What does a search engine punish for and how do you evade sanctions?

The main goal of Google is to make it easy for users to find exactly what they want, getting the highest quality result in the search results. Therefore, sites that accurately answer the questions asked by the search engine will fall at the top of the search results. On the other hand, poor quality sites or sites that are trying to attract users through fraudulent practices may fall in the search results.

If a site does not meet the requirements of Google, it will inevitably be at the bottom of search results.

But how exactly does Google sanction websites?

Google’s manual sanctions

These sanctions are rated by Google employees manually. They check sites and select “violators.”

A website may be subject to manual sanctions if:

  • the website has been hacked
  • fake references are linked to and from it
  • it contains useless and non-informative content
  • the site has a sneaky redirect
  • the site contains hidden text

Automatic sanctions

These are “written down” by certain Google algorithms. Unlike manual sanctions, an alert about automatic sanctions does not appear in Google Webmaster, and the only signal is a sharp decrease in traffic and website positions in the search results.

You can use search operators to check if the site has come under Google filters or not. To do this, enter “site:” in the search bar, followed by the domain of your site and in quotation marks indicate the keyword by which you are promoting the website in search.

Search engine algorithms

Hummingbird is the main Google ranking algorithm. Hummingbird was created to better understand user requests and only show sites that are the most relevant to that request. The goal is to do a “conversational” search. For example, if a person enters the query “a movie where DiCaprio fights a bear”, the search engine will issue a page with The Revenant movie.

Part of the Hummingbird algorithm is the RankBrain self-learning artificial intelligence system, on which the issuance is formed. RankBrain analyzes the general meaning of the content rather than single words, making search results even more accurate.

To achieve Hummingbird’s location, it is required to make the indicators of CTR behavioral factors better, publish useful content on the website that will make a user satisfied, respond to requests and meet their interests. The exact occurrences of the queries are no longer so important when ranking, word forms and the presence of words of the same thematic group are important — based on them, Google generates search results.

A website may fall under the sanctions of search engines if the quality of links is poor, the content is duplicate or in case of broken links.

To minimize the risk of Google’s sanctions, follow these keyword guidelines:

  • Use fewer direct occurrences and more LSI phrases. When writing LSI texts, synonyms and similar phrases of the key request are used, which increases their relevance to readers.
  • Choose phrases that are related to the subject of the page, and get rid of all the “garbage” words and only use a certain number of keywords per page. The optimal density indicator is considered to be 1.5–3% of the entire text. The most effective phrases consist of two to three words.

Non-unique content

Google is getting smarter every year and already knows how to detect non-unique content (thanks to the Panda algorithm), so this helps:

  • clears the search of results of useless sites and pages
  • creates fair competition

It is important to note that in addition to the uniqueness of the content, a large role is played by the quality and the ability to meet the requirements and interests of the audience.

Slow server response and content loading

The perfect indicator of a site loading speed is 200 ms, the optimal one is under 500 ms. Sites whose download speed exceeds 500 ms are often poorly perceived by users: they do not want to wait for pages to load and leave. But Google does not penalize such websites for this reason –the fact is that users are less likely to use the search engine itself if there are slow sites in the search results.

Hidden text on the site

Hidden text is often used to manipulate the position of the site in the SERP. To do this, invisible content saturated with keywords and phrases is placed on the pages. Thus, visitors do not see the text, but robots index it. This is a black technique, for which Google imposes manual sanctions. To check if there is any hidden text on the pages, press Ctrl + A or open the source code and look at it.

Examination with advertisements

There is nothing wrong with advertisements when they are not aggressive and are used sparingly. But if when you go to the site, pop-up windows immediately appear showing offers to subscribe or calls back, then the bounce rate is likely to increase, since intrusive advertising distracts attention and prevents the user from using the website comfortably.

Bad domain reputation

If in the past the domain of your site had a bad reputation (spam, buying low-quality links, black SEO), then it’s quite difficult to re-establish the trust of search engines. Therefore, before buying a domain, we advise you to carefully check its quality. Using such services as Ahrefs, Majestic, Alexa, Majestic, Netpeak Checker will come in handy.

How to remove manual sanctions

As a rule, Google’s manual sanction removal algorithm is the same regardless of the kind of violation. So what you are to do:

  • Eliminate all errors on the site. At the same time, do not forget to double-check everything and ensure that everything is fixed before contacting Google support.
  • Email Google support asking them to check the site again. Describe in the letter the methods that you used to deal with the problems and commit yourself not to repeat the mistakes. It’s important to describe in detail all the details so that Google employees understand everything correctly and lift sanctions from the site.

If anyone gives you grief, do not give up. Perform another, more thorough, “cleaning” of the site, and then notify Google employees again.

How to remove automatic sanctions

The methods for removing Google’s automatic sanctions are about the same as manual ones. The downside is that there is no one to write, so you must wait until Google itself lifts the sanctions (this can take from a week to several months).

**About the Author: Melisa Marzett is a freelance writer and a traveler currently writing for Essay Editor. She enjoys summertime, swimming, and cooking. She is a workaholic and she cannot spend a day without jotting down a few lines.