Thanks to its ever-changing algorithms and regulations regarding keyword optimization and other SEO practices, it’s important to stay on top of the latest changes so you can avoid paying Google a penalty. While there are certainly plenty of gray areas surrounding the exact dos and don’ts of optimizing your website for boosted search result rankings, knowing these 5 strategies for staying ahead of a Google penalty can help your business’s organic traffic improve without running afoul of any new rules Google has put in place.
- Make Security Your Priority- Google is committed to keeping their search engine results pages free from any websites with questionable or dangerous origins. In an effort to maintain a stronghold on website security, Google will penalize or remove any website that has been deemed non-secure, or that has been susceptible to malware in the past. It’s in your best interest to maximize your website’s security to avoid being blacklisted by Google.
- Avoid the Doorway- While having a landing page for visitors to get all the information they need about your business, including hours of operation, available products or services and location and phone information, try to avoid a “doorway page.” This is a page that contains nothing but popular keywords pertaining to your business and is seen by Google as an obvious attempt to boost search engine rankings. Google doesn’t like this, and you can expect to hear about it from them if you currently have a doorway page prominently featured on your website. It’s best to skip doorway pages and instead sprinkle relevant keywords organically throughout your landing page text, service page content, and blog posts.
- Cut Down on Keyword Bloat- Speaking of keywords, there is a right way and a wrong way to make sure they appear in your website’s content in order to improve rankings. It’s important to avoid “keyword stuffing,” or unnecessarily high usage of keywords forced into website copy regardless of relevance or context. A good content writer can use the keywords that have been determined to rank highest for websites like yours without simply repeating those keywords over and over again. Not only does Google penalize for keyword stuffing, but your prospective clients will be turned off by it as well, so don’t do it.
- Don’t Be Sneaky- There are some instances of site optimization that fall into a gray area when it comes to Google regulations, and then there are others that are just blatantly wrong. One of the sneakiest ways to game the system involves hidden text. At some point, somebody discovered that they could just write relevant keywords on repeat using white text on a white background (or black text on a black background) and fool Google into thinking it was just negative space. Not only is this a super-underhanded practice that is completely avoided by reputable SEO practitioners, but it carries a hefty penalty if Google finds you out.
- Can the Spam- If you are a small business owner trying to improve your website traffic, adding links to other sites in hopes of being backlinked is a completely above-board way to generate more visibility. However, when the links you are putting on your site lead visitors to spammy or potentially malware-filled websites, you are just shooting yourself in the foot. Make sure that all links you add are to reputable, high-quality sites with relevant content that adds value. You will not only avoid a penalty from Google but will also avoid the wrath of visitors to your site who don’t appreciate being led to spam.
Of course, the best way to avoid being penalized by Google for your SEO efforts is to hire an SEO pro to handle it for you! 51Blocks uses only the best white-label SEO practices and is committed to ethical, high-quality SEO that gets results without getting shady. Contact the 51Blocks team today to get started on optimization of your company’s website.