Early this year, Google penalized BBC for unnatural and spammy links. The news organization received a Google link notification after finding unnatural links in one of the articles on its website. Google admitted they had to take granular action on the matter.
Although they clarified that the action won’t bring any negative effect on the rest of the website, this somehow caused a slight dent on BBC’s online reputation.
BBC is not alone. Other popular sites that experienced Google’s dreaded penalties include Craiglist and Digg. This proves that Google is keeping an eye on even the littlest aspects of websites, and makes no exemption when it comes to handing penalties. Seeing that even the popular sites are being penalized, any average person or business will realize that the same could happen to them.
This underlines the importance of following the rules and more importantly, keeping track of Google’s updates on their Webmaster Guidelines. Avoiding penalties is just a matter of knowing and providing what the search engine wants.
Google’s New Webmaster Guideline Updates
The update makes large-scale guest posting and advertorials, as well as optimized anchor text on articles or press releases, as link types that violate the guideline. This means Google will take action against links on content that are done extensively and with very little quality. Guest blogging can be helpful in gaining exposure and building connections online. But when you’re doing it for the purpose of gaining keyword-rich anchor text, then don’t be surprised when Google penalizes you.
The update also specifies advertorials and other forms of native advertising, which involve payments for articles with links that pass PageRank. The same is true with optimized anchor text links on content and press releases distributed on other websites. Google said these are examples of unnatural links that violate their guideline. This is why you should only use “no-follow” links on advertorials, press releases or articles posted on your website and other article-sharing sites.
Other Ways to Avoid Google Penalties
You should never underestimate the power of original and high quality content. Lifting content from other websites will negatively affect your online reputation and how Google sees your website. When you say high quality, it should have readership value and provide relevant information to your audience.
Spam-related strategies are also a no-no. Google forbids selling or buying links, as well as providing or getting links from spammers. Don’t be surprised when your entire website is taken off from their search results if you do these strategies.
Use Google Webmaster Tools to regularly check the on health of your website. These tools will determine whether there are signs of spam-related activities on your site. Through notifications, they will let you know whether there are content or links you need to remove. Reliable SEO outsource providers recommend regular checking of content and links so Google will find no reason to ban or penalize your site.
Some people find Google’s guideline confusing and difficult to understand. But if you look at them closely, these rules are all about sticking to ethical, decent content and link building. If you practice honest and fair strategies to get your name or brand out there, then there’s no reason to be afraid of getting penalized by the search engines.