way to avoid being penalized!
The idea is to follow the instructions to webmasters and think about whether the content is in order (no keyword stuffing, unique content, etc.). It might take a while, but you’ll make sure you’ve followed Google’s guidelines exactly.
For websites with a large volume of pages, Google Analytics will allow you to determine the most visited pages and to check them as a priority.
3. Clean up your link profile
To avoid a Penguin penalty, be sure to check and clean your link lists at least twice a month. One of the criteria that Google uses to penalize a website, poor quality links from spam websites should be removed.
Also watch your link anchors, overly optimized anchors should be avoided. With Google Webmasters Tools you can list your links.
4. Entrust your SEO to trusted experts
Choose the SEO agency to which you will entrust your site. Even though things are improving, there are still sites that are being penalized by Google because of the questionable SEO techniques applied by their SEO agency. Do not hesitate to ask your web agency about the SEO methods used.
5. Write for Readers, Not Search Engines
This may seem obvious to some, but you should write primarily for readers and not to please the search engines. If your post seems too mechanical and search engine optimized, your readers will quickly notice. Therefore, filling a post based on keywords should be avoided at all costs. Instead of doing that, try to use them wisely and naturally throughout your post.
Once again, the goal of Google is to deliver quality content to users, but do you think that a bunch of meaningless keywords is considered quality content? Not much less. When it comes to writing content, you have to be the best, you have to make Google see that you really deserve that first position. Filling the text with keywords will not do it, nor will you generate mediocre content, which leads us to the next golden tip.
6. Make quality content!
We know that content is king. Bad content will ultimately get you nothing at all if it isn’t for a penalty and the lack of real interest from internet users. For a lasting presence on the big web, strive to create quality content in unlimited numbers. Good content will guarantee you, visitors, who will become your loyal readers or customers and who will subsequently promote your website. You will climb in the search results while avoiding penalties!
Of course, quality content will not be complete without quality images. Images are the best way to keep your readers and visitors hooked and interested. There are some images with loud backgrounds that can easily be solved by image editing tools.
Google tries its best to make sure that the search engine produces organic content, which is why they work so hard against link buying, cloaking, and anything else that can ruin their algorithm. And besides, most consumers are starting to sense if your ranking is legit or not. If your product is good enough, they can see why you’re at the top of the first page. But if they try out what you have to offer and find that it’s below what they’re expecting then you probably deserved to be called out.
Short Bio: Yen Pedrajas is an experienced writer who loves to share tips and insights about social media and digital marketing. She currently serves as the Lead Editor at Removal.AI, an advanced AI powered background remover and photo editor used by creators, designers, developers and marketers.