marketing-google-penalties-seo

GOOGLE PENALTY MASTERY: The One Article That Covers All Manual And Algorithmic Penalties

For SEOs and online business owners, there’s a NIGHTMARE that can turn their whole World upside down incredibly fast, hurting their businesses and destroying their online credibility online in just a blink of an eye. That nightmare’s name is Google Penalties. And this is the what we are going to cover completely here today, I hope in less than 30 minutes.

Well, here’s a Secret: The reality of having Google penalize yours or your client’s website hurts. And it hurts BAD. Like….like…right in the balls! Because the worst experience for an SEO is being all happy, celebrating the huge amount of steady traffic you have and on the next day at morning, you enter Google analytics to see something like this:

screenshot--google-penalty1

Dammit man. That is NOT a very nice thing to see when you grab your cup of coffee in the morning. That’s really not a nice way to start your day. But OK. Let’s keep ourselves focused here on how to deal with this.

OH WAIT! Let’s first answer something you might be wondering if you are a business owner.

A QUICK ANSWER: WHO CAN YOU BLAME WHEN THIS HAPPENS?
Ok. You got penalized and now you’re angry. I get it. You want to kill people now, makes sense. So the next logical step is asking “Who’s fault is this”? Right?! But you usually go a little further and you ask yourself: “Who can I BLAME for this damn penalty!?!?”. Well, you’ll need to investigate a few things first. But the good news is that most of the times you can find out who ruined your website.

But answering your question, the responsibles are always one of these guys:

  • 1. The webmaster (because he can alter the website’s code)
  • 2. The content creator (because he can do stupid things with content, like duplicate it)
  • 3. The SEO (because he can alter files, codes and everything else that changes things)
  • 4. The Google (because it’s his search engine and he can change all the rules he wants)

BUUUUUT there’s one more guy who can INDIRECTLY mess things up: THE BUSINESS OWNER.
Why? Because sometimes the entrepreneur decides to hire CHEAP SEO services OR hire BLACK HAT SEO Services, therefore, bringing more problems than solutions. And both of these things are definitely NOT GOOD for a business since we should expect SEO services to be expensive and we should try to avoid as much as possible Black Hat SEO techniques.

So here’s the summary.
The webmaster can mess things up, the content creator can ruin the content by sending wrong signals to Google, the SEO can implement black hat techniques to get faster results which will ruin the site afterwards and the business owner can end up buying cheap SEO services.

This is how these people can mess things up.
(Obs: here’s the market prices for SEO services just so you know what to expect)

OK? Good? Great. Now pay attention here.
AFTER you read this article you’ll understand WHY there’s a very painful experience to enjoy next most of the times if you got penalized because even after you fix it, it takes time to “heal your site” depending on your situation. And sometimes the labor is intense. Sometimes.

Well, you’ll soon understand what I meant.
Anyway, time to start this article because this intro is already too big.

THE PENALTIES LIST
The list that can kill your rankings overnight is not that big, but each one of these Google penalties can make you cry like a baby once they hit you (I love giving bad news, I can see you’re scared). These penalties are also divided into 2 categories: ALGORITHMIC and MANUAL. And the possible penalties you may face eventually are all listed below:

THE ALGORITHMIC:

  • Panda
  • Penguin
  • Payday
  • Pirate
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Top Heavy

THE MANUAL:

  • Unnatural Links
  • Thin Content
  • Spam

A manual penalty is executed by a Google employee, just so you know.
Now let’s dive into each one of these annoying penalties.

GOOGLE PENALTY: PANDA
WHAT IS IT: A Google update made to lower the rankings of sites with poor quality content (useful to fight SPAM).
CATEGORY: Algorithmic.
BIRTH: February 2011.

As expected from many SEOs, this is now part of Google’s ranking signals due to Panda’s effectiveness of blocking spammy or useless content, which is why we all hear the “Content is King” jargon a lot. So what you must do in order to prevent your own website from getting destroyed by Pandas?

