2 Ways to Get Your Site Penalized in 2013 (& How to Avoid Other Google Pit-Falls)

The Top Two Mistakes That Will Get You Penalized

This past year we have seen several tweaks in Google’s algorithms and webmasters all over the world are in a panic.

Penguin 2.0 Update This post was designed to help some of you – website owners, bloggers, copywriters, etc – so that you can keep battling the algorithm changes with power and confidence. Even with many practices being deemed inactive since the recent Penguin 2.0 update, link building still works. You just need to have a careful approach. Here are two of the biggest reasons why your site is hurting in 2013:

Exact Match Anchor Text

Google is becoming more aware of how webmasters are trying to manipulate rankings with spammy links, using un-natural links, and more. In its quest to provide appropriate content to its web searchers, Google is now looking for exact match anchor text. This means that if you create links and use your same anchor text, Google will find those links and penalize your site. An easy way to stay on top of this anchor text formula is by analyzing the back link portfolios of large brands. For example, if you head over to Open Site Explorer and type in, you will be able to see the ratio of anchor texts for their entire back link portfolio. To nobody’s surprise, over 90% of their anchor texts are branded anchor texts. In other words, when other people on the web linked back to them, they did so by simply saying ‘Geico’ – not cheap car insurance or even car insurance. This is something that most webmasters fail into take in account: it is not natural to have exact match anchor texts accounting for more than 10% of your back link portfolio. Knowing this, all brands should make it a priority to keep acquiring branded anchor texts if they are building links. Failing to do so is only asking Google to become suspicious, raise its considerable hackles, and slap on a penalty on your website. exact ancor text The same can be applied in the affiliate marketing space. With a personal site of mine – – it would be tempting to go after the coveted keyword: Empower Network. However, if you run an Open Site Explorer back link analysis, you will see that most of my anchor texts are either linked to the url or simply say ‘Empower Network System’, which happens to be the brand in this case.

Make sense? When dealing with anchor texts, keywords are bad. Brands are good.

The best way to create links that that will make the algorithm happy is to vary your anchor text when searching for a link. For example, if you have a site about the latest Ferrari, you do not want to create a link on every site just by using the word “Ferrari.” First of all, if this is a new site chances are you will not rank for this term. However, if Google sees several links to your site using this keyword, you will be penalized. In order to vary your anchor text and have your links look natural, you should consider using other terms such as: “F12 Berlinetta”, “Ferrari Berlinetta”, “latest Ferrari”, “F12″, “fast cars”, “latest Italian sports cars”, etc. Because all of these terms are related to your site about the latest Ferrari, these terms will also make good text to link your website. You can also consider adding a branded anchor text to your site. To do this, create a link that does not contain any keywords for your site, but it has the URL to your site. This will get people to head to your website and search for your articles on the specified subject. Additionally, as long as you have relevant content, you may gain return visitors. If someone is happy with the information they find on your site, they will probably recommend it to others, which will help to increase your traffic. Consider trying out the use of “zero match anchor text” as well. This link does not contain anchor text at all. A common use of this technique is when you see “Click here” in any article or on a website. The verbiage is simple, action related, and does not include specified keywords or anchor text. Additionally, you may consider just adding your website address into your article. This will also help you to gain more visitors to your site and will hopefully keep them coming back to see what new and informative information you are posting. Keep in mind, the links of today need to be natural, not forced. The better you are at gaining natural links to your site, the better chance you will have to rank higher. Also, pay attention to where your links are coming from. Good links should come from high-quality sites, as well as relevant pages. If you find a link to your page on a low quality site, it may be worth the time and energy to try to have it removed. Another idea of finding a natural link is to find out where your site traffic is coming from. You can do this by looking at your demographics in Google Analytics. Once you find out where the majority of your traffic is coming from, start trying to get links from places in these areas. You can offer to guest blog for places or request links from companies. However, keep in mind that if you are successful at getting a link from someone else, these people need to vary the anchor text they use in the link.

Spammy, spun or bad content

Another factor that can significantly help/hurt your website is the quality of the copy. This is true when dealing with on-page content, as well as off page content that you generate to get traffic.   There used to be a day and age when you could just write a few pieces of content, have the content spun using automated software, and then blast your articles to several hundred sites and blog networks at once. Another reason to be penalized is having low quality guest posts on your website. Consider the quality of your guest posts. Just about anyone with access to a computer can create a post on a site. If you accept guest posts, be sure to consider the knowledge and authority of the person creating the post. Some signs of low quality content are missing pieces of content. Content that seems to be focused on one specific word or phrase. Duplicate content is also frowned upon. All of your content should be high quality, even if you or your team did not write it. Take the time to make sure it fits on your site and is accurate before allowing that guest post to go live. Also, be careful with using the same author byline repeatedly, as this could cause suspicion in Google’s eyes as well. This clearly would show that you are over-optimizing a link-building technique. Finally, make sure your website provides a great user experience. Many people speculate that using generic WordPress themes or popular themes is also a factor in the rankings as well. Invest in a highly customized theme or pay a graphic designer or programmer to design your website, especially if it is a brand or product for the long haul. As an alternative, you can use different graphics workarounds like Intuit or Web Studio that offer easy web builder templates that make it simple to piece together a new website. Going the customized route for your website will help your website stay ‘penguin-safe’ for years to come. The latest Penguin 2.0 update to the algorithm has brought up many issues with some websites. It has also given internet marketers cause to be concerned about their SEO practices, as well as what could happen to the websites they manage. However, as long as you are trying to increase your rankings by using natural tactics – or making your processes appear natural – chances are Google will not smack you down. Update: The release of the Hummingbird algorithm and its updates enhance the work that the Panda and Penguin started, making marketing content and content link building more important than ever before.   Best of luck. Jeremy is an avid outdoorsman and owner at Empower Network System.