Search engines like Google and Bing are vital for website traffic and brand awareness. But failing to follow their terms and guidelines can result in penalties, causing significant harm to your website and business. These penalties can lead to decreased traffic, conversions, brand visibility, loss of potential clients, and restrictions on search engines. It can also damage your online reputation and credibility. To avoid penalties, it is crucial to understand the reasons behind them. While the exact cause of a penalty may be unknown, multiple factors can contribute to it. It is essential to act promptly to prevent the devastating impact of penalties on your website and business.
Here are several reasons that can lead to a Google penalty:
- Duplicate content – Google penalizes websites that have duplicate content, as it can negatively impact the user experience and make it difficult for the search engine to determine which page should be ranked higher.
- Keyword stuffing – Using too many keywords or repeating them excessively on a webpage in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings is considered keyword stuffing. This is a black hat SEO tactic that violates Google’s guidelines.
- Thin content – Pages with little to no valuable or relevant content can be seen as low-quality by Google and may result in a penalty. Websites should focus on providing high-quality, informative content to their users.
- Cloaking – Cloaking is the practice of showing different content to search engines than what is shown to users. This is a deceptive practice that violates Google’s guidelines and can result in a penalty.
- Link schemes – Building links through manipulative tactics, such as buying links or participating in link farms, is considered a link scheme and can lead to a Google penalty. Websites should focus on building high-quality, relevant links through natural means.
- Malware or hacked content – Websites with malware or hacked content can be harmful to users, and Google takes this seriously. Websites with malware or hacked content may be penalized to protect users from potential harm.
- User-generated spam – Websites that allow user-generated content, such as comments or forum posts, need to monitor and remove spammy or low-quality content. Failure to do so may result in a Google penalty.
- Keyword Stuffing – Never stuff pages with keywords. Employing too many keywords will undoubtedly reduce your visitor levels. Never let your keyword density go over 1.5%.
- Excessive Broken Links – Broken links will increase the number of 4xx errors, which will then not only have an impact on search engine results but also result in a penalty.
- Writing Content for Search Engines – Content should only be created with users and visitors in mind. The majority of individuals frequently produce content for search engines. Yet, it shouldn’t be the case.
- Content Without Semantics or User Intent -A landing page needs to fulfill the purpose of the material for the user. Ranking drops could happen from content that does not satisfy the intended purpose.
Now, read on to learn more about Google penalties and how to know if your website is penalized or not.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR SITE IS PENALIZED BY GOOGLE?
To easily detect manual penalties, you can simply check the “Manual actions” box in Google Search Console. If everything is fine, you’ll receive a statement confirming your website’s health. However, if you’ve been penalized in the past, you can review messages under the bell icon to see what issues were detected. SEOs often know the cause of manual penalties, which can be attributed to activities like paid links, keyword stuffing, and auto-generated content that are used to manipulate rankings.
To detect partial or algorithmic penalties, which may not be accompanied by notifications, you need to regularly monitor your website’s rankings. Follow these steps to set up regular tracking in Rank Tracker, requiring a Professional or Enterprise license:
Step 1: create a project by adding your site’s URL, add your target keywords to Rank Tracking, map the ranking URLs as landing pages, turn on Recording the SERP history, and track your major competitors’ rankings for your target keywords.
Step 2: Then, set an automatic task to check rankings regularly.
Rank tracking provides enough data to diagnose Google penalties. Look for a sharp drop in rankings for your target keywords, and compare them to those of your closest competitors.
Step 3: Additionally, examine the Fluctuation Graph under SERP details to see if there’s high volatility in search results, which could indicate a Google algorithm update. Unless it’s a major update, audit your site to identify potential technical issues that may be affecting its performance.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RECOVER FROM A GOOGLE PENALTY?
The process of recovering from a manual penalty varies depending on the specifics of each case, including the severity of the penalty and the necessary fixes. This recovery process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The penal notice displayed in the Console can provide an indication of the issues and how they violate Google’s Search Essentials (previously known as Webmaster Guidelines). However, it takes time for SEO specialists to conduct a thorough investigation of the issues. Once the issues have been identified, specialists can then submit a request for a review of the sanctions through the Search Console. However, it’s important to note that this review process also takes time, so it’s best to keep the request simple and effective. A successful request should precisely explain the issues, describe the steps taken to address them, and demonstrate the outcomes of these efforts.
After submitting a request for a review of the sanctions through the Search Console, the Console will display a message indicating the status of the review and whether the penalty has been lifted or not. Typically, Google either approves or rejects most review requests. However, sometimes the message may indicate that the request is still being processed, and the penalty remains in effect for any unresolved violations.
Algorithmic penalties are less straightforward since it can be challenging to determine when a specific penalty is being enforced. Conducting an audit of your site and content is necessary to identify the causes of the penalty. Additionally, Google updates often cause ranking issues, and if your rankings fail to recover shortly after an update, it may indicate the application of an algorithmic penalty for a particular issue on your website.
BELOW MENTIONED ARE 7 SIMPLE STEPS THAT CAN HELP YOU TO RECOVER THE PENALTY AS FOUND ON YOUR WEBSITE:
- Identify the penalty: The first step is to identify the type of penalty your website has received. This can be done by analyzing your website’s traffic, rankings, and search engine visibility. You can also check your website’s Google Search Console for any notifications regarding penalties.
- Diagnose the issue: Once you have identified the penalty, you need to diagnose the underlying issue. Common issues that can trigger a penalty include low-quality content, spammy backlinks, keyword stuffing, cloaking, and duplicate content.
- Fix the issue: Once you have identified the issue, you need to take steps to fix it. This could involve removing low-quality content, disavowing spammy backlinks, optimizing your website’s structure, or addressing any other issues that triggered the penalty.
- Request reconsideration: After you have fixed the issue, you can request reconsideration from the search engine that issued the penalty. This involves submitting a request explaining the steps you have taken to fix the issue and asking for the penalty to be lifted.
- Monitor your website: Once your penalty has been lifted, it is important to monitor your website’s performance and ensure that you are not engaging in any practices that could trigger another penalty in the future.
It is important to note that recovering from a penalty can be a time-consuming process, and there is no guarantee that your website’s rankings and traffic will fully recover. However, by taking the appropriate steps and following best practices, you can increase your chances of successfully recovering from a penalty.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for traffic acquisition and brand awareness, but noncompliance with the policies and guidelines of search engines like Google and Bing can result in a penalty. The penalties can lead to a significant drop in website traffic, lower conversions and sales, decreased brand visibility, and a loss of potential clients. The penalty can also harm the online reputation and credibility of the business. There are many reasons behind a penalty, such as buying or selling links, duplicate content, keyword stuffing, and anchor text abuse, to name a few. It’s essential to act before it’s too late and take appropriate measures to avoid penalties.