Google Penalties: How to Find, Fix, and Avoid

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Google Penalties
Google Penalties

Every website owner wants their site to rank higher in search engines and have more online visibility in order to attract more visitors.

Using unauthentic approaches and spamming activities, on the other hand, may have the opposite effect, wreaking devastation on your website.

Yes, when the bots discover any infringement of the webmaster standards, Google has the right to penalise websites.

Based on the manual spam acts discovered, these penalties range from lowering the search engine ranking of the corresponding website to eliminating it from the search engine results pages.

This is why earning Google penalties is every webmaster’s worst nightmare.

Since 2012, Google has spoken with webmasters through the Google Search Console. Google uses this service to notify websites about issues that are likely to have a detrimental impact on their search visibility.

These signals are referred to as “warnings” by Google, and webmasters are encouraged to analyse and respond to them as soon as possible.

So, as a website owner, what can you do about it? The solution is straightforward. You must gain a broader understanding of Google penalties.

Yes, you can only avoid a problem if you understand where and how it arises. Or, in the worst-case situation, figure out how to cure a Google penalty if one is imposed on your website.

ALSO READ: Google Answer Box: Why It Matters and How to Optimize it.

Types of Google Penalties

Types of Google Penalties
Types of Google Penalties

Google penalties are divided into two types: algorithmic penalties and manual penalties. Let’s break them down one by one.

1. Algorithmic Penalties

Google algorithms are a complicated system that aims to get relevant information from its search index and present the best results to the user in order to answer the query.

Google’s algorithms are updated on a regular basis to improve the quality of search results and thus the user experience. The fact that Google’s algorithm upgrades are unpredictable adds to the complexity for website owners and digital marketers.

When an algorithm is updated, websites or individual landing pages that do not meet the specifications defined in the most recent algorithmic tweak are frequently penalised.

The term “algorithmic penalty” refers to a modification in Google’s algorithms that impacts the ranks of websites that Google believes do not meet its requirements.

Is an algorithmic penalty irreversible? Definitely not.

If an algorithm update has had a negative influence on your website, that doesn’t imply you can’t recover.

You can improve your website’s search engine rankings by taking reasonable measures, identifying and fixing the flaws that produced the negative impact, and revamping your website with high-quality, user-engaging content while avoiding black hat methods.

2. Manual Actions

Since the inception of search engines, people have experimented with various methods to deceive them and improve their search engine ranks.

This has an impact on searches since useful search queries are buried beneath a slew of irrelevant results.

This is why Google has been fighting spammers from its inception in order to provide users with a better search experience.

The Google webspam team periodically checks to see if websites are following the Google webmaster quality criteria. In the event of a violation, the webspam team can manually block certain websites, and the website owner is notified via the Google search panel.

Simply defined, a manual penalty occurs when a Google employee examines your website and determines that it should be delisted from Google because certain standards have not been followed.

So, how do you determine whether your website has been penalised manually?

Team Google will send you an email notification about the problem, and it will also appear in Google Console when you log in. You’ll notice a notification with a green tick mark at the top of the report notifying you about it.

You can make a reconsideration request once you’ve fixed the problem on your end.

Your request for reconsideration will be carefully reviewed by the Google webspam team. The ban on your website will be lifted once they verify that you have done the necessary actions to comply with Google’s webmaster quality requirements.

Reconsideration requests can take a week or two to be processed. When Google receives your request and completes the evaluation, you will be notified by email.

Google does a variety of manual operations, and this page will attempt to explain each one in depth. We’ll also talk you how to get out of these fines.

The Complete List of Google Penalties and How to Recover

List of Google Penalties
List of Google Penalties

Cloaking and/or Sneaky Redirects

Cloaking is the process of providing distinct pages to the search engine and the user in response to a certain query. This is a breach of the webmaster guidelines, and as a result, a manual penalty will be applied.

There are two types of this penalty. Partial matches, for example, can effect specific areas of your website, such as individual landing pages. Two, site-wide matches that can cause the entire website to crash.

