Here’s How You Get Penalised By Google

We’ve been hearing news that a huge Penguin update on its way!  Alongside the expected Panda update, we’re heading for an important month in SEO.

For those people new to our SEO Liverpool blog, who don’t have a clue about what I’m talking about, here’s a little info…

From time to time, Google likes to update its algorithm (the process Google uses to rank websites). As more people report web-spam (websites/organisations that try to artificially fool Google), the responsible team at Google look at the common factors and alter the algorithm accordingly. It’s all about updating to improve search quality.

Penguin Updates

These updates target websites that use keyword stuffing, cloaking and most importantly Link schemes.

Panda Updates

This update has traditionally been about measures of quality, including design, trustworthiness, speed. Google’s new Panda machine-learning algorithm will look for similarities between websites people found to be high quality and low quality. It’s also thought to have a human side, meaning actual people rating aspects of websites.

Although you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem, sometime you can receive a penalty without trying to artificially game the system.

Here are some thoughts and questionable techniques that will/could earn you a penalty.

Thousands of rubbish Links

It really doesn’t take a genius to work out, if you go from zero to five thousand links in a week, you’re spamming (or you’re a viral genius). The simplest play for Google, is to look for unnatural link profiles, this leads to large scale link exchanges that will incur a penalty. If you’ve been in correspondence with an Indian web company who for $40 can get you ten thousand links (not only should you no better) you deserve to be penalised.

Hidden Links in Templates

We think that web companies who hide links in their clients websites, could soon be hit on this one. Time may also be up for the hidden link, one that isn’t seen and hides inside the template. If you’ve commissioned a website that has a link back to their site on each every page, could also see some sort of penalty. We think that the same tidy anchor text, saying Web Design Liverpool in the Root of 200, 30 page sites, will also cause you a headache.

Unrelated Languages

If you’ve got links from sites in foreign languages and their isn’t a reasonable explanation, you’ll be on the naughty list.

Not enough external links

If you don’t have enough external links, you no-follow or try to sculpt your PageRank, could mean you’re in trouble. The simplest explanation is, make the site look natural. One hundred links from PageRank Seven websites and not one from a zero or a one… smells funny. You’ll get hit with a penalty eventually.

Content that is low quality.

Poor text, do you have virtually the same page 30 times? Is their only a sentence on each page?. It’s simple, if a user wouldn’t find it useful, why would a search engine!

Site Adverts

Too many, not a good indicator of quality, especially if they’re just full of links to worthless affiliated websites. Google really, really wants to get rid of these sites from the top pages of its index.

These are just my thoughts on the next update….Good luck.

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Google’s Penalties

It never fails to astound me how people constantly opt for the cheapest deal. Cheap search engine optimization is a misnomer, if you want the best SEO you have to pay for it. If it was cheap and simple, then for £50 or £100 per month everyone would be Page 1.

I’ve worked on many campaigns at SEO Liverpool but up until about 4 months ago I was only aware of two real Google penalties. The outright ban, where a site will be completely removed from the Google index and the minus 40-60 penalty.

About 9 months ago I started talking to a local company about helping them with their SEO efforts. As usual, we sounded each other out and it looked like we could move forward. Typically, we had no contact for a few months, then unexpectedly, my contact called me up and said that all of his Google rankings had disappeared. He explained that the only thing his site was ranking for was its name. The site came up no.1 for his two word company name and no.1 for the domain. However all of the other positions the site had with the homepage, albeit not good ones had disappeared. I had a little play around and even when I tried searching for some unique text off the homepage (in quotes) it didn’t come up.

So I asked this guy a couple of questions, you know – have you made any changes recently that could have caused this to happen? After about 5 minutes, he confessed to talking to a guy he knew, who’d gave him some help… he was cheap… etc. His sage advice was to place lots of area names at the bottom of the homepage, which he did… in tiny text so that nobody could see!

I told him in 5 seconds “The site has been penalised, you put hidden text in and attempted to deceive Google”. We got rid of the hidden text, I told him what to say to Google on the reinstatement request and his site was back to where it was previously within a week.

The point of this little story is that SEO evolves at an incredible rate. If you’ve missed ‘Panda 2.0′ and probably the most devastating ‘Search plus your world’, then you might as well not bother calling yourself an SEO. Remember, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys. A search engine will penalise you! Use a respected SEO company, and understand that your nephew, his mate or the fella down the pub doesn’t have a clue.

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