Many web masters all over the world have recently been hit by Google’s Penguin and Panda updates. These latest algorithm updates from Google have penalised and downgraded websites for spammy links, and underhand search engine optimization (SEO) practices. The problem is that many novice marketers aren’t really sure what they were doing wrong.
Black Hat SEO is using attempting to boost your search engine rankings using prohibited and underhand ways. These methods were once widely used, until they were abused by marketers, and banned by the search engines.
Penguin and Panda are Google’s latest way of trying to penalise the websites that have been using these methods. So if your website has lost its rankings and you’re not sure why, perhaps you were unknowingly carrying out some of the following unethical linking strategies:
Perhaps the most obvious mistake, but easiest one to make; keyword stuffing is one of the main reasons your site may be penalised. This essentially means including an excessively high keyword density in your copy. Instead, you should only use your key words sparingly and where they make sense to human readers. When in doubt, write for humans not search engines.
A tactic that was once heavily used, including invisible text on your website is perhaps the easiest way to face Google’s punishments. This usually means setting up the colour of the text to be the same as the background so humans can’t see it, but search engines can. If you have been using this tactic in the past, it’s a good idea to start removing these keywords.
Intentional Keyword Misspelling
When conducting your keyword research initially, you may have noticed that some of the popular searches were spelling incorrectly. A common black-hat SEO technique was to use these misspellings during their link building. This would add authority to your page with the misspellings, by re-directing users to the correct spelling.
Paid for links are banned by Google and shouldn’t be used. This essentially means paying a publisher or website to include your link, as well as accepting payment in exchange for a link. This kind of linking is usually obvious to both human readers and the search engines. Again, if you have used this SEO technique in the past, disregard these links to help improve your situation.
Duplicate Content on Multiple Domains
This is a really lazy attempt by marketers to increase the backlinks to their site, but may be accidental too. If your website contains a lot of pages with very similar content, you run the risk of them being deindexed by the search engines. To counter this, make sure that your content is of high quality, and unique to each page.
With so many different ways to create links to your website, and with so many changes to the guidelines, it can be difficult to get your head around everything. To make sure you’re complying, and to lessen the risk of getting hit by Penguin, you can check out Google’s guidelines on SEO and linking here.
If you would like help boosing your search engine rankings, contact Bird and Co Creative today. The expert SEO company have plenty of experience in all the right ways to optimize your website.