When it comes to relationships on the web, there are none as one sided as the one between Google and your website. Google can decide at anytime to rank your site higher, lower, or remove it all together from its entire index.
Google’s rankings have helped some small e-commerce merchants grow to heights they never imagined, and in other cases, it has caused businesses to go bankrupt!
Many website owners understand that Google is always changing their algorithm. Thus, it’s expected to see your website change ranking for certain keywords over time. However, when your site see’s a massive change on its Google ranking, most of the time, it is due to your site violating a certain spam policy.
Google has not overtly or officially announced their penalties besides applying filters to sites that demonstrate certain behaviors. The information below was collected via multiple discussions between webmasters, SEO specialists, and bloggers. Many SEO experts have a scorecard like this they to determine what penalty a website has fallen into.
When it comes to understanding the penalty that Google gives in the charts below, let’s use the -60 Google penalty as an example. The -60 penalty is given to websites that become too aggressive in getting links pointing to their site. The more links (high quality links) you have pointing to your site, the higher you will rank on Google. However, many website owners hire outside firms who promise them 500 new inbound links every month. This sounds great in theory. Except when the firm gets these links from poor quality sites and spam websites. If Google finds that you are aggressively buying links from poor ranking websites to increase your ranking, it might give you a -60 penalty. Which means that your site will drop by 60 places on Google. If your site was on page one, it will now be on page 6! This can spell disaster for e-commerce vendors who rely on Google.
In short, before hiring anyone to help you with SEO, or before doing SEO yourself, make sure you are not doing anything to get Google to break up with you. Use the below as a quiz to give to any SEO expert before hiring them.