If you are running a website, you know that your Google ranking is important for driving website traffic. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is essential to boost rankings, but there are some mistakes that you can make that will actually trigger a Google site penalty. Penalties significantly impact the visibility of your website, so it is important to understand how to avoid Google Site Penalisation.
Why Does Google Penalise Websites?
You may wonder why Google takes the time to evaluate and penalise websites. Google is tasked with providing the highest quality search results to Internet users. It is in the search engine’s best interest to return results that offer value to users, so Google uses algorithms to determine the quality of results.
What Is a Google Penalty?
A Google site penalty means that a website has violated parameters established by the algorithm that Google uses to rank websites. You may not be immediately aware that your website has been penalised. It is important to look for the clues outlined below to ensure that you retain visibility.
• You have experienced a significant reduction in your website ranking.
• You notice that your website has been pushed down into the second or third page when it is normally on the first page of results.
• Your website can no longer be viewed on cached Google search results.
• Searching for keywords within your website by using the Google search bar does not come up with any results.
• A page other that your homepage comes up in Google search results.
If you find that any of these are true, you have probably been penalised. Getting to the bottom of your penalty is the only way that you can recover from this mistake.
What Practices Can Trigger a Google Penalty?
Understanding which practices trigger a penalty allows you to avoid making these mistakes when you are trying to boost the visibility of your website. Here are some of the biggest blunders that you can make when your goal is to rank high in Google search results.
• Duplicate content is one of the most common reasons for a penalty. You may think that it is okay for you to use your own content on more than one page, but Google will penalise you for doing so. Be sure to change content slightly for each similar page to avoid this problem.
• Keyword stuffing is frowned upon in the SEO marketing world for a reason. Google will flag your website for quality if you keyword stuff, so take the time to strategically use keywords instead of overusing them.
• If your website is difficult to access, you will get a penalty. You need a reliable web host to prevent this problem. Google wants to be sure that search users are able to actually access results.
• Slow page loading will result in a penalty because of the same reasons that an inaccessible page is penalised. Your website must be able to load in a short amount of time to give visitors a reason to stick around.
• Low-quality content that is riddled with mistakes tends to trigger a penalty. If you are writing content on your own, take care to proofread before posting anything. If you are outsourcing content creation, be aware that the amount that you pay for content directly correlates to content quality.
• Overuse of H1 tags on your website may be flagged as an attempt at keyword stuffing. The best way to avoid this issue is by keeping your headlines natural. Do not overuse headings as a method of improving Google rankings.
• Internal errors on your website prevent visitors from accessing the information that they want. Excessive or ongoing 404 errors can cause your website to get bumped down in the rankings.
• Hidden links raise alarms. Unscrupulous website owners will hide links to benefit from the boost in rankings that linking offers. If you make links the same color as the background of your website, this is likely to be flagged.
• Websites that contain malware or have been hacked will be removed from Google search results. If your website is experiencing these issues, you have some work to do before you can get back to improving your ranking.
• Spam is a surefire way to get yourself banned from Google. Unfortunately, some websites are removed because of false spam reports. If you feel that you have been maliciously reported as a spam website, it is important for you to contact Google.
• Posting content that you have accessed from another website is considered to be theft. Google does not tolerate content theft, and your website will be removed from search results if you do this. You could even face a lawsuit if you steal content, so take care to create unique content instead of copying and pasting someone else’s words.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Penalised?
If you are already dealing with a Google site penalty, you need to take action to regain your ranking. Identifying the reason for the penalty is the first step to recovering. While you will want to have your website ranking high as soon as possible, it is important to take your time when you are solving the issue. Review the reasons for receiving a penalty that are listed above when you are creating a webpage. The best way to avoid a penalty is by providing unique, high-quality content on a reliable website.