Even though Google has dominated the search engine market for almost as long as they’ve been around, they still constantly innovate to stay on top. While that’s great for users, it could spell bad news for companies trying to work their way up in the rankings. One wrong move can set you back quite a way. So this list of some of the more common reasons why google penalizes websites will help you avoid unnecessary slip-ups.
Let’s start this list off with one that’s a common misconception. Many people still think that keyword stuffing is a good thing, but that simply isn’t the case anymore. Some time ago, Google caught on that people were artificially adding more keywords than what a person would naturally use to game the system. As a result, Google now flags that practice as poorly written content, which will result in lower rankings.
Obviously, plagiarism is a serious offense that most people are very aware of. However, that doesn’t stop people from trying to get away with it occasionally. You might not know that this also applies to content within your site. Whether a website owner duplicates their own content for consistency reasons or out of pure laziness, Google will take notice and mark the site down for it.
Slow Loading Speeds
One thing that people hate these days are slow loading times. If pages on your site take too long to load, there’s a good chance people will leave before they even get halfway through. That’s not a good thing in Google’s eyes, which is why they’ll mark you down for it. In all honesty, though, that’s not ideal for your business either. Fixing this issue should help you see a noticeable decrease in your bounce rate.
Poor Mobile Version
With so many people using their phones to search Google these days, it’s kind of shocking to hear that some people haven’t made their sites mobile friendly. Failing to do that makes it impossible to rise through the Google rankings. However, even if you do have a mobile version of your site, poor applications of that version can hurt your overall SEO. If Google can’t detect your mobile site’s link, it’ll mark you down for that.
Abuse of Black Hat Tactics
Black hat marketing is about as bad as it sounds. Most strategies used in this are unethical, and some might even be illegal. Common examples are hiding keywords or links on your web pages and buying backlinks for your site. Google has become very good at detecting these in recent years, and you’ll receive a heavy punishment for trying to get away with them.
Broken Links and Errors
Sometimes, the reason why Google penalizes your website isn’t something that you did intentionally. Mistakes that lead to broken links and error pages could hurt your site without you realizing it. If a customer can’t get to the page they want, they’ll end up leaving, and Google will take notice. That’s why it’s good to check your site regularly, especially after a big update. This way, you can ensure problems like this don’t exist.
Your Site Got Hacked
Another problem that’s usually out of your control that Google could penalize you for is site hacking. While this isn’t as common, it’s much worse than broken links and errors. This is because Google will completely remove your web pages from the search results until you’ve taken control back from the hackers. This can be catastrophic for your site, so be sure to take all the necessary security precautions to avoid this.
Too Much Optimization
The last thing you should know is there’s such a thing as too much SEO. The goal of Google is to provide users with the most authentic search results possible. If you’re trying too hard to optimize your site to rise through the rankings, Google might take notice. It’s best to be patient and let things happen naturally. That doesn’t mean you can’t take measures to improve your SEO. Just don’t overdo it.