Even now, quite some time (in internet terms) after the Google updates and refreshes first rolled through the SERPs and decimating the ranks of all kinds of different websites, many website owners still wonder what they might have done in the past / are doing now / might do in the future that could earn them a penalty from Google. If you follow the letter of the law, a great many things (some that are considered very legitimate) can get you on Google’s bad side. Lucky for everyone involved, interpretation of the rules isn’t so inflexible, even by Google itself.
Trouble with Your Content
One of the top things that could spell trouble for your website is your content.
Now don’t get worried just yet – a lot of content is just fine the way it is and you don’t need to worry about using it or having it associated with your brand. It is the less-than-awesome content that you should be wary of.
Video: SEO Question: Will I get penalized for duplicate content?
This video proposes that there are difference between duplicate content penalties, and simply having your site feel the consequences of having duplicate content…and that the two are not quite the same thing. Definitely a different perspective than we normally see!
Your content could get you in trouble if it is:
Stuffed full of keywords – Keyword density is a thing of the past..or rather a fixation in such percentages is. If you are still trying to produce content that has a certain (and probably high) keyword density, stop right now. It’s just not worth the risks. Not only do you run the risk of a penalty from Google for having your content stuffed with keywords, but you also may be driving away potential customers when they see your content and aren’t able to get past all the keywords. You’re not making a good impression on anyone with keyword stuffed content, let’s just put it that way.
Duplicate / Spun / Generally Low-quality – These things all go together and are often related. Meaning that if you are using spun content, it is likely to be considered low quality, and if you have duplicate content there is a good chance it might be spun or of low quality. Now this doesn’t apply to all duplicate content, some of it can be of very high quality, but it is still duplicate no matter how nice it is. Duplicate content can earn you a penalty, but it can also confuse people who see your site come up in their search results along with other pages (yours or someone else’s) with the exact same content. They won’t know who wrote it originally and will pick any site off the list based on other factors, not ownership of the content.
And these are just some of the troubles that could bring a penalty to rest at your website’s doorstep. Be on the lookout for the second and third posts in this series coming this week!
Some excellent content marketing tips – Do this, and make sure to avoid the stuff we mentioned above!
Have you received a Google penalty?
If so, why? If not, what have you done to avoid one?