Google has a job to do. And that is to provide its users with accurate, relevant, good quality and useful information. The team behind Google are always tweaking its algorithms to get the best of the web, and to improve and enhance over time. If a website gets in the way of Google doing its job, in the simplest terms, it will penalise the website.
If you are finding any of the following things, you may have a penalty against your website:
1. Your website is not ranking well for your brand name anymore.
2. Any page one positions you had are slipping back to page two or three
3. Page rank has a large drop
4. The entire website has been removed from Google's cached search results overnight
There are other indicators that can mean that your website has a penalty against it.
Below, we give you a number of reasons that might warrant your website being penalised. This is not a definitive list, but will give you an idea of what to steer clear of!
This could be seen as a way of manipulating page rank, and therefore is black hat.
Excessive Reciprocal Linking
Swapping links used to be a great marketing tactic, but due to Google wanting to provide relevant and accurate results, excessive reciprocal linking to other sites that are of no relevance or connection to you, can mean you will be penalised.
This one is pretty obvious. You need to make sure your content is well written, but not only that, it also needs to be unique!
Overusing H1 tags
Having a page well structured that Google's bots will follow easily is so important. A H1 tag is the title. A H2 tag is a sub title and so on. More than one title is confusing and doesn't conform to the correct set up of a page.
Google can penalise for these, because they are irrelevant and quite frankly annoying! There should never be any 404 errors within your site navigation.
Keyword stuffed content
Keywords within the content should be natural and not forced just to get a good ranking for those words. Only add them if they need to be added, and they sound like they should be there. Google want you to write your content for the benefit of the client or customer on your site, not to try and get a good ranking after indexing!
Manipulating footer links
Footer links are okay for extra navigation or as a copyright information holder. But using it to manipulate keyword stuffing is frowned upon.
Any links that are not visible to users are suspicious, and Google will penalise if they find them.
Broken External Links
Google want the user of your website to be happy. If you have a number of broken links on your website, they are not useful or relevant to the user, so Google will penalise.
Website timing out
If your website times out, or is down for long periods of time, this can effect you negatively when it comes to Google indexing your website and giving it a good ranking.
Website loading speed
If your website takes a long time to load, or the loading speeds are poor, Google could penalise.
Black hat SEO
Using any black hat SEO techniques or short cuts will incur a penalty straight away.
Links to suspicious sites
It's up to you to vet a website before you link to it, whether it's as a source or a reciprocal link. This could also incur a penalty.
Google wants your website to be a good experience for the user. You should build your website with the user in mind, not the search engine. It's as simple as that.
Unfortunately, when you've received a Google penalty, it's very difficult to shake it off. As long as your website adheres to website best practices, and you build your website with the user in mind, you can't go wrong. Content should be fresh and unique, and your websit structured and well thought through.
That's where the professionals come in! At Toolkit Websites we can guide you in the right direction, even when you're live. Get in touch with us today.