7 Tips to Avoid an SEO Penalty From Google in 2021

Google rankings can make or break a business heavily invested in SEO strategy. If you are not careful about your execution, you can get caught committing an SEO penalty from Google that will damage your web rankings. There are essential tips to follow to avoid receiving a penalty from Google. 


There are seven tips to follow. These tips will help with your existing SEO strategy and remove the risk you face from any future penalties from Google. We can’t afford to see you lose all that traffic. 


Let’s get started.  

Stay Informed on New Google Rules & Updates

Before you can follow the rules, you need to learn what they are. Google is constantly making updates too. It is a continuous learning process to stay up to date on the algorithm updates that Google makes.


If you are abiding by old rules and don’t learn about the new update, it could leave you susceptible to a penalty. For example, the intrusive ad penalty was an update in 2017. This policy penalizes a website for having spammy ad popups on a page. 


In 2017, it would have been critical to the web rankings that you learned about this updated when it was announced. If not, your web popups would have put you at risk for a penalty from Google. 

Perform Regular Content Audits

A content audit is when you step back and look at your current webpage content to see what can be improved. It is a great strategy to improve the content and optimize it better for search engines.


It doesn’t stop there. A content audit is also an analysis of the analytics about your content. What posts have performed the best? What posts have performed the worst? There are valuable insights to be learned from a content audit. 


Take notes of the weak spots in your content. Creating evergreen content will rank better on Google and help you avoid any SEO penalties in 2021. It is a great way to update posts and put an emphasis on original content.


Create a goal for why you do an audit. Otherwise, it can be easy to get carried away updating old content. 

Be Strategic About Your Link Profile

One of the easiest ways to ruin a great blog post is through old, outdated links. Deadlinks on a page tell Google that your content is spammy. It puts you at risk for an SEO penalty right away. 


Maintaining a favorable off-site link profile is a great way to improve your SEO and rank content better. You can install tools for the website that give you updates when any links used to go dead.


The three most important types of links for SEO to use are:


  1. Backlinks 
  2. External Links
  3. Internal Links


Be sure to delete or replace these old links and keep your content fresh. Try to avoid using too many links in a post too. There is a happy medium to consider to emphasize the original content rather than linking all over the place. 


Bad links are an easy problem to fix, though. If this is your biggest problem, Google penalty recovery is possible. 

Stay Far Away From Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is a common mistake for inexperienced content creators optimizing for SEO. More is not always better. The key is to create compelling content rather than include a lot of keywords. 


Google rewards the best content that readers click on and actually read. Things like bounce rate and poor readability will hurt you more than a lack of keywords. 


A rule of thumb to remember is 2-3% keyword density within articles. Create content the way you would talk in real life to educate a reader instead of using hard-to-understand jargon to add extra keywords.


Google has optimized the keyword stuffing algorithm many times through the years, and it continues to get more advanced. Don’t expect to slip one past Google.   

Do Not Rely On Spammy Ads, Pop Ups, or Top Heavy Formats

We mentioned it briefly before. A significant change in the Google algorithm was to penalize websites that use spammy popup ads on pages. Websites try to place ads in highly clicked areas of websites to get extra ad revenue. 


If an ad doesn’t belong there or looks unnatural on the webpage, Google will penalize your site. Remember to place any popup ads natively throughout a website. Do not interrupt the natural user experience because of a popup.


Google also scans the top of the page. When there is too much content there, it gets flagged and reviewed for a potential penalty. Build your pages with balance by putting yourself in the user’s shoes.


If you are not sure about the layout you currently use, try asking a professional. Technical SEO specialists can provide an opinion and some optimization tips too.    

Produce Consistent, High-Level Content

If content creation is a struggle, you can consider a marketing program to create your original content for you. Professional agencies have experience writing content, running SEO audits, and performing on-page SEO techniques.


Great content may sound subjective, but Google uses specific factors to make the determination. 


  • Readability
  • Webpage scores
  • Content freshness
  • Webpage relevance 
  • Webpage usability 


These factors only make up a few of the 200 different factors used in the Google algorithm. Keep it simple by creating great content that is easy to read, consistently updated, and relevant to the topic.   

Focus On Your Brand and Building Trust

Google uses brand awareness as a factor when ranking pages in the search engine. Recent algorithm updates emphasize branding and rewarding those with strong brands. 


By focusing on your brand, you can build much more credibility through SEO than spammy backlinks. Incorporate your brand into your anchor texts too. This is a meticulous yet useful hack to improve your SEO scores. 


If your anchor texts stay on brand, it tells Google that this particular page is relevant to your brand and the topic.


Other factors like your Google business profile are essential too. This should continually be updated and used as a place to collect customer reviews, display business hours, contact information, and more.  


SEO is a complex field with many experts. Because of the power Google holds with its algorithm, updates leave even the experts on their toes waiting to learn something new. This makes it essential to apply these seven tips to your SEO strategy to avoid a dreaded Google penalty. These tips will not only help you avoid a penalty, but we can increase your SEO rankings to drive more traffic too.