How you can identify a Search Engine Penalty – Part 1

If you have ever opened your site analytics account and discovered a substantial and shocking decrease in search engine referral visitors, you know how devastating search engine penalties could be.

 However, do not panic! Not every search engine penalty is permanent, and with a bit of remedial action and detective work, you ought to have the ability to restore your prior rankings and reconstruct organic traffic flow to your website.

 Here is how you can do it…

 Step 1 – Examine Google Webmaster Tools

 Instantly after seeing a probable search engine penalty, the initial thing to do is check the Google Webmaster Tool account. In most instances, as a manual or automatic penalty is issued to your site, it’ll be accompanied by a corresponding notation posted within your Webmaster Tool account, reporting the rationale behind your penalty.

 Step 2 – Examine SEO News Websites for Current Updates

 These notices, of course, often are just given as Google applies a certain, known penalty to a site based upon a set of definitive criteria. However, what occurs when it is merely alterations to the search engine rank algorithms which have affected your website traffic?

 In fact, there have been an abundance of instances in which websites obtained ‘penalties’ which were not actually penalties at all – they simply were lost rankings because of a reprioritization of algorithms. For instance, in the instance of the Panda 1.0 update, overnight, many websites lost rank, resulting within a widespread significant traffic loss for most industry-leading websites. Even though Panda did not qualify as a penalty, the results which most webmasters experienced were similar.

 In order to check if an algorithm change is the cause for your diminished search results, examine your favorite search engine optimization news websites for data concerning probable rollouts. Oftentimes, as major overhauls are made to the search results rank algorithms, webmasters get together upon websites such as Digital Point and Search Engine Roundtable to talk about the impact of these updates.

 Step 3 – Decide the Extent of Penalty

 During the same time you are combing the Google Webmaster Tool account as well as your favorite search engine optimization news sites for data concerning what caused your search engine penalty, take some time to decide the extent of its impact, too.

 There will include some things you will wish to examine:

 Is your website still indexed? Maybe the greatest penalty of all includes having your site entirely removed from Google’s index, although this dramatic measure typically is just applied within the most severe of cases. To see if your website is still indexed or not, type in ‘site:’ (without quotes) inside the search engine’s search bar. If no results arise, it is probable your website was deindexed.

 How old is your site? Although Google never has officially confirmed it, there is a widespread acceptance across the community of SEO of the presence of ‘sand box’ filters which issues a dampening effect to rankings of young websites (2 to 6 months old). If your site falls within this age range, it isn’t uncommon to view it enter the search engine results pages then fall out prior to it deeming trustworthy enough to reenter those results pages.

 Part 2 to be continued.


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