Common Google Link Penalties SEOs Should Understand & Avoid

Building an impressive website is one thing. But getting it high up in the search engine result pages is an even bigger accomplishment, because search engine optimization could be the game changer for the growth of a brand online. This is why so many webmasters focus on improving site rankings. They employ various practices they think are effective to boost rankings but doesn’t bother to check if those practices are ethical or not.

One of the most common practices to boost rankings is through link building. Link building, if done right, ensures that the website receives good amount of traffic. For this reason, many web owners simply try to grab as much links as they can get from several different sources. Most of them eventually get penalized by Google because that isn’t how link building works.

Let’s take a look at those Google link building penalties that web owners should avoid.

Reciprocal linking penalty

A pretty common strategy that web owners follow for link building is reciprocal linking. As a matter of fact, many online marketing experts actually recommend this practice to web owners who aren’t SEO savvy just to prove that their SEO tactics work. The web owner simply needs to make a pact with a different website to swap links for mutual benefits. This value exchange does deliver results, but Google doesn’t like it. It’s best to completely avoid reciprocal linking when search engine optimizing a website.

Low equity link penalty

Organic link building requires a lot of patience and dedication. Earning good links is not easy. But Google is willing to reward the effort put into link building as long as it’s ethical. But people simply ignore this when desperate for links. They accept links from all sources, neglecting the quality.

The point is to get high equity links i.e. links from reputed sources – quality websites with good traffic. Such links testify that your website’s quality and content are so good that other reputed websites are willing to vouch for the fact. On the other hand, a link from a not-so-good source counts as a low-equity link. Low equity links are now penalized by Google.

Private blog network (PBN)

This is another common practice. The private blog network is a network of websites or blogs that are owned by a single web owner simply to link everything each other on this network. In effect, these private blogs work separately as a blog source with links to the owner’s original website thus potentially boosting that website’s search engine ranks.

Though it’s seems like a sound practice, PBNs are considered to a manipulative link building technique by Google. PBNs, if found out, can get penalized ultimately damaging a website’s online reputation and search engine visibility.

Unnatural outbound link penalty

This is for those websites that carelessly allow guest posting. If the website allows guests to post blogs, the web owner should carefully and manually review the blog content before publishing them on the website. The content would most likely have links that point back to the guests’ websites. This can negatively affect the publishing website’s search engine ranks.

It’s recommended not to allow ‘Nofollow’ links in user-generated content. The web owner should also make sure that the submitted guest posts don’t have links pointing to low-quality websites. There shouldn’t be a lot of outbound links either as it would make the publishing website look suspicious to Googlebots. If the links aren’t approved, Googlebots would eventually log the website as unsafe or ‘spammy’ which would subsequently result in a drop in search engine ranks.


Unethical link building can incur penalties like every other black-hat SEO tactic. Sticking to Google’s Guidelines is the way to go, which means link building would take some time to show satisfactory results. Rely on trusted SEO companies in Dubai that can educate web owners on effective link building strategies and the ways to avoid getting penalized by Google.

Always remember… Google will eventually find out bad practices and that would be the end of all SEO benefits that a website managed to garner unethically.