Google Penalty – Index
Google’s dominance of the search engine market has made the company hugely influential in the fate of your website. More than a third of all online traffic originates from search engines, and since Google has an over 90% share of the market, they call the shots. The company gets to dictate who visits your website, how your website should be designed and structured, and to a certain extent, how much money you can make. As such, you always have to toe their line.
Adhere to Google webmaster’s guidelines, or run the risk of being penalised. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
What is a Google penalty?
A Google penalty is when your website is demoted in or banned from search rankings. Sometimes, your website completely disappears from search rankings, even when using highly specific keywords. It is one of the worst things that can happen to a website.
Your traffic flow would come to a screeching halt. If you have no alternative source of traffic, such as social media referrals or pay-per-click, your entire business could go under.
Why do websites get penalised by Google?
Google uses a proprietary algorithm to generate search rankings, which is influenced by reportedly 200 ranking signals. These signals are meant to be natural to ensure that they are able to deliver accurate and relevant search results to users.
However, some webmasters go overboard when trying to get ahead in the rankings by manipulating some of the signals, or by using black hat tactics on their website. There are also ignorant webmasters who inadvertently break Google’s rules. And then, there are the innocent website owners who fall prey to sabotage by competitors.
Fortunately, Google offers remedial solutions and measures to help website owners dig themselves out of the hole. In most cases, websites can get back on track in a few weeks or months. Some websites which are too far gone though, will end being blacklisted.
We’ll be looking at some of the common causes of Google penalties in the following pages. If you know you have received one and want it removed, you might want to skip straight to having an SEO agency take a look at your site and helping.