The practice of SEO has come a long way since its inception. While once synonymous with search engine deception, search engine optimization has matured into a more ethical and user-friendly discipline. With that said, there are still websites on the web that engage in questionable tactics, generally referred to as black-hat SEO. If your company is one of them, your website could be subject to a Google penalty. For novices of internet marketing, they will sometimes mistake an algorithmic impact for an official Google penalty. Consider the differences below:
- Algorithmic Impact: Rankings drops due to Google algorithm changes, or changes to your website flagged by the algorithm
- Manual Penalty: An official Google penalty imposed through Google Webmaster Tools
Official penalties are usually reserved for egregious breaches in ethics, and / or flat out mutiny on behalf of the perpetrating web developer. Most of the time, a ratings drop is algorithmic in nature, and there is nothing that can be done to “recover” other than following Google’s standard protocol, including their Quality Guidelines. If you discover your website did in fact incur a manual penalty (something you can check via Google Webmasters Tools), several actions can be taken to start the recovery process. If you require assistance in diagnosing or recovering from a Google penalty, call us at (800) 353-3409.
Penalty Worthy Offenses For HVAC Websites
The best way to deal with a Google penalty, is to not incur one in the first place. That might seem difficult if you don’t know what actually constitutes a penalty by Google’s definition. It’s really more of common sense than anything else. If you perform an action to which you must ask “What would Google think if they knew this was happening?” you are likely breaching some sort of ethical line. Still, it’s good to understand tangible examples of penalties, so that you can educate yourself and your employees on what types of behavior to avoid. Possible Google penalties include:
- Hidden Text or Links: Invisible text does not benefit the user and is a manipulation of search engines
- Internal 404 Page Errors: If one of your pages doesn’t work, Google isn’t going to allow users to waste their time visiting it
- Keyword Stuffing: Flooding your content with keywords does not enhance the user’s reading experience
- Low Quality Content: Broken English, spammy illogical sentences, and blatant plagiarism, all classify as low quality content
- Manipulative Link Building: Google’s Penguin update targeted manipulative link building strategies designed for the sole purpose of ranking on search engines
- Slow Site Speed: If your website is slow, users are going to exit quickly and thus alert Google that your website has a high bounce rate
Steering clear of the tactics above should absolve your domain of any wrongdoing, and keep it out of grey areas that blur ethical lines. Most of these offenses are obvious in that performing them in good conscious brings your ethical standards into question. With that said, 404 errors and slow site speed are two examples of non-malicious website issues. The best way to avoid occurrences such as these is to invest in website maintenance services, so that issues are addressed immediately when cropping up. HVAC Webmasters is eager to help you with every aspect of your internet marketing campaign. We offer both month to month (MTM) and pay per lead (PPL) plans.
How Can HVAC Companies Recover from Penalty?
If a log in to your Google Webmasters profile notifies you of an official Google penalty, you should address the problem ASAP. Remember, Google did not apply the penalty in order to ruin your company and its online presence, they did it for the benefit of their users, whose experience was threatened by some aspect of your site. Companies like HVAC Webmasters can help you recover from the penalty, first by diagnosing how it happened, and secondly by addressing the issues that did cause it, and laying a more stable groundwork on which to build. Recovery methods include:
- Check for Duplicates: Use a tool like Copyscape to check for duplicate content across the web
- Disavow Backlinks: Use Google Webmaster Tools to disavow low quality backlinks
- Keep Track of Google Algorithms: Be mindful of Google algorithm updates and how they might affect your current website
- Website Reboot: Put your current website out of its misery and reinvest your dollars in a reputable website design team
Taking decisive steps towards recovery shows Google that you understand what you’ve done wrong, and you’re taking the steps necessary to correct it. The initiative taken by websites who incur penalties will often define how great of an impact the penalty has. While no none can pinpoint exactly how long a penalty will last, they can guide you through the road to recovery and help you establish a more search engine friendly online presence moving forward. HVAC Webmasters has experience managing the digital presence of heating and cooling companies, and knows the steps for recovery. Call (800) 353-3409 for penalty recovery services from HVAC Webmasters.