Google hates illegal SEO tactics. And rightly so. After all, why one website that doesn’t deliver much value must surpass other websites delivering value?
Certain times, a website deserves to be penalized, while sometimes the website owner doesn’t know the reasons for his website getting penalized. Yet, if it is penalized, you might have done something wrong intentionally or unintentionally.
How do you define a Google Penalty?
Firstly, let’s get it clear on what is a Google Penalty? If you are a Digital Marketer, those confusing Google Algorithm updates might not be a new thing to you. Understanding those algorithm updates make us scratch our head at least for a couple of days.
So, when you intentionally or unintentionally don’t satisfy this complex algorithm, Google tends to think that your website isn’t adding any value to the users.
Thus, it decides to either bring down your site, or take away the site completely from search engine results, or anything else that degrades your online presence, depending on the crime you do. This is termed a Google Penalty.
In most cases, Google prefers to pull down your website rankings. But, there have been numerous cases where Google has taken away the website entirely from the search engine results. Scared? This is why you should never follow any black-hat SEO tactic. It disappoints Google.
Recognizing a Google Penalty
Now, when you know what does a Google Penalty mean, and how can it impact your website, let’s see how do you recognize Google Penalty?
- Your website has been pulled down in the search engine results. This is the biggest sign that Google has penalized your website. Any degradation in the website ranking, and you need to analyze your SEO strategy again.
- You are in trouble if the Domain Authority of the website has fallen down. This is another major sign that Google is disappointed by your website in one or another way.
- If your website isn’t displayed on the search engine results anymore is also a sign of Google penalty. This is rare, but if the policy violation is extreme, it might be your penalty.
- If you are slipping down every day by one or two positions with each passing day without doing anything.
Reasons that Google can Penalize your Website
Now, when you are clear with some of the primary ways by which you can recognize that you have been penalized, let’s have a sneak into why can Google penalize your website? We list some of the top reasons below. Check them out.
1. Plagiarised Content: This is one of the most common reasons for Google being disappointed with your website. If any piece of content is plagiarised on your website, it makes Google think that your website is a bit less relevant.
Thus, always check your content in a reliable plagiarism checker tool and verify that your piece is entirely unique. Remember, Google thinks your content is relevant only when it is unique.
2. If you stuff keywords: Keyword density is one of the most confusing aspects of SEO. There are various theories about keyword density.
The keywords in your content by no means must not be more than 1.5-2% of the total word count of your content.
Also, the use of keywords must sound natural. Like, you can’t just randomly add keywords in your content as it might sound unnatural, and Google will consider it spam.
3. If you buy links: Buying links is a serious crime for Google. Buying a link clearly means following a black-hat SEO tactic. And Google isn’t an admirer of any black-hat SEO tactic.
A simple way to avoid a penalty due to this offence? Don’t buy links at all. Always follow white-hat SEO tactics and grow your website organically.
4. Slow website: Google hates making its users wait. It wants to give the users the best experience. The latest page experience update clearly suggests so.
Thus, if your website’s loading speed is less and makes the visitors wait endlessly, it might invite a penalty from Google.
You are highly advised to keep on checking the website’s speed at frequent intervals. If you find that the speed is not up to the mark, take the required actions on an immediate basis.
5. If you publish spun content: There are various spun content tools that are available online. Numerous website owners find it easy to use this tool as they can write an article once and get it published in several blogs at once. After all, as the content is spun, no plagiarism issues would arise, right?
This tactic worked well before a few years, but now Google has got much smarter. Whenever it detects those weird sentences in your blog, it thinks that your content is scrap and penalizes it.
After all, a tool can never do a job that a professional can do. The temptation of getting more content published in less time using the tool might cost you some serious degradation in the website rankings.
6. If your website isn’t optimized correctly: If your website isn’t optimized correctly, it might not function well on mobile devices. And if this is the case with your website, it might invite penalties from Google.
A website needs to be compatible with every class of devices; PC, smartphone, and tablet. If it isn’t compatible with any of them, it might invite penalties for Google.
Efficient optimization of the website won’t only make Google like your website, but also ensures that visitors on your website enjoy spending their time on the same.
7. If your comment section is full of spam: Of course, it’s not your mistake someone spams in your comment section. But, it’s your mistake if you don’t take any action to remove it.
Remember, moderating comments is your part to do. If you feel that the comment is spam, or a person will insert a link later on, don’t approve it. If you are too busy to moderate each comment, simply turn off your comment section.
8. If your website incorporates hidden links: Google abhors hidden links on a website. And, that’s understandable. Anything hidden is a sign of something suspicious.
However, hidden links aren’t always intentional. If the link colour is the same as the background colour of the website, Google often considers it as a hidden link and penalizes the website.
9. Overusing H1 tags invites penalty: The purpose of the H1 tag is to make Google understand what your page is about.
But if you use it in excess, Google might consider it keyword spam and impart penalty on your website. Thus, don’t use H1 tags in excess in your blogs.
10. If you overuse meta keywords: Meta keywords have been making people scratch their heads for a while now. Numerous website owners overuse them and regret them later on.
Overusing meta keywords is a serious error, and Google is quick enough to recognize it and penalize the website. We highly advise you to use meta keywords not more than five times on your website.
11. If the website incorporates broken external links: If you don’t stay updated with the external links you have used in your website, the website rankings might be in the trouble.
If the external website links you used in the website are no more working, Google might think that your website redirects visitors to the sources that are broken, and might penalize you for it.
Thus, keep on checking the external links you have used on your website to ensure that you are redirecting your visitors to active sources.
12. Over-optimizing a website might make it suffer: It’s obvious that you want your website to look better than everyone else. It might often make the website-owners over-optimize their website and make Google dislike it.
Over-optimizing often means incorporating things not required on the website and thus confuse Google. Remember, if Google gets confused, your website rankings might derail.
13. No use of external links: Google loves the website that is happy to redirect visitors to external websites in order to let the visitors get some value.
But, if you don’t use any external link on your website, the search engine tends to think as an unnatural way of building traffic. It might make Google feel disappointed and penalize you for not sharing knowledge efficiently.
14. Too many reciprocal links: Firstly, what does a reciprocal link mean? When two websites link give links to each other as they incorporate similar content, it is termed reciprocal link.
Using reciprocal links is all good until you overdo it. Too many reciprocal links make Google ponder over the strategies both websites are following.
Also, it makes Google think that both websites are trying to manipulate algorithms. In this case, it won’t hesitate even for a moment before penalizing you.
15. If you use duplicate metadata: If more than two meta descriptions on your website are identical, it is termed duplicate metadata.
Duplicate metadata falls under the category of duplicate content on a website. Thus, ensure that metadata on your website is not duplicate.
Thus, if your website rankings are derailed, and if you feel that your website is penalized, one or more reasons explained above might be the reason.
Ensuring that you take care of the above things in your mind will avoid inviting a Google penalty to a considerable extent.
However, if you are looking for a website design company that ensures your website doesn’t get penalized, Pat’s Marketing might be your answer.
We will ensure that we use white-hat SEO at every step and ensure that your website never disappoints Google. That’s why we have been a prominent Toronto SEO Agency for a while now. Connect with us now by calling us at 888-488-7287 (toll-free).