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What Is a Google Penalty and How do I recover?

Expert Tips For Google Penalty and How do I Recover?

 

Just like your parents used to punish you for doing a crappy job on the dishes, or your English teacher gave you a zero after reviewing your term paper and realizing you copied it off the Internet, Google also gives penalties to websites.

If you have noticed a decline in your organic search engine traffic you may have received a Google penalty.

What is a Google Penalty?

A Google penalty in essence is a punishment given to a website containing content that does not align with Google’s marketing practices.

Types of Google Penalties

Routine algorithm updates intended to reward high-quality websites that have good content and legitimate SEO practices are commonly confused as Google penalties.

Although algorithm penalties do occur, a routine algorithm update can easily be mistaken for a Google penalty because algorithms rely heavily on calculations and rules to deliver the desired outcome – not allowing for much gray area.

Manual penalties – often easier to identify because they frequently come accompanied by messages from Google to your webmaster account happened typically after Google has flagged something, usually content or a backlink, and Google decides to manually apply a penalty to your website’s rankings.

Common Issues Websites Receive Penalties For

Suspicious links – because Google uses backlinks as a way of tracking quality control for websites that will penalize you if they believe the link on your site was paid for or is believed to be a part of a link scheme.

One example of this would be low-quality, hidden, or keyword-rich links embedded in a site’s widgets.

Because backlinks are so specific, penalties for these are often limited to specific pages rather than an entire website.

Low-quality content – obviously Google wants to provide their users with the best information and experience possible. If your content does not add value, is run-of-the-mill, or believed to be a duplicate from another site you can expect a penalty.

To help avoid the trap of crappy content being on your website, invest time in thinking about what makes you unique and sets you apart from your competitors.

Ask yourself: what is my unique selling proposition?

Try to avoid content that is easily or automatically generated, and if your site allows for guest posts, carefully review their content because if it doesn’t add value you probably don’t need it.

This type of penalty is severely detrimental to your website traffic. This is usually a manual action accompanied by a message from Google indicating “thin content.”

Recovering from a Google Penalty

Just as with many other issues in life you can’t resolve an issue until you completely identify and understand what the issue is. This same logic applies to Google penalties. Before you can begin to recover from a Google penalty you have to understand what type of penalty you’re dealing with.

As mentioned earlier, you need to distinguish whether you’re dealing with a manual penalty one triggered by an algorithm, or is there even a penalty action present?

For instance, if you noticed a recent decline in your website traffic, you need to do some digging to figure out the cause of your traffic decline. Because for each cause of a penalty there are different resolution processes.

Identifying Manual Penalties

To check if you have been hit by manual action, you need to go to Google Webmaster Tools and check your notifications. If Google has taken manual action against your site, you’ll be notified about it clearly in your notifications and oftentimes they will give you the reasoning behind the action.

Identifying Algorithmic Penalties

While identifying manual penalties is a pretty easy and straightforward process the same cannot be said for penalties caused by algorithms.

Because algorithm related penalties don’t come with a notification from Google you will have to do a lot of your own research to isolate the issue if you suspect you have been hit with a penalty.

Take a look at the entire span of time for which your website has declined in traffic. Make a note of it and see if Google announced any algorithm updates that correspond with the timeframe you’ve isolated.

Be mindful that each update comes with its own set of changes so you will need to know how each update is different so that you don’t waste time looking for things that may or may not have been affected.

Is your Website Optimized Properly?

Not every decline in website traffic can or should be attributed to a Google penalty

If you notice a decline in your website traffic and have done some digging but still can’t figure out what’s going on, it could be because your digital marketing strategies are no longer effective and need an overhaul.

Whether you have been hit by a manual penalty from Google or one triggered by a routine algorithm update all hope is not lost.

Agency Partner and our team of digital marketing experts can get your website back up and running again – better than ever.

Drop us a line and let’s figure out the best course of action for you today!

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