What are Google penalties?

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Google penalties

One of the most important tasks for any local online marketing company is to know how to offer great search engine optimisation without putting their clients at risk of Google penalties.

These penalties exist to stop (or discourage) businesses from employing ‘black hat SEO’ techniques, which is anything that Google might deem as cheating the system in order to rank higher.

If your business is struck by a penalty, it can mean dropping back in the search results by many pages so that your customers cannot find you, or it might even mean being removed from the search results altogether.

If a website loses its general or local ranking it can make it almost impossible to gain new customers or sales in the blink of an eye.

What will Google penalise you for?

The challenging part of optimising a website is that even some well-intentioned plans can backfire and result in penalties. In other cases, it is a result of a website owner or marketer who thinks they can outsmart Google with shady SEO practices.

These can include:

• Keyword stuffing (piling many keywords into a website without doing the work to integrate them naturally)
• Irrelevant keyword use
• Paying another website for backlinks
• Duplicate content
• Cloaking (when the actual page is different to what the search engine robots see)
• Deceptive redirects
• Hidden content or links
• Viruses or spyware

How to avoid getting penalised by Google

In most cases all it takes to avoid Google penalties is to put the work in when it comes to search engine optimisation.

From using relevant keywords naturally, to improving your site speed, creating great meta data, and constantly adding high-quality content to your website, simply following best practice should be enough to avoid penalties.

Remember that there are no quick, easy shortcuts when it comes to local SEO strategies, just hard work that pays off over time.

You can also run a regular website audit to check for potential flags that could lead to penalties. If you have a small website, you can do this manually by reading everything, ensuring keywords are used well, removing spammy links and checking for quality.

If you have access to SEO tools such as SEMRush, you can use their ‘Site audit’ tool to check for problems and fix them.

What to do if you have been penalised

If your website has received a manual penalty, you will get notification via your Google Webmaster Tools. This will include a reason for the penalty, so you can work to rectify the issue as soon as possible.

If your website has been penalised due to an automatic algorithm update, you will not be notified, and it can be difficult to determine the reason. In this case, you will need to research recent algorithm updates from Google (the search engine updates hundreds of times per year) to see which one might have affected you, so that you can make changes.

Once you have made changes, you can submit a reconsideration request to have Google review your site again and potentially return you to your prior search ranking.

Local SEO in Sydney

Working with a local SEO company can help to ensure you are following best practices across your digital marketing efforts. Local Web is proficient in all things SEO, including avoiding black hat techniques and employing only tried and trusted SEO strategies for moving your business up the results pages.

Let us know if you would like a website audit consultation to see if our services can benefit your business.

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