Posted by Vikram Rathod
June 06, 2016
Everyone must have heard this “Once a millionaire, now a homeless beggar” This has been the story of many business tycoons around the globe that turned up bankrupt overnight. Yes, this could be the case with your online site too.
Just imagine, you open your Google Analytics dashboard the other day, and find that your traffic has flat-lined. Your business empire may crash down if you’re slapped with the Google penalty. Over recent years, this has happened to hundreds of sites violating the search engine guidelines and your site can also get stuck if you’re not careful.
Many proverbial websites such as BMW, Washington Post, JC Penney, BBC, Rap Genius, Overstock, WordPress etc. Have been hit by the Google penalties and have served a penalty period from 1 day to 3 months depending on the violations and their recovery. No wonder, Google itself has been penalized for violating it’s own SEO rules.
Your site may face a penalty anytime, even if there are no major algorithm updates around. This is because of the spammy SEO practices like scrapped content, content with poor quality, buying links, irrelevant linking etc. Remember, not all the penalties are due to spammy SEO practices, your negligence may be the reason sometimes. You may get a penalty because you didn’t monitor the backlinks to your site and Google noticed spammy links pointing to your site or May be because of negative SEO where your competitors have targeted you by many spammy links pointing to your site.
Before we go ahead with how to protect your site from these penalties, let’s first understand the different types of Google penalties:
Although most of the penalties are hit in an automated way, these manual penalties are imposed by the Google’s Search Console team human reviewers. When your site is hit by this penalty, you’ll receive an email alert as well as an alert in the Webmasters dashboard under Manual Actions tab or Search Traffic tab.
These penalties strike when Google rolls out algorithmic activities. Google’s algorithms go running all the time and the sites violating the Google’s guidelines keep getting penalized. These type of penalties are difficult to identify as you don’t get any alerts about them, you just get hit. You can only know by tracking your site’s traffic. If you notice a sudden drop in your website traffic, it could be due to an algorithmic penalty.
Now that you’ve been familiar with the types of penalties, let’s check out some ways to safeguard your site from them.
1. Fight Back Negative SEO
This is a crucial step to fortify your site from Google penalties. Besides tremendous efforts of optimizing your site continually, your competitors may practice negative SEO by having lots of spammy sites link to your site so that Google considers your site as low quality. So, if you find spammy sites linking you, just disavow those links. You can simply create a text file that includes all those incoming spammy links and upload that text file with Google disavow links tool page.
2. Offer Users Rich, Unique and Informative Content
Machine generated content, Doorway Pages, Thin affiliate pages and the content coming from other sources: scraped content or low-quality guest posts. All these are poor or thin content and if your site offers this type of content, you are subject to get a Google penalty. So it is vital to have the high quality, unique and informative content on your site.
3.Monitor Your Link Profile
Google bots consider the following link building practices to be spammy:
-Buying & Selling Links
-Massive and Spammy Forum Comments posting
-Target certain anchor tags through excessive guest posting campaigns
Google bots are smart enough to easily identify the unnatural seeming links being generated by these link building campaigns. Google surely penalizes you if you’re found indulged in any such black hat SEO practices.
4.Guest Post Cautiously
Who said Guest Posting is dead? Guest blog posting is an effective way to build backlinks and strengthen SEO and drive more traffic to your site. But, use them cautiously! Choose the relevant targets for them and use natural and meaningful anchor tags. Additionally, while trying to build up your link profile, do not aim to make too many backlinks in short period of time. Google considers this type of rapid link building as unnatural and strikes penalty. So, when Guest posting, you should use the correct and natural phrases for linking back to your site. Google might trigger a penalty if you use anchor texts that are totally disconnected and sounds vague than your site’s niche.
5.Safeguard Your Site From Hackers
If your site gets hacked, you’re going to be penalized. Hackers create massive spammy links to the sites in order to get them triggered with a Google penalty. So, save your site from hackers and keep a bird’s eye on every activity of your site to avoid getting it wiped out from Google’s index.
If you’re being penalized for any of the reasons, Google recommends to send the reconsideration requests for the manual penalties. So, you can recover from a penalty and fix your site. And, if you notice that your site has been struck with an algorithmic penalty, just stay calm and work in the problematic areas. As the algorithms keep updating, your site will also be re-evaluated and once the penalty is revoked, it will achieve it’s position and traffic eventually.
Concluding, you don’t need to be in fear all the time. Yes, Google penalties would be scary, but Google hits only those who try to manipulate their search engines. However, you can always sort out the issues and request Google to re-evaluate your site in any cases.
If you have ever faced a penalty, What did you do to recover? Or, How do you protect your site from being penalized? Please share your valuable comments.
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