Diagnosing and recovering sites from Google penalties over 20 years
Google algorithm penalties are technical troubles that affect your ranking and the visibility of your content in search engines, such as Google and Bing. A significant algorithm change happens several times a year.
They normally happen when you choose to take actions that are deemed against the good practice guidelines. Some penalty impacts can be very serious, resulting in sudden drops of sites’ traffic, and significantly affecting the revenue of companies. Typically, Google will want to see the reason for the penalty removed before the traffic is returned. It’s important, then, to understand the SEO history of your site, or to be able to diagnose it using tools. That’s how I can help.
Google have been fighting against webspam for decades and there are many types of Google algorithm penalties.
Two of the earliest and best known are Panda penalty and Penguin penalty, which used large amounts of data to penalise poor quality content and known types of link scheme.
This type of penalty happens when backlinks are considered to be poor quality or significantly manipulated, possibly using too much exact match anchor text. Bad links cause a significant proportion of penalities.
This penalty happens when a page has too little unique content on it or too much low-quality content. Typically, there will be less than 400 useful words on a page, and the content will be low quality.
There are many types of poor quality content that can trigger a penalty. These include over optimisation techniques like keyword stuffing, content that doesn’t demonstrate expertise and spammy content, such as automatically spun content.
In order to recover from a Google algorithm penalty, you’ll need to make sure that your website is optimised, but not in a way that goes against google’s goal is providing visitors with the best results.
You also need to avoid using shady tactics with your website and backlink profile in order to make it look more legitimate. If you do not meet these requirements, it’s unlikely that the penalties will be reversed.
Good quality SEO always starts with a deep technical audit, which will help to uncover the issues your site is facing. This will include checking for any negative SEO which has been used against you.
Following the audit, there will need to be an honest conversation about the reasons you have encountered a google penalty, and the steps to cause a google penalty recovery. This will including looking at the history of your site and SEO techniques used in the past.
Once we have a clear view of the steps needed, we’ll develop a plan for the work required to help you recover your previous rankings, whether that’s the undoing of techniques (bad backlinks from poor quality paid backlink schemes), or content improvements.
One special type of penalty is called a manual penalty. These are less common than algorithm penalties, but the reasons for them can be more visible.
Google’s webmaster guidelines are fairly strict. When a company chooses to engage in behaviour that is clearly against their guidelines, and one of Googles quality rates finds this, they will manually apply a penalty. Often, penalties of this type will be based on using a PBN – or Private Blog Network – for link building, or other unnatural links which are forbidden.
Typically, Google will let you know how you have broken their guidelines within Google Search Console. You will have to demonstrate that you have corrected the behaviour and make it clear you’ve learned your lesson through a clear reconsideration request.