A Guide To Avoiding Google Penalties

A Guide To Avoiding Google Penalties

Ever wonder why some websites appear in the search results while others don’t? It’s because of ranking. When someone searches for a term on Google, the search engine checks various metrics to determine what result to show first.

Some of these metrics concern backlinks, content quality, and the site’s popularity. But another element can affect your ranking, and it has to do with Google’s penalty algorithm.

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What is Google’s penalty algorithm?

Well, it’s not a real algorithm per se. Instead, it’s a set of guidelines that help Google determine your website’s suitability for certain search queries. 

Essentially, if Google suspects that your website is trying to “game the system” by doing anything other than providing value to the user, it will penalize you. 

How To Avoid These Penalties

Here are eight ways that you can avoid getting a Google penalty.

1. Provide real value.

One of the first things that Google checks is the value that you provide to the user when they perform a search. Since the beginning, Google has prioritized websites that provide useful information over those that just provide links to other websites. 

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However, in recent years, the company has become more aggressive in detecting “low-quality” sites that might try to take advantage of anyone.

To avoid getting penalized by Google, ensure that you provide real value, even if it’s just a little information about an obscure topic or an interesting story. 

If you try to trick Google with meaningless keywords or overly made-up content, you’ll eventually get caught and have a lot of trouble climbing the search results.

2. Be original.

While it’s good to be a smart consumer and to use a VPN to keep your personal information secure while browsing the web, being a copycat is never a good idea when it comes to gaining traction on the internet. 

If you want to avoid being penalized by Google, make sure that your content is as unique as possible and that you don’t just replicate what others have already done.

The web is full of content that could be labeled as “pirate news” or “fast food news” because it’s just cut and pasted from another website. The problem is that these articles usually don’t provide original content. 

They just cut and paste from another website and add a few lines of original text about the topic to give it a semblance of originality. Even though it has a unique perspective or a catchy headline, in the end, it’s mostly just a few sentences lifted from another website.

To stand out among the competition, you need to create something original and filled with value. If you can do that, even if it’s just one or two articles, you’ll have a much better chance of ranking well on Google.

3. Build a healthy, backlink-rich web.

Backlinks are important because they provide “votes” for your website. If someone is linking to your website, that means that they think that your content is good and that it’s worth their time to link to it. The more backlinks that you have, the higher you’ll rank on Google.

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To avoid getting penalized by Google, make sure you build backlinks to your website from high-quality, authoritative websites. 

There are a few tricks that you can use to make sure that your backlinks are as valuable as possible, including paying for backlinks and using trusted affiliate networks.

You can also use the same techniques to search for high-quality websites that are similar to yours so that you can get a backlink to your website, even if the website isn’t directly linking to you. 

By doing this, you’re essentially getting free backlinks, which will boost your search ranking.

4. Use relevant keywords.

If you want to avoid getting penalized by Google, ensure that your content is as relevant to the search query as possible. When someone searches for a term, they’re looking for content that matches what they’re searching for. 

Since the beginning, Google has always focused on providing relevant content, mostly consisting of websites and blogs that use keywords in their content.

To determine what keywords to use, take your target audience and the type of content you create and build a list of keywords and phrases people use to find content like yours. 

If you don’t know what keywords and phrases people use, you can use a keyword research tool to find out.

Once you know what keywords and phrases people use to find content, you can incorporate them into your content to ensure that it matches as much as possible with keywords and phrases that Google might find useful.

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5. Use the right meta tags.

When you have high-quality content that is well-written and offers a variety of valuable information, people naturally want to share it with others via social media websites.

Use the right meta tags to ensure that your content gets shared the right way and avoid getting penalized by Google.

What are meta tags? 

Well, they’re simply a set of keywords and phrases that help search engines display relevant content in the search results. While it might not seem obvious, the META tags you use will greatly impact how your content is displayed on a search engine results page. 

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Using the right META tags might be the most important factor in getting your content to appear on the first page of search results.

To use the right META tags, you need to ensure that the keywords and phrases you use are relevant to the content you’re creating and that they’re also relevant to the target audience you’re trying to reach. 

If you don’t know what tags to use, use a keyword research tool to find out.

6. Create engaging content.

People are constantly searching for ways to entertain themselves while also being informed and getting the important information that they need.

Ensure your content is engaging in creating content that people will want to share and avoid getting penalized by Google.

If you can use language that is easy to understand and interesting to read, you will most likely end up with an engaged audience who will want to share your content with their friends.

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To engage your audience, you need to provide value, which could be in the form of an interesting story, an informative article, a podcast, or an interactive quiz.

If you are writing an article, make sure to include an infographic with relevant information or a video to keep your audience interested.

7. Use HTTPS.

As much as Google wants to provide useful information to its users, the company also wants to protect its users from being tricked by fraudsters and cybercriminals who might be trying to game the system. 

Since HTTPS is always the safer option for online transactions, make sure you always use it when you visit a website.

Why is HTTPS important? 

When someone visits a website that is using HTTPS, they know that their personal information will be safe and that the site is committed to providing a secure connection.

Also, if you’re using WordPress as your web publishing platform, you can take advantage of their free SSL certificate, which you’ll see in the address bar. This ensures that your visitor’s personal information is kept private and that your site is being served over a secure connection.

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8. Monitor your website’s performance.

Even though you might have done everything that you could to build a quality website with lots of content and backlinks, if it isn’t performing well in the search results, it’s all been in vain.

To avoid getting penalized by Google, make sure to monitor the performance of your website.

If you’re using a content delivery network (CDN) to serve your site’s content, log into your account and check out how much traffic is being driven to your site. 

Also, use tools such as Google Analytics to track visitor behavior and find out where people are clicking on your site to determine what’s working and what needs to be changed.

Don’t Get Hit With These Penalties

You might be using Google Ads to fund your product ventures. And if you are, then you know it’s a never-ending race to out-advertise your competitors. But at what cost?

While you’re generally better off running ads on Google than other platforms, it’s not without its risks. Many big brands have gotten into trouble by overusing the service. 

So if your goal is to remain in business, then you’ll want to become an expert in avoiding Google penalties. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create high-quality, original web content that will remain attractive to Google and other search engines.

Use these methods to optimize your Ads for maximum effectiveness.

Google search penalties are one of the more frustrating things that can happen to a website or blog owner. They can seem like a plague – appearing out of nowhere and ruining your day (or weeks). 

Truth be told, there’s no single surefire way to prevent Google search penalties forever. However, you can take steps to minimize the damage and ensure your website stays healthy and relevant.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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