We all want to appear on page 1 on Google. But in today’s digital landscape, you can’t just create a website for your business and expect the online enquiries to start flooding in. Google’s algorithm is smart. Its job is to sort the wheat from the chaff, or the good content from the bad.
That’s how it comes up with the search results it does. And there are plenty of reasons Google will penalise your website to stop your content from appearing.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at the 3 most common reasons your content is penalised and what you can do to improve your chances of appearing on page 1 on Google…
This blog post is part of our FREE SEO Basics program: Online Storytelling That Generates Leads. CLICK HERE to join now via our Facebook Group.
So, Week 3 is all about Google penalties. But if you’ve missed any of the previous weeks of program blogs, you can access them below:
Week 2: What Is SEO & How Does It Work?
Avoiding Google Penalties
There are many ways that Google decides what is good content and what’s bad. But what you have to remember is that Google is an algorithm, it’s artificial intelligence, so it can’t read your epic blog post like a human can. It has to “read” it in other ways.
Metadata is one of the main ways Google “reads” content and understands what it’s about.
There should be metadata on every single page of your website. Sometimes, your Content Management System (the backend of your website) will automatically fill in the metadata using the content that’s on the page. This is great because Google penalises web pages with missing metadata.
However, it also penalises incorrect metadata – like if it’s too long or too short. So it’s much better to enter your own.
2. Broken Links
When Google’s “reading” your website content, it likes to follow the links embedded within it. Just like a human does. So if Google follows a link and it turns out to be broken – because it was inputted incorrectly, the page has moved or no longer exists – it penalises the website for being out of date or even spam.
3. Slow Page Load Times
Again, like a human, Google has a short attention span. So if your website pages take too long to load while Google is crawling them, it will give up and mark it down.
What can cause a page to load slowly? It could be anything from a server issue to the size of the image files uploaded to the page.
But here’s the good news…
That all sounds rather gloomy. But the good news is that, more often than not, these issues – once discovered – are easy to fix. A quick Website Health Check will reveal if Google is flagging issues and penalising your website as a result.
We developed the Website Health Check for businesses that are frustrated, confused, or overwhelmed by SEO jargon and online marketing. (If you’d like a jargon free explanation of SEO, read our blog post: What is SEO?)
We’ve used this Website Health Check on our own website, which now has no critical crawler issues and a full bill of health! (Critical crawler issues are things like broken links and server errors.)
The bottom line is that if your website is healthy, it will be favoured in search results. So: get the health check, fix the issues, improve your Google ranking. And you’ll be on your way to appearing on p1 of Google in no time!
For more business tips and marketing insights, check out our Be The Drop podcast. We release new content each week!