How to react to a Google referencing penalty

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Through our SEO Agency Optimize 360

on the theme SEO KPIs


In the world of referencingIt is crucial to comply with the guidelines imposed by Google to maintain good visibility in the search results.

However, it may happen that your site receives a sanction from Google.which will have a negative impact on its ranking. In this article, we explain how to detect whether your site has been penalised and what action to take to remedy the situation.

Google referencing penalty

Identifying the presence of a Google penalty

Before you know what to do if you are sanctioned by Google referencingIt is essential to identify whether or not your site has been penalised and what type of penalty has been applied.

The two main categories of penalties are :

  1. The manual penalty :

    It occurs when Google's anti-spam team detects practices that contravene the guidelines set by the search engine.
    In most cases, this involves offences such as spamming, fraudulent cloaking or the creation of artificial links.

  2. The algorithmic penalty :

    it results from a change in Google's ranking algorithm, generally associated with changes in quality criteria.
    A famous example is the "Panda" update, which affected sites with duplicate content or low quality.

To detect a manual penaltysimply consult the Google Search Console of your site and check whether an error message mentioning a penalty has been sent by Google.

Detecting algorithmic penalties is more complex, as they are often linked to a sudden drop in traffic or a fall in positions in the search results.

Understanding the impact of sanctions on your visibility

Once you have identified the presence of a sanction, you need to analyse its impact on your visibility. The aim is to understand the pages and functions affected, as well as the type of content concerned. This will enable you to establish a precise diagnosis so that you know how to deal with the situation.

Implement corrective actions

Once you have identified and analysed the Google referencing penalty, it's time to develop a strategy for dealing with it. Several actions can be taken depending on the type of penalty:

  1. Removal of content that does not comply with the guidelines : 

    If the sanction concerns your content, you should delete or modify the problematic elements as quickly as possible.
    This may involve duplicate articles, keyword spam or information that is misleading for users.

  2. Correcting black hat SEO techniques: 

    If you are sanctioned for using illegal techniques (cloaking, artificial links, etc.), it is important to review your SEO strategy and adopt "best practices". white hat SEO".
    This involves better optimisation of the site and the creation of a network of natural links.

  3. Improving the overall quality of the site : 

    If the penalty is due to a ranking algorithm, you should take steps to improve the overall quality of your site. Think, for example, of working on theuser experiencethe relevance of the content and the technical performance of the site.

Ask Google to re-evaluate your site

Once you have made the necessary corrections, you can ask Google to re-evaluate your site.

To do this, log in to your Google Search Console and send a message explaining the actions taken since you received the sanction.

The request will then be examined by Google's anti-spam team, who will decide whether or not to lift the penalty.

Preventing future sanctions

To avoid further SEO penalties in the future, it is important to always follow the guidelines set by Google and to adopt responsible SEO practices. Here are a few tips:

  • Putting the user at the heart of your concerns: 
    As Google's main objective is to provide relevant results, it is essential to offer quality content with high added value for web users.

  • Respect the technical rules : 
    make sure you always follow best practice when it comes to site optimisation (sitemaps, loading times, meta tags, etc.).

  • Create a network of natural links: 
    prioritise the creation of inbound links from relevant sites and avoid using artificial techniques to manipulate your positioning in the search results.

In short, when faced with a Google referencing penalty, it is essential to react quickly by identifying the problem, analysing its impact and taking corrective action.

But above all, this experience should be seen as an opportunity to improve the overall quality of your site and your SEO practices to ensure optimum visibility in the long term.

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About the author

Frédéric POULET is the founder of the SEO Agency Optimize 360 After 20 years in large groups, he founded Optimize 360 to put the know-how of large groups to work for SMEs. Now a recognised specialist in SEO and natural referencing in France and Europe
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