You guessed right! A website penalized by Google will continue to drop in ranking till it doesn’t show in search engine result pages (SERPs) anymore.
If your priority is to get your site on top positions of Google or find possible ways to avoid Google from penalizing your site, you’re in the right place. But before that, let me tell you what Google penalties are.
What are Google Penalties?
Whether you’re new to blogging or a webmaster, it’s crucial to get familiar with this term ‘Google penalty.’
Google, the #1 search engine, defines parameters and update its algorithms (such as panda, penguin, pigeon, and hummingbird) periodically to constantly improve the quality of their search feeds.
And every time this happens, some websites get favored while others suffer. This means that algorithm updates sometimes help some sites get better organic traffic while some other sites are just dropping in rankings.
There are two types:
Manual Penalty. This happens when someone from the Google webspam team reviews your website and finds it violating a number of reasons. Then, they decide to penalize the whole site or some pages of the site.
When this happens, Google gives you an update and tips to correct the issues.
Algorithm Penalty. Commonly, your site may be automatically penalized by Google if you’re using SEO practices that are against their webmaster requirements. Algorithm penalty results from the frequent changes to Google’s ranking algorithms.
How to find out if you were hit? Use Google Search Console (which we’ll discuss below)
How to tell if Your Website has Been Penalized by Google?
Here are two practices you can use to check if Google has penalized your website:
Login to Google Search Console
Google Search Console is the platform you can interact with Google to see any potential issues with your site. Whether a manual penalty or algorithm penalty, this medium will help you tackle the problem effectively.
All you need to do is create an account and login. Then, scroll down under Security & Manual Actions and select ‘Manual actions.’
If you see a “No issues detected” message, it means your site is clean. However, if there are any issues, follow the instructions carefully to solve them.
Check Your Google Analytics Data
The best way to check if Google has penalized your website is to check if you’re indexed.
Login to your Google Analytics and review your organic traffic if there’s a drop or not. If you notice a drop during the period Google updates their algorithm, then most likely you were affected.
From the dashboard, select your website and then click on ACQUISITION. From the dropdown, click All Traffic > Source/Medium.
The statistics from the report are the number of human visits from search engine result pages (SERPs) for the specific period you want to see.
Why Google Penalizes a Website?
There are several reasons Google may penalize your site. Some of them are:
Broken Links. Feedback from a broken link will read a 404 error. No one likes it – even Google hates it. Depending on the CMS you’re using for your site, you may install plugins to always check and tell you if there are any broken links. An example is a broken link checker plugin from WordPress.
Anchor Text Over-optimization. Over optimizing your anchor texts will result in keyword stuffing, which is just bad for your website.
Duplicate Content. If you’re just copying or repeating the content on your site, for instance, your blogs, that will amount to nothing. Instead, Google may eventually penalize your site. UNIQUE, top-quality content ranks your pages.
Other reasons may include:
Use of excessive ads
High bounce rate
Malware or suspicious code on your site
The first step to recovering from Google penalties if you’ve already been penalized is to diagnose the problems. The issues could be low quality or duplicate content, broken links, or anything else. Then, you may start resolving the issues one after the other.
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