Are You Getting Slammed with Google Penalties?
Google is the king of SEO interpretation. While a king needs to be benevolent, he also needs to be firm in his rule. THUS: for every beneficial Google algorithm update designed to make your content more searchable, there are more new rules that you’ll need to follow to avoid Google penalties.
Sometimes, your SERP ranking will drop. Other times, you may find your content wiped from the internet. To make matters more complicated, Google will sometimes let you know if you’ve been penalized—and sometimes not. If you’ve noticed a sharp drop in traffic, it’s time to get smart about penalties.
Let’s Get Literal
These penalties are, essentially, algorithmic punishments that hurt your SERP. They’re designed to discourage marketers from utilizing black hat SEO tactics—tactics that involve tricking Google’s crawlers into thinking your content is more valuable than it really is.
Sometimes, though, Google gets it wrong.
Hitting the Penalty Box
- An overuse of pop-up ads
- Keyword stuffing
- Grammatically incorrect or error-riddled, short-form content
- Paid linking
- Link stuffing
- Linking to adult platforms or gambling websites
- Cloaking or hiding keywords
- Content scalping
You may also see penalties if your platform fails to load quickly, has a poor mobile aesthetic, or lacks a proper security certification.
What is it about these behaviors that make Google twitch?
Some of the aforementioned behaviors, such as content scalping or hiding keywords, show a lack of professionalism and downright dishonesty about the ownership of intellectual property.
Others, such as keyword stuffing or unprofessional content, suggest that a person – or, more frequently, a bot – is producing content en mass to boost the platform’s SERP ranking. When content doesn’t offer consumers any value or information, Google considers it spam.
Checking for Penalties
Sometimes, your content will violate Google’s marketing sensibilities by accident. It’s easy when you first get started in marketing to keyword stuff your work or backlink to a less-than-awesome platform.
Even so, Google won’t always tell you if your content has been penalized for the accidental violation of the platform’s marketing practices. You’ll need to check for penalties.
You can do this by using a variety of penalty indicator tools. These include:
Platforms such as SEMrush allow you to complete a platform audit to check for black hat SEO tactics. Other tools will indicate which of the Google penalties you may have been hit with.
Google’s penalties cleverly deal with content that creators create to trick the algorithm. If you want your content’s SERP ranking to improve, you can utilize the platform’s prescribed SEO tactics, but make sure to play by the rules. If you don’t, you might get burn.
Image attribution: Aaron Amat – stock.adobe.com