The quick answer: Produce high-quality, very useful and remarkable content.
Google provided a list of questions addressing this subject so you can audit what you are publishing online because that way you can be (almost) certain that you won’t get hit by Panda. Here, check it out below.

THE GOOGLE’S AUDIT QUESTIONS LIST ABOUT LOW-QUALITY CONTENT

1. Would you trust the information presented in this article?
2. Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
3. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
4. Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
5. Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
6. Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
7. Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
8. Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
9. How much quality control is done on content?
10. Does the article describe both sides of a story?
11. Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
12. Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
13. Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
14. For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
15. Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
16. Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
17. Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
18. Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
19. Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
20. Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
21. Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
22. Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
23. Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Source: Google Webmaster Blog

There are many guys in the SEO community who claims that these questions look all very ambiguous and it doesn’t help much, but truth is that Google is trying to simply tell you the following:

“JUST PROVIDE TRUSTABLE CONTENT AND ASSUME YOUR WORD IS HEARD BY MILLIONS EVERY TIME. ALSO, DON’T EXPECT US TO PROVIDE EVERYTHING ABOUT OUR SECRETS BECAUSE WE DO HAVE COMPETITORS.”

But there’s more to know about this, like for instance:

  • THE KEY WARNING — Panda attacks the WHOLE WEBSITE’s rankings even if you mess up on one single piece of content. So that’s why YOU MUST banish low-quality content completely. Google wants Top quality sites only appearing in its search results. And know that “content” includes every page, such as: About pages, FAQs etc. So remember to provide the best information possible. Because when people visit your site, they need to leave it very happy and “satisfied”. Final warning: KILL eeeevery single piece of low-quality content on your website.
  • THE ALGORITHM C-U-R-R-E-N-T-L-Y DOES NOT RUN IN REAL-TIME — This is an important point that you must be aware because if you got hit by Panda this means that NOWADAYS, even if you FIX what’s wrong on your website you won’t be able to see the pretty results of that fix instantly because the algorithm is scheduled to run in certain parts of the year. Of course, depending on what year you’re reading this article then Google may have already upgraded the Panda algorithm to instantly remove the penalty as soon as you fix it. But….last year (2015) the algorithm was still running after 10 months and if you missed the ride it’s your lost. Which is why you need to be updated on this in order to check your results properly.
  • THE FIX — Unfortunately, there’s no way to know if you got hit by Pandas (they are like ninjas!). Google won’t send you any email, nor an SMS, nor a whats app text message warning you to fix things on your content. You must daily look into your Google analytics in order to be able to see when something is wrong and do something about it. Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Search Spam spoke about what to do next when you got hit by Panda in case you want to double check things.

Now let’s continue and see what’s next to worry.

GOOGLE PENALTY: PENGUIN
WHAT IS IT: A Google update made to lower the rankings of sites that uses bad backlinks to rank higher.
CATEGORY: Algorithmic.
BIRTH: April 2012.

OK, but what is “bad backlinks” exactly?
Well, according to Google, bad backlinks are:

THE GOOGLE’S DEFINITION ABOUT BAD BACKLINKS

1. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
2. Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
3. Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
4. Using automated programs or services to create links to your site

Source: Google Link Schemes Definition

Now pay attention for one second here.
Did you notice something above that it is VERY IMPORTANT? Yes. I know you did. Even GOOGLE HATES Guest blogging! Surprise! But still, many SEOs and content strategists do that anyways to build backlinks faster.

Buuuuuuut at the same time, many SEOs treat buying links like a nasty, 100% BlackHat technique when in fact, this is just the same as publishing a guest article on another partner’s website in order to build links. Why? Because YOU ARE manipulating things. Period. The defense about “providing value through guest blogging” is nothing at all because you can buy backlinks and demand the same condition from your partner.

But anyway……that’s a different subject.
I just want you to know that it’s important to KNOW where you may be stepping on when you apply certain SEO techniques on your website because even Native Advertising must be carefully made, so you don’t harm yourself or your client’s brand. And guest blogging falls into the same category too. You need to be careful when doing these things.