How to Fix?

Fetch as Google in Google Search Console by going to Crawl > Fetch as Google. You’ll be able to identify the parts of your website landing pages that are affected this manner.

Compare the content retrieved by Google with the parts of your website’s content that are untouched.

Determine the discrepancy and rework the affected portions until they are consistent with the unaffected content.

Getting sent to a page that is irrelevant to the query is something neither Google nor the user enjoys. As a result, look for any current redirects and remove those that take users to a different page.

You can make a reconsideration request whenever you believe all of the necessary adjustments have been made.

Cloaking: First Click Free Violation

Google’s First Click Free policy prohibits websites from requiring users to register, log in, or subscribe in order to view their content.

This is another sort of masking that can result in Google penalties for your website.

This penalty, like the last one, comes in two flavours: partial matches that affect specific portions of the website and site-wide matches that affect the entire website.

How to Fix?

To get rid of the penalty, make sure that the material displayed to Google and the users who come from Google services are the same.

Once you’ve resolved the concerns, you can file a reconsideration request to Google.

Cloaked Images

Do you believe that cloaking solely pertains to the content of your website? If you answered yes, you are mistaken.

Cloaking also applies to photographs.

When another image overshadows it or users are routed to other irrelevant pages away from the corresponding image, Google considers it cloaked.

How to Fix?

To prevent this penalty, you must make sure that Google and your visitors see the same image.

You can submit a reconsideration request once you’ve removed all potentially veiled photos from your website and replaced them with the correct ones.

Hacked Site

In the digital world, hacking is unavoidable. Without your knowledge, hackers may hijack your website and inject malicious content or links into your content management system. Because these bogus links are frequently veiled, it is difficult to detect them.

When Google detects such sites, it displays a “the site is hacked” message on relevant Google search results pages. This may cause people to leave your site, as well as a drop in its search engine rating.

ALSO READ: What is ROAS – Return on Advertising Spends?

How to Fix?

When you discover that your website has been hacked, the best thing you can do is establish measures to prevent further damage. To do so, contact your web host to isolate your website and request assistance.

Using Google Search Console, determine the degree of the malware’s impact. Check the free google malware checker here

Now you must get to the root of the problem in order to solve it and prevent it from happening again. Yes, conduct a thorough examination of your website to uncover the weak points via which hackers gained access to your data.

Based on your findings, make changes to your website to fortify it and prevent future attacks. At this stage, make a point of having a backup of your website’s data and bolstering it with additional security features.

Request a review from Google on a regular basis to remove the “hacked” designation from your site.

Hidden Text / Keyword Stuffing

One of the most important Google ranking variables is content quality. Stuffing keywords into your website’s content in the hopes of increasing visibility and search engine rankings only serve to backfire.

Yes, if hidden text or crammed keywords are discovered in your content, Google has the right to penalise your website.

This penalty can be in the form of partial matches that affect only parts of the website or site-wide matches that have a negative impact on the entire website.

How to Fix?

To locate your website landing pages with damaged areas, go to Google Search Console > Crawl > Fetch as Google.

Using CSS positioning, find related text and uncover hidden material. Once you’ve discovered the hidden information, you can either delete it or restyle it to make it more visible to your visitors.

Similarly, look for crammed keywords and eliminate any instances of them from the material that are unnecessary or irrelevant.

Remove redundant content from title tags and alt texts next.

After you’ve completed all of these steps, contact Google and ask for a reconsideration.

Pure Spam

A website that uses spammy strategies and actions to improve its search engine ranks receives the pure spam penalty.

Black hat methods such as cloaking, content scraping, and others that violate Google Webmaster Guidelines are considered pure spam.

Depending on the severity of the spam, this penalty can be partial matches or site-wide matches.

How to Fix?

To avoid the pure spam penalty, you must remove all spammy actions associated with your website, preserve authenticity, and then request a reconsideration.

