The concept of Search Engine Optimization is practiced by webmasters in order to rank their websites in the top ten search results shown by search engines. Of the numerous search engines on the web, the one search engine that most webmasters optimize their websites for is Google, which launched its search engine service in 1997. Google search engine receives about half a billion search queries each day and in turn, it has become the most visited search engine on the web. If Google is the preference of most web users, then consequently, webmasters have to design and maintain their websites so that it is compliant with Google’s publisher guidelines.
Google prioritizes websites with the help of a ranking system called PageRank. Based on Google’s indexing methods, the PageRank of a website can be between 0-10 of which zero is the least and ten is the best. Google assesses various factors before ranking or indexing a website, notable factors such as keyword density, number of backlinks, relevancy of the content, activity on the website, social media presence, and more.
The main objective of search engines is to provide dependable and relevant content in their search results, so they are always hard-and-fast on activities and techniques that could scam their system. Google’s indexing algorithm incorporates robots called Googlebots, which prohibit fraudulent content by reading and crawling through links, pages, and structures of websites. Googlebots are automated programs that crawl the Internet 24/7 performing indexing and ranking activities.
What if your website is not ranked or indexed by Google? There are two answers to this question: One, if your website is newly designed, it may take weeks or even months for Google to index your website, a scenario referred to as Sandbox. Second, if your website does not comply with Google’s publisher guidelines or if there is any breach of Google’s policies, then this could result in what is called a Google Penalty. If you are hit with a Google Penalty, then the following are the indications:
- Lack of online traffic.
- Website inaccessible or removed.
- Lower PageRank or PageRank not available.
- Devaluation of links.
What are the activities that would warrant a Google Penalty? Some of the familiar prohibited SEO techniques such as cloaking, including hidden links and content, and sneaky redirection would warrant a Google Penalty. Stuffing keywords all over a page, acquiring links inorganically, hosting duplicate content without giving credit to the actual source, and creating numerous pages with similar page titles – all these activities are also deemed to be fraudulent. At times such activities can deceive Googlebots, and after recent updates, bots have become far more intelligent in tracking such fraudulent activities.
Refrain from engaging in such fraudulent activities, because once penalized, the results can be catastrophic and devastating to your business. Once hit with a Google Penalty knowingly or unknowingly, the recovery process could turn out to be a long-drawn-out saga.
Though the recovery process can be extended one, I would like to suggest a few tips to recover from a Google Penalty.
- Try to take a proactive approach to both uncovering the policy breach and addressing it.
- Check for spamming links and offensive content in your website and remove it immediately.
- Cleanse your website one final time and also ensure that your website complies with Google’s guidelines completely.
- When your website is recovering from a Google Penalty, do not engage in link schemes that generate traffic and bring in external links.
- Disentangling a Google penalty probably requires an acknowledgement of the non-compliance by the website owner, a clean site, and an accord of compliance with Google’s guidelines.
Hope these tips may help you in recovering your website from a Google Site Penalty.
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