Since Feb 2011 dealing with penalties from Google has become one of the additional risks of running a website and doing business online. There are three main penalties: Google Penguin, Google Panda, and the Payday update. Before the first iteration of these additional algorithms it was impossible to predict the effects on websites, now we can with some reasonable certainty.
There are various other penalties, page layout, caught buying links, suspected of selling links, hanging out in bad neighbourhoods, however these below are the most common.
First rolled out in April 2012, this penalty is design to cause pain and expense, as Google believes you have been caught manipulating their algorithm; they exact punishment to spread fear and stop webmasters from trying to game them. If you have been penalised by Penguin you will generally have a notice in Google Webmaster Tools.
There are two main notices:
The first states that they believe you have been using “techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines”. A backlink clean up is require and then a reconsideration request.
The second notice states that they don’t want to put trust in artificial or unnatural links, they recommend you remove them; but they say they are taking targeted action on these links rather than your site as a whole.
I suggest treating both notices similarly. Submit disavow file, clean up links, record all work, use Google doc, and then submit a reconsideration request.
Call or email for a quote on link removal.
Panda was the first of the recent penalties. The update first rolled out in Feb 2011 and Google says it affected 12% of search results. It is design to eliminate and remove low quality content from Google’s search results.
There are no notices in Webmaster Tools to confirm, however it is fairly easy to diagnosis as the drop in views and traffic are often significant and sudden.
This algorithm normally runs every couple of months.
The signals that Panda uses have become more complex since it first roll out. The main signal are twofold, quantitate and qualitative – based on site structure and content, and based on user behaviour. These include: lack of links to deep pages, low word count, low engagement metrics, high bounce rate, sites that users have blocked in search.
Although there have been some recoveries this year with softer updates, generally if you don’t take action your traffic will continue to drop.
Payday Loan Update
First rolled out in June 2013. This update targeted payday loans and porn. Further updates have rolled this algorithm into gambling, insurance, and a lot of financial products.
This update favours incumbents. There is a huge brand bias, which makes this one of the most difficult and expensive update to correct. If your website has little brand search traffic deep pockets and sustained action is required to correct this flaw. Therefore any new car insurance or sports betting site will need to use as many channels as possible to develop name recognition.
Google’s Matt Cutts has stated that sometimes you might be better off building a new website on a new domain rather than trying to recover from these penalties. I can help with that decision.
If you have seen drops in traffic we can help with our google penalty removal service.