Google is on the lookout for quality content and a great user experience. If your site is not providing these, you could easily get penalized. Most people get penalized for black hat techniques, carelessness or through easy SEO mistakes. You can easily recognize a penalty as it can either be manual or automatic.
Some of the clues that will indicate a penalty include:
- Your entire website is nowhere to be found on Google
- Your site is not ranking well
- PageRank for your site has dropped to a zero
- When you search for your site, you’ll only find a page on your site and not the home page
Meanwhile, CoForge.com lists some of the mistakes that could easily get you penalized include:
Keyword stuffed content
While there are different keyword rules floating around, the truth us a high keyword density indicates poorly written content. If Google notices this, you will get penalized immediately. Aim to use your keyword sparsely.
If you have hidden links on your site that are not useful and relevant to your users, you could get penalized. All links should be visible to your users. Avoid having a link with the same color as your background page.
If your site takes ages to load, this tells Google that your visitors are getting frustrated. Have this assessed right away by using a CDN or a caching plugin to troubleshoot.
Overuse of H1 tags
H1 tags are meant to help Google understand what your page is all about. Using these tags excessively could indicate that you’re attempting to stuff Google’s listing with keywords.
Your site has to provide quality content that is useful and engaging to the users. Having duplicate content on your site will only get you penalized. Get well-written, unique content.
If you believe that your site has been penalized, you can still recover. Consult an experienced SEO firm to get your site assessed. An expert will be able to explain how you can get your site back on SERPs.