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What are Google penalties and should your business be worried about them?

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Google is the most powerful search engine on the Internet. This means being in with Google ensures you’re a step above the rest online. If you’re not in with Google, however, you may have a problem.

There’s nothing more worrisome for a growing business’ web presence than a Google penalty. This can significantly affect the site’s web traffic and search optimization, which takes a lot of work and time to perfect.

Before being in the red with Google, get informed about how to avoid penalties as well as exactly what a penalty constitutes. You’ll need to be aware of this occurrence if your business sustains itself online.

What Is a Google Penalty?

The Wikipedia definition of a Google penalty: “The negative impact on a website’s search rankings based on updates to Google’s search algorithms or manual review. The penalty can be a byproduct of an algorithm update or an intentional penalization for various black-hat SEO techniques.”

For those unfamiliar with the term “black-hat SEO,” it’s the tactic of unethically ranking a site higher in the search engine by using deceitful modes of enticing the user or spreading false or “spammy” information on a site. This might work for a while, but as we know, Google will wise up eventually. Don’t try to cheat the system by using black-hat SEO. It’s not worth it.

So, while a penalty may be absolutely intentional, it can also be unintentionally imposed. This is both good and bad news. If you’re watching out for how your site could be viewed by Google negatively, you’re on the right track to preventing possible penalties. It’s not always fool-proof though; Google functions in its own way and so do their algorithms. Sometimes, a penalty is unavoidable.

What Does Google Penalize?

Black-hat SEO tricks are by far the penalized most by Google, not only for the simple act of trying to avoid Google’s watchful eye, but also for taking advantage of users and data. There are all types of black-hat SEO techniques.


This technique is horrible for incurring penalties as it effectively and intentionally misleads users and the search engine.

Cloaking refers to the tactic showing users a different page from what is shown on Google. Under the wider net of cloaking also includes a one-click violation, (which shows full pages to the search engine and only partial to the user) and cloaking images could also be a tip for Google to penalize a site because of unethical usage.

Google Is Not a Fan of Spam

Other red flags for Google penalties are hacked sites, hidden text, keyword stuffing, spam, thin content, and unnatural links. Google will penalize by lowering a site’s visibility to users, thus losing already-built and key optimization, overall traffic, and revenue.

Recovery Is Possible

Your penalty won’t last forever. If you’ve found yourself penalized, unintentionally or not, there are alternative link building strategies, so the worst would be over.

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