To get the latest news on Google penalties, Scripted CEO Ryan Buckley recently interviewed the CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, Eric Enge. Stone Temple Consulting began as Enge’s solo business consulting practice, but now has 70 employees and services companies of all sizes, including some Fortune 50 firms. Enge drew on his extensive experience with helping businesses dominate their Google niche to give listeners advice on Google penalties and how to avoid them.
There are two types of Google penalties: those applied by a human employee at Google and those imposed by an algorithm. Technically, Google doesn’t call it a penalty when its search algorithm pushes your site down the search engine results page, although it can certainly feel that way!
If you receive a Google penalty, Google is probably trying to tell you one of two things: either the quality of the content on your site is poor, or you have too many low-quality links pointing to your site.
An inbound link is a link to your site from a site not owned by you. If you have lots of high-ranking, relevant websites linking to your site, Google takes that as a sign that your site probably provides some value for readers in your niche. On the other hand, if Google thinks you have bought those links, it will penalize your site by pushing it down the Google rankings.
In general, any scheme that promises to increase your inbound links is simply too good to be true. If you are tempted to buy links, take part in a link exchange program, or systematically go around blogs, forums and social media sites linking to your own website, Enge has one word of advice: Don’t! It’s far better to focus on filling your site with quality content and wait for other website owners to link to it naturally.
If you have too many pages on your site with thin or scraped content, you could be heading for a Google penalty. Thin content refers to pages on your site that contain very little text, while scraped content is text that you have copied and pasted from other sites.
The best way to avoid a Google penalty is to fill your site with high-quality content. That doesn’t just mean well-written, original articles, but also multimedia content such as podcasts and webinars. These types of content allow you to reach out to your audience and create an authentic connection with them.
If you’ve been hit with a Google penalty, you may wonder how long it will take to recover. According to Enge, improving your SEO can take between three and six months, but the ultimate results are worth it. He advises all businesses to avoid looking for quick fixes and instead invest in quality content creation to protect their Google ranking over the long term.