Google processes over 3.5 billion searches every day. With so much incoming traffic, it is easy to see why a website’s Google ranking is such an important factor for success. Improving your search results rankings can help to boost traffic to your site and increase conversions. However, improving your rankings takes a lot of time and effort. If you try to skip ahead by employing risky methods, you may find yourself with a penalty. Penalties can lower a site’s ranking and make it harder to gain new site visitors. In this article, we will learn what a Google penalty is and the most common types. We will also learn the 8 best ways to increase your rankings without risking a penalty.
What is a Google Ranking?
When attempting to optimize your website with search engine optimization for Google, your ultimate goal is to improve your search engine ranking. These rankings help determine where your website’s pages land in search results. Rankings are created through complex algorithms that search your pages for specific factors. While Google has never given an exact list of what they are looking for, there have been over 200 ranking factors reported by SEO experts. Ultimately, Google is searching for web pages that are useful, user-friendly, and relevant to the search query. Some of the most important factors that Google looks for when ranking a web page are:
- High-quality content
- Search intent
- Site/page loading speed
- Mobile usability
- Internal links
- Relevant keywords
- Website security
- User experience
What is a Google Penalty?
Optimizing your website for search engines takes time. SEO strategies to improve the factors listed above often require a lot of patience. That being said, many website owners try to speed through the process by employing tactics that come with quicker results. However, getting quicker results often means using black hat SEO methods, which can violate Google’s terms of service.
When you break Google’s rules, you end up with a penalty. A penalty is a negative mark against your website that can cause your search engine ranking position to drop. Penalties can also occur due to changes to Google’s search algorithms. This is why it is a good idea to keep up with algorithm updates and changes. There are many different types of Google penalties. Since the majority of web traffic comes from organic search results, you should try your best to avoid penalties of any kind.
Types of Google Penalties
There are a lot of different reasons why your site may receive a penalty. Google is constantly updating its terms, so new ways to earn penalties appear frequently. That being said, there are a few main issues that are almost guaranteed to earn you a negative mark.
High-quality backlinks are a very important part of improving your Google search engine rankings. On the other hand, low-quality backlinks have a negative effect. Google pays a lot of attention to the quality of the websites that link back to yours. This helps to determine your site’s authority. If you purchase spammy backlinks from untrustworthy websites, it can easily result in a penalty.
Duplicate or Low-Quality Content
Content is key when it comes to search engine optimization for Google. Search engines prefer content quality over quantity. Web pages that contain duplicate or low-quality content will only negatively impact your site. Google will also notice if your web pages are jammed with affiliate links. Having content that doesn’t have value for users can be a negative mark on your website’s credibility.
Cloaking and Redirects
Cloaking is a method where you show some of your site’s content to Google, but not to your website visitors. Redirecting is when the pages that Google crawls on your site differ from what users are actually seeing. Both of these sneaky methods are surefire ways to earn a ding on your website’s ranking score.
Website security is one of the most crucial Google ranking factors. Having an unsecure site has a very negative effect on your ranking score. If your site has been hacked or compromised in any way, you will likely receive a penalty from Google. It is Google’s mission to direct users to safe, high-quality content, so it is important to pay attention to site security.
Lastly, keep an eye out for user-generated spam. This usually comes in the form of spam comments that contain links to potentially harmful websites. These kinds of comments can make Google think that your website is unsafe for visitors. Try to limit spam comments by monitoring your comment section. If you have a lot of trouble, you may want to start manually approving the comments that are posted to your site.
Ways to Increase Google Search Engine Rankings (Without Penalties)
Understand the Google Ranking Algorithm
Google is constantly changing its algorithm, even though these changes are never publicly announced. Changes in search algorithms can lead to penalties. In addition, knowing what Google is looking for can help you build a better website. This is why it is a good idea to keep up with all of the latest updates. Keep an eye on Google’s terms of service to make sure that you are following the rules and optimizing your site correctly.
Use a Google Rank Checker
Using a Google Rank Checker tool can be a great way to keep up with how your web pages are performing. There are many different tools available, but the most useful would be your Google Search Console. On your console, you can find tons of useful metrics. You can also check your keyword rankings and information about each of your site’s pages. Beyond Google Search Console, there are other SEO tool sites that offer dedicated Google Rank Checkers. Good examples include sites like SEMrush or AccuRanker.
Tracking your site metrics is a great way to keep track of factors that influence your Google search engine rankings. You will want to monitor important data, such as keyword performance, organic traffic, and conversions. There are many different websites that offer SEO tools to track your data metrics. You can also use your Google Search Console. Tracking important data can help you to adjust strategies that aren’t working.
The mobile friendliness of a website’s pages is a critical ranking factor. A huge portion of online traffic comes from mobile devices, so this is an important step to get right. When designing and optimizing your site, check to make sure that anything you add will transfer well to a mobile browser.
Fix Existing Penalties
If you’ve already been hit with a penalty, you will need to fix it as soon as possible. The first step is often to do a link audit, to see if you have any low-quality links to your site. If you find low-quality links, you will need to remove them. You should also check the usability of your site, as well as your content. Make sure that you are not over-optimizing keywords or including duplicate content.
Improve On-Page SEO
On-page SEO involves a lot of factors that can have a big effect on your Google ranking. Do your keyword research and frequently check to make sure your keywords are still ranking. Also, make sure that your individual elements, like title tags and meta descriptions, are optimized. Lastly, monitor page speed and user experience. If you find any issues, try to resolve them as quickly as possible.
Create Great Content
Great content is the backbone of any solid SEO strategy. It also has a lot to do with where your site stands in Google search engine rankings. Google wants to make sure that your content is relevant to the user’s search query. If they direct a user to your site, they want to know that they will find content that is useful and well-crafted. Take the time to create great content that your site visitors will want to engage with.
Build Quality Links
Lastly, building up quality links is a fantastic way to boost your ranking (and lower your risk of being hit with a penalty). One of the best ways to build quality links is to create great content! When the content on your site is useful and relevant, quality sites with high authority will want to link to it. Guest blogging is another great way to build up your link library. Finally, you should also make sure that your internal links are optimized and use appropriate anchor text.
Improving Rankings Without Risking a Penalty
Your web page’s Google ranking has a big effect on your incoming traffic and potential conversions. Increasing your rankings takes some hard work and a lot of patience. You may be tempted to use risky techniques to get faster results. However, this often results in a Google penalty and can actually lower your ranking instead. Not sure where to start? The expert team at SEO Design Chicago provides a host of SEO services that will help you to increase your incoming traffic and boost conversions.
- What is a Google ranking?
- What is a Google penalty?
- How do penalties affect search engine rankings?
- How can I improve my Google search engine ranking?
- What sites have a Google Rank Checker?