We all want to be the first link listed when an internet user submits a keyword query. Building your Google ranking takes time. Professional, quality digital marketing agencies understand this and carefully design and implement each piece that will help a business to achieve this goal. However, for those looking to catch the express train to number one, tricking, cheating or spamming Google is never a good idea.
Everyone knows about Google. It is the go-to search engine for roughly 75% of all users. Because of this, Google plays a heavy role in establishing your website’s rankings.
Make no mistake – Google knows how important it is. In fact, Google started its ranking algorithm evolution in December 2000, with the official publication of a usable PageRank form. Since then, it has continuously refined how it approaches its ranking system. In 2012, Google published the Penguin update. Of every ten websites, more than were significantly impacted, if not eliminated, from the search engine. More recently, Google issued a push for secure hosting, as well. Pages who do not utilize HTTPS (the secure version of HTTP) will be subjected to a drop in their ranking.
A Google penalty can be either manual or automatic. A Google penalty can take time to fix. Quickly identifying the cause, however, can prevent further penalization and start you on the road to recovery.
In most manual penalty situations, Google will contact you and inform you of the reason. This can help you easily correct any issues or quickly readdress your SEO and digital marketing strategy.
The cause of automatic penalties is not always as easy to determine. However, there are some clues that can help you determine whether you are the subject of a Google penalty or not.
If you discover that your website no longer ranks well when you search for your own brand name, a Google penalty is likely occurring. (Red flags should go off if your entire website has been removed from the cached search results on Google overnight!) If you were once on the first page of a keyword search and find yourself slipping back a page or two although you have not modified anything, a penalty is the probable cause. When you do finally locate your website through the Google search, if it is not your home page, a penalty may be in effect. Finally, if your website’s PageRank has inexplicably decreased to a one or zero, an algorithmic Google penalty is likely to blame.
When you hear the term “black hat”, it refers to search engine optimization or SEO, strategies, and techniques that will likely get you penalized. Blackhat SEO targets the search engine ranking factors as its audience. It includes techniques like buying links, keyword stuffing, content spamming, content automation, link farming, and hidden content.
Like the old saying claims, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!” If you have hired an agency that promises a number one ranking overnight, it is likely that they are using black hat tactics that can get you in trouble. Reversing the damage black hat SEO tactics can do will take time and increase your expenses. (As quickly as black hat tricks are deployed, it can be two to four times harder to reverse their damage to your website.) Even a short-term dip in rankings due to black hat techniques can have long-term effects. (After all, if you associate with a shady company, others may think you condone or provide the same poor services.)
On the other hand, white hat SEO strategies target the human on the other side of the search engine. These quality ranking tactics work to benefit your website and increase meaningful traffic to your website. This includes building quality content and backlinks, as well as thoroughly researching keywords.
Your Google ranking is made up of a complex algorithm of factors. Violating this algorithm can make years of devoted work crafting your website disappear overnight. To avoid this, finding a reputable SEO expert may be the best solution.
At 51Blocks, our team thrives on achieving positive rankings on Google for you. We work hard to ensure each client abides by the algorithm to avoid a Google penalty. However, we know there are plenty of agencies out there who overpromise ranking increases and provide shady services that can negatively impact your website. If you have been the victim of one of these scams, 51Blocks will work with you to increase your Google ranking through tried and true white hat SEO techniques.
If you would like to learn more about how 51Blocks can help improve your site’s rankings in a professional and white hat way, contact us today.