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Google Penalty: Definition and How to Avoid It

Last updated: Mar 16, 2024

Google Penalty: Definition and How to Avoid It
Cover image: Illustration of Google Penalty.

What is Google Penalty?

Google penalty is a form that Google imposes on a website that violates its webmaster guidelines. As a result, the page or website will be downgraded or permanently removed from the SERP.

When Google updates its algorithm, it may also add new rules that come with penalties. However, this differs from Google's penalty because the Google webspam team doesn't rely on AI-generated algorithms but instead uses manual actions.

Therefore, you need to understand Google's webmaster guidelines and use proper SEO strategies to avoid Google penalties. To learn more about this topic, read the following article in every detail!
 

Causes of Google Penalty

There are several reasons why Google may penalize a website. Here are a few examples:

  • Artificial internal and external links: Links that appear unnatural (obtained from link purchase), manipulative, or misleading.
  • Non-quality content: Some examples of content include automated content, spinning articles, duplicates, or excessive amount of affiliate links.
  • Keyword Stuffing: The excessive use of keywords in metadata and backlinks to improve search engine rankings.
  • Error 404: An HTTP response indicating that the requested page was not found on the server.
  • Too Many H1s: Google perceives this as an attempt to manipulate rankings with keywords, leading to judgment as spamming activity.
  • Hacked Website: A serious threat to a site's ranking in SERPs as it can lead to Google penalties and threaten user safety and convenience.
  • Viruses: Software that can replicate itself and spread to other computers, causing damage or disrupting system functionality. Examples include spyware and adware.
  • Cloaking: Displaying a different version of a web page to search engine robots.
  • Inappropriate redirects: Website visitors are automatically redirected to another page without clicking anything.

 

Google Penalty Example

After learning some of the causes, do you know what an example of a website that has received a Google penalty is? 

Generally, a website penalized by Google experiences a sudden and drastic decrease in its ranking. The website frequently disappears from the search results page (SERP). 

Apart from a decrease in organic traffic, other signs of a Google penalty can include a direct notification from Google through Google Search Console. Google will notify the site owner about the detected violation and the actions to fix it.

 

How to Avoid Google Penalty

To avoid a Google penalty, you need to understand the rules and guidelines outlined in Google Webmaster's guidelines. Generally, there are several methods that you can avoid penalties:

 

1. Avoid Paid Links

As previously said, paid links are one of the most typical reasons webmasters receive penalties. If you want to carry out this approach, make sure you collaborate with authoritative and reliable backlink partnerships

 

2. Create Automated Content

To avoid Google penalties, avoid creating automated content such as spinning articles or AI-generated content as this type of content typically has poor quality. 

Google reportedly updated its algorithms to identify and penalize websites that use these methods, according to Ahrefs.

 

3. Focus on Quality Content

Focusing on quality content is the key to avoiding Google penalties. Although some spam websites can get away with it, Google will quickly recognize and penalize websites that violate webmaster guidelines.

Using the right SEO strategy is the most effective technique to attract long-term traffic to your website. By creating user-friendly content, you have a greater chance of appearing in Google search results.

 

4. Following Google's E-E-A-T Guide

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It is the main aspect that Google assesses from website content on the internet.

Therefore, make sure your content conveys experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness to your target audience. By paying attention to the E-E-A-T guidelines, you can create content that is relevant, high-quality, and liked by the audience.


How to Recovery from Google Penalty

Overcoming penalties requires careful and strategic steps to correct the violation and restore the website's ranking to the desired position. Here are some recovery methods that you can follow:

 

1. Identify the Ranking Problem 

Google’s penalty can have an impact on your website's ranking in search results, causing a drastic drop and removal from the Google index.

One way to find out if your site has been penalized is to utilize a tool to identify where and how Google penalties affect websites.

 

2. Check for Google Algorithm Updates

Use Google Analytics to compare the traffic drop with the date of the Google algorithm update. Identify the update that caused the penalty, then analyze it to understand what improvements are needed.

For example, a website may display a penalty that requires a UI/UX change. By understanding algorithm updates and executing the right fixes, you can restore your website's search position and performance.

 

3. Conduct SEO and Content Audits

Conducting audits is a great way to identify technical and content issues that may be causing a website's performance to suffer in search results.

By conducting regular audits of your website's SEO and content, you can take steps to fix these issues and recover your website from Google penalties.

 

4. Fix Links that Violate Google Rules

Another key step to improving your website's performance in search results is to identify harmful backlinks and eliminate them. If these links cannot be removed, you can use the Google Disavow Tool to reject spam or irrelevant links.
On the other hand, you should continue to focus on healthy link-building practices by getting quality backlinks from reliable websites organically.

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