A Google Penguin update is like a thief in the night – you never know when the next update will strike. Prevention is the best way to avoid being penalized. In this post, we’re going to share five important things you should do to avoid getting hit with a Penguin penalty.
1. Avoid Blog Networking Links
At Wieting Design we recommend staying far away from these websites to avoid potential problems in the future. Recently, Google devalued many of the links from popular blog networks because of spammy content. Think about it, when you’re searching for content to read, you search for what’s relevant to your needs. Google is trying to make that happen. They want to bring more quality to the Web and less spam. In their eyes, websites that contain useful content should be awarded. That’s a plus for companies that are already providing quality content to their readers.
2. Avoid Broken Internal Links
Many business owners neglect this important aspect of website maintenance. It’s important to go through your website with a fine toothed comb and make sure there aren’t any broken links. Most people are unaware that broken links can harm the overall health and effectiveness of a website. It will not only affect your rankings – it can possibly affect your visitors’ user-experience.
3. Avoid Link Building Scams
Remember the last time you received an unsolicited email that offered dirt cheap all-in-one SEO packages (i.e. $199 for 1,000+ links)? We get these type of offers all the time. It is amazing that these companies still exist after Google started banning many of these types of websites. Even popular linkbuilding websites were shut down. Unfortunately, some of these companies are still out there and they use blackhat techniques religiously.
Link building scammers make a living by creating bad links. The problem with bad links is that even if you had unknowingly invested in toxic linkbuilding services in the past – you could still get penalized in the future. For example, let’s say that you hired an SEO company 5 or even 10 years ago that practiced unethical link building strategies, your site is still at risk for getting penalized from Google.
It’s best to avoid any kind of ‘pay for links’ services at all costs. If you’re concerned that you may have bad links, you’ll need to contact the webmaster of those particular sites that are pointing to your site and request to have them removed. This is easier said than done, especially if you have several bad links. A more practical way to handle this dilemma is to contact a professional SEO consultant to help you remove your unnatural links and nurse your website back to health before the next Penguin update. Always remember, cheap links = bad links.
4. Copy Pasted or Duplicate Content
Make sure all of your web content is original. If you have any form of duplicate content on your website – take it down. Google filters pages and favors websites that possess original and relevant content that’s useful.
5. Don’t Guest Blog?!?
When Google started devaluing links coming from guest posts, many people were frantic. People were receiving mixed messages about the effectiveness of guest blogging. Some SEOs say that guest blogging is still effective because it is an excellent source for gaining authoritative links. Then others preach that guest blogging is a useless SEO strategy. So, should you guest blog or not? Let’s take it to the source – Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team.
According to Matt, if you pay for PageRank this is a direct violation of Google’s quality guidelines. In one of his blog posts from earlier this year, he mentioned the following:
“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”
At one time, Guest blogging was an excellent source for getting links and traffic – especially if you found a website with a high PR Ranking. Then things got out of hand. Guest blogging became like spam. People began to use guest blogging for the sole purpose of getting links. For some people, it didn’t really matter if the content was useful – just as long as links were involved. Some people went as far as having hundreds of spammy guest posts for links.
Guest blogging can be used to give your brand a boost, but not as an SEO method to increase ranking. If you decide to guest blog for a local business or a national publication, make sure their website is high-quality and it is from someone you know
Go here to read more on why Matt Cutts says guest blogging should be avoided.
Last, but not least, there are several other ways to avoid Google’s Penguin penalty. The five tips in this post will point you in the right direction.