How To Identify a Google Penalty – SEO Video
Hello and welcome to this week’s SEO video blog; today we are going to be covering the topic of penalties and how to identify them. Now as you may already know Google have been updating their Algorithm on a regular basis, with the launch of Penguin in 24th April and the release of the unnatural link warnings in July, it has been a turbulent time for us SEO folk.
So, your websites rankings have dropped and you don’t know why or where to start to identify the cause. There are a few simple steps that can help you to narrow down the potential causes:
- Check the Dates – Using Webmaster Tools and Analytics, check the dates that you noticed the drop in impressions or visits respectively. You then need to check these against the dates that updates have been released; you can check these dates on SEOMoz’s Algorithm Change History (linked in the supporting blog post http://www.seomoz.org/google-algorithm-change.) This is the best indication as to what penalty you were affected by.
- Check the messages – If you cannot see any dates that correspond with the drop you have seen in rankings the next step is to check the sites webmaster tools to see if you have any messages from Google stating that your website has unnatural links pointing to the site. If so you have been hit by a manual penalty and need to review the links that point to the website and remove the poor quality ones.
- Check the Anchors – If the links that point to the website are from reliable sources the next thing you need to check is how they are being used. Are your keywords being used too many times? Does the anchor text look unnatural? Have you used your company name or phrases like click here? You need to ensure that the anchor text that is used is natural and is largely made up of Brand mentions. If your site falls short here you are likely to have been affected by the penguin update. Go through your anchor text and make sure that it is varied and natural.
- Check the Content – If your links are used well and they are from genuine sites you then need to look on the site. Ensure that there are no keywords that are stuffed into your content and your content is easy to read and useful to the reader. Also make sure there are no old school black-hat techniques being used, things like hiding links using absolute positioning and white text on a white background are a big no no. If your website has fallen foul of any of these you may have been hit by Panda, clean up your content and your onsite techniques and you should return to your previous heights.
Follow these steps and you should be able to identify what algorithm update you have been affected by and start the road to recovery. Thanks for watching this week and remember stay white hat SEO world!