Google SEO penalties & how to avoid them

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In the wake of three of the largest SEO penalties since people started to “Google” stuff (Rap Genius, Expedia and Irwin Mitchell) – here is the7stars’ guide to the SEO tactics that work and at the same time keep you safe from the dreaded Google penalty.

It’s more important now than ever, to understand the implications of SEO tactics. SEO is not a dark art built on smoke and mirrors, it should be understandable, transparent and accountable no matter how large your campaign is.

Step 1: It never hurts to re-visit the basic principles of what Google is looking for when indexing your site in organic results:

– Make your website accessible to search engine spiders
– Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links
– Your pages should be descriptive and use and ALT attributes<br /> – Ensure there is one keyword rich, human friendly URL for each page<br /> – Your page should include relevant, unique, keyword rich content</p> <p>Good SEO starts with these basics, and without it, every other advanced technique will be severely hindered and may in some cases negatively impact Google’s propensity to rank you higher than your competitors.</p> <p><b>Step 2</b>: Now that we are clear about what a website needs as a foundation for SEO, we can talk about tactics that deliver results, but still keep you clear of a Google penalty.</p> <p>We base our SEO strategy on clear, actionable data that is both understood by clients and allows us to accurately project results. One of the data sources used is a custom rank correlation algorithm, this formula analyses what websites that rank highly for different terms have in common. The output results of these correlation studies look something like this chart that our partners at Searchmetrics™ released last year:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://wallblog.co.uk/files/2014/02/Screen-Shot-2014-02-11-at-12.00.11.png"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-50827" alt="Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 12.00.11" src="http://wallblog.co.uk/files/2014/02/Screen-Shot-2014-02-11-at-12.00.11.png" width="587" height="550" /></a></p> <p><b style="font-size: 13px;">Step 3</b><span style="font-size: 13px;">: Now we have a list of actionable priorities that we can build a strategy around.</span></p> <p>The top three signals within the correlation are:</p> <p>– Content being shared on Google+<br /> – Content being shared on Facebook<br /> – Number of backlinks</p> <p>We focus on the tactics that provide the highest ROI for our clients and find that the top three within this list are highly actionable by both our clients and our internal team.</p> <p>The first two signals relate to shareable content, and although we can’t force people to share content on their social profiles, we can control the following:</p> <p>– Ensure the website has unique and useful content<br /> – Ensure that each page has content sharing calls to action<br /> – Ensure that each piece of content relates to a unique URL</p> <p>The third signal is where we start getting closer to Googles’ parameters. Industry experts are citing low quality and spammy backlinks as the source of the penalties for Expedia, Rap Genius and most recently Irwin Mitchell.</p> <p>At the7stars we focus on high value, scalable link acquisition and are able to break these sources down into three target areas:</p> <p>– High quality, hand reviewed directories</p> <p>We have a dedicated in house team that are constantly testing these directories for safety and value.</p> <p>– .edu .gov and .ac TLDs</p> <p>From offering student incentives, policy related content and contests; these domains continue to be a high value source of backlinks</p> <p>– Content earns links</p> <p>Use tutorials, product comparisons, and free resources as a source of powerful passive link building</p> <p>Using the insights above we deliver SEO benefits that help clients climb up search engine positions, achieving that coveted position one spot on Google…. with no extra costs. <div class="linkedin_share_container" 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»</a></td> </tr> </tfoot> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="5" class="pad"> </td><td>1</td><td>2</td> </tr> <tr> <td><a href="http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/02/03/" title="Infographic: visual design trends for 2014, Anti-social behaviour: What’s the opportunity cost for brands not doing social?, Mischievous Australians derail PM Abbott’s YouTube channel over ‘deceit’, Bauer Media launches new female lifestyle brand site, The most innovative ad from Super Bowl 48 didn’t happen on TV">3</a></td><td><a href="http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/02/04/" title="The end of mindless consumption and rise of conspicuous production, Ten years after Facebook launched, we’re back to the days before Facebook, Will brands go over the top this year?, Facebook aged 10 – The smartphone crucial for future success">4</a></td><td><a href="http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/02/05/" title="Five questions to ask a tag management provider when choosing