Google takes its ranking system seriously, regularly changing it to give consumers the greatest search experiences possible.
This includes penalizing pages or sites that do not follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
A Google penalty can be incurred intentionally through black hat SEO,
Accidentally through poor site upkeep, or simply as a result of an algorithm update.
Google penalties, in any case, have a detrimental impact on your search rankings,
and in some situations, your pages or entire website may be removed from results.
So, in this post, we’ll go through what NOT to do (and what to do instead) to avoid a Google penalty and save your site from suffering a traffic decline. We’ll go over:
• Manual vs. algorithmic What to expect from Google penalties.
• How to detect and repair a manual Google penalty.
• Seven of the most common Google penalties and how to prevent them
By the end, you’ll be able to maintain your ranks and continue to develop your website traffic.
What is a Google penalty?
When Google discovers that a website violates its Webmaster Guidelines, it imposes a penalty.
There are two forms of penalties, but both result in a decrease in ranking and traffic.
Google updates its algorithm every year to continue giving the best results to its searchers.
Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, and Hummingbird are some of the most notable Google upgrades.
Some algorithm updates, such as Panda (keyword stuffing, grammatical errors, and low-quality content)
and Penguin (black hat linking tactics), is intended to lower the rank of guideline-violating pages, whereas others,
such as Pigeon (solid local signals) and Hummingbird (newly prioritized ranking factors),
are intended to favor pages with newly prioritized ranking factors (mobile responsiveness).
In that vein, are you aware of the page experience and mobile-first indexing updates?
A website’s score may drop after an algorithm upgrade,
either because it broke guidelines or because other sites are better aligned with specific ranking parameters.
Here’s an example of traffic data from a site following the BERT update.
How to fix an algorithmic Google penalty
You can’t check for algorithmic penalties because they aren’t expressly specified anywhere.
The best thing you can do is determine if your traffic decline coincides with the release of an algorithm change,
and then learn everything you can about it so you can identify any modifications.
You need to make coming forward or any fixes you need to make to existing material.
Depending on the upgrade and the degree to which your website was out of sync with it,
your repairs may or may not result in a restoration of ranking and traffic.
While algorithmic improvements occur regularly, they all serve to reward sites for EAT and good technical performance,
thus they should be your primary emphasis.
Manual penalties imposed by Google personnel for pages that have possibly unintentional flaws such as content quality and security,
or for actively manipulating Google’s algorithm using black hat SEO.
Manual penalties, as opposed to algorithm penalties, are simple to discover and correct.
How to fix a manual Google penalty
There are various Google penalty checker tools accessible, but Google Search Console is also an option.
In your dashboard, navigate to the Security & Manual Actions tab and select Manual Actions.
There, you can discover which policy you violated, which pages were affected, and how to repair it.
You can submit it for review once it has got rectified.
Employees at Google will review the request and, if it is correctly corrected, approve it and re-index your page.
What are the consequences of a Google penalty?
Any penalty results in a decrease in rank, however, the degree of the drop varies depending on the sort of penalty issued.
• Penalties at the keyword level: Your ranking will decline for a certain term.
• Penalties at the URL or directory level: A certain URL’s ranking will suffer.
• Domain-wide or site-wide penalties: Your site’s ranking will decline for some URLs and keywords.
Delisting or de-indexing: This is Google’s most severe penalty, in which they remove your domain from the Google index.
As a result, none of the material on your website will be displayed on Google.
How long do Google penalties last?
Google sanctions are in effect until they are removed.
If a penalty remains unfixed for an extended length of time,
the alert will be removed from your Search Console, but the penalty’s repercussions will stay in force.
In other words, you’ve blown your chance to make things right with Google.
However, after the penalty is lifted, your site’s traffic and rankings may or may not recover.
Check out this page on Google penalty recovery timelines for more information.
The top reasons for Google penalties and how to prevent them
Every company aims to be on the first page of Google to improve traffic to their website and, as a result, gain more clients.
To accomplish this (through SEO), a lengthy amount of effort and patience is required.
This is why many people, particularly those who have recently established a blog or website, are tempted to take shortcuts to boost their ranking.
However, these strategies simply result in Google penalties.
The most common penalties are listed below, as well as what you may do to avoid and/or correct them.
1. Thin content and doorway pages
This occurs when website owners prioritize quantity above quality SEO material, believing that more content equals more visitors.
They may employ content generation software, produce short-form pieces, or scrape content from other sources.
Not only are these bad SEO methods detectable by Google, but low-quality material also reflects negatively on your company.
The Panda 4.0 algorithm upgrade in 2016 was designed to lower the exposure of low-quality material and gateway sites in search results.
How to prevent the thin content penalty:
• Don’t completely outsource or try to mass-produce your material. Mass-produced material is never of high quality, and outsourcing can result in off-brand and incoherent content.
