How To Avoid Or Fix Google Penalties
But if your website has been penalized or you want to ensure that your website will remain safe from Google Penalties, then this guide is for you! We'll discuss a few useful tips to avoid and fix any Google penalty. But let's first take a closer look at the concept.
2. Types of Google penalties
2.1 Manual Action penalty
2.2 Algorithmic penalty
2.3 Different levels of Google penalty
3. How to know if you've been hit?
4. How to recover from any Google penalty?
4.1 Steps to fix manual actions penalty
4.2 Steps to fix algorithmic penalties
5. How to avoid Google penalties
What is a Google penalty?
If a website doesn't follow webmasters' best practices then Google negatively hits that website and drops its rankings due to the unusual activities.
A website's rankings drop suddenly when Google hits a penalty to the website. Sometimes Google deindexes a website and stops to list in Google results too.
Types of Google penalties
Manual Action penalty
Here are a few manipulative practices that attract manual action penalties:
- thin content providing little to no value
- user-generated spam
- cloaking/sneaky redirects
- security issues
- hacked websites.
Likewise, Google rolled out the Hummingbird update in 2013 to deliver an improved user experience by prioritizing search intent. Consequently, websites that didn't satisfy the search intent behind a keyword witnessed a drop in their rankings and traffic. In addition to major updates, Google regularly rolls out minor changes to improve its search algorithm. That's why you must watch out for algorithmic penalties.
Moreover, such penalties are often more challenging to diagnose and fix. This is because Google doesn't send any notifications or guidelines. It's up to you to find out whether an update was recently released and learn more about it. Additionally, you need to find out the underlying problem that has triggered the penalty.
Different levels of Google penalty
How to know if you've been hit?
Here are some sure-shot situations to know that your website has been penalized:
- Your brand is unable to rank on your brand name
- Your top ranking keywords dropped their positions and slipped to the lower pages of SERP or have been lost
- The whole website has been deindexed from Google. You are getting no results while using the site: search operator.
Note: Make sure that you haven't made any changes to your website recently. Sometimes these kinds of activities impact website rankings instead of Google Penalty:
- Website migration
- Changing website theme
- Updating website content
- Changing web hosting
You should also check whether a competitor has recently outranked your website for specific keywords. Run a quick Google search for one of your target keywords and check the search result listings. If a competitor's website has suddenly risen to the top, it's likely stealing your traffic.
If you've ruled out the above factors, run a Google search for your brand name. Alternatively, you can run a Google search using the site operator site: (site:yourdomain.com). If your website doesn't show up in these results, it's time to get alarmed.
Next, head to the "Security and Manual Actions" section of your Google Search Console dashboard and click on the "Manual Actions" tab.
If your website has been hit by a manual penalty, you'll see a notification here. Otherwise, it displays a green tick with the message "No issues detected".
Once you confirm that then you have to figure out the reason for the traffic drop so you can fix the issues and recover your website traffic.
How to recover from any Google penalty
Steps to fix Manual Actions penalty:
Open your Google Search Console account and click on the "Manual Actions" tab under the "Security and Manual Actions" section in the left sidebar.
For instance, if it's due to thin content, you can remove the respective pages or improve the content. Likewise, if it's due to suspicious backlinks, you can disavow those links. Google also provides you with links to guidelines that can help you fix more complicated issues.
Next, head to your Google Search Console account and submit a "Reconsideration Request" to Google. Make sure you include extensive details of all the steps you've taken to resolve the issue. Google authorities might ask for more information and documentation before approving your request. Even if denied the first time, you can resubmit your request again after solving all the issues. Google can take a few weeks to months to review your request, so keep patience.
Note: Submit Reconsideration Request only when you are sure that you have solved all the issues.
Steps to fix Algorithmic penalties
To confirm that you should search those dropped keywords on Google and find your site. If you don't find your website on its real position then you should check all pages of SERP until you don't find your site or till reach the last list of SERP pages.
Next, check useful SEO resources on the internet to find out whether Google rolled out an algorithm update during that period. If there's been an algorithm change, you should read more about it to identify the issue. Understand how the update works and how it may have affected your website's ranking.
