Search Engine Penalties – What They Are And How To Avoid Them

If you are implementing any SEO techniques on your website in any way, shape or form, you probably have heard about some of the search engine penalties that you could experience. An important thing to remember, however, is that some people assume that they are being penalized by the search engine if they do not get the results that they want. If you think that you are experiencing search engine penalties, it is useful to learn what they are and what you can do to avoid them. There are penalties issued by search engines that prevent your website from appearing in search results and, as a result, any search engine optimisation investment you are making can see no reward until the penalty is lifted.

What a penalty looks like in Google Analytics

Code Swapping

One of the search engine optimisation pitfalls that you should watch for is cloaking, which is often known as code swapping. When you submit one thing to your search engine but your page contains something different to the users who click on the link to your web site, this is called cloaking or code swapping. Websites can be optimized to generate for a certain phrase or a certain and then the code used on the page is swapped. This causes the user to actually find they are on a different page than they expected. Some people use this tactic to avoid imitation by others or to hide certain kinds of pages that they do not want seen.  Whatever the reason, this is against the guidelines issues by  search engines and may well result in a penalty.

Doorway Pages

Another common penalty that you could see from a search engine is for using doorway pages. These tactics are used by website owners to create web pages which only exist to try and help them achieve better rankings within search engines. They are usually not even component of the website structure and are only searchable when they are clicked on through a search result. These searches are of no value to the serious searcher but are frustrating instead, which is why search engines often penalise sites which use doorway pages.

Keyword Stuffing

Key word stuffing is another issue that search engines can penalise when they find. When a person uses a certain word or a phrase and repeats it in the page of a website to try to increase the relevancy of the page, this is keyword stuffing. This can be avoided if the owner of the website uses a reasonable amount of keywords and does not fill a page with keywords in order to get better rankings with a search engine – regardless of the experience for the user.

Invisible Text

Invisible (sometimes called ‘hidden’) text is a tactic that some website owners use when they insert text in the form of keywords but hide them on the web page by using the colour text which is the same as the background colour. This prevents most people who go to the page from being able to see the text. Because the page contains these words they can still be seen by search engines. This is considered to be a breach of guidelines by search engines. To avoid any resulting penalties, website owners should not include any type of invisible or hidden text on the pages of their web sites.

Tiny Text

Tiny text is also considered to be a penalty with search engines. This tactic is a method to hide or stuff certain words in small font sizes in the content of a page on a web site. They cannot be easily seen or read but since they are included on the web page, they can still show up in the results of a search engine.

Meta Tag Stuffing

Another common technique which can result in a penalty is meta tag stuffing. Web site owners place some of the keywords that will generate high traffic in meta tags that are not related to the content of a web page. This is used to try to generate more traffic to a web site. This can be avoided by only using meta tags on the pages that have content related to the keywords and not using them on pages that do not.

Page Spoofing

Page spoofing, redirection or meta refresh are other practices which may result in penalties. They are tactics that are used when a page on a web site is created to fit a certain phrase or keyword. Then by some kind of redirection, the users are unable to see the entire content present on the page, but instead can see text that is not relevant. Users who are clicking on the link to get to the web page will be directed to a distinct page that usually has very little information in the content which is related to the keywords.

Duplicate Pages

Page stuffing or using duplicate pages is a tactic where the web page on a web site is duplicated or only slightly different from another page and is used as a different page to be submitted to search engines. Web site owners who use this tactic think that a page which contain strong keywords are getting results and thus they should create more similar pages and submit them. To avoid this, try to make the content different on each page or you may find that you recieve a duplicate content penalty.

Domain Spamming

Domain spamming is where a webmaster has the same website but on different domain names. These are also known as mirror websites. Most often they are used to try and improve the search engine rankings. These kinds of practices are considered spamming by search engines. To avoid making this error, only have one website per domain and ensure any other sites you run are markedly different.

Hidden Links

Hidden links are another penalty that you may see from a search engine. This is usually done by placing a small graphic and creating a link to it somewhere on the web page. You can be banned from the search engine results if you try to use hidden links on your site. You should also avoid linking to other websites that are already banned by search engines as this association can reflect badly on your site. Effective SEO depends heavily on the authority you build through careful linking with other websites.

Linking to Other Web Sites

Usually having links on the pages of your website that lead your users to related websites is a good idea. Before you place links on your website, make sure that you verify the information and content of the links so that you are providing accurate links to your users.

If you try to keep your content related to the keywords that you use and do not use tactics that you think could be manipulative to search engines, you can avoid a lot of the penalties considered here. To be safe, make sure that you carefully use keywords and create content that is related to what you are submitting to the search engines. Read Google’s website optimisation guidelines so that you know what is banned and what is encouraged by the search engine giant.  Use common sense and research and you will be able to avoid using Black Hat Techniques easily and stay on the right side of search engines.

