Google, undoubtedly the number one search engine, is known for the satisfaction of its users. They might penalize your website for many reasons which can even surprise some experienced SEO guys as well. Just to provide quality results to its users, Google might penalize your website, if they analyze that your website is not providing satisfaction to users who are visiting your site for searching something.
A few days back I came through one blog by Cyrus Shepard, on The Moz Blog, in which Cyrus focused that the number one SEO ranking factor is Satisfaction, which your website might provide to its users. The article also discusses about the ways through which Google can be able to track the satisfaction level of your website’s visitors. Thus Cyrus emphasized on user behavior which I always emphasized for doing SEO of any website. This blog can be useful for you all. Here is the link to the blog on SEO Satisfaction by Cyrus Shepard.
Returning back to our own discussion of Google penalties, they usually update their algorithms on a regular interval to provide its users the access to unique content, accurate info, and great content supporting their searches. Unfortunately they penalize some sites based on certain criteria’s.
History of Google Penalty
Basically they are doing it since late 2000 only. It started with the release of Google toolbar, which was having a small green bar, known as Page Rank, for which many webmasters are still crazy about.
With time Google tried to refine the search quality, to provide quality results to its user. To do so they eliminate poor quality websites, and sites which specially focused on providing duplicate content to its users.
With the outbursts of Penguin and Panda update, they almost cleared the spams. With Penguin update they punished poor quality content and bring them from the search result pages, and then with the help of Panda they hit the bad techniques of getting popularity (building irrelevant links to your website, and penalizing link exchange etc.).
Thus those who were involved in those types of activities are now having a fear of Google updates.
Identifying Google Penalty
If your website has been penalized by Google, how will you identify if it has happened to you?
The more clear and simple sign that your website has been penalized by Google is that if you search for site:yourdomainname.com in Google, it yields no result. It has a clear indication that your site is now out of Google searches.
You can also check if your site has been penalized by Google, if you find cache of your sites are returning 404 errors. Be careful, you need to work hard on your website to recover it from Google Penalty.
Frankly, if you are managing your site on the Webmaster Tools of Google, they will notify you over there that your website has been penalized along with the reason as well.
Why Google Penalized Your Site?
The very obvious question for the situation is that why Google penalized my site?
Here are the top 20 reasons which might compel Google to penalize your website:
One of the most common reasons for Google penalty is of buying links back to your site. Though, you consider yourself as a smart guy and thought no one can be able to track if a particular link is purchased or given naturally, you cannot fool Google though.
From Google’s point of view, buying link is simply a way to manipulate page ranks, though PR are obviously obsolete now, but don’t know why Google gives so much impact on this.
Don’t ever try to buy links for your website, especially so called bad links, as they are harmful for your sites health.
Reciprocal links are a big No from Google; they can track it and penalize your site for it. Many website owners, and especially so called SEO guys emphasizes on building three way links, as if Google won’t ever think about it. They usually forget that they are actually leaving a pattern behind, thus Google can easily track it.
Swapping links in itself is bad in the eyes of Google; actually in my opinion building unnatural links in itself is a manipulative way to increase your ranking, so Google penalize them.
As I said building unnatural links is manipulative from Google’s point of view, so avoid building any types of link, be it in the form of article submissions, social bookmarking, or directory submissions. Those are obviously one way links, but it should not be developed in an unnatural way.
Over optimization of your websites is also one of the reasons which might penalize your website. Be careful of using tags like H1….
Structuring proper and correct content helps the SEO of your website. Excessive use of bold, italics, or h1, h2 tags might harm your website only.
One of the biggest mistakes ever made by any webmaster is of publishing duplicate content in his/her site. If Google be able to track duplicate content on your website they will penalize your site immediately.
Recently I was working as an Online Marketing Manager in one of the company, and there this issue of duplicate content came into my knowledge as what my top management was trying to force on me is that they can use the same content on different websites as all of the websites are owned by the same company. When, I strictly opposed this they forced me to accept this with the help of noindex and nofollow tags. Though I did not like this concept, but as you all know that Boss is always right, you cannot argue with them, especially when you had a completely non-technical boss.
