Google doesn’t indiscriminately penalise websites. They hand out penalties to protect the integrity of their search algorithm. As such, if a website is penalised, it probably failed to comply with one or more rules outlined in the company’s guidelines. So what are the top reasons why websites get punished?
Black fedoras may look cool, but black hat SEO tactics will always lead to Google penalties. Image courtesy of Pixabay
Backlinks play an important role in Google’s search algorithm as they give an ‘authority’ factor to websites. Penalties are meted out towebsites which try to artificially inflate their backlinks count. Conversely, websites which sell or give away outbound links will also meet a similar fate.
Content is the primary reason why people visit a website. If Google is manipulated to send visitors to websites with low-quality, auto-generated, spammy, stolen, spun or duplicate content, users will lose trust in Google’s judgement. This is why Google places great importance on content quality and originality.
• Hidden and stuffed keywords and links
Hiding or stuffing keywords and links were easy methods to fool search engines in the 90s. However, search engines have come a long way since, and can no longer be so easily fooled. Keywords must flow naturally in content, and outbound links must be visible to humans, not just search engines.
Hacked sites are usually injected with malware and spyware. To prevent users from being infected, Google will place a notification above the site’s listing in search results. In addition, Google may also penalise the site by de-ranking it.
Cloaking is a method to display different content to search engines and humans. When search engines crawl through the site, benign and relevant content are loaded. However, when humans arrive at the site, the content is changed to spammy, promotional and sometimes pornographic.
In addition, cloaked websites may also have hidden redirects which automatically send visitors to a new website. Since search engine crawlers and spiders are never redirected, their existence remains hidden.
It can all be a little technical and overly complicated can’t it? For many business owners, the time it would take to research and investigate a Google penalty is time which would frankly be much better spent doing other things (like building the business!). If this is something which you find yourself agreeing with, you should seek out the SEO services of a digital marketing company.