Introduction to Google Penalties and Negative SEO

Google Penalties and Negative SEO

We’ve all been faced with some kind of a penalty, while driving, forgetting to pay our parking ticket in time or at least those we see while watching sports. When someone does something the referee deems a penalty, like illegal use of hands, kicking and similar they will signal a penalty. Google does the same and we can consider it as one serious referee ready to blow their whistle hard if you try to manipulate your results in any negative way. This is also known as the Google penalty and is often the result of harmful SEO practices or black hat SEO.

Does Google really have penalties?

Definitely, and you should be familiar with both white hat SEO practices and black hat SEO practices. White hat SEO practices will help you with your search engine optimisation practices. Whereas, you should know black hat SEO practices in order to avoid making any one of them during your search engine optimisation efforts. These might sound like crimes to you, while in reality some of them can happen by accident. For example, duplicate content is a common mistake and it happens when you use the same piece of content more than once on different web pages. While this one is easy to commit as a mistake, it’s also easily avoided – don’t use duplicate content.

Types of Google penalties

There are two major types of Google penalties and they are simply categorised by the manner in which they are applied. There are manual Google penalties that have been reported by humans and algorithmic penalties, which happen during algorithm updates. Manual Google penalties can be resolved by communicating directly with Google, while algorithmic penalties aren’t as easy to recognise and you might need to hire an SEO agency to help you with that.

How can you trigger a Google penalty?

If you’ve been wondering whether you’ve committed some of negative SEO practices, the following list will provide all the answers.

–          If your website has a virus or any type of malware or spyware on it, the chances of being penalised are high.

–          Any type of hidden text or hidden links is also a clear signal to Google.

–          The practice of presenting a different version of the website to a visitor and Google spider which is trying to crawl the website.

–          Pages that are stuffed with keywords.

–          Pages that contain keywords that don’t match the page intent.

–          Duplicate content across web pages.

–          If a visitor is redirected to a different webpage without his action, thus being deceived.

If you want to make sure your website doesn’t tick one or all of these boxes, make sure to team up with a reputable SEO Sydney team to avoid receiving a Google penalty.


Types of negative SEO attacks

While you might not even consider using any of these tactics, there are still those who wish to put harm somebody’s business and online presence. Negative SEO attacks are designed to do just that – by reducing the competitor’s visibility in search engines. These tactics have malicious intent and can harm a business, lower its rankings and steal the website of its potential. Some of the most common negative SEO attacks include:

–           adding viruses, adware and malware to your website by hacking it or any other hacking practices.

–          Investing time and efforts in off-page practices to build malicious links leading to your website.

–          Duplicating your content and spreading it on other web pages across the internet.

–          Diminishing your own search engine optimisation efforts by removing your backlinks.

–          Representing your brand and reputation through fake social media profiles and thus harming it.

By now you can conclude that these negative practices have the potential to trigger a Google penalty and harm your website. On the other hand, they aren’t as common as you might think and the intent behind these can be easily recognised as an attack on you. Either way, you should be aware of these practices so you’ll know when’s the time to take on the next steps.

How to prevent Google penalties and negative SEO?

If you’ve noticed a sudden drop in traffic or search engine rankings, or you want to be proactive and think about prevention, not the cure, you should consider the following.

Google Search Console is your ally – If you haven’t set email notification settings to enabled in your Google Search Console, it’s time to remedy that. If there is any change with your websites like website issues, changes, indexing problems, missing URLs, or server errors, you will get a notification. This notification can be a clear sign that someone has engaged in negative SEO practices or that any issue with your website might trigger a penalty.

Backlink monitoring and analysis – Pay close attention to your backlink portfolio on a regular basis. Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can make such analysis a piece of cake. Building a low-quality backlink to your website is relatively easy, but you can also recognise it with ease and disavow it before it harms your website. If you don’t recognise a backlink if it seems spammy, or low quality, remove your connection to this source with the help of these tools.

Check the health of your most important links – The tools we’ve mentioned, Ahrefs and SEMrush can also help with monitoring those high-quality backlinks. You don’t want to lose these from your backlink portfolio, especially if you’ve worked hard to build them or to be recognised by others as a valuable source of information. You can set the alert and learn when and if you lose an important backlink. You can then analyze the problem or get the links restored before your search rankings are affected by this loss.

Improve website security – the reason why everyone talks about the importance of website security is due to the rise of malware and hacking attempts. Everything is online now and everything should be properly secured. Thus, think about improving your website’s security to safeguard it from any malicious attempts or malware.

Lastly, don’t forget to monitor your social media profiles and social media mentions. Social listening tools are your allies so use them wisely. If you do get penalised or suffer from a negative SEO attack, fix the issues and submit a request to remove the penalty.

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