But warnings aside, let me show you the additional important points you must know about Penguin:

  • THE PRINCIPLE OF GETTING NATURAL LINKS — There are 3 main factors that Google use to identify unnatural backlinks: [ 1º. LINK QUALITY ] A website that builds its links without the link schemes Google hates, will likely have both low and high-quality links. And sites that BlackHat SEOs build usually have only awesome links. [ 2º. LINK VELOCITY ] A normal website will get great links OVER TIME, after putting consistent hard work for a while because visitors will only recognize a site’s authority AFTER it has proven to them more than once that they are serious about providing good information about that topic. And this principle is reflected in a very slow backlink growth. BlackHats, on the other hand, will be able to boost a site’s authority really fast and really well, but this can sometimes even end up in a case like SEO JC Penny (He was arrested). [ 3º. LINK DIVERSITY ] A website that owns natural backlinks has diversity on them. So if you run a research on a website, it will probably have links in comments, widgets, articles, forums, video descriptions etc. Diversity man, get it? But a BlackHat will not play by the same rules and he’ll try to aim for the specific points of a page where more link juice will pass because that way it can boost the site’s rankings faster.
  • THE ALGORITHM IS REAL-TIME — Since September 23rd of 2016 Google has made Penguin a core algorithm. This means that once you put your house in order, Google will see your fixes right away and reward you for it. Great!
  • THE FIX — Naturally it’s the same deal here. You don’t get any form of notice from Google except the traffic drop shown by Google Analytics, which you’ll have to investigate to be sure it’s Penguin’s fault. But regarding the “medicine” for this, what you must do to fix this problem is to disavow every bad backlink you have. The process is simple. Just search for all your backlinks using Majestic or OpenLinkProfiler and then disavow anything that is BAD using Google Console’s Disavow Tool. But remember: You ALSO need to manually remove bad links if possible. Go talk to the webmasters, delete any spammy comments, leave the PBN (Private Blog Network) and do everything in your reach to clean your website’s reputation and dissociate those links from your site. Got it?

OH! And one more thing:

THIS ALGORITHM PENALIZES A PAGE INSTEAD OF THE WHOLE WEBSITE

Now…….you ask…….”Is this hard to recover from?”
Well, most of the times, it definitely is. Why? Because depending on how many crappy links a site has, it will take a lot of manual effort to reverse the situation. You’ll have to request webmasters to manually remove your links (nobody likes people giving them WORK to do), delete comments, delete spammy descriptions etc. So this is not all sunshine and rainbows, ok? (And yes, that last sentence was inspired by Rocky 6)

Great. Now let’s see the PayDay penalty.

GOOGLE PENALTY: PAYDAY
WHAT IS IT: A Google update made to lower the rankings of sites that are aiming for high-paying queries and keywords, such as “Loans”, “Payday Loans”, “Car insurance”, “Supplements”, “Money Online”, “Casinos” and many other profitable niches.
CATEGORY: Algorithmic.
BIRTH: June 2013.

A good way to be up to date on this is to keep track of Google Adwords’ most expensive keywords because the more expensive the keyword is, the higher is the buying intent. And the higher the buying intent is, the more money will come through Google.

But just so you be more aware of things, I’m putting below a great infographic Hubspot made about The 100 Most Expensive Keywords on Google for 2015:


infographic-digital-marketing21

Source: WebpageFX

A loooooooong list huh? Yeah, my friend, there’s still a lot of work for Google to do before he can say he can completely block spam or any type of manipulations on its search results and brag about drying the cash flow of bad guys.

And that’s a fight many are unaware of.
BlackHat SEOs are always trying to make a client’s website rank high on high-paying niches using manipulative SEO techniques because if they could put a client’s business on the top 3 results, even that it is for one day or two for a niche that pays like crazy, they will be able to literally start throwing away 100 dollar bills just for fun. And since the best BlackHat SEOs are VERY well-paid, they’re very hard to catch.

