How Your Website Can Get Penalized and What You Can Do To Fix It
When you finally finished your company website, which looked every bit smashing, as expected, it placed your company on the internet map. With the help of search engines, you became very visible, particularly on searches related to your services or goods. Your website drew a huge amount of traffic that even led to winning over a few clients when suddenly, it all stopped. Now your company doesn’t seem to exist anymore. What happened?
Any website owner who relies on their online visibility to drive traffic to their site needs to know the potential penalties search engines can place on them when they break the guidelines. A website penalty comes in many forms, and there are various reasons why your website may get penalized.
Search engines aim to provide internet users access to correct information, quality content, and the best writers. Google, for instance, keeps updating its algorithms to refine search results quality further, eradicating content that is of poor quality instead of providing exposure to the best websites. A good example is Google’s Penguin update, which was launched in 2012. As a result, many sites were wiped out of search, forcing optimizers to rethink and develop new content strategies.
If Google finds something wrong with your website, it imposes a manual or automatic penalty. If it’s manual, you may be informed of the penalty, albeit if the cause is algorithmic, you may not usually know you have been targeted.
Signs Your Website Is Penalised
How do you know your site has been penalized? The most telling signs include:
- Your website is performing poorly in search results. It is no longer ranking, when before it used to be easily found on top. Your website should at least do well on one keyword, which is your brand name;
- Your website is slipping to page two or even three on search results when your site used to be found on page one, and you’re not even making any changes on your site;
- Your website has been immediately eradicated from Google’s cached search results;
- You get zero results when you run a search using the site: yourdomain.com keyword;
- You will notice that your listing on Google is for a particular page on your site, not your home page.
Below are some of the common penalties you can expect, what causes them, and how you can fix them to ensure people can find your website easily.
How a website can get penalized: sneaky redirects
Some websites intentionally prevent Google and other search engines from crawling specific pages on their site and redirect users to these pages. Doing this contravenes the stipulated guidelines, and you can find yourself with a manual action, which can see some of your URLs being removed from the index of the search engines.
The redirects can be done using a short code or a script, and if your website gets penalized, you will need to fix it immediately. It is simple to find a specialist in search engine optimisation Brisbane or your city has, to assist you with this, and you will need to do some digging on your site to find the culprit if you have not done this intentionally.
You will need to remove all third-party scrips you do not recognize, check to see if the redirection has stopped on another device, and request a review in Google Search Console for a reassessment of your site.
How a website can get penalized: cloaking
Cloaking is something else that goes against the guidelines that Google and other search engines have and is something you will want to avoid. It is essential that the images and content you show to the search engines that crawl your site is the same that you deliver to users.
If you have images obscured by other images, images different from those crawled by Google, or redirect away from the crawled image, you will need to look at this. Ensure that you deliver to users the same content crawled by the search engines, and once done, you will need to submit a reconsideration request to have the penalty removed.
A Manual Penalty
Google not only uses its algorithm to find and penalize websites that contradict its guidelines, as they also have a small army of people manually checking sites. When you have a manual penalty, it is usually sitewide rather than penalizing individual pages, and this type of penalty can significantly affect the traffic to a site. There are various reasons you may get a manual penalty, and some common ones include:
- Your Structured Markup Appears Spammy;
- A Hacked Website;
- Website Security Issues;
- An Unnatural Link Profile.
There are plenty more reasons your website may receive a manual penalty, and if you check your Google Search Console, it will usually tell you the reason for it. The search console is the best place to start for any penalty. If you are not sure if your site has a penalty or not, you may wish to consult with a reputable digital marketing agency to help you assess and develop a recovery plan to remove it.
Getting your website to rank high in search engine results is tough these days. However, by seeking the help of a reputable specialist who understands the ins and outs of search engine optimization and how search engines work, you will be able to let a search engine giant such as Google know about your existence. As a result, it would be easier for your target market to find you in the vast world of the internet.