• If you need assistance growing your quality content, contact freelancers with whom you can collaborate closely and who specialize in your sector to create pages that add value to your readers.
• Conduct thorough keyword research to ensure that you target the correct keywords and that your content corresponds to the query’s intent.
• Instead of doorway pages, create pillar pages or cornerstone content.
• Combine short pages optimized for comparable keywords into a single long page with more information on a single topic.
2. Hidden text and links
Hide any material or links for the sake of SEO rather than user experience violates Google’s Webmaster Rules.
Text and links can be concealed in a variety of ways, including:
• Increasing the text size to 0
• Using white text or background connecting
• Putting text behind an image
• Using CSS to move text off-screen
• Using the same color as the backdrop for the links
How to prevent the hidden content penalty
To begin with, never do it on purpose.
If you have to hide something, it definitely shouldn’t be on your page in the first place.
If you did not do this on purpose,
Go to your Search Console’s URL inspection tab, type the affected pages into the search box, and then click “see crawled page.”
You can look for any hidden links or CSS there.
3. User-generated spam
If you host a forum, allow guest articles, or allow comments on your blog, you may be inundated with spam-bots or bad actors.
Spam links may lead to low-quality or inappropriate pages, undermining the T in EAT.
Alternatively, actual humans will leave a comment on your blog with one or more irrelevant links solely to obtain a back-link from your site to boost their domain authority.
How to prevent the user-generated spam penalty
Here are a few methods for preventing user-generated spam on your website and forum.
Tools for comment moderation
Disqus is used by us to filter, remove, and block spammy comments.
You can also approve comments before they are made public on your site.
If you can’t keep up with moderation, even with a plugin or tool, turn off commenting entirely.
Spammers swarm your comment section with automated scripts.
Integrate Google re-CAPTCHA into your website to prevent spam comments.
No-follow and UGC attributes
If a guest poster or commentator adds an appropriate link but one with which you do not want to be linked, you can tag it to make it a no-follow link.
This stops Google from following those links off your page and passing link juice from your site to the linked site.
No-index meta tag
If you allow users to write articles on your site, you can mark such pages with a no-index meta tag.
In this manner, the page will be accessible via your website but will not appear in search results or be factored into Google’s ranking system.
4. Unnatural or poor links to your site
Google’s Penguin algorithm upgrade in 2016 is intended to detect artificial link creation.
Back-link building is an extremely efficient SEO approach for increasing page authority—
but only if the links originate naturally from high-quality sources.
How to prevent the unnatural link penalty
Of course, adopt a link-building approach that does not include:
• Purchasing or selling links
• Exchanges of links (Link my website and I will link to you)
• Links to your forum profile and signature
• Links to blog comments
• Links to article directories
• Building an excessive number of links in a short time
• PBN hyperlinks
Perform regular back-link audits
Unintentionally, you may also receive spammy links to your website.
Analyze your backlink profile using Google Analytics, Search Console.
5. Keyword stuffing
On-page SEO, such as including keywords in the title, headings, body, meta description, and alt text, assists
Googlebot in determining the purpose of your website.
However, keyword stuffing on purpose is a black hat SEO strategy that will result in a Google penalty.
You’re probably aware of what keyword stuffing in the body looks like, but you can also be punished for keyword stuffing in the alt text.
6. Hacked website
If hackers obtain access to your website,
they can not only threaten confidentiality, but also inject dangerous code, add irrelevant material, or redirect your site to malicious or spammy domains.
Your site’s rating will plummet on all search queries, and Google may remove your entire website from search results as a result of this punishment.
How to prevent the hacked website penalty
There are various ways to improve the security of your website:
• Maintain the integrity of your content management system.
• Use strong passwords that you update regularly.
• Use an SSL certificate.
• Invest in good hosting.
• To detect hacks, use a malware scanner tool.
• Back up your website regularly.
To prevent brute force attacks, hide the login URL and limit the number of login attempts.
7. Abusing structured data mark-up
Structured data mark-up is a sort of coding that allows Google to present your site more beautifully in search results,
such as by displaying star ratings and the number of reviews.
However, if Google discovers that you are using structured data that is irrelevant to the content or users, you may be penalized manually.
How to prevent the structured data penalty
This is yet another penalty for black hat SEO. Here’s what you should do:
• Don’t use phony reviews to boost your CTR. Follow these recommended methods for obtaining genuine Google evaluations.
• Use structured data only when it makes sense for the information you’re marking up.
• Make certain that your mark-up material is visible to readers.
• Add no schema mark-up relating to unlawful activity, violence, or any other forbidden content.
Google penalties, whether algorithmic or human, harm your ranking and traffic.
You can apply remedies to remove the penalty, however, you may or may not recover your traffic and ranking.
That is why it is critical to do all possible to avoid them from happening in the first place.
You can contact Nummero Best Digital Marketing Agency in Bangalore.