When you run a business, especially a small business in a competitive industry, chances are that you rely on leads generated from your website to thrive and grow. The last thing you want in this situation is to be faced with a penalty from Google. Getting dropped from the search engine rankings can render your business website worthless, and depending on how long you wait to fix the problems that led to the penalty, it could also mean the end of your business!
If your business line which had been ringing off the hook suddenly goes silent, it’s a safe bet that there’s a problem with your website that needs to be addressed, and fast. That’s where our team at Big Red SEO comes in—we can determine the problems and put a prioritized action plan in place to fix your website issues quickly.
Get Out of That Sandbox!
There are two types of penalties that can affect your business website: manual action and algorithmic. With a manual action penalty, Google takes direct action against your site (or specific pages within your site) because of what it refers to as “use of techniques that are outside of Google Webmaster Guidelines.”
Essentially, Google can deindex your entire website or specific sections of it that are attempting to manipulate ranking. This leaves your website in “the sandbox,” a purgatory where no Google search can find you. Our Omaha SEO company will often meet with clients who can’t find their websites on Google even when searching for their own business name!
The sandbox was a fun place to be when you were a kid, but you don’t want to be there now, not when you have a business to run. Getting put into Google’s sandbox means that your website is in timeout until you get the things fixed that Google has problems with.
The Manual Action Penalty Notification
The good news in all this is that Google will notify you when they’ve brought a manual action penalty against your website, and they also provide examples of the offending techniques they found that you should fix in order to have the manual action lifted. You can find these notifications by going into Google Webmaster Tools. If you see a new message that looks like this, you’ll know that your drop in traffic and internet leads is due to a manual action penalty stemming from “unnatural links”:
Now, not all manual action penalties are caused by suspicious or blatantly manipulative links, but the vast majority of them are. 95% in fact, so if you find yourself with a manual action penalty from Google, it’s most likely caused by an unnatural link profile.
What Causes an Unnatural Link Profile?
There are two main ways that your business website can accrue enough low-quality links to draw Google’s attention, the first of which is buying links. This is bad Omaha SEO practice and always has been—some businesses go out and buy tens of thousands of spammy links at a time to artificially increase the link juice coming to their sites, but we here at Big Red SEO know that it’s better to gain links the natural way, by producing content that people find so unique and valuable that they have to share it!
If you previously worked with a search engine optimization company that bought thousands of low-quality links in your name to quickly manipulate your business website’s ranking, you’re at risk of getting thrown in the sandbox. And when you’re trying to run a business that depends on people finding you on Google, that’s a risk you can’t afford to take.
You might also find yourself with an unnatural link profile if you’re the victim of a negative SEO campaign. Just as you can hire a white hat Omaha SEO company to help your business rise in the search engine rankings by adhering to Google’s best practices, your competitors can hire a black hat SEO company to buy poor-quality links in your name with the hopes of getting your website lowered in the rankings, or worse, deindexed completely.
The Next Steps in Omaha SEO
It’s definitely stressful to get a manual penalty message in your inbox, especially if you’re not tech savvy and don’t know the next steps to take to correct the problem. Whether your penalty was caused by buying links or negative SEO, the solution is the same: working with a white hat SEO company like Big Red SEO to clean up your link profile. If you’ve been hit by a penalty recently and don’t know what to do, give our Omaha SEO team a call today at (402) 522-6468.