4 Common Ways To Accidentally Receive a Manual Penalty From Google

Christian Thomson

Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing.

Google is one of the most recognisable brands in the world. If you have a website you know the importance of ranking high in Google searches with millions of people seeking information 24/7. While it is great to be ranked number one, Google can just as easily give your site a manual penalty seeing you tumble down the rankings. Getting a penalty is not always your fault however, below are four SEO tasks Google may penalize you for despite your honest intentions.


Link-Leveraged Business Relationships

Working with businesses complementary to yours is generally considered smart in the brick and mortar world. It is online too, though a relationship that works for both parties offline, could see you receive a manual penalty online.

The reason for penalties from this strategy is because reciprocal linking can b considered shady and the links (usually placed in the footer) are seen as dodgy.

If a company you work with has lots of stores with individual websites all of which will be linking to you, this looks particularly dodgy as all the links are coming from a single source leaving your traffic looking skewed in a manipulated fashion.

Working with a business to create a link to your site is great, be sure to know exactly how they plan to link your site and turn it down if it will do more harm than good.

Affiliate Programs

If you have had success with affiliate links you love them, if not you dislike them. Ultimately they are in this grey area and dealing with them needs to be done on a case by case basis.

The common case of affiliate link failure is not getting the affiliates who are promoting your product inserting the correct link. It has been common for all of these un-authoritative sites to simply link to the homepage of the product which induces a penalty over time as it comes across as generic link building – a big no no with Googl.


Influencer Outreach

Influencers still have a strong say as to whether you are the real deal or not. First you need to pitch them to see if they are willing to take a look at your product or service.


If they are willing to, you know they are at least somewhat interested and the link to your site will be valuable (let’s assume they will love your product and leave a great review).

If you decide to reach out to influencers, be careful of those who you target. Mom blogs are widely popular and many have thousands of loyal fans of who check out their site regularly. While they may be popular, in this niche there plenty of sites following SEO tactics popular years ago. Often the article will be stuff with keywords or the site is jammed packed with ads.

Choose your influencers carefully. Those who have built up their audience over time are likely to be more successful than those who were a one hit wonder and have been riding the wave since.

Guest Blogging Niche

Guest blogging started to truly thrive in 2013 and with everyone looking to guest post anywhere and everywhere it was not long into 2014 before the team at Google started to penalize guest blogging.


The trick was they said guest blogging was still a great way to gain a link to your site. It then became a balancing situation as to know whether or not guest blogging was going to provide a good result for you or not.


Soon enough it became apparent, if you guest post on a site Google deemed as spammy with lots of black hat SEO tactics involved this would reflect negatively on your site.


Some niches such as gambling are inherently made up with spammy sites. If you do want to pursue guest blogging, do not write for every site ranking high in Google. Delve into the sites further to ensure they are legitimate sites with no spammy links pointing to them.



While these tactics can be used with no intention of being spammy look at the larger picture whenever you are working on your site for ‘SEO’ purposes. Google is getting better at ranking sites by popularity and authority. If you put in the hard yards by providing maximum value for your audience then you will not need to fear any penalties.



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