There are many different ways to gain more traffic, e.g. white-hat SEO techniques and black-hat SEO techniques. As Google only accepts organic approaches, the latter will sound the alarm and caused the website to be penalized, i.e. completely removed from the Google index. As you can see, it is a serious matter when Google penalizes websites. If the ranking of your targeted keywords drops dramatically, you will become invisible to your target audience, which means loss of revenue.
Google penalties can happen to any website. It may even be the result of honest and well-intended efforts to one’s site’s ranking. Let’s find out more about the common causes of Google penalties:
Common Reasons Why Google Penalizes Websites
Here is a quick look at the major causes of Google penalties:
- A website is not mobile-responsive and takes a long time to load.
- Content was republished from other sources without permission.
- Lack of legitimate security certificate, e.g. HTTPS.
- Content contains backlinks from low-quality pages, e.g. gambling or adult websites.
- There was an attempt to increase page authority via poor link-building practices
- Content created for global visitors was not localized.
- Content was too short and featured many grammatical errors.
- Publishing keyword-stuff content.
- Most content contained pop-out ads.
How to Know if Google Has Penalized Your Website
If you suspect that your website has been penalized by Google, you should take the necessary steps to confirm if your site has been completely de-indexed from the search engine and check the search rankings for certain keywords. If there is a slight drop in rankings, it indicates a minor penalty. A major drop in search rankings, on the other hand, indicates a more serious problem.
Types of Google Penalties
Google uses two types of penalties, including:
- Algorithmic penalties
These penalties are applied purely by Google’s algorithm. There is no manual or human intervention. The algorithm works in real-time to scan and weed out links that it does not trust. That’s why it works faster than humans.
- Manual penalties
Google has a spam check team (comprised of real people) that reviews websites and penalizes them if malicious tactics and links are found. These penalties can also be caused by reports from competitors and other users.
A popular Google algorithm is called Penguin. It was implemented to detect keyword stuffing, irrelevant content, spam, and scheming.
How to Stay on Santa Google’s Nice List
- Write for your readers: You should not only focus on writing for search engine bots but your readers as well. Your content must be relevant and readable, i.e. no bad links or overuse of keywords. It is imperative that all of your articles provide value to your target audience. This way, you can build relationships as well as increase web traffic and content sharing.
- Remove duplicated content: Each time you write an article, it must be unique. Google penalizes sites for duplicate content. So, refrain from copying and pasting. If posting similar-looking content becomes a necessity, consider using 301 redirects to point out to the original page.
- Increase website loading speeds: No one likes slow-loading websites and that includes Google. If your website was developed via WordPress, you can increase your website loading speed by using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
- Fix broken links: You should check for broken links on your website regularly. If you don’t, Google will think that you do not care about user experience. This affects your search engine rankings. Be sure to fix those 404s quickly!
- Create a mobile version of your website: Due to the mobile first indexing movement, Google will be indexing websites based on their mobile versions. Your site’s ranking will drop if it does not load properly on mobile devices.