Posted by Monish Vora
December 05, 2014
You have every reason to be concerned with every Google algorithm update and know if your site has been penalized or not if you have a website. Many thousands of sites have already suffered a major drop-off in traffic and revenue due to the site being penalized after the Google Link Penalty. However, what is worse than that is being slapped with a penalty.
Google’s link penalties are a nightmare for any webmaster, online marketer, or business. It could prove to be catastrophic to be hit by a Google Penalty that could make your rankings, traffic, and revenue take a downward plunge.
There will be a time when you will wonder if your website has been hit by a Google link penalty or some other action. If you have not been taking penalties seriously, you better beware as Matt Cutts says that a penalty could go to an extent that it will stay until the domain expires.
It could be very devastating in simple terms. It’s vital to take early action. This article will show how you could find out if you have been hit with a Google penalty. However, we need to understand the types of penalties before that.
Penalties Caused By Algorithms And Manual Actions
If you go deep down in the pit, you will find that the penalty system is quite curvy. However, the most basic kinds of penalties are:
1) Algorithmic Penalties
2) Manual Actions
All the penalties are based on these two penalties. It will be quite crucial after you find out the kind of penalty, as the different kinds of penalties would require different kinds of approaches.
Google Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, “Pigeon” – Penalties Caused By Algorithmic updates
These are the strings of animal named algorithms released by Google over the last few years.
Penguin focuses on links that are untrustworthy, while Panda’s main focus is on low quality, “thin” or duplicate content.
Hummingbird was started on August 30, 2013, and was announced by Google on September 26th 2013. It was concerned mainly with context and how better the content on your website could be judged, to relate to the visitor’s queries.
The Other Kind Of Penalty – Manual Actions
The other kind of action, manual actions are comparatively very simple. The concept is as simple as the name. If Google’s search spam team detects any website that violates the guidelines given by Google, one of the members of the team will apply a penalty to your site.
Algorithmic penalties are not notified, but a manual action is notified if it has been applied to your site.
As you are not notified about the algorithmic penalties, the most common way to check out if you have been hit by a penalty is by regularly checking out the rankings for your targeted keywords. Google doesn’t always announce when it is going to launch an update, however, when the search industry is abuzz about the likeliness of an algorithm update, the online marketers start checking out the rankings on Google.
A Drastic Drop In Rank: This is the most noticeable sign. In fact, if there is no drop in your rankings, there is no need to worry at all. However, when your website drops, it is only for a particular keyword and not all of them. Maybe a set of pages could be penalized for optimizing them wrongly. Thus, it is essential to track the site’s rankings on a regular basis.
Check Your Traffic: Use Google Analytics to check out if there is sudden drop traffic. A portion of your site could have been affected or the whole site. So, you will have to dig in deep to find out the root cause for the loss of traffic.
Stay up-to-date regarding algorithm updates: There are services such as the Algoroo that helps in tracking changes by observing the rankings of various keywords across the web. You could check this at once if you notice a sudden drop in your rankings.
Check the Webmasters Tool: You could check for a manual penalty by going to the GWT, where the manual actions are listed. You could find out if you have been penalized or not, by clicking on the “Manual Actions” under “Search Traffic”
Check Visibility: The SearchMetrics SEO suite is one of the most convenient Google link penalty checker tools, as it provides a complete graph of the overall SEO visibility. The benefit of this method is that you are able to retrieve historical data so that it could be utilized even when you have not set up Google Analytics.
What To Do Next?
The moment you discover that you have been hit by a penalty from Google, the next step is to do a complete link audit to find out the culprit techniques that have been implemented.
If you ensure that you are playing according to the guidelines given by Google, chances are that the penalty may get removed with due course of time. If there is a manual penalty, you could ask Google by doing a “reconsideration request” to have the penalty removed.
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