6 Mistakes to Avoid with Trying to Recover from A Google Penalty
There is nothing worse than getting caught and penalized besides being penalized for something you didn’t even know you were doing wrong. Often, you can do things for your website that can land you on the Google “naughty” list whether you know it or not. If you have been penalized by Google, these are the six mistakes that will dig the hole deeper. To get back in good standing, don’t do them!
1 Deleting your pages or breaking links
The thing most of us try to do when we are in trouble is to delete what got us there. If you have been penalized, the worst thing you can do is to go back and delete the problem. When you erase pages, what you do is break the links that exist. Broken links can affect your on-page ranking and the ability of internet users to find you, and generally messes up your site’s hierarchy. The best thing to do is to go back and fix the specific problem rather than throwing away the entire thing. For example, if you were heavily promoting ads on your webpage, tone them down instead. Google and other search engines will see and appreciate your remedial efforts, and will favor them over taking the easy way out.
2 Forgetting about your user’s experience
There is a whole chain of events that users have from going to information from your site to action. If you go about deleting things, then you are going to see that you are breaking up the conversion from interest to action. Most of the time, this leads to poor conversion rates and badly user retention. Try not to erase anything that alters your existing pages that create a path from consumer to “contact us”.
3 Redirecting your site without a plan
The worse mistake you can make is to overreact and just start making changes without understanding how they are going to affect your website overall. To effectively get back on Googles good side, it is important to create a strategy to move forward instead of just going at without thought. In the event that you cannot recover from a penalty no matter what you’ve tried, it may be necessary to create an entirely new one or to redirect traffic, but you have to have a plan in place for it to be successful.
301 redirects are a popular way to do this, but they’re very powerful and it works very well if done correctly. You’ll first want to redirect most of your main sites to your new home page. You can recreate and redirect to other inner pages too if you’ve had good traffic coming their way on your old domain. This will be a hassle but it’s worth every effort. If you use WordPress, you can easily use a redirect plugin to achieve this.
There are a few things to keep in mind when doing this, though. The most obvious things would be to not make the same mistake on the redirected site, and not reuse the old content that you had on the penalized domain.
4 Ditching your keywords
If all else fails, the only thing that is likely keeping your page relevant through a Google penalization is the secondary or related keywords that you are already ranking for. A penalization does not mean you drop out of the search results altogether, and some of your secondary keywords will still likely be ranking well. These keywords might have small search volumes, but when combined can contribute a good sum of traffic to your site.
Our advice would be to not to ditch the keywords, or you are going to undo all the things that are still working. Avoid erasing content altogether, instead, try to pinpoint and target what got you penalized and work only on that portion.
5 Forgetting about backups
Before you go messing around trying to fix things, it is imperative that you back up your existing files. If you find that you have made things worse, then you are going to have to go back to square one to figure it out. If you are missing square one, you are pretty much out of luck. That could be a huge debacle, so always keep your files safe and backup regularly. If you use WordPress, there are numerous plugins that can back up your entire site for free. Some hosts do it regularly too, so be sure to check with them if you’ve already broken your site and didn’t do a backup.
6 Throwing your site away
Many small businesses get freaked out and don’t know what to do so they completely ditch their old website and start fresh. This approach will take all of your hard work and make it completely useless. By throwing it all out to start over you are losing many important links, social networks, domain recognition and keywords that are working. Take the time to figure out what happened, or hire someone qualified to do it and get their professional opinion. In most of the cases, there is always a way out if you put in enough effort. Otherwise, you will have to start from nothing. That is never any fun.
Being in trouble is never a good thing, but there are things you can do to make it better. The best thing you can do now is not to make it any worse by doing these six things.