Google is notorious for changing things up and, in the end, it makes for a better experience for the end user, the searcher. Google doesn’t change their algorithm to upset business owners, but they do understand there can be some frustration when it comes to getting penalties from Google once they release a new algorithm. There are two ways you can be penalized from Google: Google doesn’t find value in your website or Google discovers a violation of its Webmaster Guidelines. Being penalized by Google doesn’t just mean dropping in rankings; sometimes this means being delisted altogether from any search on Google. A lot of companies fall for the “rank number one today on Google” scams and are left with penalties and even delisting of their business website.
Don’t worry, there are ways to combat these penalties and continue being found by potential customers on Google.
- Find Out What Penalty You Are Facing – Manual action penalties can be found by using your websites Webmaster Tools. From here, you will find an alert that will notify you about your penalty. You should see either a ‘site-wide’ notification meaning your entire site has been penalized or a ‘partial site action’ meaning sections of your website has been penalized. You can also use the popular tool called ‘Fruition’s Google Penalty Checker’ to help locate the problem areas of your website. No matter the case, both are very important to address immediately. Make the appropriate changes Google wants to see and follow-up with a request for reconsideration.
- Only Kill Your Site If It’s Your Last Hope – A penalty from Google can follow your site to a new domain if you do not correct the violations. You should attempt to clean up your penalized site by refreshing your content, removing bad links, and revisiting your keywords and tags. After you attempt to clean up your site, you should submit a reconsideration request to Google. If your site is still not accepted by Google, it may be best to cut your losses, kill the site, and start over. Keep in mind, when you start over with a new site you are starting from scratch with your search engine optimization and rankings.
- Do Not Ignore Expired Penalties – Some penalties issued by Google have expiration dates, and this date is correlated to the severity of your violation. Just because it disappears or becomes expired does not mean the penalty has gone away. If you do not address and correct the violation, you could get a second penalty from Google causing Google to deem your website untrustworthy and ultimately causing more problems like receiving a more severe penalty.
- Take Your Time And Be Thorough – When you are first notified of the penalty it is very natural to panic and try to rush through the issue to get your website rankings and listings back. There are certain penalties that will take time and effort to fix and you will need to be patient and thorough. You will need to correct every issue before you can receive approval from Google. If your changes have not met Google’s standards, you will be notified that Google has denied your request for reconsideration. Google receives countless amounts of requests a day, and it could take weeks for your second request to be reviewed meaning it will be weeks before your site recovers from the penalty.
- Pay Attention To Your Reconsider Request – If you have ever had to fill out a reconsider request you know its pretty self-explanatory, but you must fill out all of the information and fill out the form correctly. Google will refuse the request if not filled out properly. If Google has asked you to provide evidence of the changes, remember to share your files in a way that Google can access them. Use Google Docs, and spreadsheet to avoid any issues and remember to change all of your shared files settings so they can access the files. Google cannot access files that are set to ‘Private.'
- Revisit Your SEO And Marketing Efforts – If you have hired a professional, agency, or have an in-house marketing department to manage your site and you have received these penalties it could be time to revisit their strategy or hire a different company. If you resort back to these bad SEO habits, Google will penalize you again and more harshly the second time. With the continuous changes Google releases to their algorithm, it is not uncommon to have to revisit your marketing strategy a few times before you find a strategy that works for your company.
A successful website is a major key to a successful business in todays market. Every penalty you receive can severely hurt your business. Take the time to find out what penalty your site has been issued, make the corrections and submit a request for reconsidering form.