Spammy Free Hosts

Spammy Free Hosts
Spammy Free Hosts

Have you come across any free hosting options? It’s supposed to be spam. Practically speaking, nothing of great quality is free.

The free spamming hosts just serve to assault your website’s users with unrelated advertisements.

This means that once these free spammy hosting services have been deducted, the Google webspam team will take manual action against them.

How to Fix?

Switching to a reliable and authentic web hosting service is the quickest and easiest approach to solve this problem.

Once you’ve chosen a reputable hosting service, you may ask Google to re-evaluate your website and lift the penalty.

Some premium Web Hosting providers

Spammy Structured Markup

Structured markup, also known as schema markup, is a set of codes that you use to structure the content of your website so that Google can crawl and index it more rapidly.

The inclusion of spammy structured markup, on the other hand, can lead to irrelevant or deceptive content. Such deceptive tactics frequently backfire, with severe consequences for your website.

Will Google penalise for spammy schema? Yes, Google will penalise your website if it discovers spammy schema markup on it, as this isn’t a fair practice.

How to Fix?

This problem can be resolved by upgrading your schema markup and deleting the spammy elements.

You can submit a reconsideration request to Google once you’ve made the necessary changes.

Thin Content

Thin Content
Thin Content

When your website provides content that is of little or no value to the user, you will be penalised.

Content plagiarised from other websites, spun content, low-quality guest articles, auto-generated content, and other forms of thin content are all examples of thin content.

While Google promotes getting the greatest possible result for every query, it’s no surprise that web pages that can’t meet that standard are penalised.Depending on the amount of thin content published on your website, this penalty applies to partial matches or site-wide content.

What is the best way to fix it?

Remove any content that has been spun or generated automatically from your website. In the same way, keep an eye out for duplicate content and rework it to make it more appealing.

Identify affiliate pages on your site and eliminate them. If you want to keep these affiliate pages on your site, make sure they have enough weight to give your users extra value.

The likelihood of duplicate material on your website might be increased by using doorway pages. As a result, make it a point to get rid of them.

Once you’ve resolved these concerns, submit a reconsideration request to Google.

Unnatural Backlinks

Unnatural Backlinks
Unnatural Backlinks

One of the most effective techniques to boost your website’s Google rating is to build backlinks to it. However, if you perform link building incorrectly, the penalties will be severe.

When you generate links from or to your website that aren’t natural, your website will be penalised by Google. It’s because these links are used to manipulate search engine rankings, something Google doesn’t appreciate.

What is the best way to fix it?

Google Console allows you to download all of your website’s backlinks.

Now double-check them to determine if any of them do not follow Google’s criteria. If this is the case, you may either remove them or make them no-follow attributes. This isn’t only for links to your site that aren’t natural. This process can also be used to remove artificial links from your website to other websites.

Switching them to no-follow is proving to be challenging. Don’t be concerned. In some circumstances, this occurs. You can still remove those links from your website to get the ban lifted.

You can submit a reconsideration request to Google once you’ve resolved these issues.

Expired Jobs

If you have job postings or advertisements on your website, please be sure to remove them as soon as they expire.

This is due to the fact that posting expired jobs results in a bad user experience, which Google disapproves of. The search engine, on the other hand, aims to send consumers to areas where they can find what they’re looking for.

As a result, expired job postings may result in a Google manual penalty.

What is the best way to fix it?

The first step is to delete the schema markup for job postings from your website. The user will be forwarded to the 404 code, which indicates that the job posting does not exist.

Second, provide a no-index meta tag on the page to tell the search engine not to index it when it crawls your site.

Submit a Google reconsideration request now.

Conclusion

Google strives to give users the greatest possible experience by leading them to the most relevant pages and thereby answering all of their questions.

Regardless of how frequently Google’s algorithms and manual actions are updated, the goal in every iteration is to improve the user experience.

Given the circumstances, you can avoid fines and low search engine rankings by designing your website with the user in mind. Google likes your website if consumers like it.

Your website will be trouble-free if you remember this every step of the way while also learning how to resolve unintended fines.

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