Is your site not getting the traffic it deserves even though you have done digital marketing work correctly? This is one of the worst scenarios that site owners or digital marketers can face. Because there is a possibility that the site may face Google penalties.
Thanks to the power of the Google search engine, it has the opportunity to control the search results. In other words, your site must meet certain standards in order to be listed on Google. Sites that do not meet the standards set by Google are kept in the background.
What is Google Penalty?
A Google penalty means that your site isn't appearing correctly in search engines or your rankings for target keywords have dropped drastically. When your site encounters a Google penalty, you cannot reach your target audience. Therefore, your traffic values and income decrease.
Google penalty is a situation that every site can face. The reason you encounter a Google penalty may be that you used the wrong SEO efforts. When your site gets a Google penalty, getting rid of it and trying to regain a reputation is not an easy task.
You may need to take many different actions to avoid the Google penalty. You should review your site and remove the situation that caused you to be penalized. Then you should try to gain rankings again by using the right SEO studies.
When trying to save your site from a Google penalty, you should learn what search engines deem necessary on a website. Thus, you can make your site appear in search results again. In some cases, you may need professional support to avoid the Google penalty.
Google's Fight Against Spam and Poor Results
Why are Google penalties applied? Google's main task is to provide its users with the most relevant search results. A site that tries to trick the search engine and change the results is seen by Google as spam and poor quality. This poor quality means a worsening of the user experience.
The Google penalty is a natural result of advanced algorithms that assist Google in performing and auditing site crawls. Penalties are generally applied through the algorithm, even if there are manual actions such as Google's occasional immediate penalty.
All penalties are to protect Google's search results. Google clearly states what it expects from sites in the webmaster guidelines. Any action taken against these guidelines will be considered spam and sites will be penalized if necessary.
Google detects spam sites during the crawling phase. Pages that Google deems as spam are not indexed, or even if they are, they are kept in the background. Manual action is taken by Google's review team when sites seriously violate the guideline.
The Most Common Spam Actions That Cause Google Penalties
Most of the Google penalties (90% or more) are implemented through the algorithm. You may suspect a Google penalty for sudden traffic drops or ranking losses on your site. The most common actions that can result in you being penalized are as follows:
- Possession of spyware, adware, viruses or other malicious software on your site.
- Include hidden links or hidden text on your site.
- Showing different content to different site visitors to search engines.
- Redirecting users to different pages even though they do not take any action on your site.
- Filling the page with unrelated keywords to gain a ranking advantage.
- Overuse of targeted keywords in the content.
- Having a significant amount of duplicate or duplicate content on pages on your site.
The list of situations that can cause you to receive Google penalties is quite extensive. However, the reasons for the penalties applied to the sites in general are as above. As you can see for these reasons, the main reason why sites are penalized is to try to deceive the search engine.
Actions That Cause Manual Google Penalties
The manual Google penalty is the type of penalty you should be most afraid of. If your site has been penalized by a manual action, you will have to work hard to restore your site. For this reason, you should stay away from attempts that could result in a manual Google penalty.
- To tolerate abuse of your site through spam transactions.
- Allowing spam content (comments, forum messages, etc.) created by users.
- Taking advantage of services that are used for free but whose main purpose is to create spam.
- Attempting to abuse structured data or taking erroneous actions about it.
- Getting unnatural links to your site or buying links in bulk.
- Making unnatural link exits from your site or selling links.
- Creating weak content that does not add any value to the visitor.
- Performing sneaky redirects that users don't notice.
- Using hidden texts filled with keywords in the site content.
- Taking actions that violate Google News and Google Discover policies.
These are the most important actions that result in a manual Google penalty for site owners, even as Google regularly tries to overhaul and keep its policies up to date. However, in general, gaining unnatural links and giving unnatural links are the most important penalties.
How to Detect Google Penalties?
The process of learning whether your domain name has been penalized by Google is called google ban query. If you have received a Google penalty by manual action, you will be notified through Google Search Console. If your site has been penalized by algorithms, Google will not inform you about it. You can use various tools to determine if you have been penalized.
- Semrush: You can audit your site by going to Semrush Sensor. Once the audit is complete, Semrush will show you which pages have high volatility. Thanks to this volatility, you can find out whether your site has been penalized by algorithms.
- Panguin: By using the Panguin tool, you can find out if your site is penalized by algorithms in a very short time. In order to use this tool, you need to grant access to your Google Analytics account. So you can check your organic traffic data.
- FE International: When using the FE International tool, all you have to do is add your site to the tool and review historical data. During the review, you should check the link between the rises and falls in your traffic values and algorithm updates.
- MozCast: With the MozCast tool you get an estimated value for changes in the algorithm. If your traffic has dropped drastically but MozCast data is normal, it could mean your site is facing a potential Google penalty.
- Google Search Console: Google Search Console is your best friend to control your site. If your site has been penalized by manual actions, you can see all notifications from your property here. You may have to make an extra effort to remove every penal action you detect.
- Rank Ranger: Rank Ranger is an ideal tool for those who don't want to deal with too much statistical information. If you see a lot of red values and your traffic has dropped when you generate a report, you should be careful. This could mean that your site is the target of the algorithm.