But enough of this cat-and-mouse thing. Let’s get practical here and show you what matters.
This below is what you need to know about Payday:

  • THE KEY WARNING — Are you running a website/business on a spammy niche? Then start double checking EVERYTHING and don’t give Google a motive to analyze your website or else he might treat your business like it was built by a Black Hat guy. So check everything. Remember to stay “super mega clean” because the probability of recovering your site from this penalty is very low and 80% of the time, you’ll need to change domains and start from scratch. Seriously. Play by the rules. But of course, there’s also those marvelous exceptions where the client was able to recover from this and you can see it here: A Payday success story from Moz that worths reading.
  • THE ALGORITHM C-U-R-R-E-N-T-L-Y DOES NOT RUN IN REAL-TIME — Another algorithm that is not in real-time my friends. So know now that if you fix all your problems, you’ll probably have to wait for a while for the changes to take place.
  • THE FIX — The solution here is to investigate all areas of your website that affects your keywords like: content, meta tags, backlinks, folders, URLs etc and fix what’s wrong, removing any spammy techniques that you may be using on purpose or accidently. Then, after everything is fixed I recommend submitting a reconsideration request to the Google Team with a very nice, backed by data, and honest email. If you’re guilty then apologize and present to them your new version of the website and hope for the best. That’s all.

PS: Matt explains below the best way possible of how to submit a Reconsideration Request to Google:

One more thing…
Another important point that may prevent you from receiving this PayDay penalty is to run some queries on Google and check for spam up until page 10, just so you can study the patterns of spammy content and never do that again because there are some shady techniques being used that is being penalized too.

Ok now let’s fast forward this to the next penalty: PIRATE.

GOOGLE PENALTY: PIRATE
WHAT IS IT: A Google update made to lower the rankings of sites with Copyright Infringment.
CATEGORY: Algorithmic.
BIRTH: August 2012.

This penalty summons the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to remove from search results (mostly) those websites that steal content. And although this was focused on Torrent sites and other similar sites made for downloading movies, music and other pieces of art, you can still suffer some actions if you disrespect the Copyright protection with digital content marketers use.

So here’s something that you should pay attention:

  • Articles
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Audios
  • E-Books

Do not copy any of these content types. And also, remember that if you publish or let a visitor publish content that violates someone’s copyright material, then you can end up suffering because of it. It’s your site, it’s your fault.

Because Piracy is a major problem today. A major problem. Especially for Google who is being pressed against the wall by notorious people like Ari Emmanuel to address this issue ASAP, because it’s harming original content producers and sometimes they lose millions of dollars.

Think for a second.
How would you feel if you had produced 1000 hours of content like videos, articles, movies and at some point, have all of your content stolen by someone else on the web? That’s the situation of many today. And although Google doesn’t produce pirated content, they do DISTRIBUTE it on its search results and that’s why they’re now fighting this problem more than never.

Google is listening to all the noise that is being made and they have been fighting Piracy really hard lately, fixing A LOT of issues and banning A LOT of websites, like this 1:45 min Video News below reports:

And why is that important after all?
Because this is a warning for YOU. You need to show a great deal of CONCERN about this penalty because once someone fill a complaint about your website proving that you stole material from them, you’ll end up with some problems, my friend. Besides, there’s the algorithm too.

But alright. So here’s what you should know about this Pirate update:

  • THE KEY WARNING — DO NOT steal or publish copyright protected content. That’s the first part. The second part is that you can have a manual penalty here too, not just algorithmical in case some other website delivers a complaint to Google about your violation.
  • THE FIX — Remove everything that is copyright protected and produce original content on its place if possible. Next, submit a reconsideration request to the Google Team stating the truth about the protected material. Just be honest and hope for the best.

“Buf what if I got caught accidently by this!?”
Don’t worry (that much) because Google can’t remove you completely from its index without any legal intervention from the copyright owners, but he will lower your rankings for sure. And about this subject, here’s what Google said:

GOOGLE ABOUT COPYRIGHT INFRINGMENT

Only copyright holders know if something is authorized, and only courts can decide if a copyright has been infringed; Google cannot determine whether a particular webpage does or does not violate copyright law. So while this new signal will influence the ranking of some search results, we won’t be removing any pages from search results unless we receive a valid copyright removal notice from the rights owner.

