What are Google Penalties and How to avoid these?

Before the concept of World Wide Web was known to anyone, gathering information was very tedious. But, thanks to the great minds like one of Tim Berner Lee, who gave birth to the biggest community which we call today as “www” or Internet. Today, we just need a computer with an Internet connection and we can explore the whole world in a go.

Talking about the Internet, one cannot forget the importance of Search Engines. These are the most vital part or you can say the bridge to reach what you are looking for. Furthermore, the concept of search engines looks irrelevant if we don’t mention the gigantic search engine- Google. Founded in 1998, this is the most used search engine ever. Anyone who is associated with a website as a webmaster, as a visitor or as a developer, knows the importance of Google. But this also leads to the competition among people to get their websites ranked in the top results of Google. This is where SEO or search engine optimization comes into play. Sometimes, the webmasters are deliberately in a dream to get their sites on top. Hence, they build unnatural low quality links, which leads to their sites penalized by Google. However, this practice can be avoided by knowing what these penalties are and how they can be avoided.

There are basically two types of Google Penalties:

1. Manual

2. Algorithmic

Manual Penalties occur when your website fails to follow Google’s search and quality guidelines. In this case, you receive a message from Google in your webmaster tool account about your whole site or some particular pages being penalized. Resulting to which, your site doesn’t appear in search engine results.

Further Manual penalty can be divided into 2 categories:

Site-wide Match: Applies to the whole website.

Partial Match: Can apply to certain page of the website.

Algorithmic Penalty: These are a result of the refinement (updates) in the search algorithm of Google. These are done by Google, in order to hit the rankings of the website which do not solely follow its guidelines.

These Algorithm updates are of two types:

Google Panda Update: This Algorithm update was first introduced in Feb, 2011. It looks for the sites with duplicate or low quality content or both. Websites that fall into this category, experience significant downfall in the Search engine rankings. And those who follow the quality and unique content remain unaffected or get a boost in the rankings.

Above is the detail of updated algorithms of Panda. Panda mainly focuses on user experience. Better user experience leads to top ranking.

Google Penguin Update: Unlike Panda, penguin updated algorithm is based on rendering results on the nature of backlinks. The first Google Penguin update rolled out on 24th April, 2012. It hurts the websites which have negative, low PR, or Spam links.

The penguin update mainly focuses on getting links in an ethical manner. But the case also includes not involving in the practice of over optimization. Even if you go white hat all the time, your website can see down rankings unless you know the correct ratio. Whereby it needs to be maintained else you will get hit hard.

Google is refining its algorithm day by day and this is quite alarming for black hat practitioners.

How to recover from Google penalties like Panda, Penguin etc.?

If you have been hit by the panda or Penguin updates of Google, the first step you need to take is “Analyze”. Analyze your website against the update. What that update focuses on? For eg: the latest penguin updates focused on link diversity and anchor text distribution. See if your website was following the rules until the update was out? If not, make adjustments according to the changes to avoid such drops in ranking in future.

If your site has been penalized by Google, then you will receive a message in your webmaster account. The main reason of penalizing is the unnatural links, low quality content and copied content. If you have been penalized because of unnatural links, then you will have to remove them at the earliest. You can download a list of negative links from the Google webmasters and other available online tools. The best way to remove bad links is to remove it manually by requesting the webmasters of the linked websites. But if this is not possible, you can also request Google not to consider them by using the “Disavow tool”

Why these hit you? How much time requires recovering from these?

Since the beginning, Google has always been improving its algorithm to chop out the spammers of the results. Days are gone when anyone with fake, low quality content and huge number of unnatural links can rule the results. If you practice this today, you are most likely to get hit by this search engine. In brief, we increase the chances of getting hit by intentionally or unintentionally violating Google guidelines. This type of practices can adversely affect our business online.

No Black Hat SEO Can Render Good Results

The time for recovery depends on the type of penalty your website has been hit by.

If it is by algorithmic updates, then the recovery would be a bit slow. It can take a month or two to regain the ranking. If you get backlinks from high authority websites, you can achieve faster results.

In case of manual penalty, you will need to collect all the negative results. Then after, you need to either disallow them using the webmaster’s disavow tool or manually remove them. Once you are done with either of them, you can send your website for consideration. Your website starts showing in results soon after the request (if everything goes right).

How one can avoid these penalties in advance?

There is a very simply yet effective mantra to avoid these penalties. That is “Always use white hat techniques of SEO and customize your website according to the Google Guidelines”. Plan your work strategy according to the Google algorithm updates. If you abide by this mantra, you don’t have to panic about the update penalties.