Google has made its mission to provide its users with quality and unique content that has been produced by the finest writers in the world. In order to do this successfully it has algorithms in place that make sure that all content is unique and it gets the right exposure. And to keep doing this there is quality control and Google executes this in the form of Penalties. Millions of pages with content from all around the world and a majority of it is spam. In order for Google to give their users the best in quality, authentic and relevant content, Google penalizes sites after running its reviewing algorithms in case the content is not up to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
There are two forms of penalties, manual and automatic. If your site ranking has degraded you will receive a sure-shot manual penalty. If your page positions are compromised and you are moving further back on the 2nd or 3rd page from being on the 1st, you will be penalized. Even if the listing of your page leads to a link on your page and not the home page or the content is duplicate or if it’s too thin, you may get penalized.
Here are 5 reasons that may result in your website being penalized.
There are a lot of blogs that have their comment sections filled with spammer comments. People who visit your blog often wouldn’t want this and neither does Google because it degrades the page’s overall ranking. This spam can generally be found within forums, profiles and especially comment’s sections. Many times, bloggers are caught unaware by spam-bots and visitors with keyword stuffed links. You must monitor all content and raise awareness among visitors as well.
2. H1 tags and SEO misuse
H1 tags are what let Google understand the content of a page. SEO is essential for getting better exposure on Google, however over-stuffing the content with H1 tags may be seen by Google as over-optimization and a penalty is hit. Unnatural sounding keyword density is a definite no-no and you must refrain from using too many keywords. Right structuring of the content along with appropriate keyword usage will definitely be recognized and consistence will lead to better exposure, in time. Remember, Google will allow original content a better chance at ranking than a site with just SEO and no quality.
3. Page errors and link control
Error codes 404 and 302 are common errors found on websites that are not monitored well, because of bad or broken links. Google requires you to take care of these problems and fix them as soon as possible to keep page ranking intact. With broken links, users lack access to information that got them to your site in the first place. Broken links need to be fixed and need to be updated from time to time, Google guidelines require all internal page links to be fully functional. Also, if your site caters to affiliate programs, you have to make sure that the content does not have too many links to affiliate sites, even masking your links cannot be relied since Google can review specifically for affiliate redirects and penalize in the process. Links to suspicious or malicious content like hacking, porn or malware-related sites will be reported as well.
4. Content hacking
Call it hacking, spinning, duplicating or auto-generating content, these are all forms of plagiarism and will be dealt with seriously through Google’s penalties. Auto generating is when certain masters of the web use tools that are programmed to generate content automatically which can be simply re-written to look, in fact it is only random words with appropriate keywords. Content that is plainly copied from other sites will be penalized, especially after the Panda update which allows Google to focus on boosting the ranks of sites with original and unique content. Even if a reader finds content that is copied directly from a particular site, they can report it to the DMCA.
5. Improper design and structuring
Too many advertisements or inappropriate internal links can make a site liable for penalties. Excessive advertising in the form of links are plainly inviting trouble. Even if the site is too slow, that affects user experience, which indirectly leads to another penalty. Responsive design is advised for sites to be able to perform at a standard level on all media.
Apart from these there are numerous other reasons that may lead to penalties from Google. At the end of the day this exists to make sure that Google users, which includes a majority of us internet enthusiasts, are given the best of all the information that exists over the internet.
You can read our previous article: How not to get penalized by Google.