Source: Search Engine Land

So stay pure and original in every piece of content you provide, my friend.
That’s all you need to do to avoid this penalty.

GOOGLE PENALTY: MOBILE-FRIENDLY
WHAT IS IT: A Google update made to boost the rankings of sites that have a Mobile-friendly version.
CATEGORY: Algorithmic.
BIRTH: April 2015.

This was also one of the few algorithm updates that Google launched lately, which impacted in at least 20% of loss traffic for A LOT of websites such as Reddit.com, NBCSports.com and several others whilst at the same time, it gave certain sites an INCREDIBLE amount of 770% increase in search traffic.

A powerful and game-changing update.
(but many expected much more “destruction”)

The algorithm was motivated primarly by the fact that Mobile search traffic surpassed Desktop search traffic Universally which, therefore, made Google look to those smartphone guys with a little more caring.

But the good news is that it boosted the rankings for those businesses who were already caring for Mobile users whilst, unfortunately, at the same time, it penalyzed those businesses that weren’t giving much concern about quality work for that same type of audience.

“OK. That’s a very nice and pretty story Peterson. But what the HECK is ‘Mobile-Friendly’ to Google after all?!”
Well, there are TOP 3 Things regarding this subject and here’s Google’s simplified explanation:

GOOGLE ABOUT MOBILE-FRIENDLY KEY POINTS

1. MAKE IT EASY FOR CUSTOMERS.
Help your site’s visitors to complete their objectives. They may want to be entertained by your blog posts, get your restaurant’s address, or check reviews on your products. Walgreens GVP and Chief Technology Officer of eCommerce, Abhi Dhar, explains, “Our goal with everything we do on mobile is to make our customers’ lives easier.”

Design your site to help make it easier for your customer to complete their most common tasks: from task conception, to visiting your site, to task completion. Outline the potential steps in your customers’ journey to make sure the steps are easy to complete on a mobile device. Try to streamline the experience and reduce the number of user interactions.

2. MEASURE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR WEBSITE BY HOW EASILY MOBILE CUSTOMERS CAN COMPLETE COMMON TASKS.
Making a mobile site requires prioritization. Start by working out what the most important and common tasks are for your customers on mobile. Being able to support these tasks is critical and this is why the measure of your mobile site is how well customers can complete their objectives. There are ways to make the design of your site support ease of use too. Focus on consistency in your interface and providing a unified experience across platforms.

“Mobile shoppers put ease of use foremost when it comes to mobile shopping sites, with 48% of respondents citing it as the most important quality of a mobile site they visit,” cites MediaPost.

3. SELECT A MOBILE TEMPLATE, THEME, OR DESIGN THAT’S CONSISTENT FOR ALL DEVICES.
“Responsive web design” or RWD means that the page uses the same URL and the same code whether the user is on a desktop computer, tablet, or mobile phone – only the display adjusts or “responds” according to the screen size.

Source: Google Developers Article

But the definition above is only the Mobile-Friendly EXPERIENCE side you should be aware of. You must ALSO check out the technical side of Mobile-Friendly that Google provides in more detail here (very important).

And now that you know the basics, let’s dive in into what matters:

  • THE KEY WARNING — The Mobile-Friendly penalty won’t destroy your traffic unless you REALLY mess things up for mobile users and most of your visitors come from Mobile. That’s because it only affects your rankings on Mobile traffic only and not Desktop traffic. Also, know that this penalty will put other websites that are giving more concern in this manner in front of you in Mobile search results, pushing your site to the next pages. That’s why once you fix things, you’re back on track again.
  • THE ALGORITHM IS REAL-TIME — Happy news huh? This means that once you put your house in order, Google will see your fixes right away and reward you for it. But keep in mind that it may take up to 72 hours sometimes due to technological limitations and eventual problems.
  • THE FIX — This part is very simple. Place your URL on the online Google Mobile Friendly Testing Tool and see if you win the prize. If you get good news you’re done.

