Google and search engines could separate innocent mistakes and blatant attempts to fool their algorithm. In this case, we should avoid breaking the rules. There are rules that we need to follow. It is also important to avoid those red flags. Search engines could strictly punish websites that break their guidelines. Some penalty can be as moderate as 30-day of temporary rank drop to permanent domain banning. Here are mistakes that can cause the worst penalty, getting banned by search engines:
- Adding invisible text: This is an old black hat method, but still used by many people. In this case, webmasters will use text that has the same color with the background color, such as typing white text on a white background. Search engines are clever enough to detect the color of our text and background, by checking specific HTML codes. It means that if the color of the text and background is the same, we will get penalized. We also shouldn’t try using nearly similar colors, just because they have different hexadecimal values to identify colors. Google will still be able to detect this kind of offense.
- Paying for links: Links are meant to be created naturally by people who want to genuinely share our webpage, due to its valuable content. Buying links is an artificial way of creating references for our websites. There are still many people who purchase links. For specific prices, they could get dozens, hundreds or even thousands of do-follow links. Initially, Google didn’t care how we got our links, but since the major 2007 algorithm update, paid links schemes are severely penalized. Many websites have significantly reduced ranks or even completely banned from ranks.
- Creating doorway pages: Doorway pages are webpages or small websites optimized for specific keywords. Search engines are able to detect webpages or small websites that are overly optimized for specific keywords. Doorway pages are like tentacles that grab visitors from many different directions to the main website. It is easy for search engine bots to detect a network of doorway pages that seem to be concentrated to one main website. This practice is shunned by major search engines and we can be sure to see our main website to get yanked permanently from search rankings.
- Redirect: Redirects are also improper way to gain traffic for our primary website. A legal redirect is when we have changed our domain and we still use the old domain to notify loyal visitors about the change. In this case, we need to use the 301 Redirect, with specific configuration in the .htaccess file. The other type is meta redirect and unfortunately, it has been abused by marketers. Search engines will punish us if we use meta redirect improperly.
- Keyword stuffing: Keyword stuffing could be seen as an attempt to use excessive number of keywords in the same webpage. The practice can be so serious that readers can’t really find any valuable information in the page. All they see is senseless repetitions of specific keywords.