How To Penalty Proof Your Website

ok, thumbs up, thumbs-up

Google wants link building to occur naturally. That is, if you have great content, that others would want to link back to you. As a result, your website acquires more backlinks and therefore ranks high on the search results. Unfortunately, this far from reality.

Google’s recent updates on their algorithm is aimed at penalizing websites that do not adhere to their prescribed SEO guidelines. Websites that they considered “over-optimized” with thousands of links pointing to them were slapped and were demoted from their top positions in the search results. Businesses that got hit by these updates even after years of successful operation were forced to close and declare bankruptcy.

The constant updates that Google implement on their algorithm is becoming more frequent leaving the SEO community uncertain of their processes and strategies. What used to work 3 months ago now triggers a red flag to Google, which can cause substantial damage to their clients’ websites. But of course, SEO can’t take a backseat and wait for natural links to come by just so they comply with Google’s rules. Due to the sheer number of websites competing for certain keywords, “pro-active” SEOing or “artificial backlink generation” plays an essential role in your online success. The key is to make it look natural to the search engines thereby avoiding unwanted penalties. The question is how?

For a penalty-proof SEO, I have compiled a list of strategies that will help protect your website from future Penguin and Panda updates. Remember that the main idea is to keep your link building appear as natural as possible, particularly to Google, to avoid unnecessary penalties.

Understand that SEO is a Long Term Process

Jill Whalen, an SEO expert, once said that even the best SEOs are not magicians. They can’t simply place a website at the top of the search engines when there are hundreds of thousands of others that offer basically the same thing, and provide basically the same information. If they could, you’d see a whole lot more millionaire SEOs. True enough, SEO campaigns do not succeed overnight. Depending on the niche, search engine optimization requires a long-term approach before you see tangible results. While it’s possible to rank your website on top of the search results in a matter of days, the process may involve “black-hat” techniques that will eventually cause your website to be banned from Google.

A long-term approach on your SEO allows you to establish authority, build your brand and image, and increase your online visibility by gradually and consistently accumulating quality links to your website. Moreover, a long term approach lets you adjust to any changes to the search engine algorithms with minimal to no adverse effects on your website’s rankings. If you’re a business looking for an SEO provider to work on your new website that guarantees #1 positions for your target keywords in less than a month, then you’re only getting yourself in trouble.

Consistency is Key to Successful SEO Campaigns

Another key factor to the success of your SEO is consistency. If you build links this month and forget about it the next, then you might as well forget about doing SEO. You have to understand that your competitors are also doing SEO and pausing your campaign just because you’re already on top 3 gives your competitors a headway. Soon you’d be seeing your website buried in the search results because of the lack or the absence of SEO.

To be consistent with your link building, you have to do it regularly. You also need to be consistent with the number of links that you build. If you do 20 links on a regular basis and all of a sudden you created 1,000 links in a day, this would look suspicious to Google and can cause some drastic drop on your rankings. Changes are oftentimes abrupt so you’d feel the effect in the following days. Avoid this from happening with a consistent and regular link building in place.

Diversify Anchor Text and Sources of Links

Years back, using one and the same anchor text helps you rank faster on the search. Hence, if you want to rank #1 for “SEO company”, one way of doing it is to increase your backlinks using only “SEO company” as your anchor text. If you do the same strategy today, you’d probably never get to the top 100.

What works now, as far as anchor text is concerned, is to use different but related anchor texts. Thus, you can use “SEO company Philippines” and “Philippine SEO company” as anchor text variants. You may also choose to add your brand in the anchor text, which is also a proven effective strategy.

Finally, you would want to diversify your sources of links. If you’re getting links from the same websites over and over, or if you’re getting links only from creating social media accounts, then you’re increasing the risk of your website getting penalized. By adding a mix of link building strategies to your off-page SEO, you not only prevent unwanted penalties but you also improve your search engine rankings significantly. It’s for the same reason that here at SEOQuickRank, we employ various linkbuilding strategies and acquire new links from new websites every month for our clients.

Publish Fresh and Quality Content

Having a blog and regularly publishing fresh and quality content on it helps you accumulate more backlinks to your website. You’re missing out on a lot of opportunities if you still don’t have a blog. It’s easy to install WordPress so it shouldn’t be an excuse for not having one. Not to mention, there are a lot of good blogging platforms available that can satisfy your needs and requirements.

By regularly publishing fresh and unique content on your blog, the search engines will crawl your website more often. In the process, the number of pages of your website indexed by the search engines increase and along with it is a growth in your organic traffic.

Blog posting is a strategic way of targeting your long-tail keywords as it’s not recommended to cramp all of them on your homepage. Having a blog allows you to easily create pages and use them to target your other keywords. The result – better on-page optimized pages that are laser targeted for specific keywords that will rank high on the search engines. Furthermore, your organic traffic will soon increase due to your good rankings on your long-tail keywords.

Social Media Optimization

Your social presence says a lot about your search engine rankings, which is why you need to invest on optimizing your website for social media. I would argue that social media optimization is part of off-page SEO although it’s an entirely new concept dealing with all the methods that can be used to create referral traffic, publicity, and bookmarking of your website using social media tools. Things like content tagging, RSS feeds, social bookmarking, sharing, up-voting or down-voting, liking and other similar activities all constitute to SMO or social media optimization.

Getting a good SMO strategy in place helps bring more traffic to your website but more importantly, it’s a natural way of acquiring links and mentions, which is what Google really wants. Of course social media can be manipulated just like any other strategy but it’s not as risky as buying links from a blog network. It’s only a problem when you get links from dodgy social networking sites.

On-page Optimization

A poorly executed on-page optimization can get your website in trouble with the search engines. Things such as keyword stuffing, hidden text etc. are come cases of black hat strategies that will only get your website banned in the search results. Here’s a quick video from Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google for some basic on-page optimization that you can implement on your website.

Check these articles for more information on advanced on-page optimization:

  1. Complete Walk-through On On-page Optimization
  2. How To Build The Perfectly Optimized Page
  3. Advanced Search Engine Optimization White Board

Remember that a penalty proof website has in place a long term SEO strategy that is consistent, smart, sociable and continuously improving.

That’s all folks. Let me know of your feedback, comments and questions through the comment!

RJ Tayaban