Has your website been penalized by Google?
Have you been going about your business and suddenly your website traffic dropped? Not getting any qualified leads? Or you’re no longer showing up on search engines for your keywords? There’s a good chance you might be suffering from a penalty.
So, how can you tell if you have a penalty on your website or if your site is merely experiencing the Google “dance”? Well, there’s a few ways you can test to see. Read on to find out.
What Are Google Webmaster Tools?
First off, you really should have Google Webmaster Tools access for your website. What is Google Webmaster Tools? It’s a set of online tools that allow website owners to get an idea of what Google thinks about a website. In reality though, it’s much more than a toolset to gauge, track and analyze a website. It also allows site owners to diagnose potential problems, errors and monitor overall health of a website.
In addition to these tools, Google Webmaster Tools access will also notify you by email of any warnings, errors and penalties Google might access to your website. This makes it critical and essential that you get access. You can learn more and sign up to add Webmaster Tools by following this link: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools. Google’s not the only search engine that has tools. Bing also has a set of tools you can get access to. You can learn more about those tools they offer here: www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster.
Do a Google Search
There are key indicators to establish whether your website is currently penalized or not. Open a browser and type in the search: “site:yourwebsite.com”. Where “yourwebsite.com” is the name of your website. Enter this search and you will receive a list of web pages in Google that are indexed. This is a list of pages Google shows that exist for your website. Here’s your chance to review that list of pages to determine if any important ones are missing. If some are then that might indicate you have a problem.
If you see all the pages you expect to see then the last thing you can check is searching for actual text on your website. Go to Google.com and enter in a block of text that’s on your website. Let’s take the home page for example. Grab a paragraph of text that’s there and drop it into the search field on Google.com. Assuming that paragraph is unique and not copied from another website you should see, in the search results, your website listed. If you don’t then you might have a penalty.
What to do if you expect you have a penalty
The best thing you can do is just wait. Google updates its algorithm often and regularly so there’s a good chance your website is going through an adjustment. If, after everything, you still believe your website has a penalty then the best and really only solution is to contact Google and resubmit your website or webpage. If you need help doing this there’s many SEO agencies around that will assist you.
Despite what many say, there really aren’t a lot of legitimate websites that get penalized by Google. Even if you have a lot of duplicate or “borrowed” content on your corporate website, you aren’t likely to receive a penalty. Typically, only truly spamy or black hat sites will receive them. So, try not to jump to the conclusion right off the bat that you have one. Just have patience and follow the items above. Make sure you have Google Webmaster Tools access and that your website is added and you should be fine. Cheers!