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What Are the Key Google Penalties for SEO?

If you use shady methods in your SEO strategy, beware! When you don’t follow the rules of the world’s largest search engine, (AKA Google) you will usually pay the price. Not only could your ranking take a dive, but your online reputation can be tarnished, and you could be penalized. So, what are the actual punishments that Google can dish out to web pages and domains that don’t toe the digital line? Here’s a guide on Google penalties, and how you might know if you’ve been penalized.

What You Need To Know About Google Penalties in 2024

A penalty from Google is essentially a type of punishment that’s imposed on your website when you breach their Webmaster Guidelines. These penalties are one of two types — they can be manual (imposed by a human reviewer who believes you are in breach of the guidelines or dishing out sub-par content) or an algorithmic penalty, when your website is automatically penalized by one of the search engine’s algorithms, which are complex mechanisms used to review and index pages. They have names such as Hummingbird, Panda and Venice.

Google Changes its Algorithms A Lot! 

Now, this is one of the reasons it’s good to have an SEO specialist on hand for your website! Google algorithms — that sift through zillions of pieces of digital content every moment, reviewing, indexing it and ranking it — get updated quite a lot, and often Google only announces the more significant changes. For example, last month (March 2024) Google announced that to uphold the integrity of its content, it would crack down on AI-generated SEO ‘copy-cat’ content, so that Google users will land on more authentic content. Google believes that just this update will reduce the chance of their users ending up with sub-par, unhelpful and irrelevant content by a whopping 40%.

How Do I Know if Google Has Penalized My Website?

Now, a penalty from Google won’t always come with a notification. But you’ll usually notice a few things:

  • A sudden drop in ranking
  • A notification in your Google Search Console
  • A drop in domain authority
  • Organic traffic slowing down
  • A lower click-through rate or drop in backlinks.

What Can You Do if You Get a Google Penalty?

This is the worst part about Google penalties, you can usually only recover your authority and ranking with time and effort. You have to adjust your strategy and strive to boost your website’s content and build a positive link building portfolio, among other white-hat SEO tactics. So, the key takeaway? Try not to get penalized by Google in the first instance. How? To keep up with the very latest Google Webmaster Guidelines and get expert advice, follow Perfect Link Building. We have a deep knowledge of search engine rules and documentation, and stay abreast of changes and tweaks, so we are always ahead of the SEO game. Learn More

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