Google algorithms are just a set of rules that work to provide the desired outcome. So they don't hit any site specifically. That's why algorithm penalties are not penalties actually. But an algorithmic penalty can impact your website in many ways directly or indirectly. For example, an algorithm update can reward your competitors, maybe that's why you have lost your rankings. So in this case, your website has no issues but competitors are the best option to rank there.
Because for most webmasters it is almost impossible to analyze an algorithmic update properly, especially Google Broad Core Updates. Even most of the SEO gurus don't know how to do that. Just finding similarities between top rewarded sites is not enough. There is a lot more!
But it doesn't mean that you can't fix it!
Mostly, algorithm updates will impact your website if there are issues on your site. It can be related to the content, links, UI-UX, technical, or any other. To figure out things properly you should perform a professional SEO Audit. It is the easiest and fastest method to recover from an Algorithm penalty.
An SEO audit will help you figure out all the issues that your website has. And once you figure out all the issues, you need to solve them one by one. And keep a record of everything.
Then wait to see what happens next. Whenever Google reevaluates data then you will get a boost again if you have solved all the issues.
But precautions are better than cure!
So, you should always try to keep your website safe from Google Penalties.
If you received Google penalty, carrying out an audit is the right idea. An SEO auditing allows you to find and fix errors, and get back to normal.
You can use Serpstat Site Audit to see technical issues of the site; just create a project, start the audit and when it is over, click on any indicator in the overview report or go to the reports from the left sidebar. Serpstat Audit finds specific issues on the site and shares recommendations on fixing them.
How to avoid Google Penalties
Prioritize high-quality content
Moreover, when you publish useful content, other websites and bloggers will likely use it as a reference in their content. This, in turn, helps you earn genuine and high-quality backlinks. It won't be wrong to say that great content is the lifeblood of your website and SEO strategy. This is also a great way to minimize the devastating consequence of algorithm updates.
Moreover, your content must be well-structured and free of any plagiarism as well as grammatical and spelling errors. Additionally, your content should fulfill the reader's search intent, address their pain points, and resolve their queries. It's also recommended that you create evergreen content that remains relevant years after it was first published.
But if you still are not sure what high-quality content is then here are some important questions to ask yourself. If your answer for all is yes, then without any doubt, you are publishing high-quality content.
Avoid keyword stuffing
You can add keywords in the title tag, meta description, image alt tags, and subheadings. Additionally, you should include the target keyword and its variations a few times in the main content where they need and fit naturally. Make sure you don't add keywords in your content forcefully. The key is to create meaningful and valuable content for real-life human users.
Monitor your backlinks
If your website has lots of unnatural backlinks from low-authority websites, it'll likely face a manual penalty. Therefore, you should ensure that all your backlinks are from credible, reputed, and high-authority websites. Additionally, these websites should be relevant to your niche.
You can check and monitor your Backlink profile by using Google Search Console and tools like Serpstat. Take a look at each linking website and check out its domain authority (DA) score. Moreover, you should analyze its content and determine whether it's related and/or relevant to your niche.
If there are any backlinks from irrelevant, suspicious, or low-quality websites, you should disavow them. You can use Google's Disavow Links tool for this purpose. It informs Google's crawlers to ignore specific backlinks while evaluating your website. You can also contact the owners/admins of the respective websites and ask them to remove the backlinks.
But if you want to get powerful links for your site then you should hire a professional SEO linkbuilding company that can help you get links. But buying links from platforms like Fiverr, Facebook Groups, etc. can harm your site.
Don't over-optimize your anchor text
Also, ensure that your users are getting a rich experience on your website. And for that:
- improve the page loading time
- provide easier navigation structure
- use high-quality images
- be mobile-friendly
- regularly post fresh and updated content
- have a user-friendly website design.
Be careful about guest posting
Recently Google said that guest posting for the purpose of link building is not a good option. It can harm your website.
But guest posting is not a bad option if you know the real purpose of it. If you know this then guest posting is like a blessing for you. Don't write for any random publication. Only write for top publications so that they can boost your credibility and help you to grow your business.
Premium web hosting
That's why you should choose the best web hosting for your website.
Good web hosting keeps your website safe from hackers and spammers. Also, it helps your website load fast and rank higher on Google.
Have you ever recovered from a Google penalty? Share your experience in the comments section below.
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