Avoid Google SERP Penalties – What You Need to Know!
The term ‘Penalty’ itself conveys its abrasive connotation that we all are afraid to incur. And it is the same case when it comes to Google Penalties; nobody wants to be liable for it. It can have a negative impact on SERP and your website may get de-ranked, nobody wants that for sure. This could lead to a massive drop in traffic of your website.
Before proceeding ahead, it is important to know about Google penalties- What does it mean? and what type of penalties are there?
What is a Google Penalty?
As we know, we get punished for our wrongdoings. Similarly, Google also punishes us for our wrongdoings. Google is smart enough to know when we are trying cheating it. It imposes certain penalties on us when caught violating the rules & guidelines of Google webmaster or practicing Black Hat SEO. These penalties occur in two forms either manual or algorithmic. We often tend to confuse between these two.
You are more likely to encounter manual penalty when you don’t follow the rules of the webmaster. This gets actuated by a manual change in your site. You do get notified for it in your webmaster tool or search console.
Following are the Manual Penalties that Google inflicts on you as a punishment:
Keywords are the most important part of your content. But overloading your content or meta tag with keywords in order to rank better is considered as Black Hat SEO practice. Google may penalize your website for this tactic. So it is better to avoid excessive use of keywords in the content of your Website. You can also use LSI keywords.
It is again considered as Black Hat practice. Cloaking is a technique of showing content to the user’s browser different than the one shown to Google bots. This cloaking hiding of content can cause trouble for you if Google catches you red handed. So it is better to avoid doing it. Don’t give a reason to Google to serve you with punishment.
Unnatural links are artificial or manipulative links aimed at influencing your page ranking. There can be two ways in which Google may carry out an action on your website. The first way is if Google finds out that the deceptive link they detected is out of your control then it may notify and suggest you remove it without affecting your page ranking.
The second way is if Google holds you guilty for being involved in unnatural, manipulative link practices, then it may penalize your website affecting your page ranking. In these cases, remove such links as soon as possible.
Sneaky redirect means when a visitor is sent or redirected to the different page than it showed on Google or requested by the visitor. Some redirects are intended to delude search engines by showing different content. This could also be the result of hacking if your site has been hacked.
Sneaky redirect is a violation of rules of Google Webmasters. This may enforce Google to take action on your website by imposing a penalty and it can lower your ranking. Identify and remove such redirects if it is there any.
If your website is found to be hacked by Google then it may apply manual action on it. Google may warn visitors coming to your website and it is infected or being hacked. You can lose your rank for the longer period due to this. Get rid of vicious code if it is present in your website. Fix your website as soon as possible to save your ranking.
Your content should be original, specific and high in quality. Google may take manual action if it finds your content to be of low value. Thin content can cause you to lose your ranking. So make your content worthy and attractive as Content alone has the power to boost your ranking.
Google keeps on changing or updating its algorithm periodically. There are few Google Algorithm updates that may affect the ranking of your website or can get it penalized but Google Panda and Google Penguin are the main as they affect the most on the ranking of a website. Unlike in manual penalty, you don’t get any notifications for it so it becomes little difficult to identify if your website has been hit by any of these algorithms.
Google Panda Update
This update was introduced in 2011 for copied or poor quality content. As we know that content is regarded as the king in the internet world so it is very important to create a high-quality content to rank higher. Google Panda analyses for any copied content and can get you penalized for it.
The easiest way to tackle this problem is to replace the copied or low-quality content with the original and high-quality content. Remove all duplicate contents then write new SEO friendly content and submit it to the Sitemap. De-index the whole website and create again.
Google Penguin Update
This update hits the site with spammy backlinks. Identify the difference between bad links and good links. Stay away from spammy backlinks. Create high-quality backlinks and avoid buying links. Try to make content relevant backlinks.
To rectify this problem you can also use “Disavow tool” to remove backlinks. Make sure that your website is purged from any such links that can penalize your website. You can use “Wayback Machine” to check the summary or history of a website on which you have to create the backlink. This will allow you to know whether the website is spammy or not.
Google Hummingbird Update
Google Hummingbird was announced on September 26, 2013. This algorithm derived its name on the grounds of accuracy and speed for the Hummingbird. It checks on page content, making relevant search results, the authority of a page and keyword stuffing. It emphasizes more on the long-tailed keyword. Proper, accurate and relevant keywords should be used in focus keyword, meta tags and meta description otherwise Website doesn’t rank. So use keywords carefully.
Google Pigeon Update
It was introduced on July 24, 2014. It is a local search algorithm. Though it is not a penalty based update. Its main aim is to provide accurate search results. It intends to boost the ranking of the local search result. It is location-based.
Google announced the mobile-friendly update on April 21, 2015. It is also known as Mobilepocalyse, Mobocalypse. This mobile-friendly update aims at improving the experience of mobile users. Mobilegeddon gives preference to the website that displays well on mobile phones. It affects search rankings only on mobile devices.
Google Fred Update
It is the latest algorithm update of Google, announced on March 7, 2017. Gary Illyes (Webmaster Trend Analyst at Google) gave the name to this update jokingly. Earlier many websites reported that Google Fred checks on the quality of websites. But later Illyes stated that Google Fred is not just one update but various different updates.
It targets black hat SEO tactics linked to aggressive monetization. For example, low-value content and overload on ads. It was noted that it majorly affected the content sites that contained a large number of ads to generate revenue instead of solving user’s problem.
So these are the Google SERP Penalties that you should avoid otherwise you can garner the wrath of Google on your website. Though you can rectify these penalties, as it is said, Prevention is better than cure so try to follow Google’s guidelines and don’t use the fallacious methods of Black Hat SEO.