Being among the first on a search results page is essential today. But the competition is tough. In this frantic race for the top spots, Google’s SEO penalties can be serious obstacles. This is enough to give site managers cold sweats, because getting a good place in the SERP requires work, especially in SEO, and time. Once you’ve reached your goal, you don’t want to incur the wrath of the search engine and be relegated to the tenth page of results. Poor positioning can cause traffic to drop and totally question the economic model of a website. So how not to be penalized? Knowing the penalties that can be given and acting accordingly is probably the best way. We take stock so that you have all the cards in hand.
What are Google’s SEO penalties?
Penalties have two origins: they result either from manual actions or from algorithmic filters.
Manual penalties are given by Google employees. The Search Quality Team is in charge of carrying out a watch to identify on the web those who try to improve the organic referencing of their site by using techniques which do not appear in its guidelines.
The owners of the targeted sites are informed via their Google Search Console interface. In the “manual actions” tab, a report tells them what they are accused of.
Google, known to like to cultivate secrecy, is showing great transparency. The same cannot be said for the algorithmic filters that the number one search engine has implemented.
The firm keeps repeating it: it wants to offer Internet users quality content. Faced with the rise of spam, it had to set up algorithms responsible for detecting and penalizing offenders.
The two main ones are Panda and Penguin. The first, Panda, was introduced in 2011 in order to combat poor quality content. The following year, Penguin had the mission of tracking down fake links.
When a site is affected by this type of penalty, it is much more difficult to know. No message is sent to the owner of the site to warn him and explain to him what is wrong. To find out, you have to analyze data from Google Analytics and the Search Console. An unexplained drop in traffic on a page that does not respect good practices is most certainly the victim of an algorithmic penalty.
What are the consequences for the positioning of sidelined websites?
Depending on the seriousness of the facts, the penalties applied are not the same. There are three different ones:
- downgrading, one or more pages suddenly lose places in the results;
- de-indexing, the targeted pages disappear completely from the search engine;
- the blacklist, this is the heaviest sanction. The entire website no longer exists for Google.
The common point of these three sanctions: they have an impact on natural referencing and therefore lead to a drop in organic traffic. If other sources of flow, such as social networks with the help of Instagram bluetick verification, do not allow the site to be maintained at a sufficient level, the consequences can be dramatic.
Are Google’s sanctions irreversible?
The penalties applied by both the Search Quality Team and the algorithms are not final.
The easiest penalty to lift is certainly the manual penalty. Since Google sends a message in the Search Console to explain what is penalized and why, it is enough to make the appropriate changes. The work can, on the other hand, be long when it comes to removing all toxic links, disavowing incoming links that could not have been removed on request or even creating more qualitative content.
Once these corrections have been made, Google gives the option of requesting a re-analysis of the site from the Search Console. If all the modifications have been made, the page or pages concerned will regain their letters of nobility.
Sanctions imposed by algorithmic filters can also be corrected. This obviously implies having known how to detect them. We can make sure that we take the right corrective measures by focusing on what does not comply with the recommendations and by modifying it. This work, if done well, can even be an opportunity to be more efficient in SEO and gain visibility.
How to avoid being delisted and suffering a drop in traffic?
To please the algorithms and be well placed on the web, you have to get into the habit of:
- ensure that its site is regularly updated with unique and quality content;
- pay attention to the quality of the backlinks, the links that point to the site;
- have well-marked articles;
- control the loading time of your pages, the shorter the loading time, the better;
- respect the good practices defined by Google.
So, we opt for the white hat and forget the black hat. In other words, we choose authorized referencing techniques and we do not try to deceive the algorithm with abusive practices.
The referencing penalties put in place by Google have only one goal: to offer quality and relevant content in relation to the request typed by the Internet user. When you respect the rules of the game, there is no reason to fear them. If all this seems complex to you or if you want to be sure of not being sanctioned, do not hesitate to call on professionals who will guide you. The editors of SEO techniques that will allow you not to be banned by Google, but, on the contrary, to appear in place in the SERP. Contact them!