Google supplies bulk of visitor traffic to our site through search engines. That’s because more people use Google (except on certain locations) than any search engine does. So if Google decides to penalize our site, that means we lose a significant amount of visitors going to our site.
So we ask how do we avoid getting this Google penalty? Google doesn’t arbitrarily ban sites for peculiar reasons; it provides a wealth of information on how webmasters should manage their sites.
Beyond these guidelines, the question above remains.
Here are some of the things we can do / should not do to avoid getting the Google penalty and disappear from search results.
Avoid Link Farming
This involves the inter linking of unrelated sites that form a neighborhood of websites. There is no hard and fast rules but the rule of the thumb is that if you think the site doesn’t help your target audience, there should be little or no way you would be linking to them. It’s arguable whether visitors of ParkNShop website would benefit if it links to a site about home mortgage but Google has its own way to detect linking patterns to ascertain if the practice borders around link farming. We can’t control who is linking to us but we can certainly control which sites to link to. So in the process, we avoid the practice of doing link farming.
Cloaking is the process of trying to deceive search engines by creating a page intended to rank high on search results, as well as another page used to show to human visitors.
Be Careful When Selling or Buying Links
In an effort to promote an organic growth of sites (links come naturally and not created with money changing hands) Google has been very aggressive in trying to detect links that are purchased. Google mentioned through Matt Cutts that business may exist between link buyers and sellers as long as nofollow attribute is used. After all, linking isn’t meant just to game search engines, they are also instrumental in bringing more traffic to a site. But there are gray areas too. To be listed in Yahoo! Directory for example, you have to pay a recurring fee of US$299 a year. But many sides argue that this payment is for review and not for the listing. And silly as it may seem, payment is still required to renew the listing even if review has been done.
Avoid Hidden Links
For some reasons people hide their links through using the same color of background with the hyperlink, and applying the text-decoration:none style to hide them. For whatever reason, don’t do it. If visitors can’t see these links, then they shouldn’t appear that way. Otherwise, search engines think it’s a way to manipulate rankings and therefore penalty may be applied.
It is possible that we think our site is banned but actually it’s not. If our robots.txt file contains directives that accidentally tell search engines not to crawl and index certain pages, search engines will skip crawling them and they should not appear on search engine results. Also, someone could be placing the NOINDEX directive on certain pages.