10 Things to Keep in Mind for Your Blog to Avoid Penalties

Read the most important guidelines that you must follow as a blogger if you want to see your website in the good books of Google search results. Know the top 10 things that you must take care at your blog if you want to be successful as a blogger.

When global interest in the Internet was peaking, and Google's popularity was at its zenith, the first page of an organic search engine result became the Holy Grail of entrepreneurs. The progressive sites started optimizing their pages to make themselves visible to Google Bots.

At the other end of the spectrum, the aggressive sites began gaming the system to improve page ranking; tactics that were not entirely ethical and which involved elements of deception culminating in "Black Hat" SEO strategies.

Recognizing the spurt in dishonest practices, Google changed its search engine algorithms, issued Webmaster guidelines, and started penalizing violations of the laid down instructions.

According to digital marketing strategists at https://miromind.com it's immaterial whether the Google penalty comes through black hat practices or by an honest mistake born of ignorance; the effect is painfully catastrophic. Miromind strategists outlined the significant penalties that Google levies, and the remedial action that can be taken to regain your footing in the blogosphere.

10 Common Deviations That Google Penalizes, and Their Quick-Fix Resolution for Bloggers

Problem #1: Content Is of Low Quality With Little or No Value-Addition

Penalty: Could be either a partial-match affecting only a part of the blog or a site-wide match affecting the entire blog.

Palliative Action:

  • Eliminate auto-generated spun articles with poor readability. Use a good plagiarism tool to identify duplicate content.
  • Don't rehash/ repackage another company's product or service disguised as your own brand.
  • Avoid lifting entire websites or content that is wholly or partially copied verbatim.
  • Scissor away content that is mostly generic and is rehashed from the material that is already available on the net.
  • Eliminate doorway pages that are created for gaining search engine traction for specific keywords or phrases which result in poor user experience.
  • Avoid low-count blog articles; make them thicker, longer, and more informative.

Problem #2: Google Views Your Links as Weird, Contrived or Manipulative

Penalty: Partial-match affecting only a part of the blog or a site-wide match affecting the entire blog.

Palliative Action:

As far as Google is concerned, linking which is correctly done and which is of good quality is a vote in favor of higher page ranking.
If the blog is buying links or is part of a linking scheme purely for attracting organic SERPs, it's a violation of webmaster guidelines that are intended to help Google locate, categorize, and rank your page.
  • Use Google Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools) to identify and download the links to your blog. A valuable tip is that you can try adding parts of your site separately in different folders to your Google Webmaster Tools account as a way of squeezing more links out of Google.
  • Do an extensive backlink audit of your blog to ferret out the violators. Add a "Nofollow" instructing the search engines not to pay attention to such links, or go straight ahead and remove those links. Then submit to Google for reconsidering page ranking status.
  • If removal is not an option, disavow: If there are too many spammy, low-quality linkages coming into your site, and if it's an uphill task removing them, you have the option of asking Google not to take such links into account while assessing your blog for page ranking.

Problem #3: You're Hiding Text and Stuffing Keywords With a Vengeance

Penalty: Partial-match affecting only a part of the blog or a site-wide match affecting the entire blog.

Palliative Action:

If you are hiding text within tags (unseen by the user's eyes) targeting only search engines, and you're overdoing keywords in the anxiety to rank better in SERPs, Google frowns and penalizes.
  • Use the "Fetch" option in Google Search Console to view the red-flagged segments in your blog. CSS positioning will also do the same job for you.
  • Once you locate the hidden text, make it visible to page visitors.
  • Eliminate the paragraphs that appear to be irrelevant or out of context and reword them to make them relevant.
  • Just as you don't repeat sentences and paragraphs in an article, avoid repeating strings of similar words in alt texts and title tags.
  • Insert keywords and phrases as naturally and relevantly as possible within the page. Don't stuff keywords to the point that you lose coherence, ruin your grammar, and impact readability.

Problem #4: Malicious Browsers May Be Generating Spam Content on Your Blog

Penalty: Partial-match affecting only a part of the blog or a site-wide match affecting the entire blog.