a solution, Mobile priorities marketers must address, Audacity, bravery, commitment, 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Facebook buys instant messaging service WhatsApp for $16bn">20</a></td><td><a href="http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/02/21/" title="Making the most of mobile opportunities in the travel industry, 4G, SnoreG: Demand for UK 4G still low 18 months on, Sport sponsorship: the good, the bad and the politics">21</a></td><td>22</td><td>23</td> </tr> <tr> <td><a href="http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/02/24/" title="Mad Men due to collide with Mad Scientists, How Japanese brand Pocky set a Guinness World Record on Twitter, Animated digital campaign reveals what kind of entrepreneur you should be">24</a></td><td><a href="http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/02/25/" title="Three in five Twitter mobile users are on Twitter while watching TV, The ten commandments of mobile research, What you need to know about securing your digital legacy">25</a></td><td><a href="http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/02/26/" title="O2 goes to next level with Twitter customer services, Jelly for brands: is now the right time to join?, Four trends that are changing the face of media research, How can brands apply the principles of SEO when content is shifting to video?">26</a></td><td><a href="http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/02/27/" title="Can your LinkedIn company page replace your corporate website?, The facts about Twitter trolling, Five reasons marketers should embrace Flash-free dynamic display, Muhammad Ali joins the rumble on Twitter">27</a></td><td><a href="http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/02/28/" title="Predicting the Oscars with social media (and the problem with Her), The growth of online performance marketing in the UK is encouraging but there’s no room for complacency, Ten mistaken beliefs about customer communities">28</a></td> <td class="pad" colspan="2"> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table></div></div><div id="rss-3" class="widget widget_rss"><h4 class="widgettitle h2"><a class='rsswidget' href='http://www.brandrepublic.com/rss/news'><img style='border:0' width='14' height='14' src='http://wallblog.co.uk/wp-includes/images/rss.png' alt='RSS' /></a> <a class='rsswidget' href='http://www.brandrepublic.com/rss/home'>News from Brand Republic</a></h4><ul><li><a class='rsswidget' href='http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1362486/auto-trader-focuses-family-new-tv-spot'>Auto Trader focuses on family for new TV spot</a><div class="rssSummary">Auto Trader, the marketplace for new and used cars, is launching a new TV ad to showcase how it gives consumers access to three times more buyers than any other site.</div></li><li><a class='rsswidget' href='http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1362484/m-s-kicks-off-extensive-fashion-brand-campaign-featuring-new-strapline'>M&S kicks off most 'extensive' fashion brand campaign featuring new strapline</a><div class="rssSummary">Marks and Spencer has kicked off one of its most "extensive" brand campaigns for fashion, comprising six TV spots and a "wealth" of digital content as it looks to turn around its non-food business.</div></li><li><a class='rsswidget' href='http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1362481/pot-noodle-says-you-it-new-tv-campaign'>Pot Noodle says 'you can make it' in new TV campaign</a><div class="rssSummary">Pot Noodle has released its first TV campaign since hiring Lucky Generals as its creative agency.</div></li><li><a class='rsswidget' href='http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1362472/adidas-taps-instagram-stars-female-focused-energy-running-campaign'>Adidas taps Instagram stars for female-focused 'Energy Running' campaign</a><div class="rssSummary">Adidas is hoping to connect to urban women around the world by kickstarting a movement which it is calling Energy Running, through an influencer-supported advertising and events drive.</div></li><li><a class='rsswidget' href='http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1362463/carling-resurrects-ipint-app-new-office-escape-game'>Carling resurrects iPint app with new 'Office Escape' game</a><div class="rssSummary">The iPint game, once celebrated as the pinnacle of FMCG marketing apps, is being re-launched with exclusive Carling content and a prize giveaway.</div></li></ul></div><div id="rss-4" class="widget widget_rss"><h4 class="widgettitle h2"><a class='rsswidget' href='http://wallblog.co.uk/feed/'><img style='border:0' width='14' height='14' src='http://wallblog.co.uk/wp-includes/images/rss.png' alt='RSS' /></a> <a class='rsswidget' href='http://wallblog.co.uk/'>More from The Wall</a></h4><ul><li><a class='rsswidget' href='http://wallblog.co.uk/2015/09/02/googles-new-logo-the-industry-reacts/'>Google’s new logo: The industry reacts</a><div class="rssSummary">We asked the digital marketing industry what they thought about the new-look Google logo, what it means for the brand moving forward and whether it will be a benefit or burden. 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