For many, the thought of a Google Penalty is impossible – after all, how can you face a penalty from a company you haven’t got a formal arrangement with? Think again. These penalties are real and often you cannot comprehend the effect until you are subject to a penalty yourself.
What is a Google Penalty?
A Google penalty won’t arrive in your post-box for you to pay and you aren’t notified by letter that it has happened.
The term ‘Google Penalty’ is thrown around a lot online, people often refer to the belief they are being penalised whenever the see a downturn in rankings resulting from an algorithmic change. Lets be clear, a true penalty is manually applied – algorithmic changes are standard, some will benefit your website and others won’t; resulting in algorithmic devaluation.
To be subject to a Google Penalty, your site will be reviewed by an employee at Google. Once reviewed they can reduce your visibility in the search engine’s results pages. Google do not take this action lightly and such a penalty is only likely in situations where it has been determined you have breached the Webmaster Quality Guidelines (WQG) in some way. Get to know the WQGs well, it can save you a lot of stress in the future.
Identifying Manual Action Against you
Identifying you are subject to a penalty is simple when you know-how. It’s as easy as setting up a Google Search Console for your site. Google confirms:
‘If your site is affected by manual action, we will notify you in the Manual Actions report and in the Search Console Message Center’
Usefully, when you review the action(s) taken in the Manual Actions report, Google provides you with assistance on how to resolve the issue to lift the penalty. Once fixed, you can manually request your site to be re-evaluated.
We should never underestimate the power that Google has over the business and consumer market. It is well known that, over time, ‘Google’ has become a verb – the public no longer search for something online, they ‘Google it’.
If you are subject to a Google Penalty, don’t fight against it but learn from it. Google aims to provide users with the most relevant quality information, play by the rules and reap the rewards over time.
Love it or hate it, Google is here to stay and the online presence of your business is in their hands.