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What small business owners and marketers need to know about Google penalties.

Google doesn’t hand out penalties lightly, but when it does, it comes as a shock to most business owners/marketers/webmasters—and serves as a reminder of just how much power Google has. Google doesn’t ask for much, just that we all play by the rules and don’t try to game the system. Following are a few things that Google does not like:

  • Pages with little useful content, including pages that are set up just to capture search traffic (thin slicing).

  • Pages that appear to be outliers and don’t mesh well with the rest of the site.

  • Pages that contain content not relevant to metatags (i.e. description leads searchers to believe the page contains information that it does not actually provide).

  • Pages that contain hidden text or too many of the same keywords.

  • Pages that are hacked by another site.

  • Pages that use aggressive spam techniques.

  • Pages that appear to be part of a link-building campaign (if this involves a lot of pages, the entire site can be penalized).

  • Pages that contain links that Google finds suspicious (probably not helpful to the site visitor).

If it isn’t already painfully obvious, Google will usually let you know either a page or your entire site has been penalized via a message on your webmaster console. The only way to remove a penalty is to file a reconsideration request with Google and wait 2-3 weeks.

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