Guest post by John Gower.
Getting an SEO penalty can be devastating to your website’s strategy. A change in your page rank could mean that you are going to get less favourable deals with advertisers, or it could mean that you may find that your site has less of a value when you go to sell it off. No matter what your reason for not wanting to end up in the SEO penalty box of one of the web’s biggest search engines, don’t worry there are some simple things you can do to keep from ending up there.
While no strategy can guarantee you a good rank there are a few things that you can do to stay off of the bad rank radar. By doing, and not doing, a few things you can help to preserve your page rank and make sure you are on the way up, instead of the way down.
Don’t Farm Links
Link farming is when you pay a site, or trade links, in order to get them to link to your site in order to artificially raise your page rankings. Raising your site with legit links, say when you guest post on a blog, is a good thing. Being one of 75 links in a spam post is not that helpful. So only worry about making linking deals when you can make it legit. Don’t exchange for profit and don’t try to scam the link system.
Do Delete Your Hidden Text
If your site has hidden text then you need to get rid of it. If you did not code your own site then you may not even be aware it is there. Back in the day the idea of hiding text on an identically coloured background was not a problem at all. It may not have been 100% ethical, but it was an easier and sometimes more elegant way to put keywords and phrases into a sites design in order to make sure that only search engines could see them. If you have any of these you need to get rid of them. Just don’t confuse this with the header text of your site, which is not visible on the browsers.
Don’t Duplicate Content (even on your own site)
Reprints, even with permission, or copying your own content by reposting a “classic” piece from your site can hurt your SEO scores. It can look, to a search engine algorithm, that you are copying content to bulk out your site. So don’t copy content if you can avoid it. If you choose to legally reprint sections of other’s blogs, books or any other work you are going to have to make sure to do so very sparingly.
Do Choose Your SEO Company Wisely
If you decide to use the services of an SEO professional you are going to have to vet them very carefully. Getting involved with the wrong company can bring black hat tactics to your site. Even if they don’t hurt you now, they might in the next update. Be sure to deal only with reputable companies.
Don’t Comment Spam
Commenting on relevant sites with your URL is OK. Doing it in massive amounts with nonsense comments, or useless comments, will not help your site’s rankings. So be aware that if you choose to use comments you have to do it lightly, only on relevant sites and work hard to be sure you are not spamming those sites.
Do Fine Tune Your Keywords (Instead of Stuffing Them)
If you have too many keywords, more than you should, then you will hurt your ranking. The practice of using too many keywords is called keyword stuffing. If you are using more than two or three keywords on a single page you are probably stuffing. Take some time to figure out which keywords are the most relevant and effective for your page and then cut the rest.
These simple dos and don’ts will help you to avoid Google penalties in your SEO efforts. Now you can build the best site possible without hurting your rankings.
John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet, a site dedicated to helping consumers find high interest savings.