How To Spot A Google Penalty

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Google Search result rankings are important for almost any business in the modern world.  Only those businesses that operate exclusively by word of mouth would not get trafficthrough Google.  To make your rating on Google as high as possible you need to learn how to identify site penalties.  Let’s take a look at some information to help you start increasing your rank on Google.

To identify site penalties you need to first understand the difference between an algorithm and a penalty.  Google Algorithms analyze a website simply to see if it meets the standards put forth by Google Webmaster Standards.  Penalties on the other hand are marks against your website for using hidden text, cloaking pages, and other such infractions to Google standards.

Another difference to penalties is that they will not be removed when a website is reanalyzed.  Instead, penalties must be fixed by webmasters and then you must apply for a reconsideration request.

To identify why your website is being penalized you must log into your webmaster account.  There will be a notice of the penalty along with an explanation. 

Here are some of the most common penalties that webmasters might encounter to help you to identify site penalties before they become an issue.

Cloaking Pages Or Redirecting

Google really doesn’t like it when you show one page to Google and then show your visitors another page.  They also don’t like when you attempt to sneakily redirect your visitors to another page.  Both of these can hurt your page ranking and other Google statistics.  A penalty for cloaking can affect one part of your website or your whole website.

Content Cloaking

Content cloaking is a similar idea to page cloaking.  This penalty though is for showing full content for a page to Google while only showing a portion to users unless they pay, login, register, subscribe, or take some other action.

Hacked Content/Website

Hackers are constantly looking for ways to exploit websites, get easy money, and to spread their cause.  Websites that appear to have been hacked will be penalized.  A hacked website or webpage will also receive a notification in the search results section notifying searchers of the hack.  Hacks do not even have to visibly change a page, they could include malicious links and content that has been cloaked.

Hidden Text/Keyword Stuffing

Keywords have become almost synonymous with Search Engine Optimization for most people.  That doesn’t mean that you need to try and stuff keywords into your page.  Keep your keywords relevant.  Also, do not hide text on a page.  Hidden text will not help provide any useful content to visitors which is an important part of Google’s most recent updates.

Spam Content

Spamming users using content is one quick and easy way to annoy them and Google agrees.  Google penalizes any users that attempt to aggressively spam their users.  This can include any number of methods, from gibberish to repeat content.  Unlike many Google penalties, this one can be fairly obvious to both visitors and developers.

Free Host Penalty

It is no longer the age of Geocities or free webhosting.  There is a good chance that your website will be penalized if you use a free web host.  This is because most free host spam visitors with ads and provide less than reliable service.

No Valuable/Helpful Content

We mentioned up above that content needs to be useful.  If content is not valuable or helpful to users, then it is likely to get you flagged for content.  This includes low quality pages as well as auto-generated content.

Removing A Penalty

In order to remove a penalty, you must first repair the issue at hand.  Address it on your website or with any involved parties.  In almost all cases it is imperative that you first repair any causes for penalties. You can also use a Google penalty checker.

After you have fixed penalties on your website, you need to submit a request to review your site.  This request will tell Google that you have made the changes and are ready to be re-reviewed. 

It is near impossible to game Google.  To get a big presence on Google and the rest of the internet it is important to play fair and ensure that you don’t have any Google penalties.  Audit your website regularly to identify Google site penalties so that you can correct them before Google finds them.  SEO is an important process and it will help people to find your website.

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