In football, if you get a red card, you’re off the pitch. On the other hand, when it comes to Google, well, they are not the all-telling referee. When you or your business website gets a Google penalty, you don’t know.

So, how do you know you got a Google penalty?

– Google sends you a message on Google Webmaster Tool

– Your page links have lost SEO rank

– There’s a drop in your traffic

– PageRank meter on Google Toolbar indicates you’ve been penalized

– All your website links have been removed from Google’s index

Most times, Google will not tell you out-rightly that you have been penalized, and not all Google penalties will result in you getting off its search index. Most penalties will make you lose SEO rank.

That brings us to the big question of this post: HOW DO YOU NOT GET GOOGLE PENALTIES?

search engine optimization penalty

Link Farms

I know that link building is one of the best ways to connect with the rest of the web and increase your site’s web presence, but there are so many ways you could do it wrong and lead to a link farm.

There are websites that allow you to buy tons of links, but there are two major problems that come from this. One, you have link quantity, but what about quality? How many of these links lead to spam and malware sites? Two, how many of these links are relevant to your website? For example, if you’re an e-commerce fashion site, irrelevant links would include links to a car sale site, stationary site, plumbing site – basically anything that’s not related to what you’re offering.

So, avoid adding hundreds and thousands of links because you hope that it will improve your SEO. Google will give you a penalty for link farming.

Hidden Text

Hidden text is something that your readers won’t see. For example: marketing, SEO. You can’t read it, but search engines can no matter how or where it is placed, or what color it is.

But, Google is much smarter and considers adding hidden text as a way to manipulate it.

Submitting your Page using Software

Rather than wait for Google’s bots to index your pages, you can submit your URL links to Google using automated programs. However, Google has two big problems with them. Such programs replicate human behavior. Software applications that replicate human behavior are considered malware (hence you have to go through Captcha to prove you’re a human on the web). Secondly, these software applications interfere with the indexing system Google has put in place.

Duplicate Content

Google is constantly on the look out for duplicate content. Duplicate content shows that a page is spam and considers it as plagiarism and unreliable. You do not want duplicate content from your own site, or someone else’s.

Overdone Guest Posts

Guest posts are a good way to improve SEO, reach and traffic. But, when it’s overdone or done wrongly, you land up with Google penalties. Guest posts can unbalance your own link profile on the site and provide too many links from one source.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword optimization is good, keyword stuffing is not. Keyword stuffing leads to poor quality content and in Google’s books, keyword stuffing is a sign of spam content.

Spam Ads

You may want to make money on your site since you have high traffic. Setting up advertisements is a good way. You can use Google Ads to do so. However, if your website goes for an unreliable ad service, you’ll have spam ads on your website. Another possibility is that a malware infects your site that leads to spam pop-ups.

Site is Hacked

If your site is hacked, your website will be used for malicious work like sending out spam emails and putting your customers’ information at risk. Take a long time to deal with it and Google will slap a penalty. This is a big reason why Google prefers websites that have HTTPS.

The best way to avoid a penalty from Google is to ensure that you don’t have any manipulative SEO tactics. Have a clean SEO strategy that aims to attract the audience by offering them what they want in terms of information and services – no bullshit in between (like all of the above mentioned) because Google hates bullshit.