How to Avoid Google Penalties – 10 On-Site SEO Tips

Nick Arthur

How to Avoid Google Penalties – 10 On-Site SEO Tips

When it comes to SEO, most information focuses on backlinking and off-site optimisation. A large part of SEO services does centre on factors that take place away from your own site, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore on-site SEO. Now, more than ever before, on-site optimisation can define where you appear in the search rankings, with Google penalising thin sites, poor content, and over-optimisation. The following tips should ensure you give yourself the best chance of securing prime positions for a number of keywords.

Quality Content

Gone are the days where you could secure a long-term search position from automated, spun content. Factors like bounce rate and social sharing play a part in your optimisation efforts, so ensure you create content that people want to read and share. While most blogs will focus on written articles, you can also include videos and image galleries to appeal to a wider audience.


The title of your page is still a major factor for the search engines. Google have improved their ability to discern the theme of a page based on a number of factors, but the title is still a key element. Your title should ideally include a relevant keyword, accurately describe the content, and provide intrigue to encourage people to read further. The page title is also element that is shown in blue underlined text on the Google search result pages – so it needs to stand out.

Page Focus or Topic Theme

A well-structured site should be focused and clear. Before you create an article, consider what the overall focus of the page will be. You should have a number of keywords to target, so one of these keywords can become the theme of the article. You can also include supplementary and related keywords to the post, but avoid excessive usage to protect yourself from an over-optimisation penalty.

URL Structure

Your URL structure should be clear to the search engines and readers. Some large sites use unfriendly URLs that consistent of numbers, letters, or dates, but this doesn’t tell anyone what the page is about. Your URL can simply be the title of the page in most cases.

Improve Stickiness

A sticky site occurs when people visit multiple pages, creating a low bounce rate. To improve stickiness, suggest related articles at the end of each post. If the article is closely targeted, you stand a good chance of the reader staying on your site for longer periods of time. You can also improve stickiness by formatting your posts effectively, including bullet points, checklists, and paragraph breaks, so a reader is not faced with a wall of text.

Outbound Links

Within the content of your post, you should include outbound links to authority sites. While many site owners are reluctant to direct people to other sources, respected sites link out to relevant material for the benefit of their readers. A site with no outbound links will look suspicious to the search engines, so try to link to at least one authority site per article.

Meta Description

While meta descriptions might not be as important as they once were, you should still include a relevant description for each post. Your meta description will help to inform the search engines of the content theme, but they also show up when a person searches for a keyword. A quality description can therefore help your click-through rate considerably. There is evidence that click through rates are becoming an important ranking factor so engaging Meta Descriptions are very important.

Social Media Buttons

Social media will usually form part of your overall marketing plan, but it can also help with on-site optimisation. A high bounce rate can harm your search rankings, so the existence of social media buttons can provide social proof to visitors. Readers can see that your content has been liked or shared by a number of previous readers, increasing the likelihood of them giving their time to your article.

Visual Appeal

Analytics show that in most cases people trust professional, attractive sites. There are times when a homemade appearance can be beneficial, but people will usually spend more time on visually pleasing sites. Images, videos, infographics, and premium themes can all keep visitors on your site for longer. It is also vital that your site looks good on all mobile devices, with this now playing a part in the Google search algorithm.

Active Comment Section

An active comment section can help your on-site optimisation efforts, even though it requires additional maintenance. If your readers can add comments, the search engines will see a constantly updating site. These new comments will also add new keywords to your page as they will be closely related to the article topic.

On-site optimisation is a vital part of SEO, and it is also one of the easiest things to get right or wrong. Unlike backlinking, on-site work leaves you in full control. You don’t have to rely on other site owners, so you can be almost certain you are adhering to the whims of Google. By following these 10 on-site SEO tips, a major part of your search engine optimisation will be complete. That’s How to Avoid Google Penalties!

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