A Google penalty is a death sentence for e-commerce websites, since the bulk of their sales are dependent on search engine referral traffic. Even informational or corporate websites will be hit hard with the instant drop in visitors’ numbers. Ad revenues and click-through rates will also decrease massively. Perhaps more importantly, the absence of your website will boost a competitor’s product or service. This could have irreparable long-term consequences for your business. Beyond that, the reputation of the affected website will also be affected as they will be seen as a black hat technique practitioner.
E-commerce sites are particularly vulnerable to the impact of a Google penalty. Image courtesy of Pixabay
The worst part is, sometimes, the penalty is underserved or an error. To minimise the impact of a Google penalty, you need to react fast. And to do that, you need to find out quickly if your website has been penalised. So, how do you find out if your site has been handed a Google penalty?
(i) Use Google Search Console
Google Search Console is one of the best analytics tools in the market. It allows webmasters to have a comprehensive overview of their web properties. Since it’s linked to other Google tools such as Google Analytics, you don’t have to go elsewhere to seek information about your website.
After logging in, download the data from Links to Your Site, and go over each individual backlinks. Look out for links originating from toxic and spammy domains, as well as domains with completely irrelevant themes. Quickly use the Disavow tool on all the dodgy-looking domains.
(ii) Online visibility
Speaking of Google Analytics, make it a point to regularly review your traffic pattern. By doing so, you will be able to quickly find out if there is a sudden drop in traffic. Investigate the reasons behind the drop. It could be benign, such as a Google algorithm update, which you obviously have to follow up on.
Alternatively, you can make periodic manual checks on selected keywords using Google directly. If your website is suddenly missing from search results, you know you have a problem. As a final thought, you may want to consult with an SEO company about such issues also. They can offer experienced, tried and tested advice which could go a long way in helping you rank for your target keywords.