In recent years, Google has been stepping up efforts to tackle brands’ anti-competitive and unethical practices. Despite this, it still seems that many firms have failed to implement adequate measures that will safeguard them against penalties from the search giant, Searchmetrics has warned.
The analytics firm is working to make sure that companies recognize the risk of not paying attention to Google’s web spam rules, which may lead to penalties that could hurt a brand’s organic search rankings, traffic, and company value.
A number of brands, including travel company Expedia, have reportedly been punished by Google. The online brand saw its organic search visibility slashed by 25%, most probably as a result of using alleged “unnatural” links to its domain and other relevant URLs. According to Searchmetrics’ analysis of the links, they were a “probable legacy” from an older link-building mechanism, which at the time of implementation was not treated as spam. Expedia also suffered a notable reduction in its stock market value, which can be again attributed to the drop in search visibility, according to Searchmetrics.
Google has been intensifying its fight against spam, which has made it more difficult for brands to keep up with Google’s rules, Searchmetrics’ CTO and founder Marcus Tober, commented in a post on The Drum. Some SEO “tricks” that were used in the past to improve search rankings are now classified as spam, and brands that try to outwit Google by deploying methods that violate its webmaster guidelines are punished by the search giant sooner or later. Google’s algorithms are capable of identifying spam techniques, and automatically push sites using them to a lower position in search results, he said, as reported by The Drum.
Tober advises brands to remove all links that could be old and viewed by Google as signals of spam, and to replace them gradually with good new links to preserve the domain’s search rankings.
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