You must be aware of penalties in sports, for example, if a player does something against the rules and the regulations of the game, they are penalized for their behavior. Based on the severity of the violation, players are often expelled from the game or are disqualified for a particular time. This same event is opted by Google. The strategy is designed in such a manner that the websites not abiding by the policies, rules and regulations are penalized. The penalties impact websites so bad that it can even affect the website performance during search.
Google continuously update and make changes in its algorithms in order to provide its users with accurate information, distinctive content, some of the very finest writers and ultimately the best web experiences. But there is the other side of the coin too; the “penalty”. This happens if Google notices some issue with your website. There are two main reasons for Google to penalize your website- using artificial methods to increase website ranking or poor user interface and experience on the website.
What exactly is Google Penalty?
Google toolbar extension was released somewhere a couple of decades back and introduced SEO to the world. This SEO thing initiated the concept of PageRank. With time and the years, it refined and improved the quality of content so that only the good quality stuff shall remain on top. Poor quality content simply means that your website is not listed on search engines and there is a drop in targeted keywords ranking. This is where penalty takes place.
With the penalty on websites, Google also penalizes bad advertisements, advertisers as well as the publishers. With programmatic advertising, publishers have increased their efficiency but this has brought in malicious, low quality and annoying advertisements on their sites. With such fraudulent ads, it becomes a concern for advertisers as well as publishers. The websites with interstitial and ad pop-ups are placed at a lower rank and are worse with respect to search results.
In order to protect the digital ecosystem from ad frauds, bad ads and nasty content from publishers, Google takes down such ads and ban publishers that support bad ad content in order to maintain integrity and transparency.
The wired reports; Google took down around 1.7 billion ads which are double the number of ads taken down in 2016, as these ads infringed the policies. Since ninety percent of the Google’s revenue is generated via the advertising, it requires keeping the ad network clean and safe.
How does Google’s Ad policy bother anyone?
Google not only intends to provide people with the information they are looking for but also works towards supplying the results that work well for any user. This is why it continuously updates the algorithms and comes up with policies such as rules to rank site that are encrypted or mobile friendly. Also, there are policy updates that monitor advertisements of illegal products, self-clicking ads or pop-ups, or ads that are promoted from spam site like weight loss scams, forged goods, sites with malware etc.
During the mid of this year, Google announced the implementation of new ad policies. When any publisher violates the regulations, Google takes off ads on its network (DoubleClick Ad Exchange & Adsense Ad Network). But, to keep a lesser revenue loss for publisher, it would classify content page wise instead of the entire website while following the standards. This categorization assists in monitoring the ads and removing ads from the particular page that does not abide by the policies. This way it does not call for taking off ad from the entire site as it penalizes only a particular page. Here the content does not only mean the text but includes videos, images, graphics etc.
It is a well-accepted fact that you cannot achieve everything online without Google. It is one of the best sources of traffic generation with your website on the top reaping numerous benefits that one can’t afford to ignore. Thus, it is important to consider-
If your website passes through by algorithms.
– Understand about the update due to which the website is penalized
– Check for the ad policies specific to advertisers, publishers
So that you can take corrective measures to improvise your website performance and getting it back to the top.
What are the Bad advertisements or Bad publishing content?
There have been cases in past that advertisers made their ad in such a way that it appeared like a relevant headline that goes well with the website content, but on clicking the link the consumer is diverted to scammy websites such as weight loss, payday loans etc. In such cases, Google takes strict action by suspending the advertiser account instead of penalizing by taking off the ads. It also records the traffic patterns from ads, backlinks, and the ad source to analyze and identify the people who scam frequently thereby suspending their accounts.
One of the most serious issues of recent times is the ads published on the fake news sites. Such ad content is a part of Adsense Misrepresentative Content Policy. This policy was introduced in November which not only include fake news sites but also websites that are involved in fraudulent practices like selling copied papers, providing personal information and other serious cheating activities. With this, many publishers are also kicked out of Google network as they promote the fake content on their site.
Bad ads are not only malware or any other harmful content but also account for the quality of experience to the users. Google policies protect and make advertisers and publishers conscious about illegal actions (such as driving traffic and maximizing clicks by using bots), non-viewable ad environment or unsafe brand environment i.e ads published against unsafe content. Fake news sites mentioned above are new example of ads in an unsafe environment.
With all the bad ads and bad actors performing in the digital ecosystem, advertisers look for assurance that their ads appear at right places and the publishers need assurance towards not trailing on their revenue due to bad ads sold under their name.
Insights and actions towards bad ads and Google penalty
For Bad Ads
Look out for unlawful activities such as ads from unapproved pharmaceuticals, payday loans, ads containing malware etc. Unwanted ads shown to the user which are not relevant cause harm to the user, advertisers, and publishers as they provide the bad user experience.
Check for the bot traffic data and misleading messages on your website. Any misleading message that diverts to non-relevant or useless sites can invite blacklisting of the website. Also, the artificial traffic generated via bots and spiders impact the campaign performance as well as the revenue.
Penalties are of two types- manual and automatic.
Manual penalty s imposed when someone from the Google team has physically reviewed your website and found it violates the guidelines. This violation can either be on the entire site or on some pages. In this case, Google provides the list of issues and the actions required to rectify the problems. Once the changes are performed, you can resubmit the request to check if the penalty is removed.
Automatic or the algorithmic penalty is the most common types in which the website skips any filter in the Google algorithm. This category is further classified into two- Panda & Penguin.
– Panda penalty is levied based on the content quality & site usability, usually rolled out on monthly basis.
– Penguin penalty is linked with optimization and usually, occur with the updates in algorithms.
Some of the key factors that trigger the penalty-
– Pages loaded with irrelevant ads and keywords
– A sudden drop in website ranking, even the specific keyword that ranked previously does not rank same, without any action from your end.
– Hidden texts and backlinks from other web pages
– Keyword stuffing and a huge amount of duplicate content
– A visitor is taken to another page even without clicking
– Enveloping the original page and showing a different version to the search engine robots.
– Viruses, spyware etc
If any of the above actions taken by a website to compromise user experience, calls for a penalty.
How to deal with penalty?
– Do not panic
– Check for the severity of the penalty. Is it due to cloaking, unwanted keyword stuffing or anything else? Not every offense leads to same punishment. Try to improve the content quality, remove un-necessary backlinks and re-submit the consideration request.
– Check what kind of offense it is? Manual or automatic, repeated or the first time? Based on the list of actions provided by the Google team to resolve issues, try to resolve each issue and make a request to cancel the penalty.
– If the penalty is on the domain, try looking for a different domain.
Though you need to be patient with Google at the same time, you need to play by the rules, to get good results. You can try tricks but can get into trouble easily if guidelines are not taken care of. Adhere to guiding principles, promote the website on legal digital mediums and consider SEO tricks such as targeted keywords, mobile friendliness, unfollow external links etc to avoid penalty. The key to eliminate Google penalty is to understand its cause. Once the cause is identified, it becomes easy to resolve and update your ads and site for successful performance & providing a safe place for users, publishers and brands.