in Search Engine Optimization Myths by Jeffrey_Smith

There is a fine line between ethical SEO promotion, aggressive engagement and flagrant automation. Finding that balance for SEO is what differentiates websites that are impervious to penalties (since they are editorial resources) or those who shine bright from aggressive SEO techniques then fall from grace along with their rankings.

Do you know how many links you built this month?

Do you know how many links you built this month?

What happens when someone pushes the envelope of link velocity or crosses the tipping point of ethical optimization? It is no surprise; they trip an algorithmic filter and typically get penalized…

I witnessed this type of event today from tracking a competitor and knew they were boosting their relevance with some inflated off page factors in vast numbers. They had several hundred thousand backlinks from low quality directories and sites lacking editorial value through a small footprint of site wide links.

As a result, since they were so heavily vested essentially riding off of the buoyancy of those inbound links, when the algorithm shifted and devalued those less than favorable pages, they feel from grace along with them.

What Search Engine Penalty?

Search engines are the target for massive amounts of spam and automation, as a result, they have filters built into the index to investigate things like duplicate content (just like highlander, there can be only one), automated link building and unnatural patterns.

Penalties vary in their effects and duration but the most common is a dip in rankings for a specific page with the anchor text supporting it. For example, if you have 40,000 new inbound links showing up on your link profile in one month and you have only built 500 links over the past 4 months, that is not natural link velocity and may flag a penalty (particularly if they all have the same keyword/anchor text).

If your website ballooned up from 10 pages to 10,000 pages in one month something similar could be said. There is a reason why keeping it natural means progressively layering multiple layers of optimization to achieve long-term sustainable results.

Also, if you have sitewide links that appear for a short period of time, get deleted or come from an entirely off topic site, the notion of those links passing editorial value is questionable and more than likely will result in a loss of relevance for those anchor text/keywords.

With Link Building, Less is More

Link quality is better than link quantity, after a set number of sitewide links the value is capped; hence it is better to have 100 links (1 link from 100 sites) than 1 sitewide link from 1 site on 100 pages passing the same anchor text.

Search engines can read too, not to mention have some pretty amazing natural language BS sniffers to assess and grade relevance. What worked a year ago (as far as off page SEO) may not work now, so, for long-term SEO results, I suggest diversity based on a premise of solid search engine principles. Give them what they want, if you want organic traffic in return.

Simply avoid getting in the penalty box to begin with by adhering to tactical yet not too aggressive optimization techniques. For example, if you are naturally attracting links (as a result of your websites’ contribution) adding frequent content, using strong internal links, have relevant titles, don’t go overboard with link building/promotion and are consistent (and growing your stable of keywords and visitors) then your website should withstand any algorithmic or manual review.

What are Some Common Optimization Tactics?

There are many ways to optimize a website, here are just a few:

1.       Marginal content in root and topical landing pages supporting by a high concentration of backlinks from other sites.

2.       Topical content site with multiple sub folders using silos (deep content pages) supported by internal linking.

3.       Sitewide links (from footers, sidebars or template driven pages) from multiple IP’s

4.       A relevant themed topical website with a handful of powerhouse links from trusted authority sites (from editorial or trusted sources) such as EDU’s, . Gov’s, a site with a high Page Rank or High AC rank according to Majestic SEO.

5.       Using a collective series of optimized pages which all hold pieces of the puzzle for a more competitive root phrase.

The list could go on and on, but to simplify, it boils down to the percentage of dependency between on page and off page SEO.

What Metrics are Important to Search Engines?

1.      Title Tags – mentioning the singular, plural and providing and alternative keyword or two if the page is going to acquire inbound links with multiple anchors (that way the ranking can stem).

2.       Site Architecture – are your main keywords baked into the navigation, the naming conventions, and how deep does the site move away from the root? Are their sitemaps incorporated to serve as a means to irrigate the pages with sufficient link flow?

3.       Content Volume – Is the site all about the topic? Is it diffused or sparse, are the keywords only on specific pages? In other words, is the site worthy or being an authority on the topic?

4.       Links – how many does it have bother internally and externally? Are the pages working in tandem, is there consistency in the link schema or link graph from other websites?

5.       First Indexing – How long has a page been optimal? Was it ideal out of the gate on first indexing or has it been refined, tweaked and perfected over time? Also, how many pages like this exist within the site or is it part of a larger blueprint?

Once again the list could go on and on. Determining what works and why it works is the first order of business; the next logical step would be to not exceed what is considered natural both algorithmically and intuitively to invoke a ranking penalty.

