How to Avoid Getting Punished by Search Engines

Blackhat SEO, grey hat or white hat? Sounds confusing, right? In the digital marketing world, SEO is a complicated process. In fact, it would not be incorrect to say that pulling off a successful SEO campaign for your website is akin to pulling a “rabbit out of your hat.”

But jokes apart, the pressing question is how to avoid getting punished by search engines when launching your new website?

Let’s take a look at understanding black hat and white hat SEO techniques. Black hat techniques include manipulation in the creation of a website and its content so as to trick the search engine crawlers to perceive that the website is more relevant.  Simply said, it gives a backdoor entry to see quick results on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). On the other hand, white hat SEO techniques include providing the visitor of the website with valuable, accurate, well-organized and quality content.

So, how do you avoid getting punished by search engines? The simple answer to this question is to avoid black hat SEO techniques.

Here is a list of black hat SEO techniques that you must refrain from and the solution for each of them to avoid getting punished by search engines:

Cloaking

What is it?

Cloaking is also known as sneaky redirects. It is an act of showing the crawler one page but redirecting the visitor to another page.

The Solution:

  • Compare the page content that is fetched by Google to the content on your page.  Resolve the discrepancy between the two pages.
  • Check and remove all redirects that are not accurate.
  • Ensure that if full content is shown to Google, there is no restriction on the content for the visitor, i.e. the visitor is not asked for an additional login, registration or subscription.
  • After the fix, submit a reconsideration request.

Keyword Stuffing

What is it?

Keyword stuffing is the misuse of keywords in the copy primarily done in 3 ways. Firstly, it could be using irrelevant keywords in the content. Secondly, it could be a repetition of keywords to the extent that the copy looks gibberish. Thirdly keywords could be put as greyed text (also known as hidden text) on the page with the intention of it being picked up by the search engine crawlers but not being visible to the visitor.

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The penalty for doing this could either be a partial-match penalty (affecting portions of your site) or site-wide match penalty (affecting the entire website).

The Solution:

  • Look for text that is similar in color or hidden text on the page.
  • Remove out of context paragraphs and tags that have a string of repeated keywords.
  • After the fix, submit a reconsideration request.

Link Spam

What is it?

Automated Blackhat SEO - dangerousAlthough hackers have a number of ways of creating link spam, the basic mechanism is either buying links or an involvement with link schemes. Google heavily penalizes webmasters for trading links. A link farm is a term related to sharing low-quality links to improve visibility on SERP. However, any link existing for the primary purpose of manipulating search engine rankings falls under the category of link spam.

The Solution:

  • Use the Google search console to download the links to your site.
  • Audit the links that violate linking guidelines.
  • Remove non-conforming links.
  • Submit a reconsideration request after the link profile cleanup.

Blog Spam

What is it?

Blog spam is a relatively broad term but encompasses all pages on your website that do not have quality content. This could imply that the content is auto-generated, spun, or is thin with no real value to the visitor. It could also include refurbished content from other websites, doorway pages, affiliate pages and even low-quality blog posts. Another example of blog spam is to automatically post comments on blogs with links to increase inbound links to the website.

The Solution:

  • Eliminate or replace duplicate content.
  • Thicken affiliate pages or remove them if not providing any value to the visitor.
  • Submit a reconsideration request after fixing the copy of the website.
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Social Network Spam

What is it?

Social network or social media scam comes in with a lot of different names. Clickbaiting is referred to creating enticing headlines to get the user to click on content for online advertising. Bulk message spam, a piece of content or text sent out in a short period of time to a group of people to trend a particular topic on your website, can also be seen as spam. The same logic can be extended to spreading trending malicious links on social media.

Another scam is that of creating fake reviews. This is done by owners of products and services paying users to post positive reviews to boost their sales by creating fake accounts.

The Solution:

  • In order to avoid getting punished by search engines for social media spam, the best solution is to refrain from creating fake social media accounts and fake reviews.
  • Try to connect with like-minded people who share similar interests and reach out to them offering your product or services.

Honesty Is The Best Policy!

Let’s face it. If you want to build a long-term sustainable business and increase your viewership online, you have to understand and follow the search engine guidelines. Always follow a clean SEO checklist to avoid getting punished by search engines.

Resist the temptation to cheat or cut corners for short-term gains in traffic or conversion. SEO, now more than ever, is seen as a long-term goal that has to be worked on with the help of social media, quality content and premium SEO tools.

Google is the primary search engine used by visitors, so always follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines for your website. Keep in mind that the goal of your blog or product website is to provide value and service to the visitors. Once that is set, the rest will follow. Stay tuned to our blog for more information about how to boost your SEO!

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