Google Penalties and Your Website’s Recovery Process

Sometimes it happens quickly- other times it might take a while. It could be the result of something you did, or an algorithm change. If there is any dubiousness to your website content, sooner or later you’ll likely suffer a penalty from search engines.

Penguin and Hummingbird- SEO Quality Control 2013

These two prominent introductions or modification to the formula Google uses to rank web pages, sent screams through many web masters’ lungs in 2013. Rankings didn’t fall- they spiralled downwards out of control, hit terminal velocity, then just burned up. Penguin was concerned with poor quality linking, thin page content and duplicate content. Essentially the roll-out of Penguin in 2013, targeted dubious seo techniques, which revolved around trying to manipulate a website’s ranking. Engineering low-quality links from pages that would not warrant existence online if there was no such thing as SEO, was often the tactic of choice. Paid links were detected and crushed- action was swift, ruthless and completely without mercy.

Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm Update was a major change to the way websites were indexed and ranked. Hummingbird was rolled out to give the indexing process a deeper and more accurate understanding of the contents of a web page. Latent semantic indexing- sorting the real meaning of something from peripheral words and sentences- was stepped up. When somebody speaks a search query into a mobile phone, or types a long-tail search query into the search engine enquiry box, the search engine strives to better analyse the contents of the page in order to deliver a precise answer to the searcher’s question.

On-page content needs to be structure better, it needs to be more informative- in the style of an authority on the subject, if it is to rank in a post-Hummingbird landscape.

Loss of Rank- the Likely Causes

Here are the three main levels of Google penalty. None of them are good. You should do everything you can, to reverse a search engine de-indexing or loss of website rank, as soon as possible.

Penalties- a Sudden Drop in Ranking

You’re moving along nicely, doing all the right things and obeying all quality and webmaster guidelines. All of a sudden without warning, your website ranking drops- perhaps only a few spots at first. This is the sign of things to come- in the next few days, your ranking takes a hit- and so does your traffic and profit. The most likely cause of this, would be something you have recently done to your content, code or off-page optimisation.

If you recognise the problem quickly, and correct it even quicker- you’ll be back to your former glory within 2 weeks.

De-Indexing of a Website

When you’ve gone past the simple penalty and done some pretty serious stuff on the wrong side of the line, your web site might be de-indexed. This is characterised by not appearing for any search terms- even for a direct cut of text from your home page, pasted into the Google query box. If you are the only webmaster in the world who promotes some rare thing on your site, you might appear in search queries for that rare thing- but most likely not.

The remedy would be to remove the offending problem- most likely duplicate content, bad links or unsavoury neighbourhood linking- and wait. Log in to your Google webmaster tools panel, and submit a reconsideration request, and wait. Often you will see a gradual easing of the penalty within 2 weeks, it may take 10 weeks to be back on track, once you have completed the process. Of course, you’ll need to do all the right things during a probationary period.

Blacklisting of a Domain

This is the most severe of the three search engine penalties. Unfortunately there is no recovery. If you have been really bad, and either done some cloaking, duplicate content, bad linking or hosted some highly inappropriate material on your website, you might as well say goodbye to it all.

There is only one remedy for this- pull down the domain and start again. If the domain is your business name, and you have heaps of publicity featuring that url, publish your new website address on the front page of the old domain. Don’t do it with a hyperlink- you don’t want the new domain to be seen as hanging out in a bad neighbourhood from day one. Instead, type the url and ask the visitor to cut and paste it into their browser window.

Gradually change all of your publicity material over to the new domain name- and stay on the right side of the line!

SEO Penalty Prevention is Better Than Cure

Now we’ve all heard this before- but an gram of prevention really does go further than a kilogram of cure. Just to keep you on the straight and narrow- and have you in with the best chance at avoiding being penalised by the search engines, the seo mistakes to avoid article will give you an insight into things you should never do to your website.

Sometimes you do everything right, and things just don’t go well. Someone hacks your website, and everything heads South from that moment on. You’ll see a little warning under your website search engine results which says “This site may harm your computer” and you’ll notice that nobody visits any more.

The removing malware from a website article will get you started in the right direction on the road to recovery. We can help you with any of the problems outlined here, if you don’t feel confident to correct them. These are problems which should not compound into other problems- so if in doubt, consult the professional Melbourne seo company!