- AccuRanker Grump: The AccuRanker Grump tool lets you track Google. The more grumpy the tiger figure on the site, the greater the volatility in the rankings. If the tiger is grumpy and your site traffic has decreased, the root cause may be due to the changes in the algorithm.
- Fruition: Frution tool is one of the ideal tools for checking Google penalties. This tool analyzes traffic changes by looking at historical site data. If you are facing too many negative situations in traffic data, you may have received an algorithm penalty.
Getting a Google penalty can be scary, but what can really bother you is being unaware of it. You can't notice what's going on as your site's traffic values drop. You can find out if there is any problem on your site by using Google penalty check tools.
How to Review Google Penalties Based on Links?
Links are still among the most important ranking factors for Google. You may face Google penalties if you unnaturally link to your site. If your site has somehow been penalized due to an unnatural link structure, you should perform two important checks to produce the necessary solution.
1. Checking Link Texts
If you have been penalized by Google for links, the first point you should check is the link texts. After scanning your site in any link analysis tool, you should examine the anchor text section. In a natural link profile, the links will be in the form of explicit URLs or branded words.
In an unnatural link profile, the link texts are usually filled with target keywords. This is a clear indication that you have purchased links. Google's algorithms are capable of detecting such behavior. That's why it's so important to pay attention to diversity when creating links.
2. Checking the Links
When you want to check inbound links to your site, you need to use a link analysis tool. The data in the link analysis tools will clearly show the sites that link to your site. You can do this through Google Search Console if you wish. But a link tool is more functional.
You should do the same check for outgoing links. If you have 100 pages on your site and you link to 1,000 different sites, you are doing an objectionable job. Also, if you get links from such sites, you may experience problems in the future. You should pay attention to the links you receive from your site and the links you provide from your site.
Checking the link texts, inbound links to the site and outbound links from the site are the first steps to avoid Google penalties for links. After performing the checks, you should get rid of the problematic links and link texts.
How to Remove Google Penalties?
The process of removing Google penalties is quite a long process. You may be penalized for security problems, unnatural links, weak content, duplicate or duplicate content, and other major problems. Whichever type of penalty you received, you should do your Google penalty removal process accordingly.
1. Security Problems
If you have security problems on your site, you will have very serious problems. When Google detects that your site has been hacked or that you have malware on your site, you will be hit hard in terms of search results. Because what happens to your site is indicated in the search results.
- Shut down your site now: Block people from accessing your site so it doesn't cause more problems. You can do this by showing a 503 error to users. You should then change all usernames and passwords associated with your site.
- Make the necessary information: Inform other people on your site or various employees, if any, about the subject. You should contact the place where you get the server service and tell them about the situation and help them take precautions for themselves.
- Find the source of the problem: There is a wide variety of tools available to help you understand what's going on on your site. Check the health of your site from your Google Search Console property. If Google detects malicious software on your site, it will provide you with the necessary information about it.
- Begin the cleaning process: Remove malware, compromised files, and spam from your site. If you have a clean backup that you have taken before, you can use it and if you do not experience much data loss.
After clearing your site from security problems, you should take the necessary measures to avoid a similar situation. You may not be able to completely prevent all attacks on your site, but you can ensure that your site is not an easy target.
2. Unnatural Links
We have already explained some of the things that can be done about unnatural links. If Google has penalized you for unnatural links, it may do so for two different reasons. One of the reasons is unnatural links to your site, and the other is unnatural links from your site.
- Unnatural inbound links: This is when Google thinks inbound links to your site are unnatural. You may be penalized for conditions such as purchased links, indexed links, spam blog comments, and involvement in link networks.
- Unnatural outbound links: This is when Google thinks outbound links from your site are unnatural. You can get this penalty if you have sold links to different irrelevant sites from your site or if you have made link outputs in the form of spam.
As soon as Google starts to think that the links to and from your site are out of control, you will be hit with a manual penalty. Buying links, exchanging links, getting links with keyword-filled link texts, or creating links with automated programs are the main causes of this problem.
- Removing inbound links to your site: This takes a very long process. First of all, you should examine your link profile and determine which links are problematic. You should then reject these links in accordance with Google guidelines.
- Removing outbound links from your site: This process is quite simple. You remove the links from your site to other sites and everything is back to normal. If there is malicious software that continues to automatically place links on your site, you should remove them.
You should use advanced linking tools to decide which links are bad or risky. Ahrefs, Semrush and Majestic are the right tools to help you with this. You should not forget that each vehicle has its own control standards.
3. Weak Content
If you've been penalized manually for poor content, this is an easily fixed problem. The problem of poor content is especially common when you have too many affiliate links. The reason for this is to use the text of the company that makes the sale in product or service promotions.
- Remove content: You should not use text content from the manufacturer or supplier on your site. Every content you publish on your site must be original.
- Check the content: You should check the content with too many links and keyword-stuffed content in order to get a full ranking.
- Write new content: You should write new content to replace the content you have removed from your site. When writing content, you should remember that you are writing for people.
- Create a content plan: Create a content plan to get more content on your site. Try to take advantage of all content types when creating content.
