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The Horror of Google Penalties and How to Avoid Them

October 23, 2017 Digital Media Solutions

No one told Dr. Victor Frankenstein how to create his monster, and ultimately that was not the best idea. Sometimes for your creation to be welcomed by the villagers, uh public, it needs to follow some rules.

In the early days of the internet, it seemed you could just create a website, update it as much or as little as you'd like and see no real traffic consequences in either direction. But then, in 2000, Google became the leading search engine, on which marketers could focus their traffic generating efforts. As a result, we saw the broad scale introduction of SEO or search engine optimization.

With rankings come optimizations, because everyone wants to be at the top of the list. When you checked your site metrics today, did you notice a negative hit in traffic? Is your website homepage at risk of being delisted by Google? Are you afraid your site was cursed by the internet’s dominant search engine? Fear not, we can help.

You Can Survive if You Know the Rules

There are specific rules of survival in horror movies. Similarly, Google has its own set of rules. And it has consequences for sites that don’t adhere to them. As Google frequently updates its search algorithms, it also updates what is deemed a “good website.” Google may flag a site for a variety of reasons. This concept of flagging is better known as receiving a Google Penalty.

Make Google Happy and Your Website Spooktakular

If you are in the process of designing a new landing page or website, or if you maintain an existing site, it is essential to recognize the elements that could get you positive Google attention. We all prefer a treat over a trick. Here are some aspects of your website that we believe Google also prefers.

  • Promotion of unique content
  • Maintenance of fast site speed
  • Active pages with more copy, not less
  • Mobile design and responsiveness
  • Links visitors can easily find that direct to the right location
  • A sitemap
  • No internal 404s

By regularly checking your site against SEO best practices, your chances of receiving a Google penalty should reduce.

Resurrecting a Site Is Not Too Tricky

There are easy-to-use tools that can help you check your site's standing with Google.

If you have even a slight suspicion that your site suffered a penalty, call Ghostbusters! When they don’t pick up, try a Google penalty check.

Google provides one of the best penalty checker tools within Webmaster, so no need to search elsewhere.

Just log onto your Google Webmaster account and look at your metrics. If you've been hit with a penalty, you'll likely notice a grave-like dip in traffic.

That's okay, don't panic.

A penalty check will often tell you what horrified Google, so you can use that information to make some necessary changes. Often, a penalty can be remedied by the removal of a few bad links or a quick addition to your site. Focus on strong content and steer clear of SEO-driven tactics that don’t feel like a costumed imposter.

Still Having Search Engine Nightmares?

Click here to contact DMS to learn how we can help turn your website performance around.


Written By: Stephen Galgocy, Senior SEO/UX Strategist @ DMS

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Digital Media Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: DMS) is a leading provider of technology-enabled digital performance advertising solutions connecting consumers and advertisers within auto, home, health and life insurance plus a long list of top consumer verticals. The DMS first-party data asset, proprietary advertising technology, significant proprietary media distribution and data-driven processes help digital advertising clients de-risk their advertising spend while scaling their customer bases. Learn more at

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