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What is a Google Penalty and How to Avoid it

Penalties are the nightmare of webmasters

If you’ve suffered a sudden drop in traffic recently, it is very likely that you were the victim of a Google penalty. Google penalties happen when you overdo a certain part of your optimization efforts, or unwillingly do certain things that lead to Google penalizing your site for malicious content, by their definition. Of course, it’s treatable – but it will take your site a lot of time and hard work on damage control to recover from penalties. You must always keep eye on latest Google updates.

As with any eventually occurring problem, the situation with penalties is better prevented than treated afterwards. But if we want to practice prevention,  we need to know what causes Google penalties in the first place. Let’s start a list of the basic things.

Back-linking to banned sites

You probably wouldn’t link to banned sites in the first place , but sometimes a site gets banned after you link to it. Make sure to check your links from time to time to examine whether you’re linking to sites which are banned. There are even some automatic solutions to do that for you.

Hidden links

Links which are typed into the code, but never displayed are basically a black hat SEO tactic that Google forbids. So if you’ve tried to trick the system, now’s the time to stop, because the resulting penalty will be devastating to your website. Also , include links which are the same color as your background, because that too gets penalized.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate and syndicated content may look as if they’re working their charm right until you get your penalty. That’s something you cannot allow to happen. Better limit the amount of content than risking a penalty with duplicate content.

Intense  Interlinking , Link Wheels

If it looks as if you’re building a network of interlinking sites which pump each other with inbound links, that’s something punishable by Google. That sad truth is that it sometimes happens to people who didn’t have such an intention, even though chances of that happening are really slim.

Keyword stuffing

Stuffing your meta information with keywords, as well as the content, will result in penalties eventually. To the Google  bots there’s little to no difference between stuffed content and spam , and one should keep that in mind. While a higher keyword density will have good results, overdoing it will result in a penalty.

There are the basics behind avoiding a Google penalty. If it has already happened, most you can do is to remove the things that caused it in the first place, insuring you’ll get a better score at the next review by Google.


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Ajinkya Thete is passionate Blogger,a self-taught web developer and a person who is always looking for innovation.

One comment

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