Signs You’ve Been Penalised by Google

Written on 17 February, 2016 by Cassie Chorn
Categories Search Engine Optimisation

Signs You’ve Been Penalised by Google

Google is all about rewarding those who abide by the rules of good SEO techniques, and penalising those who don’t.

A Google penalty is the negative impact on a website’s search rankings, based on updates to Google’s search algorithms and/or a manual review by Google’s Webspam team. With Google rolling out their algorithm updates on a fairly regular basis, it’s not uncommon for websites to feel the wrath of the search engine giant.

If you experience a sudden drop in rankings, it’s fairly certain that your website has been penalised by Google. And if you experience a significant dip in traffic virtually overnight, it’s likely that this is also as a result of receiving a red card from Google.

A penalty from Google is highly undesirable – if your website isn’t ranking well, it’s less likely to be found, which means you could suffer from a loss of revenue.

Here at WebCentral, we know that shady SEO techniques don’t work, so there are a number of things that we both need to steer clear of to ensure you’re not hit by a penalty.

Initiating ‘blackhat’ backlink techniques to create unnatural links:

This has become even more important for staying in Google’s good books as more updates are rolled out. If Google suspects that your links are there for the purpose of manipulating search engine results (as opposed to benefiting your customers), then it’s likely you’ll be penalised.

Poor quality content:

Over-optimised content with too many keywords sounds unnatural and will be viewed by Google as an attempt at beating the system. On that note, all content on your website has to be unique – this means no duplicate content, as Google views this as less useful for your readers.

So how does the team at Webcentral identify penalties?

Checking Google Webmaster Tools. We’ll log into this console to check if any manual penalties have been listed and, if so, what kind of penalty you were hit with. We’ll also check your Google Analytics and isolate the date at which your website experienced traffic loss. We’ll then do some research to see if Google rolled out any algorithm updates around this date. If so, then it’s highly likely your website was hit by that update.

The nature of the penalty will determine how we rectify the issue and get your website ranking well again. Sometimes, these fixes can take a few weeks, or even months, before they begin to yield favourable results. More often than not, however, we’ll need to examine all of your website’s backlinks and isolate those that caused your rankings to drop. We’ll remove any toxic links and submit a disavow file, which is a tool that lets us ask Google not to count certain links that point to your website.

Most importantly, we’ll keep a constant check on your website to ensure it maintains a good ranking. Keep in mind, not every drop you experience is a sign that you’ve been penalised. It could just be that you’ve fallen behind your competition. In which case, it’s probably worth revisiting your SEO strategy anyway!

If you have any questions about your website rankings or SEO strategy, then get in touch with us today. We’ll be happy to help you steer clear of those unwanted penalties.

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