What Business Owners Need to Know About SEO Penalties

Successful internet marketing requires constant vigilance.  Potential problems need to be identified and fixed as soon as you spot them.

Just because your site is on top of the heap one day doesn’t mean that it can’t suddenly sink to the bottom.

There are two main types of penalties to worry about: manual penalties and algorithmic penalties.

Algorithmic Penalties

Overnight changes to search algorithms periodically reshuffle the entire SEO playing field.  Sites hit by an update often lose massive amounts of web traffic.

In 2015, a sudden, unpublicized Google update cost one company a fortune.

On the popular revenue-sharing site Hubpages, users create microblogs that feature in-depth content about a variety of different niche topics.  On May 3rd of 2015, the Hubpages community saw their site traffic suddenly plunge 22 percent across the board.

The worst thing about the update was that nobody involved could pinpoint exactly why Hubpages was penalized.

Most of the time, Google issues at least some information to the press when they release an algorithmic update.  But sometimes, an unpublicized “phantom” update is suddenly released into the wild– and chaos ensues as bloggers and content marketers struggle to find out where their traffic went.

Defending Against Algorithmic Penalties

google-penaltyThe good news for Hubpages is that the company is now on the road to recovery.

After Hubpages got hit by the sudden unpublicized algorithmic change, the company took steps to improve the quality of the content featured on their site.  For example, they’ve hired editors to make grammatical corrections and snip out factual errors.

Generally, if your site is useful it won’t get hit with algorithmic penalties.  Look at your content honestly.  Are there tons of grammatical errors? Is your content misleading in any way?  Does it answer questions?  Does it provide entertainment?

If you’re providing real value, you probably don’t need to worry.  But if your content isn’t good or if you’re using sneaky internet marketing tactics, you may want to change the way you do business before you get burned.

Unfortunately, there is no way to appeal an algorithmic penalty.  Algorithmic changes are like Supreme Court rulings.  When Google changes the way search results are organized, the rest of the internet must either play the game according to the new rules– or pay the price.

Manual Penalties

Just because you didn’t get hit by an update doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear.  Between algorithm updates, human search experts scour popular search results looking to weed out low quality sites.

Unlike massive algorithmic penalties that automatically affect thousands of different sites across the web, manual penalties are initiated by individual human beings.

The good thing about manual penalties is that they can be overcome.  When you get a manual penalty, you’ll receive an email notification.  The email will tell you exactly what’s wrong with your site.  Usually a minor tweak is all that’s needed to get back in good standing.

Need help overcoming a manual or algorithmic penalty?  Contact Above the Fold Media Today

For more about effective SEO strategies for small business that yield real results please contact Above the Fold Media today by calling 416-477-1862 or following us on Twitter and Facebook.