Getting hit with a Google penalty is every business owner’s worst nightmare.
In this blog post we will look at how to confirm a Google penalty and ways to resolve the situation if your site has been impacted.
Confirming a Penalty
If you’ve noticed a big shift in your rankings, there are a number of reasons why this may have occurred. Before jumping to the conclusion of a Google penalty, take some time to look at the following possibilities.
- Crawling Errors – Has the Googlebot had trouble crawling your website? (We have seen sites before which actually blocked the googlebot from crawling their website!)
- Major Website Changes – Have you recently launched a new website? Have you made changes to Meta tags or internal links?
- Branded Terms – Does your site still rank for its domain name or other unique branded names?
- Exact Match Title Tags – Does your site still rank in the first couple of pages for exact match searches on your unique title tags?
If you answered yes to any of the above, chances are that your site has just seen a regular shuffle in rankings rather than a Google penalty. This may be the result of Google revaluing some of your backlinks, your content or just a more general update to their ranking algorithm.
Getting a Penalty Removed
It can be tough to get a penalty removed, but for the best chance of resolving the issue make sure you are open and honest. Some additional advice is below.
- Review all available crawl data and HTML suggestions in your Google webmaster account. This can help to identify if any crawling, redirect or content issues are causing the problem. Fix everything you can.
- Try to fix or repair any changes you’ve made that could be causing the problem. This includes any content changes to your website or any links you have acquired or bought.
- Send your re-inclusion request through your Google webmaster tools account. If you’ve done anything wrong, own up to it (provide Google the links you’ve bought, or the pages you over-optimized) and show them that you’ve changed. Being open and honest about everything will make you seem more trustworthy than holding back information.
Once you’ve done everything in your power to fix the issue the next step is to wait. Be patient as these requests can take a number of weeks to be actioned.