Palliative Action:

Sites that allow visitors the freedom to add content or generate new pages could end up being at the receiving end of spammy inflows. This may trigger a warning or worse, a penalty from Google.
  • Zero in on the pages where users enter their comments and weed out spammy references, links, or inappropriate content.
  • Remove advertisements and offers that pose as legitimate comments, and which may not be contextually relevant.
  • Remove spammy sounding users like "BigMomma," especially those linking to inappropriate or illegal sites.
  • Blank out spammy, generic, or irrelevant comments, making way for comments that are well reasoned, and incisive, and which generate great ideas. Moderation of comments is essential to ensure that your page doesn't get submerged in trolling and loses sight of its objective.

Problem #5: Where Free Web Hosting Services Are Abused by Spammers

Penalty: If page content is mostly spammy in nature, Google may resort to a site-wide match affecting the entire blog.

Palliative Action:

Free web hosting services are a boon to individuals and institutions, saving costs upfront in hosting blogs and websites, but this kind of freedom comes with a hefty price. Thin or irrelevant content and spammy advertisements may threaten the site's revenue model if Google takes punitive action.
  • The better option is to shift to shared (and paid) hosting models where a unified server space is shared among different websites, each retaining its independence. It's affordable, many sites are doing this, and there are stronger filters to keep away spammers.
  • One drawback of shared hosting is that you pay regardless of use, whereas in cloud hosting "pay for use" models may do more to protect your bottom-line, especially when you need to upscale operations.

Problem #6: The Site Is Tagged as "Hacked" in Google Organic Search Results

Penalty: Your blog search result may show up with the harmful tag "This site is hacked," and you lose whatever you gained from blogging by being demoted in organic search results.

Palliative Action:

Hackers repeatedly exploit weaknesses in WordPress and many Content Management Systems to post malicious content. The problem is that this may go undetected in many cases, and you can't depend on Google to alert you to every hack. The problem is compounded when Google search results mark your site as being hacked. In 45 percent of such cases, websites tend to lose around 75 percent of their web traffic, which can be catastrophic for a blog.
  • Get in touch with your web hosting service and call for support.
  • Isolate the hacked page and prevent the rot from spreading.
  • Use Google Search Console "Fetch as Google" feature that allows you to view the hacked page and take corrective action. This feature is helpful because a hacker could have cloaked the hack, preventing you from seeing the damage.
  • Analyze whether the damage has been inflicted by spam ("This site may be hacked") or malware ("This site may harm your computer") depending on how the site shows up in organic searches.
  • Inspect your blog for vulnerabilities that need to be patched up. For example, your server directory may have been left with open permissions. Your CMS could be carrying a structural weakness, or you're operating an outdated version of WordPress. Another hacking point is the third-party plugin in the visitor counter for tracking visitors that must be rechecked.
  • Step up protection from inbound and outbound malicious mails emanating from malware and put in place stronger filters to check spam.

There's an adage that goes "starting with a clean slate." This applies to your site too. Keep cleaning and backing up your site to stay one step ahead of hackers. If necessary, upgrade your site security protocols using a platform like Sucuri Security.

Problem #7: Google Says You're Unworthy of Indexing Because You're Hosting Pure Spam

Penalty: Partial-match affecting only a part of the blog or a site-wide match affecting the entire blog.

Palliative Action:

Blogs that follow aggressively spammy methods for increasing traffic, host spun content, and perform cloaking can be penalized by Google. You are setting yourself up for a pure spam penalty if you receive a Google notification titled, "http: x x x x Site Quality Issue."

If you haven't set up Google Search Console, go to Search Traffic and enter Manual Actions to see how the site is viewed by Google, and note previous messages docked in the folder.

Examine the reasons that could have led to the penalty or extreme de-indexing:
  • If you've recently bought the domain, look up archive.com to detect past spam history. File for reconsideration explaining that you've changed the site substantially with fresh content.
  • Google punishes "auto-generated gibberish." Were you caught in the radar because you neglected Basic English grammar and sentence structuring? You may also be penalized if you're extensively using auto-translation which throws up fragmented and unreadable English.
  • Google views scraped content as a rehash of web content that is repeated elsewhere, without adding anything of value. Even if you're picking images from the web and re-categorizing them, you'll attract a Google pure spam penalty. There has to be something unique in your contribution that justifies tagging as fresh content.
  • Cloaking poses another danger. If you're segregating content, one to be shown to the Google Bot and another set only for web visitors, you're guilty of cloaking.
  • Some bloggers use an anti-hotlinking plugin to prevent images from being stolen from their sites, but that presents a problem. The Google Bot views an image that is qualitatively different from what normal users see. This triggers the "image-mismatch penalty." Removing such plugins is the only way out.

