Many Kiwi businesses are constantly putting their websites at risk of Google penalties. That's according to Tom McSherry, engine optimisation expert and founder of Premium SEO NZ.
His company, Premium SEO, helps New Zealand businesses identify penalties and penalty risk as part of their free website audit.
“You'd be surprised how many sites are in violation of Google's guidelines and are risking penalties as a result,” he says.
McSherry explains that over the last few years, Google has rolled out multiple major algorithm updates including the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates.
He says that each new iteration targets a different element of “web spam” as Google's team attempt to clean up search results. But sometimes, unsuspecting local businesses get caught in the crossfire.
“In some cases it's just because they don't know they're doing something wrong - for example, having the exact same content across multiple pages on the site. But often it's actually their own SEO company causing the problem by using spammy, outdated practices,” says McSherry.
“It depends on the type of penalty, but in many cases it would cost more to remove the penalty than to simply start over with a new website,” he adds.
“Even if a penalty is removed, there's no guarantee the website will actually bounce back to previous traffic levels. That's why it's so important to spot risks and correct problems before a penalty strikes in the first place.