In the digital world, the competition is getting more challenging by the minute. On top of that, websites have to fix google penalties, maintain cybersecurity and attract customers.
The search engine giants like Google are forming strict standards for websites to survive and thrive.
Due to the emerging cybersecurity threat, Google monitors websites and segregates those that don’t comply with its standards.
Only those websites that strictly comply with rules get to rank on Google’s SERP.
So, what is a Google penalty? How can a website protect itself from it?
Well, let’s find out:
What is a Google Penalty?
From the search ranking standpoint, a penalty gets termed as the dip in the website’s rankings and the imposition of restrictions due to the changes in algorithm or manual black hat actions.
Every website has to comply with Google’s webmaster algorithm to get indexed and rank higher.
If a website fails to do so, it has to bear the repercussions by getting penalized. Peruse the two types of penalties:
Algorithmic penalties get imposed when a website fails to get indexed by Google’s new algorithm.
Algorithmic penalties are also known as automatic penalties because Google does not enforce those penalties for some black hat action; instead, the penalty results from an algorithmic update that can be easily fixed.
Many websites get penalized this way, but Google never takes any strict action against them.
Manual penalties are a result of specific manual checking by Google to determine whether the site is authentic or not.
Every year a quarter of a million websites get manually penalized by Google for violating norms and conditions.
Google does not impose these restrictions right away. Instead, it sends a warning through a notification asking the website to resolve the issue.
If the website does not do so, it gets manually penalized.
How to avoid Google penalty: 10 Best Tips
1: SSL Security Is A Must.
In 2018, Google made it mandatory for all websites to have an SSL Certificate.
SSL certificate encrypts the communication between two computers and ensures that it gets passed over a secure network.
SSL protects the website’s sensitive data such as credit cards, debit cards, bank details, usernames, and passwords from cybercriminals.
The encryption happens after establishing communication through symmetric and asymmetric cryptographic functions.
Without SSL, a website cannot rank on Google’s SERP, and visitors cannot access it.
But what if you have multiple subdomains of your business? How can SSL be useful for all of them?
In that case, a standard SSL certificate won’t do well, but a wildcard SSL certificate can surely do.
Wildcard SSL certificates can protect multiple first-level subdomains under one primary domain. Here are some of the perks that you will enjoy by installing them:
● They are cost-effective, which means that you do not have to pay separately for each subdomain.
● Cheap Wildcard SSL certificates maintain the same level of security across all domains.
● You will get a single dashboard for managing wildcard SSL on all your subdomains.
2: Don’t Introduce Keywords Forcefully in The Content
Keywords are an integral part of your content strategy. Without them, Google won’t identify what your content is all about.
But this does not mean that you stuff it up with many keywords ignoring the value and information you are trying to provide through the content piece.
Google has smart crawlers who can quickly identify hidden keywords in the content and penalize the content manually for deceiving the users and the search engine to reach the top.
So, if you want to avoid penalties, don’t try this old-school technique of stuffing keywords.
3: Don’t Forget to Add Sitemaps.
A sitemap is like a navigation tool that helps Google know where to fetch your content from.
Suppose you invite a friend to your place without giving your address; how will he/she know where your home is and how to reach there?
Similarly, Google must know your website inside out to crawl and fetch data when someone searches for relevant terms.
If Google fails to index your website and verify its authenticity, it imposes a penalty on it. To avoid it, visit Google’s webmaster tools and create a sitemap of your website.
4: Refrain FROM SCRAPING CONTENT
Content scraping merely copies the content from other websites and rewrites it with minor changes to fool search engines.
Scraped content never ranks high as Google has now got the necessary tools to identify who is publishing authentic and fresh content and who is rewriting it.
Content scraping puts you in Google’s bad books, and you pay for it by reduced user engagement and search rankings.
Although scraped content never gets plagiarized, it won’t be of any use either. If you want to highlight something from another website, it is better to add their link and give them credit.
5: Avoid Getting Backlinks from Sites with A Bad Reputation.
Backlinks tell Google that your content is worth ranking as many other websites have also showcased it on their sites.
But Google also checks who those sites are that you are linking to. If it finds them irrelevant and mediocre, it will assume that you are linking in bulk to get high rankings.
As a result, your website rankings will dip even while linking to several websites. So, always choose big websites to connect to that have 1. Reputation, and 2. Authenticity.
6: Ensure That the External Links Hold Relevance
Linking is essential to growing your website, but its relevance is equally important. If you link to sites with no connection with your content piece, Google will penalize you for deception.
Google’s algorithm can easily track the link’s relevance and figure out the connection between them from a user’s perspective.
Irrelevant linking results in a significant drop in your search rankings and your customer base.
You can run a site audit and remove all the irrelevant links from it to fix the google penalty if you have already been penalized.
7: Don’t Form Private Networks.
Many site owners practice establishing links between multiple sites that they own.
Although, there is no harm in that if all the other websites are relevant to each other. But, if they are irrelevant, Google considers it an unethical practice and imposes a penalty.
Google assumes that the website owners are trying to form unnecessary links to rank on top and are not confident about its content value.
Thus, avoiding private network formation is best to keep you away from penalties instead form relevant links by collaborating with other sites on the web.
8: 404 Errors Can Ring the Death Knell for Your SERP Rankings
404 errors can occur when the server fails to redirect the user on the desired page due to its unavailability or change in the source code.
404 errors are common; if not fixed, they can result in a dip in search ranking and Google penalties.
The errors can be easily fixed by fixing a redirect but, if the owner is unaware of it, the users may bounce back from the site resulting in low customer engagement.
Moreover, when Google finds out that a page hasn’t got fixed, for the time being, it starts sending warning signs and imposing a penalty for a dip in user experience.
9: Serve Layouts That Are Mobile-Friendly
According to Statista, last year, 50.81% of all global traffic came from mobile, which is why one cannot afford to overlook it.
In 2021, if a website wants to rank high and avoid penalties, it has to create mobile-centric layouts for customers.
Google has now started penalizing websites that do not provide optimum experience to its mobile users.
Moreover, mobile-friendly layouts help websites gain more traction, and they make more sales.
Whether it gets penalized by Google or not, every website must have a mobile-friendly interface.
10: Keep A Check on Robot.Txt Files Regularly
Robot.txt files tell Google whether to index a particular post, page, website or not.
If there is a problem in the robot.txt file, Google will assume that you are not interested in showing this side of your website to the user, and it will not index it.
Google’s crawlers will only crawl pages they are allowed to, and if they are not allowed to crawl your website as a whole, Google will consider you a nuisance and will chuck you out of its system.
However, you will receive a notification by Google in the Webmaster tools section before getting penalized.
Search engines like Google have become very specific in this competitive business environment as to whom they should rank on their SERP.
You cannot win the ranking bet by merely taking care of your security. Instead, you must devote a specific time to the management of your website.
Google is not against websites; it wants to provide optimum experience to its users through legitimate website features like quality content, responsive web design, functionality etc.
So, if you want to stay in Google’s good books and avoid penalties, then add these ten tips to your arsenal and see your rankings blow through the roof.