Google Penalties – Prevention and Recovery
Imagine that you are setting up a new website. You worked hard on it, and you want everyone to see it as fast as possible on Google. You might have limited on time, or you might just be ignorant of the SEO process. Either way, you hear that there is a guaranteeable way for your website to be at the top of Google search results within days. At first, everything turns out great! You are at the top of the search results for keywords you want and more people notice your site! Then, you wake up one morning to find that your site is gone. None of the results are panning out. Y What happened?
Google is a search engine site that exists primarily for the purposes of helping people find what they need when looking for something specific. It relies on a system of indexing that requires accuracy and ease of access for people who are searching for information. If a site is indexed properly, they get higher on the search result list. If a site uses tactics that appear to be “cheating” or playing the system, it will suffer Google penalties. I suppose Google giveth and Google taketh away.
What are Google Penalties?
When Google penalties are afoot, your site will be much lower on Google search results. It is sort of an ironic punishment for people who are trying to “game” the system or take short cuts. Since Google was first created there are countless ways for people to try and cheat the system. At the same time, there are multiple ways that Google penalties were enacted and developed in response to cheaters.
So, what are the ways that Google penalizes cheaters?
There are two ways that Google serves penalties: Algorithmically and Manually.
An algorithm is basically a program that runs one or more tasks automatically, based on a set of pre-written instructions on the behest of the person or people who worked on the code. Google is famous for them simply because it is much faster and efficient to use when it comes to checking the integrity of related links vs human intervention. Of course, algorithms still suffer from limitations due to the hyper-specific nature of the code. An algorithm can only work within the parameters that it is given in the first place.
For instance, If an algorithm is supposed to crawl all over the internet for signs of a broken link, then it will only catch and penalize broken links, and not any other violation, like a misdirect. A few famous ones over the years include:
- Panda: Google Panda is all about vetting content. In this scenario, it checks websites to make sure there is enough relevant content on a website. If the content is not relevant or just bad quality, they will push it down the search result list. If the content is informative and relevant, the site gets more priority on the search results list.
- Penguin: The Penguin update focuses on the “black and white” viewpoint of policing the internet. It was released to catch sites that were keyword and link spamming its search results, either through buying and spamming people with unrelated content.
- Hummingbird: Hummingbird is an algorithm focusing on each word in a query. It contextualizes the definition of words and applies them to the query. This adds a level of nuance to the search engine.
- Pidgeon: Much like it’s animal counterpart, the homing pigeon, Google’s Pidgeon algorithm focuses on filtering search results based on location.
These algorithms along with others do their jobs with impunity and impartiality.
Manual Google Penalties
Of course, machines alone can’t run Google. There needs to be a level of human oversight in case an algorithm comes across a function it does not understand or people are contesting with their judgment. This is where manual penalization or “manual action” comes in.
The impact a manual action has on your site can vary. It often depends on the severity of the website misconduct. Also, just a side note for those who think large corporations get away with doing said misconduct…they really don’t. Surprisingly, sites like Overstock.com, BMW.com, and even its own company Google Chrome, got penalized for behavior that didn’t seem on the up and up. No one is immune from search engine scrutiny.
There are ways for you to rectify the things that they are looking for. It all boils down to whether or not you are willing to make the changes necessary to fix it.
Google can penalize your website for :
This would be most likely a scheme on the part of the web developer. Basically, an unnatural link is an outside link to your site that appears unrelated or just exists to artificially inflate your page ranking. If you get caught, they will penalize you for it.
This wouldn’t be the fault of the site owner. However, the measure is a precaution to prevent the spreading of possible malware and computer viruses to visitors to your site. Once you repair the website and you tell Google, they will take back the penalties.
Naturally, this is exactly what it sounds like. If you have little in the way of written content or text, you are not going to be prioritized. This is due to the fact that visitors are just likely not to stick around a page that long with little content.
This one is also self-explanatory. If you are sending unwelcome messages to people and are blocking content access behind advertisements you are harassing users, plain and simple. Just avoid this practice altogether if you want your website to not suffer a Google penalty.
This one is more for large messaging formats like forums or comment sections. Basically, when users are trolling or are offering inane or dangerous commentary for no reason but the “Lulz”, your website will pay the penalty for it. If you aren’t up to date on the security behind the comment section or the forums, your site will pay the consequences.
If you disguise your link that will send the user to the wrong spot on a website, then you are cloaking. Just avoid doing this altogether.
Before Google was mainstream enough to start looking into security and algorithms, people would try to cheat the system often. One of their favorite ways to do it was to spam as many keywords as possible, relevant and irrelevant. These days, the algorithm catches it. Every time. This is so old that not even twelve-year-olds try it anymore. Just don’t disguise or spam your content.
No website host is free. And if they say they are, they are obviously lying. They just surround your sites with as much ad space as possible to the point where there is too much spam. Just pay for a simple drag and drop site if you need one cheap.
If you have too much incorrect information, missing data, or broken links, the site will look like the user stopped maintaining it. If you want to be visible again, clean up the site and make sure everything leads to the right place.