How to Get Banned by Google

April 15 / Andrew Kopp / filed under SEO

seo google digital marketing

All that work to get to the front page of Google results and suddenly your site ranking has tanked. What gives? Whether you’re just starting out and trying to avoid angering the Google powers-that-be or wondering why your Google Ads account got a slap on the wrist, these setbacks can derail your campaign faster than you can say “sorry”.

Here’s what may have happened and what to avoid moving forward.

Sneaky, Slimy Redirects

You’ve created an awesome SEO-rich landing page and then you redirected them to a completely unrelated page you felt wasn’t getting enough love. Bad idea. Google’s onto you, and they don’t like your MO one bit. They have algorithms specifically designed to favor user-friendly content and site design; when you trick consumers into visiting a page they aren’t interested in, you’re making a lot of people angry and risking your ranking.

Posting Cheap, Regurgitated Content (or Stealing Content of Any Kind)

Original, authoritative content costs money for a reason. Some 61% of consumers say their buying decisions are influenced by custom content and smart content boast conversion rates six times higher than their non-content marketing competitors. But the key here is in the words “original” and “custom”.

Spinning preexisting content (a shady practice in which you switch around a few words and call it a rewrite) or copying and pasting blogs from another source isn’t just ethically shady, it’s a good way to get sued for copyright infringement and tossed in Google jail at the same time.

Keyword Stuff

Keywords are an incredibly valuable tool if you use them correctly. Here’s what not to do:

  • Stuff your website with high-ranking keywords that have nothing to do with your product, service, or topic
  • Repeat the same keyword over and over with hopes quantity will win out over quality (it won’t)—putting “high-heeled shoes for sale” in every other sentence is just a terrible tactic on every level
  • Keyword stuff on the sly by putting lists of KWs in white text on a white background, where no one but the robots will see (the robots are onto you, we promise)

Excessive Downtime

If your site host is less stable than a termite-infested building after an earthquake, you may have ranking problems. Google’s bots regularly crawl the internet, gleaning information used for rankings; if your site is frequently down during those crawls, Google assumes your site is unreliable and of lesser value to consumers than other more readily available sites.

Violating Google Ads Policy

Even if you’re on the up-and-up in terms of Google rankings, you could still torpedo your overall digital marketing strategy if you use your Google Ads account in direct opposition to Google’s policies. This includes:

  • Advertising prohibited content such as counterfeit goods or anything promoting racial discrimination
  • Irresponsible data collection and use of consumers’ personal details
  • Creating ads that misrepresent the services or products offered on the end site
  • Advertising certain kinds of restricted content including alcohol ads targeting minors and casino ads that don’t honor applicable gambling laws
  • Ads that are overly generic, gimmicky, or otherwise fail to meet Google’s editorial standards

One violation isn’t necessarily a big deal. Repeat violations almost certainly are.

Google is all about consumer-friendly experiences. Create your website and content for people, not robots, and it’s hard to go wrong. Stay away from scripts, agencies that promise impossible results on the cheap, and if a ranking strategy seems too good to be true… it probably is.