Common Website Penalties: Understanding Their Nature


Google wants to provide its users access to unique content, accurate information and the best and finest writers. This is why they continually tweak and improve their algorithms so only the best websites get the proper exposure they deserve. 

In order to take control of the situation, Google has created penalties. Most of the penalties given are well deserved. Google is constantly refining the quality of the search results to elevate the best ones and eliminate all poor quality content. In this article, you will learn the most common google site penalties so you can make your way around it or avoid it entirely. 

Common Google Site Penalties: Factors that Contribute to a Penalty

Buying links 

There are people that swear they did not buy links but actual evidence shows that they did. Buying links is a way to manipulate a site’s PageRank and if you have been buying bad links, your actions would caught up with you some time in the future. 

Excessive reciprocal links

Swapping links used to be a harmless and innocent marketing tactic but it had been abused too much. If you have been doing it excessively, it could also be seen as an attempt of manipulation like buying links.

Duplicate content 

This is a tad bit obvious. Any duplicate content would result to a penalty because it is less useful to Google’s point of view. Make sure that all the content of your website is well-written and unique. You can make use of tools like CopyGator and Copyscape to avoid getting penalized.

Overusing H1 tags

Google has created H1 tags to help it understand what your page contains. The excess of H1 tag use would appear to be an attempt in pumping up Google’s listing with unnecessary keywords.

Internal 404s

Google checks if you weed out the errors and problems of your site as well as whether you tend to your content. If you have been delivering 404s constantly within your site, it would send signals to Google that your users are not getting the information they are looking for.

Links from sites that are in another language

Anyone would think that doing this is unfair. You may get a legitimate link from another country but it would be counted against you. Google knows that users prefer one language and linking sites to a different language would not prove to be useful.

Keyword stuffed content

Rules regarding keyword diversity in a content are both wonderful and weird. None of the rules can actually be proven but a high keyword density would appear to be a poorly written content. Once google has detected a high number of keywords stuffed in your page, they would penalize you instantly – rightly or wrongly.

Footer links

The original use of footer links is to be a navigational aid but others have tried to manipulate PageRank with it and pass link juice unconventionally.

Missing sitemap data

Google uses XML sitemap in order to parse the structure of your site and learn how it has been put together. To avoid getting penalized, keep the XML sitemap always up to date and available and have it submitted to your account in Webmaster Tools.

Hidden links 

Your website should contain links that are visible and useful. If you have hidden links, Google would categorize it as suspicious. No matter what your reason is, do not make a link that is of the same color to the background of your page. This also applies to buttons and flags.

Broken external links 

Keep your links up to date so Google wont assume that you don’t think about the user’s experience. Google would conclude that you are happy to send the visitors of your site off with all the 404s they would experience so check your links periodically. If there are duff ones, pull them out immediately. 

Hidden content

Unethical optimization tactics like disguising the text of your page to manipulate the keyword weighting or the theme is a big no-no. 

Anchor text overuse 

SEO experts used to link certain keywords to reinforce the authority of their website. Because of the Penguin update last 2012, overusing anchor text linking has been strongly discouraged unless you want to get penalized. Switch out your unnatural and forced keywords links to honest links that are phrased in English. 

Neglecting hreflang

Hreflang is designed in order to send signals to Google if ever there is a duplicate content from another locality or language. There is a jury to assess if it is really helpful or not but the use of it could hurt your website for a period of time even if your intentions were good. 

Google is on an understandable compromising mission and it is just right that users get what they deserve. Shifting through the best possible content is not an easy task. If you want to get around the most common penalty charges, you would find this article helpful in learning the nature of the penalties that Google could impose unto your site.

If you live in Garden Grove and need assistance with your website and keeping it compliant, you should contact a local Garden Grove SEO and get started immediately!