April 25, 2023
THE GOOGLE PENALTY
Google is the largest search engine in the world, used by millions of people around the world to locate information, products, and services. Businesses of all magnitudes use it as a marketing strategy to reach new customers online. As its algorithm changes frequently, businesses must remain aware of these changes to avoid being red flagged by Google.
Google penalties are penalties imposed by Google when websites breach their Webmaster Guidelines. The guidelines are comprised of rules and best practices that owners and webmasters of websites must abide by to create high-quality and relevant websites for the browsing user.
Google uses complicated code and an algorithms to analyse websites to determine their rankings positions; any website violating its rules could incur Google penalties that result in the following:
Instant decreased rankings in search engines
Severe traffic loss
And even financial losses that exceed any gains realized from complying.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF PENALTIES
- ALGORITHMIC AND MANUAL -
Google's Webspam team regularly issues manual penalties after manually reviewing websites that have violated their guidelines, often having severe and lasting repercussions. Manual penalties can often be enforced due to the following reasons:
Google penalizes websites with numerous spam or low-quality backlinks intended to manipulate search engine rankings through "keyword stuffing." Repeating keywords aggressively throughout your website and with your link building campaign will get you Red Flagged and banned.
Cloaking refers to the practice of providing search engine crawlers with different content than what users see. Usually, website owners add white text to a white background which makes the text invisible to the user, but crawlable to search engines. This practice will get your site penalized.
Duplicate content is when a web designer copies information from another site on the internet to use as their own. This is a common mistake made by newbies. Always make sure the content on your website is unique. You can either write it yourself, or pay a professional writer to do it for you.
Google's algorithms automatically evaluate and rank websites. Algorithmic penalties tend to be less severe than their manual equivalents and could include:
Panda specifically targets sites with low-quality, thin or duplicate content as well as irrelevant content that frustrates users.
Penguin is a penalty designed to punish websites utilizing poor-quality links such as paid links, spammy links, and irrelevant links.
Hummingbird is intended to penalize websites that are poorly constructed, such as slow loading speeds, confusing navigation, or unresponsive designs.
Google penalties can have various impacts, depending on their severity and nature. While some websites may experience only a minor reduction in search engine ranking, others could even be completely removed from Google search engine altogether.
SIGNS YOUR WEBSITE HAS BEEN PENALIZED
An indication of Google penalization would be an unexpectedly steep drop in rankings for certain keywords or phrases that previously ranked highly. The rankings drop off Page 1 and land up on page 2 or 3 of search results, or further down.
Google penalties may cause a noticeable large decrease in search engine traffic. A dramatic fall-off in a short span of time could indicate a penalty.
If Google penalizes your website, they may send a notification about manual actions in your Google Search Console with details on what caused the violation and steps to take to rectify it. This notification provides all the information that may help.