Did your site’s search engine rankings recently take a downward turn? If so, one of the following issues might be to blame:
- You have lost backlinks
- Your keyword’s search volume has decreased
- You have broken redirects
- You have server issues
- Your page load speeds have increased
Reviewing and addressing these issues should bring your rankings back to normal. If not, you might have a bigger problem: Google might be penalizing your website.
What is a Google Penalty?
Every day, billions of people use Google to read news, access weather information, and research new products to buy. As such, it is in Google’s best interests to make sure that they can access this information as quickly, easily, and reliably as possible.
If Google thinks a website is acting in a way that makes it more challenging for users to access information, it can issue them a penalty. This penalty is a black mark that the search engine’s algorithm takes into account when deciding whether or not to show the site to users.
Websites that get penalized by Google are less likely to show up in results pages. As such, they usually notice a drop-off in their organic visitor numbers, followed by a notable decline in leads and, ultimately, sales.
How Can You Tell if Google Penalized Your Website?
Google penalties come in two distinct forms:
- Manual penalties: Imposed by a human being
- Algorithmic penalties: Imposed during a Google algorithm change
If you believe Google may have levied a penalty on your site, searching for manual penalties is recommended. You can do so by following these three steps:
- Log into Google Search Console
- Click on the Security & Manual Actions tab
- Click through to the Manual Actions page
If your site has a manual penalty, you will find more information about it here.
Should you see a message that says “No Issues Detected” on the Manual Actions page, you will need to check for algorithmic penalties. You can do so by following these simple steps:
- Log into Google Analytics
- Select your website from the dashboard
- Click on the Acquisition tab
- Click on the All Traffic tab
- Click on Source/Medium
- Select Google/Organic from the dropdown menu
- Confirm when you began to lose visitors
- Check to see if Google updated its algorithm around that date
If your drop-off in organic visitors coincides with an algorithm update, it is likely that your site received an automated penalty.
How Long Do Google Penalties Last?
The length of your Google penalty depends almost entirely on how swiftly you take action to resolve it.
If you have a manual penalty, you can resubmit your site for consideration as soon as you have fixed the problem noted on the Manual Actions page. Google will then take a couple of days to ensure you do not have any additional issues. If all looks clear, they will lift your penalty shortly after.
The timeline to resolve algorithmic penalties is much more uncertain. Once you take steps to address issues, you will then have to wait until Google releases another update before you can escape your penalty. As such, it might take as long as a year to regain your rank positions.
How Can You Recover After Being Penalized?
Receiving a penalty from Google can truly impact your website and your business. However, it is possible to recover from this nightmare scenario by following these easy tips:
Delete Duplicate Content
When building your website, did you copy portions of text from someone else’s site? If so, Google might have flagged you for plagiarism. Consider deleting your duplicate content and replacing it with unique text to keep Google happy.
Disavow Unnatural Inbound Links
Does your website receive lots of inbound links from sites that look shady or untrustworthy? If so, there is a possibility that their bad reputation with Google is rubbing off on you. You can address this problem by disavowing these links.
Delete Unnatural Outbound Links
Are the pages on your website crammed full of links to other sites? If so, Google might think that you are spamming your users or selling backlinks. To avoid giving the search engine giant this impression, you should delete many of those links, and think carefully before adding them to your blogs and pages moving forward.
Need Help? Contact FZA Digital Today
At FZA Digital, we have been helping businesses across the United States achieve and maintain outstanding Google rankings for years. Whether you need help recovering from a penalty or making sure you never receive one in the first place, our team would be more than happy to assist. Reach out to us today at (424) 229-2923 or contact us online to get started.