If you’ve been in SEO for more than a few years, you know how vulnerable any website can be when it comes to Google penalties. We’ve seen it all. From known reputable websites, to small businesses, any website can be penalized. Google has become very severe against all websites that are violating their Webmaster guidelines.
In this article, I will show you six ways you can protect your site from any Google penalty. Whether you are building backlinks to your website by yourself, or outsourcing SEO to a company, you must know how to keep your rankings and organic traffic safe. Without any further ado, let me show you what you can do to protect your rankings in Google.
Keep track of your backlinks
I’ve said it again and again. Backlinks are the most important ranking factor in Google. If your website is going to be penalized for any reason, 99% of the time, it will be because your links are unnatural, and they are of low quality.
To avoid getting Google penalties, you have to monitor of all your existing backlinks, and also the new ones. This may seem like a time consuming process, but it should not be when you are using the right tool.
Monitor Backlinks can help you track of all your backlinks, by giving you alerts when your website earns new links, or any of your existing backlinks are being removed or nofollowed.
If you haven’t setup your account yet, you can start your 30 days free trial and give it a try now. Monitor Backlinks requires you to connect your account with Google Analytics. It takes about two minutes to setup, and everything else is 100% automated. Here’s a quick video on how to start.
The key factor to keep your website safe from Google penalties is to monitor all your website’s backlinks. There are cases when your website can be penalized even without you building unnatural backlinks. Some of the most common ones are:
- You hired an SEO company that is doing sloppy work and building backlinks that are violating Google’s guidelines. Even if they call themselves experts, it does not mean that they doing quality work. This is why you should keep track of all the new links your website gets, with Monitor Backlinks. If they are building low quality links that are a threat to your rankings, fire your SEO company immediately.
- Your competitor is doing negative SEO against you. Getting hundreds of low quality backlinks to your website, will increase the risk for being penalized.
So what should you do if this is the case on your website? As soon as you identify backlinks that look like spam, and come from untrusted websites, you should create a disavow report, and submit it to Google Webmaster Tools. There is no reason to wait before it’s too late. Recovering it’s much more complicated than preventing. Want to learn more about the backlinks you should disavow? Check my previous guide here.
Stay away from low quality links
Avoid engaging with those that are doing spammy link building. The number of backlinks your website has it’s irrelevant. Why? Because quality and relevancy is what matters. For instance, if your website has 5 backlinks coming from reputable websites, you will rank higher than your competitor that has 1000 spammy links.
That being said, never buy Fiverr gigs or SEO services that promise to build hundreds of backlinks for little money. These will get you penalized in no time.
Read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
Want to rank higher in Google? Just as you would play a game, you have to know the rules. It’s crucial to read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to learn what you should avoid doing, in terms of SEO. You can also read the article I wrote a few weeks ago: 18 Types of Backlinks Violating Google’s Guidelines.
Monitor your Google Webmaster Tools account
Try to make a habit of checking your Google Webmaster Tools account, on a regular basis. Numerous webmasters are ignoring this part, and they are missing a lot. Always keep an eye on the number of indexed pages your website has, or if the Googlebot has any trouble accessing your site.
If your website has any internal problems, such as page errors, bad redirects, broken links, this is where you can easily identify them.
Setup Google Analytics alerts
Creating alerts in Google Analytics is just as important as monitoring your Google Webmaster Tools account. You can create Intelligence Events Alerts to see if your traffic has decreased. A traffic drop can indicate problems, and you’ll have to review your overall website performance.
Don’t be greedy
Your website will not rank on the first page in Google overnight. SEO is a long term process that requires patience and knowledge. There are numerous self called experts on the internet that offer “guaranteed results”. Never engage with such individuals. It’s not worth risking your website’s reputation and traffic.
Any website is vulnerable, including yours. Better to prevent getting a penalty, then to try to recover from one. Always keep track of your links by using Monitor Backlinks. Check your Google Webmaster Tools account, and setup alerts on Google Analytics.
Has your website been penalized by Google? Read how you can recover your rankings, and start preventing.