How to Identify a Google Penalty

Attracting new customers is critical to a business’s success and brands in all industries have found that Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can be a key factor in business growth. SEM allows you to reach and engage the searchers who are looking for you and your business. But to get the most out of Search Engine Marketing, you need to make sure that search engines, like Google and Yahoo, as well as customers, can find you easily.

The tools and techniques of Search Engine Optimization are continually evolving, especially as Google releases updates to their algorithm designed to make the user experience as optimal as possible. Unfortunately for some, these updates have wrecked havoc in the form of Google penalties.

Have You Been Penalized?

As alluded to, there have been a number of Google updates over the past few years that positively or negatively affected websites. If you have noticed a drop in website traffic, leads or sales that you can’t connect with a corresponding change in messaging, ad spend, or season, you may be feeling the results of an algorithm that may suppress your site in the search engine results pages. Additionally, Google hands down specific algorithmic and manual penalties meant to suppress results for websites that are attempting to manipulate rankings.

No need to fret, however. There are a few steps you can take to determine whether or not your site has been penalized. Here are our tips on how to identify a Google penalty:

  1. First, review your Google Webmaster Tools account for any warning messages or alerts of penalties assessed. If you don’t have Google or Bing Webmaster Tools set up and verified, it’s a good idea to do this as soon as possible.
  2. Second, review your organic search traffic in your web analytics software. Compare your traffic reports to your organic reports so you can identify instances where traffic and your organic traffic have dropped.
  3. Next, think about any recent site changes and try to determine what type of penalty you might be experiencing. There are a number of tools that can access your domain externally or internally through your web analytics platform and help you determine whether or not  your website has been positively or negatively affected by past Google penalties.

How to Fix a Google Penalty

If you’ve been hit with a penalty, identify any websites that link to you that are not relevant or seem like lower quality links. Then you should review your website’s content and your internal links. Check you website for grammatical errors, misspellings, broken links, and duplicate content. Once you’ve cleaned up any errors, you can focus on freshening up your website’s existing content. Creating remarkable content – and attracting other trusted sites to link to it – is the only way to optimize your site with no risk of being penalized by Google.

For more SEO tips and information on identifying a potential Google penalty, contact the SEO experts at NextLeft today!