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Sheri Hebbeln
 
May 9, 2016 | Demand Generation , Site Design and Management | Sheri Hebbeln

Has your website been penalized by Google?

If your website site or online wine store suddenly suffers a sudden drop in incoming search traffic, don't panic. Instead, head to Google and see if your store ranks as high on the search engine results page as it once did or if it's fallen several places. This drop in traffic could be the result of a Google penalty. These sometimes occur accidentally, and there are simple steps you can take to get your site back on track.

"Google's main concern is providing relevant information to its users."

Why does Google penalize websites?
Google's main concern is providing relevant information to its users. Unfortunately, because of black hat SEO techniques, many websites with questionable or useless content are able to rank higher than legitimate pages. These dubious sites generally use techniques like invisible text, keyword stuffing and hidden links to generate a quick return on investment.

In an effort to stop these sites from gaining a higher SERP rank, Google regularly monitors and evaluates various Web pages. If it finds a site that appears to be full of spam content, the search engine issues a penalty and drops its rank.

Discovering and recovering from a Google penalty
Even though there are other methods of online marketing like social media and ads, Google is still a fantastic source of inbound traffic. As such, receiving a penalty can greatly reduce the conversion of new consumers and likelihood of consumers finding your website in the first place.

Kissmetrics went into detail about the two types of penalties Google sends out. The first, a manual action, is when members of Google's spam team identify your site and demote it themselves. The second is called an algorithmic penalty and occurs when the search engine itself demotes a website.

Algorithmic penalties generally happen when Google updates its classification for spam content, ClickZ wrote. This can have the unfortunate side effect of penalizing several credible websites accidentally, but it may also necessitate a change in your SEO strategy. To understand what you need to do, Kissmetrics advised checking out the Google Algorithm Change History. Here, you can align Google's changes with the date your drop in customers occurred and figure out what update caused the penalty. Then, you can come to understand how that update tracks spam content and change your strategy accordingly.

If your site received a manual penalty, Google will send a notification via Webmaster Tools. This message will detail the reason Google issued a penalty and the steps you can take to restore your ranking. Once complete, you should request that Google reevaluate your website.

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