Problem #8: You're Creating a Spammy Effect by Violating Structured Markup Guidelines

Blogs have transitioned from text-only search results to rich snippets using better-structured markups, but this needs to be done within the ambit of Webmaster's guidelines. Once the markups are correctly structured, snippets get generated algorithmically. Blogs mess up and attract Google penalties when they use misleading, manipulative content or use hidden text that users can't see.

Penalty: Partial-match affecting only a part of the blog or a site-wide match affecting the entire blog.

Palliative Action:

Assuming that your blog is evolving and changing very fast, you need to ensure that your markups are updated and accurately summarize what your site is projecting.

The markups need to be visible both to the webpage visitors and Google Bots, and it is the visibility of the markup that determines how successfully Google converts the information into rich snippets.

Any attempt to perpetuate a rich snippet spam is bound to be viewed seriously leading to your site being penalized by showing text-only search results.

Problem #9: Job Posting Markups Carrying Expired Jobs Are Being Penalized

Penalty: Partial-match affecting only a part of the blog or a site-wide match affecting the entire blog

Palliative Action:

If your blog is posting job openings using structured job posting markups, and you persist in carrying an inventory of expired jobs, you risk activating the Google expired job penalty. The structured data is what Google analyzes to decide if you're relevant enough to be promoted to the top of the search result pages.
  • Since you may find it tedious to track and remove jobs that have expired or are about to expire, it's better to move job openings to a third-party site such as Monster or Careerbuilder that will take on the responsibility of maintaining job-related structured data markup.
  • If you want the spotlight to shine on your blog and focus on what you creatively contribute to the job market, you have to move in tune with Google's policy. You need to create a good user experience by regularly removing expired or irrelevant job postings.
  • Alternatively, if you want to prevent web crawlers from indexing potentially problematic pages, you can add a "noindex" directive to the meta tag.
  • Ensuring that the "validThrough property is populated and in the past" essentially means that you're reporting that the job will be invalid after the specified date; this enhances user experience.

Problem #10: You're Violating Google's "First Click Free" Policy

Penalty: Partial-match affecting only a part of the blog or a site-wide match affecting the entire blog

Palliative Action:

Google follows the policy that a visitor clicking a page link is entitled to view the content with full freedom and without restriction. In reality, many blogs and websites show full content to Google but restrict full content access to viewers. Some sites require viewers to either register or subscribe to certain services or share contact details (and possibly other info) before viewers login. This action attracts a Google penalty.

The problem is compounded when sites cloak images; what you see may not be the same image that Google sees, and clicking on one image may lead the viewer someplace entirely different or mismatched to the viewer's intention.

The only remedy is to abandon cloaking and to show both Google and viewers coming to you through Google services, the same image or content. Needless to say, any restriction hampering the viewer's freedom to access your content has to be removed. No logins, no subscriptions, and no registration that is compulsory in nature.


It's probably apparent even to kindergarten kids that Google's dominion sways unchallenged over vast swathes of an online real estate. That is why blogs and websites must pay extra special attention to Google Search Console Webmaster guidelines that clearly spell out illegal actions that invite manual penalties. Attracting a Google penalty has severe implications for the existence of a site because of de-indexing or when penalties weaken its organic search engine page ranking.

But taking a penalty hit doesn't have to be the end of the road; you are given an opportunity to make amends, remove deficiencies, and ask Google for reconsideration. After all, Google exists because of you, and Google only wants you to follow the best practices that generate the best user experience for searchers.

So, if you want to enjoy the three goodies of high search engine visibility, substantial web traffic, and growing revenue, the friendliest advice would be to stay on the right side of Webmaster guidelines.


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