How you can identify a Search Engine Penalty – Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

Step 4 – Check Your Website against Search Engine Terms of Service

 No matter the scope or size of the search engine penalty, you will wish to assess your site and backlinking practices against the TOS (Terms of Service) issued by search engines.

 For reference, these are the locations of Yahoo, Bing, and Google’s, Terms of Service statements

  • Yahoo Search Content Quality Guidelines
  • Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Google Webmaster Guidelines

 Additionally, take a peek at Amit Singhal’s, Google’s engineer, list 23 questions which spotlight the characteristics Google is searching to reward in the search engine results pages. Look at your website and promotional practices against those guidelines- and against the search engine Terms of Service policies listed here – and spotlight all areas you think might be bringing down your website’s rankings.

 As one instance, considering these 5 questions, as pulled right from Amit’s list:

  • Would you trust data presented within this article?
  • Is the article written by an enthusiast or expert who understands the subject well, or is it, in nature, more shallow?
  • Does the website possess overlapping, duplicate, or redundant articles upon similar or the same subjects with slightly different keywords variations?
  • Would you be at ease providing your credit card data to this website?
  • Does the article contain factual, stylistic or spelling mistakes?

 Now, take a peek at your site in relation to those questions, attempting to be as objective as you can. Could you actually say for certain that – based upon your website’s content quality and exterior appearance – you would be at ease handing over monetary data or labeling the articles as ‘expert-level information’? If the answer is no, try to fix these defects by building up trust with your users, as well as positioning yourself better as an authority figure in your field.

 Step 5 – Take Corrective Action

 If you have highlighted all areas of weakness in your website or your selected link building techniques, modify them as rapidly as possible then follow Google’s regulations for requesting a reconsideration of your website. Whilst it might take time to release high quality information to your website or delete low quality backlinks you think might be destroying your natural search results placement, the effort is going to pay off in the long term, as Google wants to reward websites which offer the ideal results to their readers.

 Although, bear in mind, that what, at first, appears as if it’s a penalty might not – indeed – be a real penalty, and the corrective action you might have to take within these cases is less about mending past errors and more about bettering your own website’s search engine optimization according to present best practices. The search engine optimization industry is becoming more competitive every day therefore it is probable that the ‘penalty’ you are having trouble getting over is really a better educated competitor who is exceeding you within the rankings.

 Try to remain on top of the most recent SEO news then apply lessons learned to your site. Over time, you ought to see the results of those efforts rewarded with higher SERP rankings as well as more natural search traffic directed to your website.


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