There are five major reasons that search engines like Google may penalize a website and either remove it or push it down in the search results.
1. Poor Content is probably the most common error made when developing a website. Google is able to screen site content and determine if it has been poorly written. This system is not perfect and does not have human capacity which often allows an errant sentence to slip by. Odds are decent that a poorly written article may not get penalized as long as they are few and far between. But upload a dozen junk articles and watch as rankings drop.
2. Poor Backlinks. Purchasing discount link packages and ignoring the development of quality backlinking can directly lead to Google penalties. There is a way to let Google know which links on a site should be ignored with a new tool called Disavow. Website audits completed by an SEO professional are key to determining which links need to be weeded out. The best practice is not to have them in the first place if possible, but if you have bad links from the past, weeding them out is important.
3. Broken Links and Broken Pages. When website pages are changed, put up, removed, changed around, etc – it is easy to build a huge host of broken links and pages. Cleaning up these broken pieces and putting them into order with redirects and repairs will show search engines your website is in good order.
4. Canonicalization Problems. Websites acquire ‘juice’ which gives them precedence in search engines. Links back to websites build juice but determining which exact page is getting the juice do to canonicalization problems can easily be fixed.
5. Duplicate Content. If you have a number of pages that have the same content you can easily be penalized. Duplicate content issues sometimes come up by simple template issues in WordPress when a blog article shows up under ‘tags’ ‘category’, ‘page’ and ‘author. For eCommerce sites, duplicate content can show up with product, color, size, issues.
Auditing your website on an annual basis in order to catch errors that are penalizing your site is critical. Much like changing the oil in your car, staying up on your website’s maintenance will return to you better results and more returns in the form of sales and leads online.
If you would like our company to complete an audit on your website, go to our Website Audit page for more information.