A constant worry for SEO marketers is what happens when Google changes their algorithm. In a given year, Google updates their algorithm hundreds of times. Medic was the most recent algorithm update to send shockwaves throughout the industry. Everyone was wondering how this update would affect the SEO of businesses. There were reports that healthcare websites were impacted the most and temporarily lost their SEO footing for a short while.
During these updates, SEO professionals scramble to figure out what caused the rankings on the sites they’ve worked on to drop. Business owners concerned about traffic should know that no matter how much Google updates their algorithm, there are some prevention strategies to use. Take advice from our expert SEO digital marketers and never fret about losing website traffic again!
1. Never Plagiarize Website Content
Plagiarism is never acceptable in any form of writing, including website content. It makes your website appear unoriginal, lazy, and boring. Taking someone else’s work without giving proper credit also gives your website visitors a terrible impression of what your business represents.
Google’s search quality evaluators routinely search for companies engaging in this unethical practice. Trying to pull one over on Google’s advanced search algorithms isn’t going to help you get the higher rankings you desire.
However, it is okay to include excerpts of content as long as you cite the source and add an external link to the original website. You’ll likely do this when citing facts and statistics from authoritative sources. To keep yourself from accidentally plagiarizing content, use a plagiarism checker tool that will tell you what percentage of your content was taken from other sites.
2. Don’t Link to or Accept Links From Spam Websites
Stay away from as much spam as possible. Spam is what will kill your website’s standing with Google reasonably quickly. Don’t accept backlinks from questionable sources nor link to them.
You are the company you keep. Have your website associated with spam websites and Google will think you’re running a spam website too. It’s best always to vet the sources you will link to and only use the most relevant, credible sites in your work. This also means never to buy or sell backlinks because most of them are going to be viewed suspiciously by Google.
3. No Content or Image Cloaking
Cloaking applies to both content and images, and black-hat SEO spammers try to manipulate Google’s search engine algorithms this way. What they do is pull a bait-and-switch scheme where different content and images are displayed to website visitors and search engines. It’s a significant violation of Google’s search guidelines. No matter how intelligent the black-hat SEOers think they are, they will be caught eventually. The damage caused by a Google penalty is never worth it.
To keep yourself from getting into this situation, be honest with what content you want people to see. Don’t make things more complicated than that. If there really is something you want to hide from the public, then it probably isn’t worth sharing at all to begin with.
4. Use a Spam Filter
It’s even possible for Google to crawl through your blog posts and the comments people leave. Normally, there wouldn’t be an issue, but with all the spammers ready to flood your comment section, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Always use a comment moderation system to filter out inappropriate, spammy comments. In WordPress, there are many fine plugins that will automatically filter spam comments for you. Look into one called Askimet. It’s one of our favorites that we’ve used for client websites before.
5. Build Relationships with Influencers and Other Credible People
If you truly want great website backlinks, don’t cheat and buy them from a freelancing site. You’re always going to get much better results by taking a long-term approach. Start by developing great content on your website through blog articles, whitepapers, case studies, and other marketing materials that would interest your audience.
Start promoting that content widely on social media and while you’re at it, find people in your niche who share your interests and concerns. Leave constructive comments on their websites and social media to establish a relationship. Later on, you can kindly ask them if they’re interested in letting you create a quality guest post.
Approach this situation from the angle that both parties will benefit. Your website will receive exposure while the influencer gets content that also makes their brand look better.
6. Keep Your Website Malware and Pop-Up Free
Would you want to visit a website that kept pounding you with constant pop-ups and ads each time? Of course not. The first instinct you’d have is you’d want to get as far away from the site as possible. That’s how your customers think too. Google is also well aware of this issue and will issue penalties against websites engaging in this practice. You also drive away potential customers and cheapen your website’s user experience considerably.
7. No Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is never good to have on your website. For one, it makes your content appear difficult to read. Your customers will have a harder time trying to understand what you’re saying. Secondly, it’s also against Google’s search guidelines and is one of the more common reasons websites get hit with penalties.
To stay in the best standing with Google, create content that’s readable to your audience and only use relevant keywords in your text. Focus on writing naturally first, then go back and add the keywords where they are needed. We also recommend reading our keyword density guide to learn about creating content that matches search engine user intent.
8. Free is Always Too Good to Be True
As a general rule, never go with “free” services on your website. This especially applies to web hosting. Many of the free web hosting providers are associated with spam websites. There’s not much of a way to keep these providers from displaying unwanted ads on your site. This is how their revenue is made. While it may seem like you’re saving money by going the free route, there’s always a price to pay in other ways.
Preventing your website from Google’s penalties is straightforward, but requires hard work and patience. There are no shortcuts to getting the search engine rankings you want. You need to focus on creating outstanding content to build trust among your audience. Along the way, you also build relationships with people in your industry and give them value in exchange for receiving higher exposure.
Call 470-440-3434 or email [email protected] to speak with our team and get a free SEO site audit to see where your website stands. Keep reading our blog for more great content on SEO, web design, and digital marketing. We hope the information discussed will help you much in your efforts.