For better or worse, a company’s online visibility will have a large bearing on their long-term success and viability. Indeed, consumers will often use search engines like Google to check out a business before they decide to engage with it. And if interested parties can’t find your website, then they’ll be unlikely to reach out to you (or give you any money, as it were). What’s worse is that Google can “punish” websites for certain activities and push them to the very bottom of the search-result pile. Thankfully, businesses can avoid these hugely damaging penalties from Google and ensure that their site remains at (or near) the top of relevant search-engine results pages. Just make sure to follow these three tips:

Avoid Shady Backlinks

Websites link to other websites all the time. These links are called backlinks. And they can be extremely beneficial for growing businesses. When another website references your work and links back to it, Google takes notice of it and rewards your site accordingly. The more this occurs, the more visibility your site will receive. There’s just one problem. Google is very good at discriminating between quality backlinks, which occur organically, and shady backlinks that are spammy or have been purchased. As tempting as it may be to try and “game the system” with shady backlinks, avoid this practice.

Don’t Plagiarize

There seems to be some confusion about what constitutes plagiarism these days. Yet, it’s actually very simple. Plagiarism occurs when one website reposts another website’s content without permission. Simple enough. If Google notices that your website copy comes mostly from other sites, it won’t hesitate to dock your visibility. Note, just because another website has covered the subject you want to write about, it doesn’t mean you can’t write your own blog or web page. It’s entirely possible to write unique articles that put your own spin on old topics. Just don’t copy/paste the work of others. Instead, conduct an in-depth market research process and create original content that will resonate with your readers.

Tell it Like it Is

Some websites try to “trick” search engines by manipulating their content in odd ways. This could include keyword stuffing –– writing the same phrase or phrases over and over again –– or it might involve writing a blog that has nothing to do with its title. In the past, search engine algorithms struggled with these types of pages, and some sites received boosts as a result. Now though, Google uses a much more sophisticated process –– so don’t bother with this practice anymore. You’ll get slapped with a penalty if you try.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to expand your business, then make sure to keep these tips handy. They’ll help you avoid any major SEO setbacks and develop a strong digital presence.