How To Perform An SEO Health Check On Your Web Site

If you want to see how well your SEO keywords and content are really doing on your web site, you should do an SEO health check to see where you stand. There are a lot of available resources that you can use to do an audit of your web site and you can find a number of free online tools that will analyse your website for SEO currently there and see which areas you need to improve.  Many good SEO companies will offer a free analysis of your website so you can see the areas which require work.

What can a good SEO health check do for your website? It can look at all of the areas on your website and detect what is affecting your search engine rankings. It can also provide you with a list of things that you can do to improve your rankings. These items are in simple terms and detail what you should change with the keywords, SEO and content of your website. Some of the areas that a good SEO audit can help you with are defining the missed SEO opportunities that you could be using, defining any barriers that may be preventing you from getting better search engine rankings and highlighting which strategies that are already being used on your website and performing well so that you know what you should keep.

Website Audit Sign

Getting an SEO audit of your website can help you identify any website domain issues that you may be having, help you analyse your website structure, evaluate the outbound links that you have on your website, analyze the inbound links that go to your website, see if you have a good usability ranking and help you identify the meta data that you are using or should be using.

You can find a lot of reliable sources to use for conducting an audit on your web site and you may be surprised to see what kind of results you get. Some website owners find that what they thought was a good keyword is really not working that well for them. This can help by knowing to change the bids that you have on the keywords and change them to find ones that better fit your content. Knowing what is performing well for your website and what is not can help you amend to a better design for your website and have a better navigation structure to produce better search engine rankings. You may not be aware of any domain issues that your website has until you do an audit, and if you have not been getting the traffic to your web site that you think you should be getting or if you have not seen very good rankings, it could be because there are issues that you are not seeing.

An audit can help identify any issues that you may have on your website and create a list of the items that you should fix or change. Being able to see which outbound links are working and which ones you should remove can help improve your website and help you create a better website for users to see.  It can also help you improve the quality of the content on your web pages and how to use more SEO keywords not only in the content but also in the links that you create online to go to your website. Identifying the keywords that are helping or hurting your website is essential if you want to get high rankings on search engines and improve the traffic to your website. You may be able to find a lot of things that you can improve on your website by doing an audit and you may be able to see what content and items are working well and that are effective.

An audit will also help you create meta tags that are going to help you get better rankings on search engines and change any of the meta tags that are not working or being effective for you. An audit of the SEO content on your web site can identify the areas that you are not able to see for yourself and give you a complete look at what is working on your website and what is not. You should do an SEO health check any time that you feel you are not getting the traffic that you want to your website or when your rankings are not where you want them to be on the search engines. Audits can help you not only improve those areas, but they can also help you create a better website that is easy for people to use and that is more profitable for your business.

If you are going to build a new website for your business, which platform will give the best SEO benefits?

Which Platform Will Provide The Best SEO For Your Business?

Without question, one of the most effective avenue to market your business these days is the internet. With a well-run website and a strong social media campaign, you can appeal to a much wider audience overall. With search engines continually doing more to offer the best possible local results, there’s no better time to make yourself available to people that are searching for services or products akin to what you have available. The only way to reliably gain anyone’s attention however is through search engine optimisation.

Cms WordPress

SEO is a practice that assures every single page of your website (as well as its content) is targeted towards specific keywords and phrases. If you’re running a local business like guitar repair shop, your corresponding website needs to be optimised to the point that potential customers in need of your services will find it as close to the top of their search engine results as possible. To enjoy these type of benefits from SEO however, you’re going to need a considerable amount of prep work.

As the curator of your site, you’re going to face many questions when it comes to guaranteeing an effective SEO campaign. One of the most essential is deciding upon a platform for the website. There are several choices, but two in particular tend to stick out to new webmasters: Blogspot and WordPress. Which of the two will give the best SEO benefits?

Blogger logo


If you’re catering your site towards Google in particular, you may be compelled to try Blogspot. Google will naturally push Blogspot hosted sites in searches since they own the platform. WordPress has several advantages however. First of all, it’s much easier to make a WordPress website look appealing to the eye, an aspect that’s crucial for keeping visitors on the page once they visit. After you own your own domain and web space, your images will also lead to your .com name, giving it a further SEO boost. Images uploaded to Blogspot always carry the “” URL, considerably hurting your brand in image searches.

The choice is yours, and any platform can be made to work. WordPress is the natural choice if you want the best looking site with the least amount of work however. With any other platform, you’ll always be playing catch-up at this point.

Which Is Easier – Ranking Affiliate Websites Or Local SEO?

If you are curious about whether it’s easier to learn how to rank affiliate websites or if it’s easier to master local SEO, then this guide is going to give you the key answers you’re looking for. So, without any delay, let’s take a closer look.

