Writing by Brick Marketing in SEO
Has your website experienced an unexplained dip in traffic? Meaning, that you have been marketing the website as you always have been and there is no seasonality issue to contend with? Google is constantly changing the search algorithm, but with the roll outs of the Google Panda and Google Penguin updates, penalties are more common. While 90% of penalties aren’t severe and the website owner might not even take notice, some penalties can really hit a website hard affecting its overall success. If you think that you’ve been penalized there are few things that you can do.
First, be honest with yourself and how you’ve been approaching SEO and online marketing. Even if you know the difference between black hat and white hat SEO, it can be tempting to get a little gray hat from time to time. Gray hat SEO tactics, while not as glaring as black hat tactics, can still be risky and should be avoided. If you know that you’ve dabbled in black or gray hat SEO, even a little bit, those tactics are probably the culprit. Glaring issues like 10,000 links from a spammy blog network or keyword stuffing are obvious issues to fix.
But what if it isn’t as obvious what you’ve done wrong? The reason why it is often so hard to fix a penalty is because it can be hard to pinpoint what the source of the penalty is. Recommendations to fix a penalty are based on experience and interpretation of the search engine algorithms. The only way to figure out for sure what the source of the penalty is, is to test different things and then analyze the results.
For example, say that you decide that the first place to look at is your content. Is it too weak? Spend time “beefing up” your content. Look at the keywords that you were targeting, are they included too often? Does it ruin the experience for the reader? After you’ve made content improvements, let it sit for a few months to see if you gain back any of that traffic that you lost. If there is no improvement, take a look at another possible source like the anchor text that you are using.
The only way to fix a penalty and to ensure that you are doing things properly in the future is to brainstorm a list of possible culprits, and then test them one by one allowing a few months in between to analyze results. If you change too many things at once you’ll never figure out what the exact source was and may even make things worse in the interim.
If you’re looking to fix a Google SEO penalty you can go through these steps on your own or you can hire a firm to help out, however it’s likely that many firms would be reluctant to take on the work. They don’t want to be responsible for the damage that was done before they even touched your website. Finding the source of a penalty and making improvements can take time. While it’s frustrating, you need to be patient throughout the process.