The Google search engine has come a long way. We have all heard of Panda, YMYL, and E-A-T. While these are all still fresh in our minds, what really makes sense for a blogger is to understand what Google is exactly looking for as a fault.
If you know what these are, you can fix your blog and redeem yourself. And if you do this, you can expect to get your ranking back in good health.
Today, we will discuss the nine common types of Google penalties you need to know. These are:
- First click content
- Spammy content
- Cloaked images
- Keyword stuffing
- PBN syndication
- Thin content
- Unnatural inbound links
- Unnatural outbound links
- Comment spams
Let us discuss each one of these Google penalties and understand what they are. By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to identify these errors and take appropriate actions to fix them.
First Click Content
First click content applies to those who have membership subscriptions. Some bloggers show the entire content for Google to read. Because of that, the content or blog post gets indexed by Google, and the content is shown in the search engine result pages.
However, the problem begins when a user clicks on the link. Once he does, he goes to the website, and then a pop-up shows up saying that he has to subscribe.
In short, the blog post can be seen by search engines, but the actual user or person cannot read it unless he subscribes. This is called ‘first click content’, and Google does not like this.
In Google’s eyes, content should not be visible in search engines if you are not willing to show it without a subscription.
What is spammy content?
Spammy content is any content that has a lot of ads and useless content. There are many bloggers who only want traffic, but they do not want to add value to the user.
A great example of this spun content. Spun content is a blog post taken from someone else’s website and then placed in an article spinner software.
An article spinner software “re-writes” the content, and the blogger would publish this “re-written” content.
The thing is, the results of these article spinners are always entirely useless. This software only uses a thesaurus to replace words and sentences, but the software itself cannot write like a human does. The words are nothing more than regurgitated synonyms that do not make sense.
And because content like this does not add value, Google does not like it and your blog will be marked by Google bots as spam. If you want to re-write the content, you have to do it yourself or ask a professional writer to do it for you.
Cloaked Texts and Images
What is cloaking?
Cloaking on the internet means you are showing a text or image to Google and other search engines, but you are showing something different to a user.
As a blogger, you will be tempted to do this because it is a black hat SEO tactic that can drive massive traffic to your blog.
How does it work?
In a cloaked image or text, the blogger would show Google a text or image description that has a high search volume. For example, Coronavirus or a picture of it. Because of that, Google would index the text or image as something related to Coronavirus.
Then, someone goes to google and searches for Coronavirus. Google shows your text or image. However, if a user clicks on the link or image, he will find out that it is not about the virus, but it is adult content or any other content that is not about the virus.
Google is eventually going to find out and take your blog off the ranking. Bloggers do this all the time, using trending terms and hot terms to attract attention, only to take the site visitor to a product page.
Some people believe that the more keywords you have in your post, the better you will rank. This is not true. There was a time when Google used to work this way, but it has long realized that this indexing method is easily abused.
Blog posts that have stuffed keywords will be penalized. The general recommendation is to maintain your keyword density to lower than 3% so Google will not penalize you for keyword stuffing.
PBNs are not real blogs. They do not add value to the user, and they are only there so bloggers can fool the search engine into thinking that a lot of websites are linking to their blogs.
Google has a list of PBNs, and if these PBNs are linking to your website, you will be penalized.
Blogs that have thin content do not add value. A decade ago, a lot of bloggers had huge successes with posts that were as short as 300 words. Today, even 600-word articles are frowned upon by Google.
It is only on rare occasions that you can share valuable content in as short as 600 words. Google knows this. Today, your blog is going to get better traffic if you post long and relevant content. What this means is that you are providing value to your readers, which Google likes.
Unnatural Inbound Links
Over time, some blogs and websites would reference your content and link it to you. Google knows that the natural way of doing this takes time.
What’s unnatural is if suddenly, there are hundreds or thousands of websites linking back to your site. Google will immediately think that you paid for these links—a certain violation of Google’s SEO policies. Google wants you to rank organically, not because you are paying for traffic.
Unnatural Outbound Links
Unnatural outbound links are links coming from your website leading site visitors to another site. Google would think that your links are unnatural if the anchor texts and the links have little or nothing to do with your site niche.
Why? While Google supports affiliate marketing, it does not like bloggers who fill their sites with affiliate links. These sites do not add value to the user experience.
What is comment spam?
Comment spam is a comment that you leave on other blogs. In these comments that you make, you leave a link to your own website. A lot of people endorse this kind of marketing technique, and a lot fall for it.
It does work if done right. Never leave comments on websites not related to your niche. Also, you have to provide valuable content in the comment before leaving your link.
Lastly, your link must be relevant to your discussion. Google will eventually find out if you are just spamming people, and will penalize you for it.
Now that you know the most common types of Google penalties, make sure you do what is right. Correct your past mistakes and redeem yourself and earn your rightful place in the SERPs. Be patient. Blog consistently and provide value, and Google will one day view your website as an authority.