Have you been hit with a Google penalty?

Savvy website owners who have been monitoring their site traffic may have noticed a sudden dip in traffic. If you drill down into the data, that dip may be from a single search engine, usually Google as it’s the lead traffic generator for many sites. It will often strike overnight, with drops of 30-70% being recorded.

 Sound familiar? You’ve been hit by a Google penalty. But what are does it mean and how do you recover?

Is recovering from a Google penalty expensive?

Fixing your web traffic and SEO can be free. Like any repair work, recovering from a Google penalty takes time. It’s up to you whether you learn to use the tools required for a great DIY job or hire in an expert. At BoxChilli, we’ve been handling sites hit by Google penalties for years, and are able to offer affordable recovery packages and tried-and-tested advice.

Who decides if I get penalized?

Search engines use rules and mathematical models to decide which ranking to give a page in the results for a search. As a simple example, a search for ‘ski boots in Bracknell’ should prioritize pages with that exact phrase, but might also bring up pages with associated words like snowboarding, ski poles, Berkshire or Reading. Updates to these algorithms automatically change the ranking of pages: there’s no human deciding, and no one to complain to.

My site traffic has dipped – how do I tell if it’s a Google penalty?

Penalties imposed by search engines will only affect click throughs from that search engine. You should be able to analyse your site traffic by referrer (the site the user was on when they clicked a link to your page). If the drop in traffic is focussed on a single search engine, it’s probably due to an algorithm update. In some cases, the penalty may only apply to a few terms. Unfortunately, a fall in click throughs from a just a few keywords can wreck your site’s traffic stats.

Penalties for unnatural text

Changes to these rules in the Panda and Penguin updates have been designed to reduce the prominence of websites that attempted to game the system previously, on the basis that these are often spam sites. Unfortunately, lots of ordinary businesses have been hit too. Algorithms have started down-ranking sites that use unnatural-looking text, which includes sites using a keyword too many times.

Penalized for link building

Having other pages link to your site is great news – except when it isn’t. Google penalties have been applied to sites based on the quality of sites linking to them and the type of links involved.

Google penalties for site structure

Some techniques used by web developers attract Google penalties. You may get hit because of structural problems, good practises that haven’t been followed during the site build, or because of techniques that used to increase page rankings but have since been determined by Google to be toxic.

Have you been hit by a Google penalty? At boxChilli Digital we have a years of experience using Google that we want to share with our customers. If you are a business based in Portsmouth, Hampshire or surrounding areas and would like to discuss Google penalties in further detail, or find out more about our other digital services available please visit our pages, view our portfolio or make contact with our web design and digital marketing team. We really like to talk.

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