PS: And just so you can have one additional resource, here’s a Mobile Checklist in a form of a questionnaire made by Search Engine Land that contains very useful information.

GOOGLE PENALTY: THIN CONTENT
WHAT IS IT: A Google manual review made to lower the rankings of sites with short, shallow, low-quality content.
CATEGORY: Manual.
BIRTH: (I don’t know when did the first angry Google employee did a manual action :( ).

This is a MANUAL action that a very angry Google employee will unleash upon your website. Now, regarding the definition of what is “Thin Content” here’s the most simple definition for you:

“THIN CONTENT IS CONTENT THAT CAN BE FOUND ELSEWHERE, MAKING YOUR WEBSITE LOOK LIKE A COPY OR WITH NO VALUABLE INFORMATION AT ALL”

If you didn’t understand yet (what’s wrong with you?!), then here’s a longer definition by Google:

GOOGLE ABOUT THIN CONTENT

If your site syndicates content that’s available elsewhere, a good question to ask is: “Does this site provide significant added benefits that would make a user want to visit this site in search results instead of the original source of the content?” If the answer is “No,” the site may frustrate searchers and violate our quality guidelines.

A few examples:

Easier to understand now, right?
Good. Now let’s see the key points about this penalty:

  • THE KEY WARNING — This is a penalty Google can unleash upon you that can be partial or wide. Meaning? You can get hit on just a few pages or in your whole website. So it’s kinda good news.
  • THE FIX — Since this is a manual action taken by Google, all you have to do is fix your content and make it high-quality and original (which is freaking hard) and then submit a reconsideration request to Google. That’s all.

This is why there’s a lot of value in publishing original, high-quality content nowadays.
Because Google is watching.

GOOGLE PENALTY: TOP HEAVY
WHAT IS IT: A Google update made to lower the rankings of sites with lots of Ads before the content begins.
CATEGORY: Algorithmic.
BIRTH: January 2012.

Google hates when a person bounces from one of the sites provided in a query because Google ALWAYS wants to deliver the best answers possible, without failing. Their goal is to aim for perfection. Nothing wrong here.

And since users HATE sites with lots of Ads, Google decided to take some action. That’s what this is for. Because there are websites that even nowadays are still doing this:

screenshot--top-heavy-ads-example-peterson-teixeira

Bad site experience.
And if Google provided that site to the user it is Google’s fault and that’s why the penalty comes to make some justice and clean Google’s name and prevent this from happening again in the future.

But OK. What you need to know about Top Heavy is this:

  • THE KEY WARNING — This penalty is site-based only so if you got hit by this then your whole site is taken into consideration. Also, you need to know that it’s okay to have one or two pages with Top Heavy Ads (but please don’t do that) but you cannot have the majority of your website like that.
  • THE ALGORITHM CURRENTLY RUNS USUALLY ONE OR TWO TIMES PER YEAR — This is a bit of a problem because even after you fix things, you’ll have to wait for a while for things to get back to normal for you. Well, Top Heavy is a very intentional action so you should suffer a little.
  • THE FIX — Just remove all the annoying ads and wait.

Simple right? Great!
Hey! We are close to finishing this! Don’t fall asleeep!

GOOGLE PENALTY: UNNATURAL LINKS
WHAT IS IT: A Google manual review made to lower the rankings of sites with fake, unnatural links.
CATEGORY: Manual.
BIRTH: Unknown :( .

Since the Google’s Top 3 Ranking Factors was revealed a lot of SEOs started to spend a good amount of time thinking about honest marketing strategies to build backlinks but sadly, many of them, choose the dark side. The BlackHats side.

Therefore, Google placed all these strategies below on their blacklist:

  • Pure spam
  • Spammy structured markup
  • User-generated spam
  • Hidden text
  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Cloaking
  • Little or No-Value Content
  • Hacked site
  • Unnatural links from/to your site

So if you apply one of these strategies then stop. Now. Seriously. Because Google is friendly with those who have good intentions but if they realize you’re exploring these strategies above intentionally, you’re doomed. You’ll be labeled as a bad-intentioned website by Google and as an agent who is trying to manipulate its search results.

