When Google does not place your website as high as you expect, you might wonder what are you’re doing wrong. Knowing what you are doing wrong in order to fix it and obtain a good result in Google’s web positioning is essential to subsequently obtain a number of clicks, conversions and leads higher than the current one.
Positioning in Google is based on the different algorithms the search engine giant has created to place the contents within its search engine. Web penalization comes from bad choices or management of the elements that are considered basic elements to positively evaluate the result of these algorithms. Among the elements and causes that Google considers when evaluating websites are the quality of content, reputation, backlinks, and the usability or user’s experience.
Google has several existing algorithms that it applies when evaluating websites. Among them, there are some well-known such as Top Heavy, Hummingbird, Panda or Penguin.
Due to Google’s Panda filter, many pages have been penalized and offer worse results, because to the parameters through which Google’s algorithm values a website have become more strict.
Blogs, forums, newspapers, magazines, websites or eCommerce sites have been affected by these changes when assessing a page’s SEO.
How to know whether Google has penalized you?
Google has two ways to apply penalties, either manually or automatically. In the case of a penalty applied manually, Google previously warns its user that something that violates the parameters of the algorithm has been found, and that, due to this, he/she will be penalized in its positioning. After finding suspicious elements, Google usually offers a period for the user to correct this error, informing what the consequences of maintaining those elements on the user’s website are.
The problem arises when the penalty is applied automatically. This penalty may be applied due to a change in the Google’s parameters, and the new algorithm is applied automatically without the user being notified. This type of penalty takes place when an indexing robot finds patterns that can be considered dishonest or SPAM, among many other reasons.
To know whether your website has been penalized by Google, you should analyze the following sections or answer the following questions:
- Is your website positioned when searching for your own brand?
- Has your positioning changed when searching for the terms for which you positioned before?
- If you cannot find yourself through Google’s search engine, check that you appear using this in the search: “cache: www.yourwebsitename.domain”
- One of the aspects that Google values the most is your site’s score. To know it, you can access PageRank and know the score Google gives your website. If it has dropped, Google has penalized you.
- Does any of your pages, other than you homepage, position?
Reasons for web penalization by Google
There are many reasons for Google to penalize a website. No one really knows how many reasons there may be for Google to give a negative score to your site, maybe only Google knows. We wanted to collect some of the most common reasons that usually affect your positioning within Google:
1.- Duplicate content
One of the aspects that Google values best is originality. Therefore, duplicated contents are penalized.
A very common practice, particularly in online stores, was to use the manufacturers’ texts and complete information to sell their products. It was a simple way to present the products and achieve a positioning of the contents using original manufacturer’s text and presentation.
For the content not to be considered as a duplicate, it is not enough to change the colour, of the format. Google values very deeply that the uploaded content is 100% original.
Keep in mind that you may be using duplicate images or tables, but with new content. In these cases, the description of the images or the files may be the same as in the original, so the content will continue to be considered as a duplicate, as it will not have been completely modified.
Also, it is important to incorporate new URLs, as a repeated URL ends up being harmful to all those sites that have the same URL.
Additionally, you need to consider the fact that the duplicate content may come from a website that is more important than yours. For example, if you duplicate content from Amazon or eBay, you will be affecting your site negatively, but you will not harm those sites, as they are websites with enough weight and SEO authority to not be harmed by this fact. Google will know that the one that is copying is you, and not Amazon.
2.- Page speed
How many times have you encountered a website that takes too much time to upload and you end up wanting to leave it? This factor, speed, is seriously taken into account by Google when evaluating websites and content, as the shorter the load time, the better the page will be.
We must consider that content that loads quickly is a much more accessible, easy to visit, read and access the content.
To improve your page’s speed, you can follow these tips:
- Upload content with less weight (images, videos …).
- Use servers that are physically located in the country or region in which you want to position.
- Divides the page load into subdomains. Use each subdomain to load images, CSS or scripts.
- Compress the content.
- Use the cache.
There are many sites that assess other pages’ loading speeds, so you can check whether your loading speed is correct and optimal for Google to value your website as you expect.
3.- Excessive use of the keywords
It is important that, when creating the content, you know what are the keywords to use, because you will position and will be searched for in the search engines through those keywords. A very frequent mistake of users who want to position high whatever it takes is to use the keywords too many times. They do not understand this practice is more harmful than anything else.
Google knows that you are overexploiting key concepts and that you are looking for a way to a position based on a doubtfully accepted practice. There are many plugins that tell you how to use the keywords, how many times you should use the words in order not to make excessive use of them.
The excessive use of keywords equals to the content of dubious quality, so look for plugins, such as SEO by Yoast or Google Keyword Planner, to be able to create pages that do err in this way.
4.- Buying links
Google values very positively a site that becomes a reference and a valuable source to quote and to link your website to it because you believe it is valuable. In order to comply with this parameter, which Google considers essential, many websites create pages solely intended to link to the main page, which they intend position, but this is not accepted.
Also, in addition to the sites that are called a mirror, there are companies and pages that buy links for other sites to link to them. In these cases, Google penalizes those sites that obtain links by purchasing them. In the same way, sites that link to each other too many times are not well accepted. This is considered an unlawful practice, destined only to overcome the barriers posed by Google’s algorithms for positioning.
As you can see, Google values links that are obtained organically, the ones you obtain because your site is interesting and other sites decide to create links to it. For this to happen, you must create quality content that positions, so that your site can be searched and linked.
5.- Control advertising
It is important for websites to incorporate advertising, a method to obtain economic benefits. The problem arises when ads are incorporated excessively, which worsens the user experience and, finally, brings about a penalization by Google.
Google values advertising that is incorporated in a number and in such a way that does not affect the reading of the site, does not interfere with its navigability and the accessibility to the services of your website. This is one of the reasons for web penalization that affects mostly those websites that do not use logic when placing advertising on their pages.
6.- Error pages
What do you think of websites you access that constantly redirect you to an error page, the well-known 404? Google does not value the sites that link to too many error pages. Error pages are one of the main reasons for being penalized by Google.
Make it possible for your users to find what they are looking for. Check that the pages and links take your users to the right pages and do not let them get lost due to a bad website planning or layout. Error pages obstruct navigation on your website and Google penalizes you for this.
As you can see, Google penalizes those pages that achieve conversions by using traps and fast routes in order to position higher and thus, get more conversions.