SEO Violations – How to Protect Yourself

A lot of companies, particularly small businesses on a low budget, will build their own websites and social media presence. However, they don’t really know what they are doing in terms of being found, and the result of this is that they may do things wrong. Unfortunately, the search engines are quite unforgiving about mistakes, and will class them as violations and put appropriate penalties in place. In fact, many search engine optimization (SEO) companies are first contacted because of violations and penalties. So what are the things not to do when it comes to SEO?

Shallow or Thin Content

In February 2011, Google released Panda following complaints about search results not being relevant. What Panda does is find sites that have shallow or thin content, meaning it has no substance. If those sites are found, they get penalized for not delivering information that people are looking for. With every update Google releases, this is getting more tough.


Cloaking is best described as sophisticated hiding. Essentially, it means showing a search engine one thing, and a human something else. This is the worst offense, and one that Google once even banned itself for! Cloaking almost always leads to a full ban.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the oldest technique in the book and it continues to be used today, despite heavy penalties. Essentially, it means that you use a keyword too many times for the amount of text you have. The penalties vary, depending on just how often you used the keyword.

Hidden Text

Hidden texts are often used by those who also keyword stuff. It basically means that they try to get the best of both worlds: lots of keywords to attract attention, but cloaking them so that they don’t become visible to people. Again, this incurs very heavy penalties.

DMCA or Piracy Takedowns

Pirate was another Google update, and this focused specifically on sites that infringe copyright laws. This came after thousands of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown request. This is an uncommon occurrence, but it can happen and you need to avoid it.

Top Heavy or Ads Layout

Sometimes, websites have so many ads on them that it seems impossible to find the actual content. Google has addressed this with their Page Layout algorithm, effectively stopping people from attracting traffic to and from their website through ads, without actually giving anything back for it.

Paid Links

Buying links is a big no-no. Did you know that Google Japan was banned for 11 months by Google for buying links? JC Penney was only banned for three months, as did various other companies, who also had their reputations destroyed in the newspapers. Essentially, pay for links and you will be penalized, named, and shamed.

These are just some of the things that you could do, perhaps even accidentally, that can have disastrous consequences. It is best, therefore, to always work with a professional SEO company, so that you can avoid this from happening in the first place, and still make sure that your website gets found – the right way.