Search Engine Optimisation and Google Penalties

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Search Engine Optimisation and Google Penalties

Sometimes the biggest task search engine optimisation poses is understanding the boundaries you can take your SEO efforts to without incurring a Google penalty. Google penalties come in many different shapes and sizes and it is always a frustrating process for the webmaster, especially if the site relied heavily on search traffic.

There are a few different things that would indicate you have been hit with a Google penalty, sometimes you will be informed via webmaster tools if you make use of it. You then need to follow a strict reconsideration process after you have amended any issues Google has. There are many reasons for getting a penalty, over optimisation, spamming, keyword stuffing or having hidden text on your site, just to name a few, but when can we spot that we have been hit by a penalty?

If you monitor your search traffic closely and you seem to experience a sudden drop, this could indicate you have been penalised in some way by Google. More specifically if you have experienced a sudden drop in some of your rankings, this could also mean a penalty. When we talk about drops what we mean are significant drops, have you dropped from the first page down to result 80, 90 or even 100? If so there is little doubt your site has been hit. If your site is particularly new it’s rankings may be a little erratic until you have built up a solid link authority, if it’s over 12 months old it’s time to start worrying.

If you try and search for your domain name and no results come back and your site has been established for over 3 months there is a good chance you will have a penalty. If you have only just registered your site that year it could be in, what is known as, the Google sandbox. This is Google’s attempt at protecting their index from spam, there is nothing you can do apart from continuing to build solid links and content. If your site is older than 12 months, again you have an issue.

Google penalties are never easy to deal with and the reconsideration process can be particularly tedious. If you are not the original owner of the domain it could be a previous owner has gone against Google’s guidelines and you are paying the price for it. Analyse your link and content to ensure there have been no unethical tactics implemented, if you find any remove them and plead with Google to reinstate your site in the index.

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