Find Out If Website Has Been Penalized By Google

If your website has been penalized by Google, they may believe either that you have used manipulative methods on-site or off-site or that your site gives your visitors a bad experience. This blog post explains more about how penalties are placed on sites, what these penalties will do, and what exactly you can be penalized for in the first place.

A penalty could have been placed on your site manually (someone from Google looked at your site and penalized it) or algorithmically (your site broke a safeguard or trigger that Google set up). Algorithmic penalties come in two forms: Pandas, which come out every month and are based on how usable your site is and on the quality of the content, and Penguins, which can come out a few times a year and are related to there being too much optimization on your site.

If you notice your site has dropped by at least 10 spots on Google searches for several of your keywords, you have likely been penalized. A smaller drop is more likely a result of your competitors increasing their optimization, Google changing their algorithm, or your backlinks lowering in their rankings. Anywhere from one page to your entire site can become penalized, depending on the severity of the penalty.

Here are some specific reasons for penalization.

An abundance of low quality backlinks

It’s likely that some low quality sites (with less than 40 on Ahrefs) will link to your site, but if over 75% of your backlinks come from these sites you could have a problem.

Your backlinks have been paid-for or are a part of an exchange

If Google suspects any of the following, a penalty may follow: you’ve paid other sites to link to you or to build up backlinks for you, you get paid by other sites to link to them, or you’re a part of a link exchange scheme.

Too much optimization for anchor link text

The text that visitors to your site click on to reach another page is called the anchor link text. You can use your targeted keywords as anchors, but don’t use this tactic more than 20% of the time. We saw one of our past clients have this issue after some poor SEO work from a previous company. This is how we solved the problem.

Backlinks that are irrelevant to your site’s topic

At least a quarter of your backlinks should have some relevance to the topic of your site–the more that are, the better off your site will be.

The overuse of keywords, unoriginal content, and advertisements

You need to find the right balance when it comes to these aspects of your site. Creating engaging, unique content that naturally includes keywords is key for this. As well, don’t let ads on your site become excessive or make it difficult for visitors to find the content.

Suspected spam or hacking

If Google suspects that links on your site lead to spam, or that your site has been hacked, they could believe you’re not looking out enough for the security of your site.

Visitors don’t stay on your site

It’s not enough to get visitors on to your site–if about half of them stay for less than thirty seconds or they don’t check out more than one of your pages before heading back to the search results, Google could think you’re not providing a good user experience.

The use of redirects, hidden text, and other manipulative techniques

Your visitors shouldn’t be forced to view certain content on your site, and you shouldn’t have to hide anything to increase your rankings.

If your site has been penalized, Meaningful Marketing can figure out why and make a plan to fix it. Contact us to learn more.