If you're incapable of creating content, you may want to consider outsourcing. It is very important that the content on your site reflects your brand and informs the visitors. In this way, you can get rid of the weak content problem.
4. Duplicate and Copied Content
The most important goal of Google is to provide the best search experience to its users. In order to fulfill this purpose, it provides answers to different questions and ranks the sources in each query. It is a situation that spoils the search experience for two different sites with the same content to rank in the search engine at the same time.
Google, therefore, tries to decide which content is more original. Sites with more original content will rank higher, while sites with duplicate and duplicate content will rank lower. There are three different situations for duplicate content and it is necessary to understand them well.
Recurring content of yours on your site
This is one of the situations that is usually seen in e-commerce sites. If you have a system that creates different URLs for the same product, Google will perceive this as a move to cheat the algorithm and you will have problems. For example, you can check the following links:
https://www.site.com/tr/urun/seo/ https://www.site.com/tr/urun/seo?sort=newest https://www.site.com/tr/urun/seo?sort=best https://www.site.com/tr/urun/seo?session-id=123
Publishing your content on other sites
- Request removal of content: You can contact the owner of the site that copied your content and request the removal of your content. If your request is not answered positively or if there is no response within a certain time, you can proceed to the next step.
- Request removal of content from Google: You can request removal of content for copyright reasons by visiting Remove Content from Google provided by Google. When reporting content as duplicates, you must report each page individually.
- Contact the host of the copying site: Once you find the site that copied your content, you can contact where it received the server service. Places that provide such services may terminate the service of the site copying content because they do not want to deal with legal situations.
- Get support from a lawyer: Getting help from a legal advisor can be a problem in terms of your budget. However, if the copied content is doing great damage to your brand or somehow preventing you from earning income, it's best to take legal action.
Inclusion of other people's content on your site
If you use other people's content on your site, your rankings in Google will decrease. Because Google does not have an approach to offer different sites with the same content to its users. This problem is usually experienced in e-commerce sites.
In e-commerce sites, site owners fill product descriptions with descriptions directly from the manufacturer. For this reason, it is common for the same content to appear on hundreds of different sites selling the same product. Regardless, you shouldn't make this mistake.
- Completely remove duplicate content: Remove all content on other sites that you have published on your own site one by one. You can use the Copyscape tool to make this process easier. With Copyscape, you can quickly detect duplicate content.
- Write or print new content: After you remove duplicate content from your site, you need to replace it with content. You can write this content yourself using the right keywords. Alternatively, you can get support from others in content writing.
- Review product descriptions: When major e-commerce sites use product descriptions as they come from the manufacturer, it's unlikely to leave them behind with the same content. You should add 1-2 paragraphs to make the product description unique.
- Don't forget redirects: If you remove a page entirely, use a 301 redirect to redirect it to a meaningful but different page. Google will understand that the page has been removed permanently.
You should be careful when substituting newly made content for duplicate content. Especially when you hire an author for this job, you should ask them for a guarantee that they do not publish the content elsewhere. If the content has been published elsewhere, your site will continue to have duplicate content.
Submitting a Reconsideration Request to Google
If your site has received an algorithm-based penalty, this part will not be of use to you. If you receive a manual penalty, you must request reconsideration after removing the circumstances that gave rise to the penalty.
After seizing every opportunity to improve the current quality of your site, you can turn to a reconsideration request. A reconsideration request is a simple request to Google to have your site reviewed for compliance with Google guidelines.
If you're going to request a reconsideration on your Google Search Console property, the most important thing is to tell Google what you're doing. Google offers you a text field for this and you should make the most of it. For this, you should consider the following tips:
- Detail what you've done: You don't need to write dozens of pages when making a request to Google. Just write down what you did, why you did it, and what results you expect. You can also specify dates and influence Google.
- Share your solutions: If you have been penalized for unnatural links, you should state your solution. If you have removed 1,234 unnatural links from your site, you should write this. So Google will understand more clearly what exactly you are doing.
- Notify those responsible: If your site has become like this after getting service from an SEO agency, you can put the responsibility on them. If you are sure of the situation, you can blame the SEO agency. You can say that you are no longer working with them and that you are trying to do the right things.
You should be mindful of the language you use when requesting a reconsideration. You should not use angry, impatient or accusatory language when making a request to Google. After requesting reconsideration, you should wait patiently.
Rejection of a Request for Reassessment
There is no guarantee that the reconsideration request you send to Google will be positive. If your reconsideration request is denied, the Google penalty will remain in effect. When your request is rejected, you can get more detailed information about the problem on your site.
When your reconsideration request is denied, you must get back to work. You should make the necessary arrangements on your site using the tips that Google offers you. If the problem is related to the links, then you should analyze the links again.
After you have completely eliminated the problems on your site, you can send a re-evaluation request. The more serious the problems on your site, the more likely you are to be rejected repeatedly. You should not neglect to take the necessary steps.
Google penalties are the last thing you want to encounter. If you do not want to receive these penalties, you must comply with some general rules. You should be aware that any over-optimized operation will be a problem and the rules can change constantly.
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