What is Google Penalties, How to Diagnose and Avoid Them?

A Google penalty is the punishment imposed on a website whose content violates the set marketing practices as laid down by Google. According to internet live stats, there are over 1.77 billion websites on the internet today. To manage such a great number, there should be policies. Consequences exist in form of penalties if a website fails to adhere to such policies. Just like in sports, a penalty is awarded when a player violates the rule of the game.

Google penalties will most often come with devastating impacts. They might affect the search engine rankings of your website or, on worst-case scenarios, have your website completely removed from rankings. So your intended audience will not be able to find you when your website is faced with punishments. This will have a negative impact on the traffic and on the general revenues that your website intended to accrue.

Now that you understand the meaning of Google penalties, you are probably interested in knowing the causes of it and how best you can avoid them. This article will help with that.

Effects of Google Penalties

Drop-in Keyword ranking

Keyword ranking is simply the position that a website takes up within search engine results for a particular keyword query entered. A drop in keyword ranking is quite stressful and can lead to a reduction in traffic and loss of revenues. With the penalty, it could bring about a huge drop in your keyword ranking.

Deindexed from search engine

A deindexed website is one that has been completely axed off from the Google results page. For your website to be of the essence, your information must be universally accessible and useful. Your website, therefore, gets ranked very low or in extreme cases, deindexed if you do not heed to Google’s rules. Google may deindex you if it notices things such as: showing search engines something different from what your visitors meet, free hosting, thin content and keyword stuffing. Your website ranking high on relevant searches is usually an added advantage to user attraction. Do not use dirty tricks, search engine giant will make them blow up on you and deindex your website.

Causes of Google Penalties

Getting Pop-out ads

The Google popup penalty is well in existence. Don’t let your website be caught by it. Starting in January 2016, the search engine giant has been penalizing websites that allow for intrusive popups. If your website is one of such websites that allow for unpleasant popups that interfere with the user experiences, then you are in the line of attracting a popup penalty. Sure enough, you do not want this to happen.

Having a keyword stuff content

You are attracting penalties if you are using excessive and irrelevant key-words that will most probably ruin the content of your website. According to Google’s guidelines, the content of a website should focus on rich content and not just keyword stuffing. Therefore, irrelevant and stuffing of keywords will not boost your rank in search engines but will rather attract a heavy penalty.

Short with low-quality content

The thin content manual penalty is a devastating punishment that was introduced just recently. The penalty usually aims to remove websites from search engines because of their content which adds no value to the online landscape. Thin content is short content with little or no value-added. Owners of such content write the content for the sole purpose of adding keywords. And doing this can attract heavy damage to you.

Grammatical Errors in the content

Spellings, grammar and punctuations matter a lot when it comes to the creation of the content of the website. The reason as to why you are creating the content is because you want to be understood. If you have content with full of spelling errors and poor grammar, users will tend to avoid your website. This will, in turn, increase the bounce rate on your website. Google usually aims at making users satisfied. Content with poor grammar and spelling mistakes will attract punishment from search engine. It is therefore crucial that when you are creating your content, aim to make it as quality content as possible.

Bad Quality Link Building

Link schemes can lead to penalties. Adding links inappropriately to your contents or comments will usually amount to spamming. Website owners will want to use negative link building so as to boost their website ranking. But this will only invite heavy consequences. To be on the safe side, make sure that you do not link your website to malicious sites. Make sure that you use only high-quality directory links and avoid buying links.

No SSL certificate/HTTPS Support

In an era where cyber insecurities and data breaches are very prevalent, the need to protect all the information files for your websites should be given priority. Today, it is a requirement by Google that all websites should be supported by the HTTPS protocol. Google’s Transparency Report indicates that 84.2% of all websites that loaded on Chrome were powered by the SSL. It is time for you to move in the same direction. Browsers such as Google Chrome will show a red mark to visitors who visit a website without an SSL certificate. A sign shows that their connection is not secure. So if your website does not have an SSL certificate, it is about time you started budgeting for one. There are many SSL authorities who offer multiple types of SSL certificate for example; an AlphaSSL Wildcard Certificate will be a good idea that can secure multiple subdomains of the main domain. A Wildcard SSL certificate encrypts all information in transit and also enhances a good reputation for your website in the eyes of your web visitors.

Duplicate Content

Copying content such as images, writings, graphics from another source without the authority of the source, onto your website will attract a penalty. So it is crucial that you stick to your lane. Have unique content for your website. The search engine giant usually allows content owners who find their content copied to another website to file a DMCA request. Such will bring heavy damage to your website and the consequences can be devastating.

Slow Website Speeds

Google usually aims to improve the users’ experience on the websites. Slow website speeds usually leave many users frustrated. Website speeds are considered as a factor in determining website ranks in search engines. The ranking algorithm introduced by Google will, therefore, have a great impact on websites. To avoid penalties such as being ranked low or failing to be ranked at all, you ought to start working on the speeds of your website.


How to Protect Your Website from Google Penalties

At this point, you understand the meaning of Google penalties, the causes and how awful they can be to your website. Your interest now lies in knowing how you can protect your website from it. Here are five guidelines that you can employ to achieve this.

Follow the Rules and Algorithm

If you follow the guidelines and algorithms as laid down by Google, then you will have no trouble regarding site penalty. It is that simple; Follow the rules, stay out of trouble with Google.

Do Website and Content Audit Regularly

Always do an audit check to the files and the content of your website to make sure that it is of the quality required. Hacking can also be one culprit that can lead to damage to the site and its ranking. A hacker might access the content of your website and alter it to fit his malicious purposes. And if Google realizes such an instance, then your website is in hot soup. Carrying regular audits will ensure that all the alterations done to your content are identified and rectified.  Audits also help recognize errors that you had not realized at first.

Use Only Trusted SSL certificates

Having an SSL certificate is one thing and having a trusted SSL certificate from a trusted Certificate provider is another. Make sure that you acquire the right SSL certificate from a reputed SSL provider. It will help to boost site ranking in the near future.

Create Unique, High-Quality Content and Backlinks

Content is key. If you have poor quality content, then you are losing it. High-quality content is one that has proper spellings, good grammar and punctuations as well as appealing content. Also, make sure that the content is your original idea and not the copy-pasted type.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

It is not always the number of keywords that counts. It is the quality of the article and how natural your keywords appear in your content. Always take this into consideration. Avoid overusing your keywords as that might only land you into trouble.


Google penalties can be disturbing. A website that faces such penalty will face many other effects such as reducing in rank among others. You do want your website to go in that direction. This is why it is important to be on the safe side. This article will help you understand some of the causes of Google penalties as well as how you can avoid them.