SEO Penalties and How to Remove Them

Today’s post is about SEO penalties, how they are created and some ways to remove them. Usually I don’t like to reference other sources, but I couldn’t resist to post a short but sweet informative video from Matt Cutts (the ultimate authority on the topic and head of the Google web spam team) as he shares insights on SEO penalties.

Watch the video above to see how Google treats penalties in a website and whether or not those penalties are algorithmic or manual and what you can do to alleviate them.

For example, search engine penalties can result from:

1. Getting an excessive amount of links with the same anchor text from other websites can be detrimental.

2. Choosing the wrong hosting environment (shared by low quality sites or penalized sites) has consequences that can potentially impact your rankings is a website on a shared IP or hosting environment is penalized.

3. Linking to bad neighborhoods (as opposed to them linking to you) is another way to lower your relevance score or trust with search engines, but what else should you look at if a ranking penalty is tripped by your website.

4. Over optimizing on page elements (such as excessive over linking with the same anchor, stuffing keywords, or having high percentages of duplicate content which dilutes relevance).

There are dozens of other ways to incur a penalty, these are just a few, however, looking at the first tip above; be careful when building links, on the second penalty, use a dedicated IP address or dedicated server (if you can afford it), on the third, be careful who you link to or use a no follow on outbound links, on the last point, tone down your on page SEO, if you’re pushing it too hard.

In closing, here are a few posts from the past (since this is SEO Archive week) with our take on some of the more common search engine optimization penalties out there and how to spot or avoid them.

I hope this helps, SEO is a constantly changing landscape and what worked before has no guarantees to continue to work in the future. You need to have a constant vigil regarding algorithms and quality signals to stay on top of search engines.

The references above are a good place to start, but each must invariably find their own path as it applies to their own unique situation. If you enjoyed the resources, then comment below or pass them on for others to enjoy.

Or Stick Around and Read More Posts

7 Comments

  1. Vlad Rascanu
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    You are correct when you’re saying that there’s dozens of ways you can get penalized… Google constantly changes its algorithm and unless you keep up with them you may find yourself penalized without knowing. In order to avoid these instances it’s best to use as natural SEO tactics as possible. Create good content, do a good job on site, pick the correct keywords, and be active in your industry online community. I suggest to not even bother with border line strategies.

  2. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Vlad:

    Link velocity and keeping on page optimization relevant and using more content vs. trying to create a catch all with one page alone.

    Semantic relevance is increasingly becoming a stronger ranking signal in search.

    The great things about what Matt suggested above is the insight that there are 2 types of penalties and what people can do to either unwind them or avoid them.

    Very informative indeed.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. Alex
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Interesting – never sure how much you can trust Matt Cutts though!

    Regarding excessive anchor text in links, I’ve run into what I assume is that penalty recently. How would you go about fixing it? I’ve started obtaining links with random anchor texts to “dilute” it a bit more, is there anything else I could do?

  4. Paul Wright
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I am new to web design I worry that I might do something wrong to upset Google but these tips help ease my worries thanks.

  5. bikal
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    hi! i really like your post.Really experting means to know actually what not to do rather than of knowing what to do.The way you explained what not to do from getting penalised is good.

  6. Kate Brown
    Posted February 22, 2011 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    I really liked your post and its very interesting for the novices in the field.

  7. Bonnie
    Posted February 22, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Interesting Post – Easy for the average reader to understand. Penalities – Never knew it was so complex.

    Thank you author – Bookmarking this page!

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