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[Video] 20 Things Your Business Should Know About Avoiding Google Penalties

30 January, 2013

Do you rely on Google, what would happen if your website no longer appeared in Google Search? How much revenue could / would you lose?

Penguins, Pandas and Google Penalties! Want to know how to avoid them? Watch my Google Penalty video for my top 10 Do’s and top 10 Dont’s. Every website owner needs to understand the risks of Google Penalties and more so needs to know how to prevent them.

Can’t see the video? click here

Video Transcript:

Google is on a big drive at the moment to stop people playing games to get to the top of its rankings when you search on particular words.  It wants to make sure the internet is working for quality, for the benefit of search users.


And if you are a legitimate business selling a good product and aim to have a user-friendly website with relevant content for your customers, it will also benefit you.


To help get rid of rubbish online, Google has started to introduce penalties to websites that are misbehaving.  If it finds you breaking basic rules, it will issue your website with a Google Penalty and will remove you from search rankings. This could mean you could go from number 1 on Google to page 50.  For many websites, and especially e-commerce websites, a Google Penalty can be devastating.


[I have talked a lot about Google Penalties in my blogs – just go to and type “Google Penalty” into the blog search bar]


As an example, I myself suffered a Google Penalty in 2004 and lost 40% of my turnover. It was devastating, but learning how to get myself out of it was part of the reason I became so fascinated with SEO. Helping people unwind themselves from Google Penalties is one of the things I now specialise in, so… every cloud!


So Google Penalties can cause you a lot of problems and take a long while to fix…


But don’t panic!

Google is now getting much better at engaging with site owners, including being much clearer about what they are looking for.


The guidelines themselves haven’t changed much, it’s just that Google are being much more open about them (and this is why you might have heard sensationalist news stories about changes to the Google algorithms). The one good thing is that they have expanded on them recently and tried to make them clearer.


For example, you may have heard of Google Penguin and Google Panda – there has been a lot more media coverage of these two changes to Google algorithms than there has been for other changes. But rest assured that although the press may have you believe otherwise, there are no big changes here to be afraid of. Tweaks and changes have been done by Google almost daily since 2002 (you can see a full list at


As long as you follow a number of basic key principles, you should see good consistent organic ranking on search engines like Google.


Here are 20 DOs and DON’Ts your business should observe to ensure you don’t get a Google Penalty:


Ten DOs:

(1)    Create engaging & interesting content

(2)    Unique content – ensure all your content is new and written by you


(3)    Do check your spelling and grammar – Google doesn’t like bad spelling and grammar, and neither do your readers – so make sure your copy is well written!

(4)    Make sure you have content above the fold (the section at the top of a site you can see). Google has a Page Layout algorithm that checks the balance of content versus images to help avoid those websites that just display lots of adds and links, so make sure your site visitors can see what they came for straight away


(5)    Keep your CMS up to date and ensure that your hosting is as secure as it can be

(6)    Implement Google authorship to show Google who is behind the content, which therefore shows that your site is trustworthy


(7)    You can then build on this by using social media interactions to increase trust –slowly develop relationships by sharing content and engaging in discussions on social media

(8)    Use social media to build links (post articles and comments with links back to your site)

(9)    Interact with other blogs in your niche or industry area to increase back links


(10)Use video – people want videos, and Google recognises this, so it likes to see some rich media content on your site, rather than just reams and reams of text



Ten DON’Ts:

(1)    Don’t buy in external links!


(2)    Don’t give an agency full control of your SEO or search marketing without keeping track of how they are building your links, as it will be you that will suffer if they are found to be employing underhand tactics (look up “black hat SEO”)


(3)    Copy content from other sites or from the manufacturer – Google has been known to issue Google Penalties for duplicate content – see an article I wrote about this topic on

(4)    Don’t spread viruses – It goes without saying but if your website isn’t secure and you get hacked, you could inadvertently without you knowing, spread a virus – and Google obviously doesn’t like this!


(5)    Don’t over-optimise your site by stuffing keywords or hiding text – while you may think it will bring you quick wins, Google frowns on this and could issue a penalty if your website visitor experience is compromised

(6)    Don’t overdo advertising on your site as Google doesn’t look too kindly on websites that are covered in adverts (and it is unpleasant for your website visitors too, which will decrease your no of visitors, which will reduce your advertise your revenue anyway)


(7)    Don’t leave broken links unattended! Run regular checks for broken links and make sure you fix them as soon as possible, as they reduce your SEO score, and in large quantities could annoy Google enough to issue a penalty)

(8)    Don’t add too many images – keep a good balance between images and content – something that looks nice for the viewer – as Google can sometimes assume that images are adverts, and mark you down for this


(9)    Don’t forget to check Google Analytics on a regular basis to recognise early signs of a potential Google penalty – the software will pick up any issues on your website (like broken links) and highlight them for you to fix


(10)Don’t forget to update your website regularly – add fresh, interesting and relevant content as often as you can – Google is hungry for content, so feed it!


I hope these tips on avoiding Google Penalties and improving your website SEO have been useful.  If you’d like to find out more about how to maintain your website and optimize it for search engines in a legitimate way that works in the long-term, then please visit my website:


Finally if enjoyed this video blog please share it with your colleagues and business network. And of course let me know your thoughts , experiences and questions in the comments box below.

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  • Teepu says:

    Google truly has upped the game for a lot of website owners. Only those who offer GREAT quality will be on top of the google rankings and personally that’s awesome. It would make it easier for people to look up on what they really want and not get directed to spammy and low quality sites.

    • Jonny Ross says:

      Great point, I agree and I probably don’t get that across enough, as ultimately we all want great results when we google something, who wants to see 10 results that are not relevant / spammy / from the same company! The better the experience, the more google can charge for advertising, but if it means we get the results we want when we do a search it’s a great step forwards!


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