Think You May Have Been Affected By A Google Penalty? Here’s How To Tell If You Have
So you’ve got a noticeable dip in business and are wondering whether you have been hit by a Google penalty. How can you really tell if you have actually been penalised? Blue Cherry Online Marketing breakdown how you can work out if you have been hit by a penalty.
The first thing you need to check is your Google Webmaster Tools account. In there you will find a menu option called ‘Manual Actions’ under the ‘Search Traffic’ header. If you have been hit by a manual penalty from Google, you should be notified of this here. If there is a message saying you have a manual action, it will also give you an indication as to why, although it may not explain it completely.
You will either see a site wide manual action or partial manual action. As the names suggest, the site wide manual action targets your entire site and the partial manual action only applies to specific pages on your site. According to Jayson DeMers on his Forbes column, a partial manual action should not negatively affect your rankings, but does let you know that Google has noticed some unnatural links to your site.
If you don’t have a manual action in your Webmaster Tools account, the next thing you should check is your traffic on Google Analytics. Has there been an obvious drop in traffic and when did this occur? When Google updates their algorithm, it can affect where you rank organically and thereby reduce traffic to your site. If you can match up a drop in traffic with a Penguin update from Google, it is likely you have been affected by a penalty.
Lastly, check your organic rankings. Hopefully you or your SEO company should be keeping track of where you rank and any changes, so if you used to rank consistently on page one for a keyword but you now only appear way down the rankings say on page 5 or 6, or even nowhere to be found. That’s a sign that you may be being penalised by Google for that keyword. Having a multitude of links with that keyword or phrase as anchor text can count against you, particularly if they are on low-quality websites that have nothing to do with your business. Whether these links were created by you, a previous black hat SEO company or possibly a competitor, it’s time to take a look at removing these links or possibly pursuing a disavow.
Blue Cherry Online Marketing are well versed in dealing with sites that have been affected by penalties so speak to us about how we can help you.