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It’s in Google’s interests to maintain the highest possible quality of search results. Its regularly updated search algorithm is designed to ensure that the most useful results are returned every time, and its Webmaster Guidelines describe the kind of content that it considers worthy and unworthy of ranking. In addition, Google sometimes manually penalizes sites that it considers manipulative or low quality.
The best way to approach penalties and algorithm updates is to avoid having to worry about them – Google has historically always caught up with techniques used to manipulate or cheat its results, and the only future-proof way to ensure that your site ranks well is to produce the kind of site that Google wants to rank well. If you’re worried that in the past this is not how your site has been run, some of the recovery techniques discussed in this module are worth considering as a precautionary measure. For example, many businesses now choose to actively monitor and clean their backlinks on a regular basis – regardless of whether they have already received a manual penalty.
However, if you are suffering from a manual penalty or a drop in traffic following an algorithm update, there are steps you can take to diagnose and fix the issue and, in some circumstances, regain lost rankings. The necessary steps depend on the nature of the issue, and we’ll outline the different types of manual and algorithmic action that Google can take in the next section.