Introduction to Google Penalties
Google, the most popular search engine, is constantly updating its algorithm to deliver the best user experience to its users. Algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin are aimed at filtering out websites with low-quality content, spammy links, and other bad SEO practices. Google penalties are a way that Google uses to punish websites for breaking their terms of service. When a website is penalized, it loses ranking, traffic, and visibility. Google penalties can be manual or algorithmic, and they come in different forms.
Types of Google Penalties
There are two types of Google penalties, manual and algorithmic.
Manual penalties occur when a human reviewer from Google detects a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Manual penalties can be issued for different reasons such as spammy links, thin content, cloaking, and keyword stuffing. Once you receive a manual penalty notification on your Google Search Console, it means your website has violated one or more of Google’s webmaster guidelines. Manual penalties require you to take corrective action and submit a reconsideration request to Google.
Algorithmic penalties happen when Google updates its algorithm to target and penalize websites with low-quality content, spammy links, or other bad SEO practices. Algorithmic penalties are automatic and they can affect a large number of websites at the same time.
How to Identify a Google Penalty
The first step in recovering from a Google penalty is identifying that you have been penalized. Here are some common signs that your website has been hit by a Google penalty:
If your website’s rankings have dropped significantly, it could be a sign that you have been hit by a penalty. Check your Google Analytics account to see if there was any unusual traffic drop.
Google Search Console Notifications
If you receive a notification in your Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) telling you that your website has violated Google’s webmaster guidelines, then you have been hit by a manual penalty.
Search Query Issues
If your website was ranking for particular terms a few weeks ago and is no longer ranking for them, it may be because of a penalty.
How to Recover from a Google Penalty
Recovering from a Google penalty takes some time and effort. Here is a step-by-step guide to recovering from a Google penalty:
Step 1: Identify the Penalty Reason
The first thing you need to do is to identify the reason for the penalty. Check your Google search console account to identify the issues that led to the penalty.
Step 2: Fix the Issues
The next step is to fix the issues. If you were hit by a manual penalty, fix the issues that led to the penalty, and submit a reconsideration request explaining the changes you have made to fix the issues. If you were hit by an algorithmic penalty, you need to fix the site-wide issues that led to the penalty.
Step 3: Document All Changes
Once you have fixed the issues, document all the changes you have made. Keep track of everything you’ve done so far, so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
Step 4: Disavow Spammy Links
If you were hit by a manual penalty caused by spammy links, use the Disavow Tool to remove those links. The Disavow Tool tells Google to ignore specific links pointing to your website.
Step 5: Keep Your Content Fresh and Quality
Create new content and update your existing content regularly. Focus on creating helpful and relevant content for your users.
Step 6: Practice Good SEO Techniques and Strategies
Use good SEO practices in your website by creating a good site structure with clean URLs, using title tags, description tags, and wisely using meta tags. Be mindful of the keywords you use in your content and keep the keyword density in check.
Recovering from a Google penalty is not easy, but not impossible either. By following these steps outlined above, you can take control and fix the issues that led to the penalty. Remember Google’s algorithm evolves frequently, so it’s essential to keep up to date with the latest trends and best practices to ensure you deliver excellent quality content to your users.