Pigeon, Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird… What will Google think of next? Since there’s no shortage of cute animals, you can expect many more algorithm updates from our friends at Google.
The tech geniuses at Google are working hard to create a better internet. Although we appreciate their efforts, changing SEO strategy every time an update rolls out, especially unannounced ones, is a challenge. Worse, if you don’t take prompt action, Google penalties could obliterate your hard-earned rankings.
Wouldn’t you love to circumvent this hassle? The good news is that if you’re ready to learn these seven true principles for penalty proofing your site, you can. Let’s get started.
1. Create Content for People (Not Crawlers)
Put your audience first. Make it easy for readers to find, read, understand and apply the information on your website. Rule of thumb is content that’s easy for your reader to process is easy for the crawlers to process as well. Avoid hidden texts, keyword stuffing and other manipulative ways to buff content.
2. Scrutinize Your Backlinks
Link farming days are over. In fact, a majority of Google penalties relate to backlinks. Be cautious of the source, credibility and context of your backlinks. Google is becoming increasingly adept at sniffing out unnatural links. Use a tool like Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, or Moz to analyze, and remove all bad backlinks.
3. Be Patient and Pursue Organic Growth
Google algorithms are shifting towards rewarding trust, authority and value. Building these qualitative attributes takes time. Your rate of growth does not depend on how clever you are at outsmarting Google, it depends on how many people you serve and how well you serve them. This brings us to the next point.
4. Prepare Value-Centric SEO Strategy
People use search engines when they’re trying to solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. The degree to which your site helps them do so, reflects its value. The number of social shares is a useful indicator. Channel your energy into creating shareable content. Use keywords to guide content creation, but not to dominate it.
5. Build a Reputation Within Your Community
The internet has many locations where people interested in your niche hang out. Scout these places, communicate with you peers and cultivate relationships. Get to know the webmasters, content contributors, bloggers, participants and subject matter experts in your field. Providing resources designed to move the community forward will go a long way. The backlinks and brand value you generate during the process will boost your ranking naturally, without triggering penalties.
6. Distribute Your Link Profile
In the past, you could get away with a few core keywords to dominate your link profile; that’s no longer true. If most of the backlinks have the same anchor text (the text that appears highlighted in a hypertext link and that can be clicked to open the target web page), you’re in for trouble.
Instead, use a variety of contextual, natural anchor text for your backlinks. For instance, instead of using a generic anchor text, such as “click here,” use anchor text that contains the target keyword of the page you choose to link.
Also, use multiple approaches, such as guest posts, comments, forum posts, social media platforms, or product reviews, to generate backlinks. Do not overuse any one, specific approach.
7. Grow Your Brand, Authority and Trust
Promoting authentic brands is high on Google’s agenda. That is why positioning your website as a credible brand in its niche and communicating this to Google via brand signals is important. Building a thorough “About Us” page, providing links to your company’s social media pages, including your office’s physical address and having your employees create profiles on LinkedIn are some ways to broadcast a strong brand signal.
As the number of search queries related to your brand name increase, your brand’s value increases in Google’s eyes. To promote your brand identity, become an expert at what you do and provide reliable and actionable advice to your audience.
Penalty Proof Your Website
Considering everything we’ve discussed, the best way to negate the need to revise your SEO strategy and overhaul your website every time Google changes its algorithm is to create useful content, advance your community, rely on natural SEO strategies and enhance your authority and trust. In other words – CARE and SHARE. If you follow these steps, you will never have to worry about Google penalties.
If you’d like a personal consultation, give me a call: 617-553-5170 or email me.