Google penalties and how to get your website top of the premier
Just as the Dutch football fans will be able to tell you after their World Cup semi-final against Argentina, penalties are indeed a frustrating and sometimes frightening thing to experience. This is definitely something to remember if you’re looking to improve the SEO on your website as penalties from Google will definitely leave you on the losing side.
Below are just some of the ways that websites can incur penalties from Google as well as the best ways to avoid them and ensure your website ends up exactly where it should be in the top four.
Stuffing in Keywords
It can be quite difficult getting the right balance between writing content to inform people and feed search engines to improve your rankings. Luckily for us search engine algorithms are thinking more and more like humans so it’s getting much easier to do.
Obviously you want to make sure that search engines know your website is about ‘data management’ for instance. You’d do this by including the keyword in all the necessary tags like page titles etc. Writing ‘we can help with data management for data managers to help them manage their data with better data management solutions’ however will more than likely tell a search engine you’re trying too hard. This will result in penalties for unnatural looking content and do anything but help your rankings. This isn’t simply because it offends search engines for technical reasons but simply because it’s their job to give searchers the most relevant web pages as well as the best written, readable and authoritative ones. Put simply, they want to please searches and searches do not want to read content like this.
Of course what we’ve just explained is somewhat of an extreme example and not that many websites have content such as this anymore. As a rule it’s best to make sure your keywords take up no more than 5% of the total content on your page. It’s also wise to consider using variations on the same phrase, as it’ll make your text more enjoyable to read and help you get the message across without alerting yourselves to search engines in a negative fashion.
Over optimised anchor texts
Anchor text is the text that forms links on your site within a block of content. When search engines see this text link it checks that the page it’s linking to is relevant to the text being used. Although it’s helpful to get anchor text that links to your site to include the all-important keywords, as with a lot of things in life it’s all about moderation. Search engines will cotton of if an article contains a lot of links to a bicycle repair site that use the same anchor text ‘bicycle repair’ and view it as spam.
When selecting your phrases for anchor texts make sure there’s some variation. You could get your brand name linking to your website, put the keyword in longer phrases and get your brand name linking to your site from a longer phrase.
Outbound links to disreputable sites
If you run a successful shop on the high street the last thing you’d want to do is direct people to a questionable run down estate agent so avoid doing the same with your website. Its important to make sure when your website contains links to another, the site being directed to is of good quality. Ask yourself if it’s stuffed with keywords or contains poor spelling of even if the UX is rubbish. If you think it is then remove it immediately and ensure all other links are to reputable sites that are relevant to your business.
When search engines browse the web looking for pages to rank in search engine results, they’ll avoid bringing up more than one page with the same content. This wouldn’t offer a good experience for the people searching for information. To do this, they look at the URL’s that contain identical text and decide which one is more authoritative subsequently placing that one higher. Other pages containing identical content will be placed much lower in the results pages.
Search engines do this is a number of different ways however, the best way to avoid any drop in rankings is to simply avoid duplicate content anywhere on the website. For example if you’re writing a blog post about an event and you want to write a press release about said event then it’s important to make the content on the press release very different from the blog post. This is because the search engine could rank any news outlet that takes your press release higher than the blog, which would damage the chances of your page being seen.
The same applies when reaching out to bloggers with content that contains backlinks to your site. Most blogs or news outlets that accept stories will require you to agree the content hasn’t been posted anywhere else on the web, more often than not requiring a plagiarism check. This isn’t just to grab an exclusive but to avoid their web page being lowered in the rankings due to duplicate content. In summery, don’t be tempted to take the short cut and copy content, it’s always worth it to put in the extra effort and rewrite first.
If you don’t have time to check all of our suggestions against your website or if you run a very large and complex website with a multitude of pages then why not consider using a website optimisation tool like SiteChecker. This tool scans websites for elements that could possibly be damaging and would help you understand just what condition your website is in. Better still you could always employ the help of our professional SEO team here at Wecan Media.