How To Avoid Google Penalties

Here’s the scenario: Your traffic is moving along steadily and all of a sudden you notice a sharp decrease. The next thing you know, your website isn’t ranking for any key terms. It’s the dreaded flat line that results from a Google penalty and it’s a nightmare for all webmasters.

Don’t Let This Happen to You!

Google penalties are the ever-lurking threat that webmasters have to face. They serve as a reminder to partake in SEO tactics that are white hat and honest. The good news? By using these white hat tactics, you can avoid a Google penalty! However, while some may be familiar with the standards for ethical (white hat) and unethical (black hat) tactics, sometimes it’s tough to distinguish that foggy ‘gray’ area. So we’ve outlined the full spectrum from white hat techniques to black hat techniques for some of the most basic SEO fundamentals.

But first, a quick refresher!

White Hat White Hat – Ethical SEO techniques that enhance user and search experience and are condoned by the search engines.

Gray Hat Black Hat – Unethical, deceitful techniques with the intention of manipulating search engines in order to receive higher rankings, or manipulating users to spread viruses and spam.

Black Hat Gray Hat – Tactics that toe the line between white hat and black hat techniques.

Black Hat No Hat – Not doing any SEO could be costing you business, reducing your brand awareness, and worst of all allowing your competition the spot light.

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Keyword Density

White hat: Utilizing key terms sparingly and strategically in content, title tags and meta descriptions that help searchers and search engines better determine what your webpages are about.

Gray hat: Redundant use of the same relevant keywords throughout your title tags, meta descriptions and content or using keywords that aren’t necessarily relative to the page.

Black hat: Excessive use and/or stuffing of keywords into content, title tags and meta descriptions especially if the text is the same color as the background.

Link Building

White hat links: Building links naturally by providing great content that users want to link to or reaching out to affiliates and clients to link to your website using natural anchor text.

Gray hat links: Obtaining multiple links with the same anchor text.

Black hat links: Buying links, selling links or reciprocal link schemes.


White hat: Utilizing redirects to consolidate pages or redirect URLs of pages that no longer exist

Gray hat: Using meta redirects or JavaScript to redirect users can be a red flag. Just make sure to follow Google’s guidelines.

Black hat: Using redirects that show users one thing and search engines another aka: sneaky redirects

Anchor Text

White hat: Using keyword rich anchor text is fine if it is relevant to the link landing page, otherwise, natural anchor text both for internal and external linking (like content with embed codes) is best practice.

Gray hat: Using the same anchor text multiple times throughout your website or on articles with backlinks to your website, including embeddable content. Note: Rotate anchor text on content with back-links if it is receiving a significant number of shares.

Black hat: Saturating your website content with anchor text specific backlinks as well as distributing or placing this type of content on other websites.

New Pages

White hat: Creating new pages solely for the purpose that it will provide your users with more unique information about your company or offerings.

Gray hat: Creating quality but possibly unnecessary pages that use multiple keyword phrases in the content for ranking purposes.

Black hat: Duplicating pages for the sake of having a larger website or creating low-quality pages optimized for specific keywords aka: doorway pages


White hat: Creating unique, relevant and informative content with your users in mind.

Gray hat: Creating content that includes multiple keyword phrases and links with keyword specific anchor text.

Black hat: Duplicating or scraping content, creating content that is keyword stuffed or full of links, or creating content that is irrelevant to the page.

The search engines are getting smarter every day and continuously roll out algorithm updates that aim to stop manipulative, black hat tactics. Instead of taking short-cuts, adopt a holistic SEO approach by creating a user-friendly website that is optimized to help the search engines rather than manipulate them. Google penalty-free is the way to be – so make sure to stay on the white hat side of the spectrum, you’ll be glad you did! Contact us today if you have any questions or need help with your SEO approach.

Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth