What Are SEO Penalties?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is all about optimizing the content on your business' website so that you appear closer to the top in search engine results. Popular search engines, like Google, tell SEO managers what kind of content they are looking for and how to improve search rankings. Once you've optimized your content, Google scans it and orders the results based on what the customer searched for and how relevant each web page is. However, Google isn't just looking for good content to move to the top of rankings; they're also looking for bad content to move to the bottom. That's where penalties come in.

Penalties are red flags that Google is looking for and, if your content has some of those red flags, Google will move your webpage to a lower ranking. Here are some common SEO penalties to avoid.

Thin Content

Google flags content for being thin if it has "little or no added value." Your content could be flagged this way if it comes directly from another source, is automatically generated, or was created to rank highly for a specific search query. You can avoid this penalty by creating quality content that is relevant to your users.

Keyword Stuffing

When using SEO, it can be tempting to try to manipulate the search engine. Google's algorithms for ranking content are highly advanced and they can pick out low-quality content that's designed to trick them. Keywords are a valuable tool, but you have to incorporate them into thoughtful, relevant content to get the results you want.

Hidden Text

If a page gets the hidden text penalty, that means that there is content that is invisible to users. If a website wants to include content that will boost rankings but serves no other purpose, they may use hidden text. The most common practice is to include the content on the website and make the text the same color as the background to hide it.

Paid Links

Businesses can and often include advertisements on pages that are searchable. However, displaying advertisements that affect ranking is strictly prohibited. Google has clear guidelines; companies cannot buy or sell links that pass on search engine ranking credit. Google has banned several major companies, including the Japan division of Google for paid links. Engaging in paid links won't just get you ranked lower, but it can get you banned from the search engine. The easiest way to make sure that you're not using paid links is to make sure your webmaster knows Google's guidelines and keeps ads from violating them.

These are just a few of the SEO penalties that your content could be subject to. Some other penalties include; cloaking, sneaky redirects, spam, and more. Though it can be complicated to navigate, SEO is an important part of every digital marketing plan. If you're ready to get your improve your Google rankings and have your content optimized, give us a call at Red Shark Digital.