First of all, there’s no denying that learning how to rank an affiliate website can be hugely profitable, as it will allow you to generate a somewhat passive income that will continue to pay you regularly. Of course, you can also build up a sizeable asset that’ll really give you great leverage in your marketplace, especially if it is ranked better than the competition.

Affiliate Marketing Signpost

But the real downside to affiliate website SEO is the fact that you will often be competing for more competitive keywords, as there will always be other people in the marketplace who are trying to rank for the very same profitable keywords that you are.

I have actually seen SEO companies such as Gimo, now advertising affiliate ranking services as there is obviously a market of customers wanting to get in on the affiliate “Gold Rush”. I can only assume that they are either not skilled enough or too lazy to rank their own affiliate if they are outsourcing it to an agency!

I suppose that it is quite a good gig for an agency to do as they just have to do the ranking side. It does not matter if the site is converting actual affiliate sales for the client, the agency are still getting paid for the rankings.

On the other hand, local SEO can be a very advantageous skill to have, as you can use it to rank your own local businesses, and you can sell your services to companies in the local area. Well as long as you are delivering real results and in a timeframe that keeps clients happy.

Local Business SEO

Quit a lot of SEO’s i know started out it local SEO because it is easier to rank local sites, mostly because of a lack of competion in most niches. It can often be a very useful stepping stone starting a local SEO agency before moving on to affiliate.

Look at it this way, if you are getting local clients straight away, then you are generating income. Any excess income you are generating, you can then use to fund the building of affiliate websites, which can be notoriously expensive until they start generating income(if they ever do!).

I have known people start out in client SEO, just to get that initial revenue coming in, only to realise that it can be a lucrative business by it’s self. Take someone i know personally, Chris Scott, who setup a small local SEO agency in Leeds to get funds to pursue his goal of creating passive income through affiliate sites. He found that he was loving what he was doing with clients, so ended up growing his agency Brand That Name, to the point where it is now one of the biggest in West Yorkshire. Take a look at Brand That Name’s promotional video below that shows exactly what they do.

At the end of the day, it’s clear to see that ranking affiliate websites and being successful at local SEO are both valuable skills to have, but most experts would agree that local SEO is likely to have a quicker return on your investment, as well as being an easier process to succeed with overall.

It’s safe to say that learning how to rank an affiliate website can also generate a life-changing income, and even though it’s likely to be more competitive in the short term, it can be very profitable if you learn how to compete and succeed against every other affiliate marketer who is attempting to do a similar thing to you. Again, i personally know of multiple people doing over £30,000 a month just from their affiliate websites. Take a peek at the video below for some affiliate ranking tips.

Regardless of which option you choose, you will also be using similar techniques in many instances, so the skills are somewhat transferable between each other, which is another huge positive to learning either tactic.

Now that you have read this short guide, you should have a better understanding of the various pros and cons that are associated with learning to rank affiliate websites versus mastering local SEO.

Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO sounds enticing, perhaps even a little intriguing. Unscrupulous marketers will look for devious ways to “get ahead” in the game, often resorting to what is called “black hat” tactics in order to achieve more traffic or a better page ranking. While it may have been effective at one time, black hat SEO is severely frowned upon by Google – and search engines definitely CAN detect it when webmasters use cheating tactics to try to outperform other marketers. While they may not know it immediately, it won’t be long until you find that your website has dropped off the face of the earth if you employ these underhanded techniques.

Generally speaking, black hat SEO techniques break search engine regulations and rules. While they may be effective for a short time, those who employ these unethical tactics will get caught. These techniques generally create a poor user experience and present content in a way that is outside the norm when search engine spiders “crawl” a website. For example, when black hat SEO first became popular, webmasters would put their chosen keywords on their pages hundreds of times, often changing the color of the text so that it matched the page background color, which made the keywords virtually invisible to the reader, but visible to the search engines. Google and other search engines quickly picked up on this ploy.

Some of the most common black hat SEO techniques include keyword stuffing, invisible text (as mentioned above), and doorway pages. Those who use these techniques believe they are intelligent and can “outsmart” the search engines, but this is rarely the case. Why take a chance and put your business in jeopardy?

Because black hat SEO tactics do work temporarily, it is very tempting for webmasters to use these techniques. However, it’s just a matter of time until sites that utilize these tactics get banned – so is it worth the risk? For long-term success, no. While you may experience initial success, as soon as Google picks up on the devious tactics you are using, your website may be banned forever, which means your website will never be found by someone using your keywords in a search for products or information.

In essence, black hat SEO is cheating, a sort of trickery used on both people and search engines. However, as search engines become smarter and know how to detect these tricks, those employing these dishonest tactics are being punished, which really is justice when you think about it. Remember, what goes around comes around. For a sustainable online business that allows you to experience long-term success, steer clear of black hat SEO tactics.