In my honest opinion any web page, be it developed for whatever reasons, should have different content in it. It should provide some unique value to the user.
Linking to Bad Sites
There was a time when outgoing links quality was not a big concern, but these days every outgoing links form your website matters much for your sites health. Google might also penalize you if it finds that your site is linking to some other site, just to pass the page rank value.
Thus beware of linking any site from your website.
Prefer to use rel=”nofollow” for almost every links going out from your website, exceptional can be some sites like Google, Microsoft, etc.
There are chances that 404 errors might also penalize your website, if its instances are increasing for your website. If it’s increasing for your website, it is a clear indication that user is not getting the satisfaction they were suppose for.
Poor Quality Content
As per a famous line content is king, and it’s a fact. You cannot expect good results from your website, if you pour your website with poor quality content, un-meaningful content, or content copied from some other website. Google is sure to penalize your website for this.
Links from Site of Other Language
Actually it’s completely unfair that a site in German language links to a site made in French language. Is not it?
Similarly, Google consider links from other languages site as a matter of penalization. Be aware of getting link from other language’s site.
By the way, those who are facing the Penalty problem because of unwanted links to their site, can also use the Google Disavow Links Tool.
Content Stuffed with keywords
Keyword stuffing is simply bad; Google never likes content stuffed with keywords. Keyword density is something which should always be taken care of while developing site content.
One of the most common mistakes made by many website owners is that they don’t know that there are differences in writing content for a web page, and writing a blog post.
I don’t think that many website owners are still using this, but hidden links if used on your website will bound your website for a Google Penalty. So be careful that your website should not have any hidden links.
Similar to header links, footer links is not that much bad. Though, if used with negative purpose, like passing link juice to other sites it might harm your website too.
Broken External Links
Well, since the inception of Penguin and Panda updates broken external links are also bad for your website. As per Google, every outbound links from your website is your own responsibility, be it a link from any comment on your site, or from any page of your site, you need to take care of them if they are not providing any value to your users, it must be harming your user experience.
Sitemap is also one of the most important aspects of your website; always remember that your website should not miss it.
Overuse of Links
Creating unnecessary and unwanted links in your content can also irritate your users. Try not to put too many links to your own content or some other sites content in your web page.
Overuse of Anchor Text
There was a time when so called SEO guys were involved in building so many links to your website and that too using your primary keywords as anchor text.
After penguin update overusing the anchor text is considered as bad, and it might penalize your website as well.
A few months back Google did another update named as Exact Match Domain update (came into existence by around the end of September 2012). It actually penalized many sites with keywords in domain name.
Slow Speed of Your Site
Now a day’s speed of your website is one of the prime factors towards SEO of your website. Slow speed of your website means you are annoying your visitors. Thus be careful, extra slow websites are sure to get penalized from Google.
Overuse of Meta Tags
For some people SEO means preparing Meta keywords and Meta description only. For them it will bring their website in the first page of Google searches for those keywords which they are featuring on their Meta data.
From Google’s point of view it’s harmful. Optimizing a bit of Meta Tags is okay, but overusing them is bad.
If by chance your website got hacked, it is your duty to rectify the same immediately. Be careful, as if it remained in the same stage for a longer duration, Google will immediately remove your website from SERP. They won’t compromise with the quality of their search results, so try to rectify your website as soon as possible.
How to Tackle With Google Penalty
Though the 20 points which I mentioned above are not the only points which might penalize your site in Google, there might be some other reasons as well.
As I mentioned above that Google Disavow Links tool comes handy for all penalties coming for incoming links, also there are solutions to every problem in this world. So don’t panic about the penalty, you can also contact me and I can help you to get rid of this situation. My email id is firstname.lastname@example.org
Also don’t hesitate in sharing your views about any of the articles of my blog.