Stay Safe in the Search Engines and Avoid a Google Penalty

Button keypad spam with envelope icon.If you own a business then the chances are that you also have a website to represent that business. In this day and age, not having an online presence can be a serious obstacle to maintaining existing relationships, as well as gaining new customers. When it comes to effectively marketing a business website, one of the first things to consider is how to effectively optimise that website for the search engines. If nobody is able to locate your website through organic search, then you are missing out on a large amount of potential interest. 

Organic Vs Manipulation

Having a basic knowledge of SEO is great if you want to carry this out yourself and if not, then there is an abundance of digital agencies on the market who will provide this service for you. Whichever route you choose, it is always important to remember that search engine optimisation is not an exact science. It is a constantly evolving concept with no existing book of rules and regulations. Also, the way that different people carry out this kind of work often varies massively. Within the SEO industry, there is two terms that are thrown around regularly to describe alternative methods of optimisation. Those terms are ‘black hat’ and ‘white hat’. The first referring to those who use manipulation, shortcuts and temporary solutions to try and cheat the search engines, The latter is a more natural approach that is in line with Google guidelines.

Although black hat SEO can bring fast results, there is always the threat of penalisation with every new Google algorithm update. There is also the possibility of manual penalties when a Google webmaster actually reviews your site and finds it to offer a poor user experience or evidence of manipulative practices. Approximately 400,000 manual penalties are initiated each month by Google with a great deal more algorithmic actions taking place. However, as a general rule, only 5% of those affected ever make a request to Google for a review on their decision.

If you are engaging in optimisation activities that are likely to eventually bring a penalty to your website then it is a wise idea to cease such activities. The worst case scenario if you don’t, is that Google could de-index your site, meaning that nobody running a search on this search engine would be able to find it. If you have noticed a massive drop in your search engine position or traffic, or your site is no longer indexed, then you will more than likely have received a Google penalty. So, how can you rectify the problem?

First of all, it’s a good idea to go to Google Webmaster Tools and check if you’ve received any notification of penalisation. If you do have such a notification then you will know for sure that a manual penalty has been given. If you don’t, then it’s still possible that an algorithmic change has taken place.

Remove low quality links

If a website of questionable quality is linking to your website, then this could be doing harm to your search position. Therefore the first thing to do is to determine which of these links have become toxic. Once you know which sites are causing yours damage, you can then set about having them removed. This can either be done by contacting the webmasters of the sites in question or applying to Google Webmaster Tools to have certain links disavowed. The process of disavowing links and waiting for responses from other webmasters can be quite a lengthy one. While you’re waiting, it is also worth spending some time cleaning up your sites content and outbound links. Ensuring everything is of the highest quality and relevance will go a long way to getting your website back on top.

Fight against web-spam

In the past few months, Google has been publicly stepping up their efforts in the never-ending fight against web-spam. Most notably by targeting link networks in Poland which were being used worldwide to create manipulated backlink profiles for a huge number of websites. This is a positive step forward for the search engine giant and they will have identified an impressive amount of websites to penalise as a result. Although the tricks that spammers use to push their websites change frequently, Google is never far behind. For this reason, and for the general user experience of your customers, it is essential that you never engage in any optimisation manipulation and stick to organic techniques. In doing so, you will avoid suffering the iron fist of Google which could easily prompt your website and your business to sink!