How to keep your website safe from Google penalties is a must know simply because it helps to do the right SEO for the website. Knowing what causes Google penalties helps to optimize a website for search engines without any possibility or risk of getting the site penalized. I have explained different types of Google penalty and the possible reasons for your perusal.
While Google penalizes websites at fault in an automated way in most of the cases, some penalties are imposed in manual ways. When a manual penalty hits a website, the site owner is notified about it. Google’ human reviewers send an alert to the site owner through his / her Google webmaster account. Such alerts can be found within the ‘Manual Actions’ tab under ‘Search.’
Websites with poor content, black hat SEO or irrelevant links fall prey to Google’s algorithmic penalties whenever the search giant rolls out algorithmic updates. Since Google’s algorithmic update has become a regular phenomenon, websites not in sync with Google’s guidelines are likely to suffer a setback in the search engine result page (SERP) ranking and organic traffic. Unlike manual penalties, it is difficult to identify algorithmic penalties which owners of the victim websites are not notified about. If you notice a sudden drop in the volume of daily traffic to your website, don’t ignore it. It may be a result of an algorithmic penalty.
If your website gets hacked, Google may penalize it by removing some of its entire links from search result pages. It is very unfortunate that your site is negatively hit by Google though you are not at fault. There are numerous such cases including Christian Leadership University Online, an online university, which faced a Google penalty when it got hacked. Hacking results in spam backlinks to the target website, thereby leading to the Google penalty. Google penalty due to hacking is a kind of manual penalty. When Google cuts a hacked website’s links from search results, naturally the site’s traffic drops to a bottom.
These days user-generated content is part of many business websites’ content marketing strategies. It not only adds to a site’s content volume but also increases its digital footprint. However, the same user-generated content, if it’s spam, may cause your website to get penalized by Google. The same had happened to Mozilla’s website because of spam user-generated content. Google wrote in its penalty alert to Mozilla, “Google has detected user-generated spam on your site. As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to your site.” Using “no follow” tag in the user-generated content is one of the possible ways to protect your site from such penalties. The “no follow” tag tells search engines that your website or forum does not endorse any of the links in user-generated content.
Your website may be hit by a Google penalty because of your competitors who can hurt the search engine optimization of your site, thereby inviting Google to penalize you. They can do it by linking spam sites to your website through negative SEO. If any spam site is found linking to yours, do disavow it immediately. Create a list of all spam inbound links and then upload it to your Google Webmaster account using the disavow links tool page.