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SEO Tip 3 – Understanding Google Penalties And How To Avoid Them

The Google Penalty is the one thing that every single site owner out there should be afraid of. Once your website is struck by such a penalty, it will take a lot of work to solve the problem. In many times it takes months. While we do offer a Google Penalty Removal service and we can help you to get rid of such a problem, it is obvious that you would be better off not getting one in the first place. This is why we will try to help you out by explaining what these penalties are and how to avoid them.

Google will penalize your site because of one of two main reasons:

  1. Using methods that manipulate search results in order to artificially increase rankings.
  2. Offering a bad experience for site visitors.

Manipulative Penalties

We have two options:

The on-site penalty means that there were improper methods used to modify the technical set-up of a website and the off-site penalty is directed towards backlink methods.

You should know that Google penalties are either algorithmic or manual. The manual ones are the really damaging ones because of the fact that it means a person looked at the site, reviewed it, and then determined that there is a guidelines breach. The algorithmic penalty is also a problem but it is one that you can recover from faster.

The algorithmic penalties are either Penguin or Panda related. The Panda penalties affect the usability of the site and the content offered while the Penguin penalties refer to an over-optimisation.

Your website can be completely penalized or just some of the pages may be penalized. In the event that there are too many pages that are determined to breach the search engine’s guidelines, you will have the entire site penalized.

“When the site is penalized, the really common scenario is ending up with a SERP drop of anywhere from 10 to hundreds of positions for many keywords. If you only have a drop of some positions, you most likely do not have a Google Penalty. “

Most Common Google Penalties

Over-Optimised Anchor Text

In this case, Google believes that there are many links that are pointing towards the site with the use of anchor text that would exactly match or is really close to the keywords the site owner tries to rank. While we do not know exactly what percentage is seen as bad by the search engine giant, if you have over 20% of the anchor text using the keyword, you are faced with a problem.

Thin Content

This is a penalty that is also known as low value, over-lapping, non-unique, and duplicate content penalty. It is the one Google Penalty that appears the most often and it is noticeable in the event that (but not limited to this): We should also add that you have to be sure that you do not have too many ads on your page since Google sees this as affecting usability in a negative way. Never have visitors scroll down in order to see the content because there are too many ads above the fold.

Paid Links

In this case, a Google Penalty is given in the event that the search engine thinks that the site got links that are paid. Penalties basically appear if:

Low-Quality Link Sources

In this case, Google believes that there are too many links towards your site coming from spam sites or really low-quality sites. It is normal to have low-quality backlinks but if the percentage is over 75%, it is obvious that a problem will appear. While we cannot actually define what the low-quality source is, if we have a domain authority that is under 15, we can see the link as being extremely low quality.

At the same time, in the event that the links coming to your site are not at all relevant and there are too many that appear, a Google Penalty can appear. For instance, if you have a site that sells ink cartridges and you get links from websites that are in the travel niche, the link is completely irrelevant.

On-Page Tactics That Are Improper

So many can be mentioned but the ones that are the most common include:

High Bounce Rate – Low Engagement

This is an indicator that the visitor is not happy with what is offered by the site. When you notice that your site’s visitors only spend a little time on your website or there are many that just click the browser’s back button, you are faced with a problem. Whenever the site bounce rate goes over 50% and the viewing time is under 30 seconds, you are highly likely to end up with a penalty.

Spam Links – Hacked – Malware

Google Penalties also appear in the event that Google believes that you do not properly manage your website, allowing many spam links to appear in comments or when the site is hacked/includes malware. In the event that visitors can create pages on the site and those pages are low quality, you do have a huge chance to end up with problems.

In the event that your website is seen as a danger for the visitor because it was infected with malware or was hacked, a Google Penalty is guaranteed to appear. That is especially true in the event that unnatural links towards pharmaceuticals, gambling sites or adult content appears.

Is Your Site Penalized?

In the event that your site receives a manual penalty, it will appear in Google Webmaster Account. If an algorithmic penalty appears, you will not receive any notification. However, if you see that you have a drop that is long lasting, the site is most likely hit by such a penalty even if a message does not appear in the Webmaster account.

What Should I Do If The Site Is Penalized?

We have to be completely honest with you and tell you that you have two options available:

  1. Try to remove the Google Penalty alone.
  2. Hire a professional to help you get rid of the Google Penalty.

In the event that we are talking about a business site, you should seriously consider hiring a professional. We do not say this just to advertise our service. We say this because of the fact that it does take a lot of time and a lot of knowledge to remove Google Penalties.

In many cases the harmful backlinks have to be identified, which is a lot more difficult than it may seem at first glance. Also, every single site page has to be analyzed. Google will tell you that you are penalized in most cases but will not actually tell you why that happens. Those that do not have access to analysis tools will spend a lot of time dealing with a Google Penalty.

In conclusion, in order to avoid the Google Penalty, you need to understand what penalties appear and make sure that you will offer high quality content for your visitors. Never engage into tactics that are aimed towards modifying search engine rankings and monitor your Webmaster Tools account on a constant basis.


Arthur Choi

Arthur Choi

SEO Strategist

70% technical SEO, 30% offsite optimisation. Loves to strategise and build organic SEO campaigns for plumbers, excavators and e-commerce clients.

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