Managing competitive keywords is a full time responsibility. Instead of creating spikes in off page activity and risking an SEO penalty, try to think long-term and constantly add more relevant on page content to spread the ranking factor around as well as build links slowly from other sites over time to pass trust, not just link flow. 

Read More Related Posts
Are You Too Hungry for Backlinks and Look Past On Page SEO?
Don't let the craving for links from other websites sabotage your SEO campaign. Make no mistake that backlinks (links from other sites) are great for producing rankings, but if you inflate ...
READ MORE
Overcoming the SEO Barrier to Entry
Websites that are adept in SEO have inherent self defense in search engines. Call it the grandfather effect, topical relevance, term frequency, link popularity, authority or whatever you like, but ...
READ MORE
Addicted to SEO
I have heard the connotation that PPC (pay per click marketing) is like crack, that once you start you can’t stop using it, and for many businesses rightly so. In all ...
READ MORE
The Process of Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a combination of distinct processes designed to improve search engine placement for your website.  However, what does that really mean when you break it down ...
READ MORE
Finding the Proper Balance of SEO
Finding the proper SEO ratios for content, links and competing pages is critical for determining where each keyword fits in the hierarchy. This correlation between site architecture, URL, title, internal ...
READ MORE
Important SEO Factors for Achieving Higher Rankings
Search engine optimization and it's application is just as much an art as much as a science. The scientific aspects are things like meta tags, h1-h6, the meta description, internal ...
READ MORE
What SEO can Do For Your Business
If you understand the psychology of supply and demand, search engine positioning and more importantly what consumers want, you can devour entire markets as a result of superior SEO and ...
READ MORE
The Trinity of Traffic, Credibility and Conversion
There are three things you need to be successful online – traffic, credibility and conversion. Anything else is a mere transitory step for one of these three primary prerequisites for ...
READ MORE
Where is the Off Page Link Tipping Point?
Is there such a thing in SEO as the off-page inbound link sweet spot? Meaning, finding the tipping-point for inbound links per URL, per keyword… Based on our heuristic testing, absolutely! ...
READ MORE
Search Behavior and Keyword Selection
Where you rank in search engines matters equally as much as which keywords you rank for; however, you should not confuse rankings, relevance or search behavior when targeting keywords for ...
READ MORE
Are You Link Hungry?
Overcoming the SEO Barrier to Entry
Addicted to SEO
The Process of Optimization
SEO Ratios for Content, Links and Competing Pages
Important SEO Factors for Achieving Higher Rankings
Search Engine Positioning: Consumers, Supply and Demand
The Trinity of Traffic, Credibility and Conversion
Where Is The SEO Backlink Sweet Spot?
SEO, Rankings and The Way People Search The

About Jeffrey_Smith

In 2006, Jeffrey Smith founded SEO Design Solutions (An SEO Provider who now develops SEO Software for WordPress).

Jeffrey has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and marketing strategies to increase rankings, revenue and reach.

8 thoughts on “Protect Your Rankings from SEO Penalties
  1. I enjoyed the article Jeff. It is even better that you took the time to write it on a holiday. Dedication at its finest.

    The SEO penalties sting and will hurt significantly if underestimated. One way of looking at SEO in a analytical point of view is seeing it as a snowball effect.

    Lets say for example you created a snowball, and as you roll the snowball forward it begins to build. As you continue to compact it with more snow (ie: information / content) it grows. However if you roll it to fast and to quickly the snowball will collapse in on itself.

    Another example is learning to pace your SEO Much like a runner running a marathon. If you don’t pace yourself, you will never see that finish line. Of course you may get ahead in the short-term if you sprint from the start, but in the end you may end up last.

    This analogy can be viewed as building SEO overtime. The article is very insightful, and you added some great tips in the end. Just thought i’d add another perspective to the table.

    Thank you for the good read. I enjoyed the highlander comment.

  2. I got penalty for duplicate content today :(

  3. seo ranking says:

    Nice post. You hit the right topic. It is very important to protect your sites from this SEO penalties because it can make your sites less credible. Thanks for posting.

  4. Thanks Matthew

    Search engines never take a break, so, neither can we…

  5. Chris says:

    Another excellent post. I will put this information to good use on by blog today. I appreciate the time you took to write it. THANKS! CHRIS

  6. yep, we need to take care so that someone wouldn’t fix your mistakes

  7. Ziki De Naim says:

    Hi,

    I was searching around for page rank penalties info trying to figure out what i did wrong as my PR dropped down from PR3 to PR1.

    This post was a great read and gave me a clearer view about excessive on page SEO. Hope i will regain it as it took me a while to get it.

    Thanks for posting the info, much appreciated.

    Kindest,
    Ziki De Naim

Comments are closed.