The last thing you want to deal with in your SEO campaign are Google penalties. But it can happen to you if you’ve been fairly aggressive with your campaign. A Google penalty is a manual penalty given by a Google employee after reviewing your site. It is not to be mistaken by a fall in rankings due to an algorithm change. While a penalty will hurt your campaign, it’s not the end of the world. You can definitely recover and continue to get the benefits of SEO.
How to See If You’ve Been with Google Penalties
The first thing you have to do is to make sure that you have a penalty in the first place. If you’re a Houston business owner that doesn’t have much experience with SEO, it can be hard to figure out if you’ve been hit with a penalty or if there was an algorithm change. If you’ve recognized a fall in rankings, then check this Google algorithm update page to see if there were any recent changes.
If there wasn’t anything major that has occurred, then you’ve probably been hit by a penalty from Google. To check what the penalty is, you can login to your Google account and go the the Google Search Console. Simply enter your domain and go through the verification process.
Once you are able to get to the dashboard, you want to go the “Search Traffic” section into lefthand menu options. It will collapse and open more options. From there, you want to click on “Manual Actions”. This will give you a list of manual actions that your site has been hit with.
If you want a professional SEO to look over your site for you, click here for a free video SEO analysis.
Different Types of Penalties Houston Businesses May Face
There are various types of penalties that you may face as a Houston business owner. You’re likely to see more penalties if you or your SEO has been using black or grey hat SEO techniques which are SEO exploits that Google frowns upon. Sometimes it might be just a technical error on you or your webmaster’s part. Here are some examples of the penalties and how to recover from them:
Cloaking or Redirects
Sometimes you may want to show Google one page while showing your visitors another page for the same URL. This is something that many affiliate marketers do to attain high search rankings while also managing to convert more visitors into sales.
To fix this issue, crawl your site with the Search Console and compare the pages that are provided to you with the cloaked pages. Fix any inconsistencies between the two. Sometimes the problem stems from sneaky redirects that try to trick the visitors. After fixing the issues, submit a reconsideration request.
Thing or Low Quality Content
Google has gotten better about low quality content. They’ve been able to detect spun, scraped, and auto generated content created by various software programs. They also look for content that are duplicates. The latter can often happen by accident if you’re copy and pasting manufacturer product and sales descriptions on an eCommerce site. To fix this problem, simply remove the low quality content from your pages.
Blogging is a must, but there’s no point creating content if you’re creating low quality material. If your content is original but is still getting flagged, rewrite them by adding more useful content that is valuable to your target audience. You’ll also want to make your content longer to increase the quality and increase your ranking prospects.
Keyword Stuffing or Hiding Them
An old SEO strategy that people have used is to stuff their pages with keywords at the very end for an onpage optimization boost. They may also use hidden text by blending it with the background color (white) to keyword stuff. While hardly nobody uses this strategy anymore, it may be triggered by things like WordPress themes and free templates that try to link back to the developer’s site. Remove any onpage black hat tactics or tricky redirects then submit your site for reconsideration.
Links from Bad Neighborhoods
If you’ve been aggressive with your link building campaign, then you may have gotten backlinks from a bad neighborhood. Sometimes this can be caused by unnatural link building (reciprocal links, bought links, low quality guest posts, etc.) dubbed as the Penguin penalty. This is one of the more common violations and search engine spam penalties business owners see. Google recommends that you disavow backlinks that have have been flagged by Google.
In the Search Console, go to the disavow links page to disavow low quality links.
An issue that many people don’t expect is their site getting hacked. Many times you won’t even know that your site was hacked because nothing is changed. Hackers simply add malware, bad redirects, and malicious links onto your page. These hacked sites are detected by Google and users are prevented from viewing them for their safety. These hacks are usually done through WordPress exploits.
Figure out how to get rid of the hacks. Then update your WordPress to prevent it from happening again. You’ll also want to get plugins that that prevent hacks from happening in the first place. After you’ve worked with an experienced webmaster to fix the issue, you’ll want to submit a reconsideration request.
These are some of the more common penalties, but there are still a handful of others that you may face along the way.
How Long Does a Google Penalty Last?
After you’ve fixed the penalties, you’re probably wondering how long it will be until the penalties are removed. There’s no specific timeframe on when the penalties will be removed, but you can expect your site to be updated within 30 days. If you’ve incurred some serious offenses by partaking in black and grey hat strategies, you’ll probably have to wait a lot longer to get the penalties removed.
If you think that the penalties stem from careless mistakes you’ve made with your campaign, you ought to check out the starter guide on how SEO works. This will teach you the fundamentals and give you an idea of what Google wants so that you do not make mistakes that hurt your campaign.
In conclusion, fixing any Google penalty is possible if you do a thorough analysis and fix everything Google has identified as problematic. However, the process is not easy. You’ll usually want the help of a SEO professional to guide you. If you need some help, request a free video SEO analysis from us at Destiny Marketing Solutions. We’ll provide solid advice on how to approach penalties and move forward with building a winning SEO campaign.