Here’s a warning for this penalty which you’ll be able to see in your Google Search Console:

screenshot-google-unnatural-links-warning

And here’s Matt Cutts nice friendly posture about one of the update involving this Penalty that cointains useful info:

screenshot--google-matt-cutts-unnatural-links-warning

OK, so once you got hit by this manual action you’ll probably see one of these below because there are 3 variations of it, so far:

  • UNNATURAL LINKS FROM YOUR SITE — Sites that are linking too much to a specific site and using a specific keyword (usually high volume) on the anchor text OR have lots of links pointing out to the website usually get hit by this penalty. Also, this penalty can strike either part or all of the website. Imagine that you are linking to a specific page using every single time the same anchor text with a powerful keyword, and you also do this massively. That’s what it means.
  • UNNATURAL LINKS TO YOUR SITE — Sites that are building “fake inbound links” aggressively will get this penalty and just as the previous warning, it can strike either part or all of the website as well.
  • UNNATURAL LINKS TO YOUR SITE (impacts links) — This isn’t an actual penalty because this happens whenever Google finds links pointing to your site which you did nothing to create. So relax, it is not serious and there’s nothing you can do to “recover” because Google considers their data better than yours (and since this isn’t a penalty it doesn’t really matter).

And now that you know this much, time to close with the following:

  • THE KEY WARNING — Investigate all your inbound and outbound links so you can be sure that you are not accidently harming yourself.
  • THE FIX — Find out all the list of links that needs to be removed and submit the reconsideration request to Google headquarters.

Now the final penalty.

GOOGLE PENALTY: SPAM
WHAT IS IT: A Google manual review made to lower the rankings of spammy sites.
CATEGORY: Manual.
BIRTH: Unknown :( .

Well, let’s cut to the chase.
You must understand that Google considers SPAM all content that is:

  • scraped
  • automatically generated
  • user-generated
  • and more…

Besides, this is a manual action that also has 3 categories, which are all shown below:

  • PURE SPAM — This is what everybody hates, which is those sites that serve only for the purpose of disseminating spam. If you got caught in this situation then forget about your website because you have less than 1% of chance of recovering from that. But most websites that get hit by this, are probably spammers anyway.
  • USER-GENERATED SPAM — Here you only get hit due to spammy comments, either from comments on your content or on forums, for example. So if you let visitors interact with your website in a way that they can create content, like through comments or contests, then be extra careful my friend.
  • SPAMMY SERVERS Pay attention where you’re hosting your business because if your host company is serving lots of spammers, then there’s the risk of Google considering that you’re also part of that gang and labeling you as a spammer too. You must not share a “digital apartment” with bad people.

Now let’s finish this:

  • THE KEY WARNING — This penalty happens a lot with trustful websites because they don’t: 1 – Block automated comments; 2 – Moderate user comments; Remember that ALL content that is not being produced by your hands must be moderated. Always. Also, for fighting automated comments use CAPTCHAs to prevent robots and use one or more of these tools too. Protect yourself hard.
  • THE FIX — Double Check all user-generated content and remove everything that is harming the website then submit a reconsideration request to Google. That’s all.

And by the way, just so you understand how harmful this can be to your website, here are my numbers of today for automated spammy comments of my own website:

screenshot--spammy-comments1

Now imagine if that amount of spam passed your filters? With all those bad links with them?!
Moderate man, or cry later (obs: this is the plugin I use to block spammy comments).

“THANKS PETERSON!!!”
You’re welcome, friend. Just remember that google penalties are not Judgment Day and they can all be fixed. And some of them after fixed may take some time for Google to notice, OK? Well, that’s all. Now you can go back to your Netflix series.

Take care.

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This is not for everyone. If you truly want to improve your business and you REALLY care about delivering a high-quality experience to your customers, instead of just making money, then click the button below. Otherwise, I'll not be able to help your business. You must have a true Entrepreneurial Mindset. Make your choice.

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