May 29, 2019 - 08:11 AM
Some reasons Google often uses to penalize websites:
May 30, 2019 - 11:35 AM
Google has several Quality Guidelines. Violating them could lead to penalties or outright blacklistings. You can usually tell if a site has been blacklisted if it is unavailable in Google search when you search for the domain name.
The top reasons sites get blacklisted include:
- Scraped content/copyright violations
- Hidden text or links (example: white text on white background or content positioned off the visible page)
- Auto-generated content
- Selling/Purchasing links in obvious ways
- Link schemes
- Affiliate spam
- Illegal activities (underage porn, phishing, etc)
- Hacked/hijacked sites
These types of activities usually lead to manual reviews by the spam team and will often lead to blacklistings.
Other activities can lead to ranking & traffic penalties that Google won't call penalties, but essentially are. These include:
- Over monetized/bad user experience
- Keyword stuffing
- Thin content
- Duplicate content
- Incorrect coding (too many examples to list)
- Incorrect redirects
- Over optimization
- Poorly managed UGC (User Generated Content)
- Using known PBNs (Private Blog Networks)/linking schemes
- Garbage, poorly written content
- Non unique content
- Very slow sites
- Too much content with too little authority
- Poor mobile experiences
- Big difference between what is crawled and what is shown to the user
These penalties are usually algorithmic, but can be long lasting. Many sites fall into these traps unknowingly or as an attempt to take short cuts.
I've seen even the smartest developers try to hide content in various ways because they want search traffic, but don't want to show the content to visitors.
Penalties can kill websites/companies. Algorithms change constantly and many high quality, clean sites get caught in algorithm false positives, unknowingly being categorized as search spammers in Google's long, massive battle to squash search spam.
For example, in August 2018 a new core algorithm was released by Google that hurt many quality sites (and low quality sites). In 2019 they retracted some of the changes, but the algorithm is far from perfect.
Sep 28, 2020 - 09:51 AM
Most likely, you'll know you have been penalized by Google if your website is not ranking for your own brand keyword or brand name. Of all keywords, your brand name should be the one ranking since it should be promoted within your own site, so in the case that it's not, then it's most likely because Google might have removed you from SERP. Also, it's evident that you're penalized when you run a site search for your domain and it's nowhere to be found.
Here are the most common factors that contribute to why your site has been penalized by Google:
1. Buying or selling links - accepting money for links is never OK, especially if the page has no relevance to your topic or industry. While there are sponsored posts for marketing strategy, there are tags that help pinpoint this so Google won't be counting it as a factor. But in the case where you buy links, it's not a matter of "if Google will penalize you" but "when will Google penalize you" since along the way, if you keep moving forward with the approach, Google may be able to track it and may lead to penalty.
2. H1 tags misuse - H1 tags exist to be able to let the reader know what the page is about. However, in the case where it reflects something that is completely irrelevant from the actual content, and is only placed there for the mere purpose of adding keywords, then Google would view it as misleading and could result in penalization.
3. Keyword stuffing -one of the factors in ranking is the appearance of relevant keywords in your content. However, very high keyword density appears as poorly written content only because you're writing this particular content to be able to add more and more keywords. If Google detects a high number of keywords in your content or a particular page, it may serve as a ground for penalty.
4. Using blog networks - blog networks are different sites that have blog pages uploading similar content across the whole network. They tend to republish the articles in different blog sites thereby gaining more backlinks to their site. However, Google reacts negatively in this approach as they tag any kind of network is a sign of potential SERP manipulation which is against their policies.
5. Comment spamming - one way to build links is leaving comments to many different sites with a link back to your site. There are tools that can do this automatically which means there are also tons of backlinks created for your site. But Google can easily detect this especially if the comments are the same across all different sites. Also, most sites would have an automated spam detection system and if you're hit too many times, you'll definitely be tagged as spam.
Hope this helps!