Identifying a Penalty – A Guide for Dental Site Owners

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Getting a penalty means Google found something malicious in your content. It is concerning but it doesn't mean you need to run for the hills and give up hope. Before we proceed, you should know that most penalties are fixable. It just depends on what type of penalty it is.

 

What Happens When Your Clinic Site Receives a Penalty? What Could Have Caused It?

Worst case scenario, if your SEO team is indeed using methods that are frowned upon by search engines, your search engine rankings won’t go any further. It will keep on decreasing until you find the source of the problem and fix it. Common indications include traffic drop on some keywords, pages, and the overall site.

Your site may have been hit by a spam or as what most SEO calls it, “Negative SEO.” Since black-hat SEO methods are continuously being grilled by Google, the hoodlums on the web have come up with negative SEO as an alternative. The following are often under negative SEO:

·         Website Hack: Register your site in Google’s Search Console so that you can receive alerts from the people at Google if your site is really hacked. Use your better judgement as well especially when you know that your site is losing content without your permission, sending spams and others.

·         Content Copying: The same content you have is being published by another site without your permission or your brand name is being used by another party.

·         Content Removal: Your ranking could have been decreasing due to the unapproved removal of your best content.

·         The Dark Side of Link Building: While you’re receiving an abundance of links, see to it that these websites use proper keywords when they’re linking to you. 

·         Manipulative Marketing Methods Inside and Outside: See to it that your team is capable of handling SEO professionally whether it’s outsourced or in-house. Find out if they are as knowledgeable as the SEO specialists here at dentalseomarketing.net.

If your pages are receiving less organic search results, it does not always mean that it received a penalty. Technical issues like server and crawling issues could have triggered it. Or maybe, it’s just not your site’s season and you are not updated with the algorithm changes. Which is why it’s vital to have an open mind and find the exact source before proceeding. Tip: Use trusted penalty indicator tools to speed up the process.

 

AFTER RECEIVING A PENALTY, IDENTIFY IT IMMEDIATELY.

An Algorithmic Penalty is the lighter one made possible by Googlebot’s detection. Since it’s a penalty provided by Google’s algorithm, most of the time, you won’t receive a clear reason as to why the penalty is given. You’ll just experience a sudden drop of traffic and leave the investigation process to you and your team. To pinpoint the cause, analyze by using the information available such as 1) the date of when the penalty existed, 2) the list of activities your site performed on that day, 3) the date when Google’s algorithm change occurred and 4) info on what the algorithm update’s target is. Google can guide you in the process as well by allowing you to use the Search Console and Google Analytics.

·         The Search Console is an effective tool for gathering data related to crawl stats, link profile, index status, and site errors to name a few. As a dental clinic site owner, it is important that you connect your site to this tool in order to maximize your site analysis.

·         The Google Analytics is designed to track traffic issues. In here, you can use conditional formatting to easily spot the highest drops or export data to transfer the report offline.

Explore the tools more often and perform scheduled check-ups to not let the penalty stay in your alerts, unnoticed for a long time.

On the other hand, a Manual Action Penalty is given by human site quality raters. This type of penalty is indeed more serious but thanks to the accurate evaluation, you can quickly identify and understand the cause. These penalties should be promptly fixed because they are often caused by low-quality content, spam, unnatural links, or hidden keyword stuffing on a specific page or site-wide (on-site or off-site) – the type of actions that Google highly disapproves of.

With the penalty alert, Google is giving your site a chance to sustain itself. This is where the Search Console will come in handy, again. Proceed to your main dashboard, click “All Messages,” or go to “Search Traffic” and “Manual Actions” to find out if there’s an alert or not.  

 

Identifying the problem should come first before taking action to avoid more mistakes. The next step, understanding and solving, shall be performed as well, so that Google will not repeatedly send the same penalty alert. Note that penalties also expire. But it doesn’t mean that the problem should be ignored or that you should wait for the problem to pass. Instead of wasting time staying on the same lane, it’s better to use that time to build your site’s quality. After all, Google discourages anyone to ignore a penalty because at the end of the day, it’s the site that’s at a disadvantage. Plus, penalties take 6 or more months to expire, wasting that much time for a dental clinic site isn’t really a good SEO approach.

An important lesson to avoid Google penalties, is to cease abusing the methods used in SEO. For example, one common method is Link building. Link building is supposed to be earned naturally. Yet many are still trying to cheat the system for the sake of ranking higher. Because of this, search engines will again come up with an algorithm change to counter the problem, many are going to receive algorithmic penalties, and the cycle will likely not end.

And since we’re aiming for better visibility that can be converted to sales, the best thing we could do is play by the rules and come up with strategies that will push your site to the top of a local ranking. 

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