No website wants to be penalized by Google. The damage incurred from a penalty can be devastating to a website. These penalties can affect the revenue a website can make and reduce the organic search visibility, as well as reducing traffic to the website.
Understanding the reasons why Google might penalize a website is important so that these penalties can be avoided in the future. According to BCC Interactive Philadelphia SEO Agency, before looking at whether or not a website can recover from a Google penalty you need to understand exactly what a penalty is.
Penalty vs Algorithm
Many times, algorithm issues are mistaken for penalties. Updates like Panda and Penguin aren’t penalties. They are just two of the algorithms that Google uses. These algorithms use a set of calculations and rules to deliver a desired outcome. Google’s desired result is to reward a website’s search results because they meet their quality standards as defined by their webmaster guidelines.
Google employs a large number of human reviewers to sift through websites to rate and reward ones that have managed to get past the algorithms and to find ones that don’t meet their quality standards. It is imperative to figure out if you have been hit by the algorithm or if you have received a penalty because this information is needed to determine the strategy a website should employ to recover from the penalty.
The main difference between getting a penalty and having an issue with the algorithm is that a penalty requires you needing to interact with Google directly. A site that has been penalized will receive a manual action report. Once the violation is fixed it is required to explain the origin of the problem and the resolution in a “Reconsideration Request”. Being put down a few ranks due to not meeting the standards of a new algorithm, though, doesn’t require one of these requests.
Types of Penalties
There are 13 different types of manual action penalties that Google might hit you with, and for the most part, they can all be fixed. They usually come in two forms: either partial matching or site wide matching. While there are penalties for keyword-stuffing and for having expired info like job offers being left on a site when the job has been filled, the following three areas make up the bulk of the penalties Google can hit a website with.
Cloaking is when the information that a user sees is different than what Google sees. Sometimes websites require users to have to log in or register to see all the content while Google is able to see the information already.
Another type of cloaking involves obscuring one image with another. This type of penalty causes partial matches that affect parts of a site or site wide matches that affect the entire site. The basic way to fix this issue is to just make sure that the information the user sees is exactly the same as Google sees.
Unlike all the other penalties, this is one that no one can plead ignorance to. The main spam-based penalties come from free hosting services. Pay for name brand hosting to avoid this penalty. Other type of spamming penalties are due to spam in comments.
A good solution is to have someone whose job is to moderate comments so that they can catch any spam that might be posted; or look into installing automated security filters. While you can recover from this type of penalty, if it happens a second time there is less that can be done to help. In some instances, you might have to recreate the website.
Again, you can have partial match and site wide matching penalties if a website has unnatural links to and from a site. These are the most common penalties. They are the result of buying links which are clear violations of Google’s policies.
While it is very frustrating to be hit with a penalty by Google it isn’t the end of the world. As long as you aren’t continually allowing spam to affect your website, you can recover from the penalties Google will hit you with. The best advice is to be vigilant to make sure your website avoids having these types of issues that can lead to a penalty.