When Website Gets Penalized By Google, Can You Help?
If you believe your site has been penalized by Google, you’ll need to confirm that the decrease in traffic really is because your site has been penalized, and not simply because your rankings have been decreased due to natural reasons such as changes in search trends. If your site really has been penalized, don’t panic – there’s a chance you can get on good terms with Google again. Depending on the severity of your offense, the problem may or may not be easy to solve.
Here is a list of common reasons why sites get penalized by Google, and what can be done to set things straight.
Having Too Many Links from Irrelevant Sites
Getting too many backlinks from other sites can actually work against you if those sites aren’t relevant. It’s the quality of a backlink that matters, not the quantity. It’s especially important that you don’t have links from other sites that have been penalized by Google.
What to Do:
Visit the sites that you suspect are problematic and look for the contact information. Contact them one by one and ask them to take all links to your site down. You might even have to send them a legal notice.
If there are any remaining links, you can disavow them with the use of Google Webmaster Tools. Only use this tool for the links you cannot get removed.
Duplicate Content and/or Junk Content
If you have an older site with numerous pages filled with similar content with similar keywords, it may fall under the lines of “junk” content by today’s standards. Even if the content is well-written, Google still might consider it to be spam if there are other pages on your site with similar content.
What to Do:
It’s better to have just a few high quality pages with plenty of social shares and unique links rather than having dozens of pages with content that hardly anybody wants to share or even read. Put more focus on coming up with compelling content that people will really want to share, with the potential to go viral.
You have a few a choices of what to do right now. You can try combining multiple pages with similar content into a single page. You can either remove as much irrelevant content as possible, or block pieces of content from being indexed via the robots.txt file.
Your Site or Blog Has User-Generated Content
If you run a forum, message board, blog, or any other type of user-generated site, there might be some spammy content in there somewhere. This can especially happen if you don’t monitor the posts or submissions.
What to Do
For the time being, block the low quality content from being indexed. Start monitoring the submissions more actively. Once the low quality pages are improved with higher quality content, allow them to be indexed again. You can do this by removing them from the robot.txt file.
If your site has been penalized, there are some action steps you will want to take right way. Just as important however, there are certain things you should not do.
What Not to Do if Penalized by Google
Here are some things you DON’T want to do if your site has been penalized.
- Don’t create more links. Creating more links is a BAD thing when you are being penalized.
- Don’t keep working on your site the way you’ve been doing. Find out why it’s being penalized and start doing the exact opposite.
- Don’t send a reconsideration letter right away. Spend some time making an effort to comply and make the relevant changes. Filing for reconsideration is only a smart move after you’ve made some progress.
- Remember, to get penalized by any search engine can be frustrating because it results in reduced traffic to your website. While it’s a natural response to want to try and reverse the situation as quickly as possible, it is more important that you determine the right course of action first to avoid causing further damage.