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18 Oct

The types of Google penalty

Types of Google Penalty

There are currently thousands upon thousands of websites being punished by Google for poor SEO practice. Some site owners are aware of the issues and are taking drastic action to rectify the situation; some know there’s an issue and have no idea what to do about it, and others are completely oblivious, even though it could be causing them a huge loss of traffic or profit.

The number of site owners who blame external factors on poor performance when the answer is right in front of them is alarming. Many businesses have failed off the back of rectifiable Google penalties simply because the site owner was not aware that they could no longer be found on the search engines.

With the above in mind, an initial site health check to see that you are not being penalised by Google is imperative. In this guide, we will explore the different types of penalty in more detail.

The manual penalty

In order to receive a manual penalty your site has first flagged up on a spam report and has then been examined or analysed by a professional. They note the issue and penalised the site.

A manual penalty will usually see sharp drops to your SEO positions and may even result in a ban.

How do I know if I have a manual penalty?

You will be able to tell if your site has this type of penalty simply by going on to your Google Webmasters Tools account, clicking on the site in question. Then click search traffic, followed by manual actions. If there is a message here, you have been penalised manually. Furthermore, this message will tell you why, but it will not tell you how to reverse the issue.

The Algorithmic penalty

The Google SEO algorithm is a string of thousands of lines of code that have been created to determine where a site should rank on the search engines. The man hours required to decide where a site should rank mean that it is impossible so a code (algorithm) has been set up to ensure that as many sites are in the right place as possible.

The three latest updates; Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird have caused havoc to hundreds of thousands of sites that have taken advantage of ‘weaknesses’ in the previous coding to use non-ethical ranking techniques to get ahead. Previously, poor techniques were being rewarded, but now, thanks to the new algorithms they are being severely punished.

Google updates their algorithm a few times a year. Many of the updates are minor and make no difference to search engine positions, but the major updates tend to cause havoc for site owners who have used poor ranking methods.

How do I know if I’ve been hit with an Algorithmic penalty?

Unlike a manual penalty where you are actually told that you have received a penalty, there’s no way to find out you have received an algorithmic penalty as they are carried out automatically, and Google cannot physically tell everybody that has been punished.

Therefore, in order to find out if you have been punished in the past it is a good idea to check your ranking positions. If you’ve been tracking them, this is a much easier task as you’ll be able to see a sudden dip in rankings. If you do see this dip, the chances are you have been punished. However, if you have not been tracking your position, and you have no idea where you were before compared to now, then you have a much tougher job.

In this instance, it’s very hard to determine if you’ve been issues with a penalty so, in order to be safe you need to check for any poor work that may have been carried out on your site. Remember, you may not have done the work personally a SEO company may have done the work for you using non ethical ‘black-hat’ techniques.

Here are the reasons you may have been punished;

Un-natural or poor links – this is by far the most common reason that websites are being punished. Some websites have run mass linking campaigns to their sites from others to build the total number pointing at their site. Why? Well, up until recent updates, sites with a lot of links pointing at them were viewed as reputable by the search engines. Now, it’s the opposite, and quality links are required. In order to solve this issue you should take advantage of a backlink removal company.

Duplicate content – if you have ripped the content (either completely or partially) from another site your site may be punished for plagiarism.

Over on-site optimisation – this includes practices like keyword stuffing or poor anchor text that has been set up to deceive the search engines.

These are the three most common reasons but there are hundreds more. In the event you know or suspect that you have violated one of those reasons it is imperative you seek to right the wrongs. One of the best ways to do this quickly and efficiently is to use backlink removal services, then submit a reconsideration request to Google. It’s the only way your site ever has a good chance of moving back up the search engines.

08 Sep

How to check if you have a Google penalty

Google penalty check
With the introduction of Google Panda in February 2011, Google Penguin in April 2012 and now Google Hummingbird in September 2013 a number of websites have noticed significant changes in their traffic, but why?

While it’s imperative that you, as a business, stay on top of your search engine positions, few companies are as rigorous as they should be. In fact, some are not even aware that they are ranking. If this is the case, it’s imperative that you take the time to explore your presence on Google in more detail and carry out a Google penalty check.

You may not have even noticed that there has been too much of a change, but start to realise that your online sales have been suffering, and that a lot of your business is coming from existing customers rather than new ones. If this is the case, it’s likely that your Google position has been affected. Maybe your company has lost a few positions, or it could have dropped off the search engine altogether, but how do you find out?

In this short guide, we will explore how you can check if you have been penalised by Google in more detail. Our guide to the types of Google penalty may also assist you.

Explore your Webmasters Tools

The first step that you should take to ensure there are no current penalties in place can be found on Google Webmasters Tools. If your website is not linked to Webmasters Tools, then this is a must. Simply click the link above and register your site.

If your site is linked to Google’s Webmasters Tools, login, click on search traffic (on the left hand toolbar) and then click on manual actions. If you see; “no manual webspam actions found”, you have not been manually penalised. However, if you do see a message, then take the time to read the issues and fix them. If it requires the removal of backlinks then you may need to seek the help of a professional backlink removal company.

Explore the anchor text that you have used previously

In order to have been punished, Google has assumed that you have actively tried to deceive their search engine. Now, just because that’s the case, it does not mean you would know if you should be punished.

If you have hired a ‘professional’ SEO company that has used poor ranking methods, many of which were rewarded before the introduction of Google Panda, then you could be suffering now.

As this is the case, it’s imperative that you use to explore your current anchor text distribution. There are several different points that can affect your position, including:

  1. Mass linking from the same site
  2. Linking of the same anchor text all the time
  3. Linking to irrelevant or spammy sites.
  4. Unnatural links

If there appears to be an issue, it is well worth taking the time to explore the services on offer from Link Detox Reviews.

How has your organic traffic been affected?

If you did not have an issue when checking your Webmasters Tools, then you have ruled out the possibility of a manual Google penalty. However, that does not eliminate potential issues caused by Google Penguin, Panda or Hummingbird.

To do a Google penalty check and find out if you have been penalised you will need a Google Analytics account. If you have not had one since January 2012, finding dips in traffic caused by a penalty may be hard. In any case, if you do not have an account, you need to set one up now.

If you do have a Google Analytics account, logon to it, click all traffic, then click Google organic – this will show you all the traffic you are receiving from organic (real) search engine results. Set the date back to January 2012 and you will see right in front of you your site traffic.

Do you see any sudden dips in traffic around the times mentioned in the first paragraph? If so, then the chances are you’ve been penalised. If you do see any drops, it’s imperative you contact a company offering backlink removal services to get them to help get things going again.

The three steps above, assuming you can do all of them, should take you no more than a day. That quick check could be the difference between your company failing or thriving, so make sure you take the time to do them.

12 Aug

Jumpstart your website by cleaning up your website backlinks

Cleaning up a websiteJumpstart your website by reviewing and cleaning up website back links.

It’s natural to want changes to your web pages and content on occasions, but how often do you think about the links that point to your website?

Google has changed in recent times and it’s now crucial you start to look at backlinks* to your site and to actively  check them for any unwanted or toxic links that may be pointing to your site.

Our service will find any such links and we can then create a disavow file to be uploaded to Google. However this alone may not be enough to lift any ranking penalty that Google may of applied to a website, Google likes to know that you are actively taking steps to have any harmful links removed as well.

Interested in cleaning up your website please contact us in the first instance and we can carry out a  link detox review on your site.


* Wikipedia backlink definition