Spotting a Google penalty

This article will explain how to discover if your site has really been penalised by Google.


I browse webmaster forums almost every day and every single day there is a number of posts from webmasters claiming Google has penalised their site. But has it?


Sometimes a fall in rankings can be explained by a change to Google’s algorithm. Google does dozens of minor updates and changes to its algorithm every week and dips and peaks are very normal. In fact it’s quite unusual to hold the same position for many weeks in a row, with more backlinks tending to mean more stable rankings. Other times it’s simply a case of rivals building links and optimizing their sites and overtaking you.


It’s quite easy to tell if a dip is due to a change in algorithm or SEO from a rival. Normally in this instance a site will dip by a few places, occasionally a few pages if rankings are volatile, but not on all keywords.


When a site has been penalised it is very different. The site will bomb a number of pages on EVERY SINGLE KEYWORD except for the site name and domain name (and occasionally even for these). Anyone who has ever suffered a penalty or had to deal with a site that has received a penalty will know the difference. No amount of further SEO will bring the site back up; in fact it may harm it further.


So if your site has only dipped a few places and still holds good rankings elsewhere don’t panic, its just Google juggling its rankings about. If you suspect a Google penalty or need help removing one I’ll be posting some advice shortly.

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