Creating content and website design that is loved by the search engines is the key to digital marketing success but with continual tweaks and changes to search engine algorithms, it is not an easy strategy to master. You can spend time researching SEO principles and applying them to your website, only for Google to introduce a penalty for an aspect that you have implemented.

This could send the traffic volumes to your website plummeting and all of the work you have put into getting a higher ranking would no longer be of any value. This can seriously impact your business if you are relying on sales or leads through people searching for your company using search engines.

Bing recently introduced a penalty for what they describe as ‘inorganic site structure’, which for many non SEO experts is probably not very clear to decipher into layman terms. However, if you are not too familiar with the term, it is unlikely that you will have been applying the methods that come under this term.

What are Bing’s new penalties?

Penalties have been introduced for tactics such as using private blog networks and also for the leasing of subdomains. Previous to the change, websites could lease a subdomain so that the search engine considered internal links to be external links, therefore giving them greater authority. The penalties will prevent this advantage of leasing a subdomain or subfolder.

Private blog networks have been utilized to boost rankings by artificially splitting across many domains and cross-linking to each other, a tactic that will now also see penalties from Bing. The other area that has been penalised is the use of doorways, where people have set up numerous sites under different domain names with individual search query targets that then redirect to one destination.

How to avoid being penalised

Search engine companies are constantly investigating the ways that people try to manipulate their rankings, so pretty much any tactic that can be seen as what is referred to as Black Hat SEO risks being penalised at some point. In the past we have seen penalties introduced for tactics such as using duplicate content, automating content generation, irrelevant redirects, keyword stuffing, buying links, user generated content (spam) and unnatural link promotion.

In order to avoid receiving search engine penalties, the key strategy is to produce original, high-quality content that is being created for a justified purpose such as providing important information to help someone with a query they have. SEO professionals have been using keyword strategies as a way to drive traffic to websites but over-stuffing of keywords now gets penalised.

Link building is an important part of off-site SEO and the best way to avoid any penalties for link building is to find organic ways to get backlinks. What this means is creating the kind of content that is of such good quality that other websites want to use it as a link from theirs.

Guest posting is a powerful link building strategy but when using it, the important factor to consider is that the post is highly relevant to the site and the anchor texts are meaningful and natural. Forced anchor texts that look unnatural in the post will be penalised by the search engines.

Security of your site is also an aspect that the search engines will review, as if they deem your website to pose a risk to users, your website will be getting a penalty as a way of helping to protect the search engine users. Protecting your site from hackers should therefore be a top priority for SEO, as well as for the obvious reasons.

These are just a few of the ways that you can avoid being penalised by the search engines but new penalties are constantly introduced, so it is vital that you stay up to date with SEO updates and focus on creating high quality content.