Seeing our website penalized on a particular day is one of the ugliest nightmares that can happen to an SEO professional. Usually, if you respect the guidelines that Google provides to all webmasters your website is safe from this risk, but sometimes, despite the best intentions; you end up receiving a penalty and is in danger of losing your month long hard work done on the website. Even just a small error or mistake on your website can make it at risk of being penalized.
Panda and Penguin are the two “black beasts” of SEO for some years now and both have made many “SEO victims” in an attempt to clean up the SERP from spam and low quality content. Besides them, there is always the risk of being saddled with some manual penalty by a quality rater or individuals carrying on the task of scanning the SERP looking for sites that do not deserve to be where they’re positioned.
There are two search engine penalties that may incur and they are the manual and the other algorithmic penalties.
This is the easiest type of penalty to be identified because this is the only one for which Google inform us anything. Just login to the Search Console and go to the Search Traffic section and from there click on “Manual Actions” to find whether any penalties are imposed by any of the quality raters.
The manual penalties are usually quite easy to fix, as it is explained, sometimes even in details, the cause and simply doing a search on the net, or using common sense, you can do all the necessary measures.
Once you have made the necessary changes on your website to fix the manual penalty, you will need to send Google a request for reconsideration, the evaluation of which usually takes a few days, after which we will know if we did things right or not. There will be two cases after we request for reconsideration from Google. In the first case, the penalty will be removed, in a few days’ time, we will get back placements (and the traffic) as before the penalty. And in the second case we will still be in jeopardy, hopefully there will be other instructions given, but in any case we will have to finish the work.
Algorithmic Penalties are those that are directly assigned by the Google algorithm, which is why you will not get any warning from Webmaster Tools and you have to try to figure out on your own, or with the help of an expert, the possible cause, to try to remedy it.
Google Panda Penalization
Panda is the Google algorithm which considers the quality of the content and aims to penalize sites that have low-quality texts and those that are not useful to users.
As per Google Panda, there are a lot of factors that contribute towards penalization and some of them are:
a) Content they have too short texts, which do not bring any good to the users;
b) Texts with copied content;
c) Content located within sites built only for publicity purposes;
d) Websites that give priority to the advertising rather than the content;
e) Texts with many errors;
f) Content with many errors.
When a user comes across a website with low-quality content, he or she tends to quickly get out of the website, resulting in a very high bounce rate. If the bounce rate value is high for the entire website, somewhere near close to 100%, it could be a clear indication that something is wrong.
The same can be said of the duration of the visit, other metric from which one can infer the usefulness of content. Bearing in mind that the longer user visit duration are usually the results of quality and useful texts. If a site has some very low values for the duration of the visits, in addition to a high bounce rate, along with very short texts, a high number of advertisements rather than content, we are prone to a series of signals that could trigger the penalization from Panda.
Panda assess the quality of content by consideration certain keywords or key phrase. Even though, today it is outdated to talk about keyword density, we must not exaggerate and must avoid unnatural keyword repetition for the sake of optimizing the page for a particular keyword. Such an action can result in a downgrade from over optimization.
Google Penguin Penalization
Google Penguin is the algorithm that evaluates the quality of the link and in general, the overall SEO work done on the website. Receiving too many inbound links from sites that are classified as “spam” by Google, or only having backlinks with exact anchor key, are clear signals that trigger a downgrade from Google Penguin.
As per Google Penguin algorithm we can say that:
a) Google does not like unnatural links
b) Google does not like links that are created artificially for the sole purpose of biasing the visibility of a website on the search engine
c) Google does not like link exchange
d) Google does not like purchased links
e) Google does not like sites that receive a large number of links from poor quality sites.
How to get out of a downgrade of Google Panda
How to get out of a downgrade of is one of the most tough penalties to get out from and sometimes you prefer to abandon the website rather than work to try to get out from the situation.
In general, if you suspect of being caught by a penalty by Panda, you can follow these guidelines:
a) Review the excessively short texts , those who do not give a real benefit to the user;
b) Delete duplicate texts or copied;
c) Improve the texts that can still has room for improvement
d) Check outgoing links from the web site, which may point to low quality sites.
In addition, you must necessarily continue writing more and better texts.
Exiting from a Google Penguin penalty
Because Penguin looks at the quality of links that you receive, you have to try to figure out which ones could have created the problems. The first thing to do is a complete analysis of inbound links and this can be done through Google Webmaster Tools or other special tools like Ahrefs or WebCEO , which help you find the link called “toxic.” Consider that it is still done by tools, and may provide some false information. In order to avoid this the analysis of each link received must be done manually.
After identifying the the incoming links that you think needs to be removed, you must try to act . If you have control of those links, then you can safely remove them, but if you do not have such control, you must get in touch with the webmaster of the site calling for the removal of the link.
If you are not able to contact the webmaster of the linked site due to the lack of a contact form, or simply you do not receive response from the webmaster, then you can use the disavow tool from Google Webmaster tools. By using this tool, you are basically telling Google that you do not want him to consider those links that you consider to be toxic. Always use this tool carefully and with discretion, because if by anychance you disavow a valid link, you may aggravate the situation rather than improve it.
From my experience, I can say that you can get out of a Google penalty, be it manual or algorithmic. At the same time it is ‘important, however, to know where to look, especially if the penalty is of the second type, otherwise you will be risking with your website. Consistency is crucial to get the better of a penalty, as well as a lot of patience, since you cannot always get rid of a burden like that too fast, and hence the process is not that much easy.