For website masters, it could not be worse than huge website traffic drop when they wake up one day. Whether they run website for fun, or for business, website traffic is much crucial, since it is a key to get their ideas shared or products sold. Just because of great importance, every website master struggles to gain traffic. So, it is really a hit when they see their traffic drop dramatically overnight.
What is Google Penalty?
As the major search engine in the world, Google has a set of algorithms to rank websites and it constantly updates the algorithms to improve user experience. It is worth mentioning that Google never open details of the algorithms. Google also has a team of responsible staffs supervising behaviors of website masters on its search engine. Due to these, website masters have to perform as Google requires. Or else, they will get low page ranking on Google or even suffer Google penalty.
There are 2 kinds of Google penalty in all. The first one is caused because of Google algorithms updates, which has an effect on a vast array of websites. For example, the Panda algorithm update makes many websites with poor content throughout the world rank down and lose traffic a lot. The other Google penalty is manual penalty, which Google Search Quality Team implement. Do not overlook manual penalty. According to Matt Cutts, more than 400,000 manual penalties happen every month. You might be one of them ever or in the future.
If you just encounter Google penalty, your site or certain pages could rank down severely or moderately. The worse result due to manual penalty is site removal from Google index. That being said, you enter yourdomain.com in Google, you cannot get your website result.
Why does Google Penalize Your Site?
In the first part of introducing what Google penalty is, we briefly point out that a website could be panelized by Google algorithms updates or Google Search Quality Team. Next, we will discuss more why your site could be penalized, from which you can learn how to avoid Google penalty too.
1. Poor Content
Google addresses user experience while it knows no one likes poor content to read. It does a lot to encourage high-quality web content and penalize poor-contented websites.
For example, in 2011, it updated the algorithm called Panda targeting poor content and since then, Google has revised Panda for more than 20 times. Due to Panda, many websites automatically have lost their ranking positions and some of them have not recovered yet. Content factory websites suffer heaviest, where SEOers gather to post short, little value content with backlinks to their websites.
Besides Panda algorithm, Google manually penalizes websites with poor content too. Its manual reviewers read your articles. If they spot there is content copied from other websites, it is much possible that your site can be penalized manually. You can get that penalty notice in your Google Search Console.
So, you need to avoid poor content against Google penalty. To conclude, some signs of poor content are:
- Duplicated content
- Keyword stuffed content
- Scraped content
- Hidden content
- Spun content
2. Poor Link Building
It is one great way to gain traffic if you take good advantage of links. If not, you could suffer from Google penalty.
Similarity, Google penalizes poor link building via algorithms and manual actions.
The core algorithm is Penguin, run from 2012 and penalizing bad backlinks. Penguin has destructive power, decimating traffic of more than 3% websites in the world right it was applied. Different from Panda, Penguin sometimes does not penalize your site. Instead, it discounts the value of bad backlinks. Google could manually penalize your website even if you escape from Penguin.
Here, we also summarize some sign of poor link building that Google could penalize you:
- Paid links
- Backlinks all coming from high authority websites or poor ones
- Backlinks largely increasing in a short period
- Backlinks from one website
- Broken backlinks
- Footer links
- Hidden links
- Overuse exchange links
- Overuse affiliate links
- Link from another language
In a word, building natural links is what Google wants to see.
3. Poor Performance on Uptime and Speed
Google much cares about user experience. So, besides content quality and votes from others, it also takes website performance into account. It does not want to lead its users to a site loading slowly or just a down site. Even if your site manipulates Google well, it could be penalized and drop its position due to poor performance on uptime and speed.
The solution to that is to pick up a reliable web host. If it requires, you can use CDN for better performance.
In addition to above 3 factors that could make you suffer from Google penalty, there are others, such as spam comment, wrong keyword tactics, error codes, poor mobile website, out-of-date sitemap, over SEO, etc. When you manipulate Google, you had better try to avoid these factors. Meanwhile, keep a close eye on Google algorithms updates.
How to Recover from Google Penalty
Supposing you meet Google penalty anyway, how could you recover from it?
For manual penalty, Google sends you message that you can check out in Google Search Console. It explains manual penalty type you get, which includes hacked site, pure spam, thin content with little or no added value, unnatural links from your site, etc. The message will also tell you Google penalizes the whole site or just specific pages. After learning the information, you can start to correct your website. With all done, you can send Google a Reconsideration Request.
When it comes to penalty from algorithms updates, Google does not inform you. You have to observer the traffic. Does it drop down suddenly? But please note that traffic drop could be caused by other reasons. Moreover, it takes more time to figure out where you do wrong with Google algorithms, which is updated frequently. Once you find out problems, just correct them and wait for verifying.