Unfortunately, it’s happening more and more as Google is penalizing sites for a variety of different reasons.
In many cases, Google is actually manually penalizing sites that do not follow webmaster guidelines as put forth by the company. You probably won’t be notified from Google though, which means that sinking search results will probably be your only indication.
Until recently, Google didn’t even acknowledge that they were penalizing sites for poor SEO practices. If you want to keep your site from becoming penalized, and of course you do, there are some guaranteed ways to receive a penalty that you must avoid at all costs.
1. Over-optimizing Your Anchor Density
Optimization is crucial for SEO results; however, if your percentage is higher than 10-percent for your money terms, you need to tone it down a lot.
Coming close to 10-percent density for any of the keywords you’re trying to rank for could result in a penalty, but being at or above 10-percent will surely get you penalized sooner rather than later.
Try to stay under 5-percent anchor density for your money terms, in fact it’s probably best that you aim for just mentioning the phrases the bare minimum amount of times, and focus on adding lots of other relevant words and phrases, which are known as complimentary keywords.
2. Lack of Varied Site Links
If you get all of your links from one type of site, Google is going to penalize you. In the past, a majority of people racked up links from directories and other auto-approve link farms.
However, these days you are going to need to vary the types of sites you’re obtaining links from today in order to keep your site ranking high in the Google search results.
Having paid outbound links on your site can also cause Google to hit your site with a penalty, especially if you have outbound links on every page of your site to a site that isn’t relevant.
3. Buying .Edu or Wiki Links
If you buy a significant amount of .edu or Wiki links (20,000 for example), they cannot use the same two or three anchor text terms. If they are all used, Google’s penalty police will come knocking and your search rankings will suffer dramatically.
Actually it’s fair to say that if you buy thousands of any links from anywhere, the site may be completely de-indexed from Google, especially if it’s a fairly new site.
4. Too Many Affiliate Links
Affiliate links to authority sites like Amazon can sometimes be helpful for SEO, but filling your page with Amazon affiliate links that have no valid or valuable content can result in your site getting penalized quickly.
Limit your affiliate links to ones that are completely relevant to the content you’re putting out. Simply put, don’t just add affiliate links to posts without a good reason.
5. Joining a Popular Blog Network
Recently, many of the most popular blog networks were devalued and penalized by Google. While there are still plenty around, joining now may result in you getting hit with a penalty later on when your site really starts rolling. Blog networks are easy for Google to spot and best to be avoided at all costs.
If your site is penalized, it is possible to undo the damage caused by a Google penalty, but it isn’t really something you want to have to deal with in the first place.
These are just a few of the ways to avoid a Google penalty, but you really need to take all of them to heart and implement them in your SEO efforts as you go forward.
If you don’t, your site rank is possibly going to suffer and it’s really only a matter of time until Google penalizes your site. Why not do it right in the first place?
About The Author
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and online marketing entrepreneur from Los Angeles. She currently writes content for HostPapa web providers blog, covering everything from SEO, blogging, online marketing, social networking and web analytics.