By: Christine Scott

Recently, we went over the biggest SEO nightmare ever— a Google penalty. For those of you just chiming in, a Google penalty is a negative effect on a website’s search engine rank based on updates, algorithms, and/or manual review.  It can have a huge effect on a website’s traffic and potentially effect revenue. Removing a Google penalty should be your number one priority if you’re ever to receive it. But first, to remove it you need to know if it’s a manual action or an algorithmic penalty.

If it’s a manual action, here’s what you should do to remove it. Today, we’re going to go over what to if it’s an algorithmic penalty. First off, you should know that this is the loss of SERP based on no longer meeting a core algorithmic criterion. According to MOZ, Google makes about 500-600 algorithmic changes a year. Most are minor but every now and then there are a few major changes implemented. Here’s how to resolve a Google algorithmic penalty:

Determine if you have an algorithmic penalty

To determine if you have an algorithmic penalty you have to check your Google Search Console. If you do not have a message in your mailbox or manual action console letting you know about a manual action penalty then you’re dealing with an algorithmic penalty. To identify which algorithmic change your page does not meet you must cross reference when you began to lose traffic and when a new algorithm was put in place. Check, Google Algorithm Change history to see the date new algorithms were enforced.

Panda or penguin? 

Now you know it’s an algorithmic penalty, the next step is figuring out what kind of update caused it. This penalty can be caused by either of two updates—panda or penguin. Majority of algorithmic updates are considered panda updates, which are content driven changes. To receive this kind of penalty your site might be producing low quality content, contain too many ads, or have poor usability. Penguin updates pertain to problems with your links. There are sites that use unnatural backlinks to increase traffic, therefore this filter is used to reduce the ranking of those sites.

How to resolve panda algorithmic penalty

There are many reasons as to why a search engine sees your content as low quality. The first being thin content; this content/page is considered a post that gives no value to the read. Now, don’t confuse low word count with thin content. There is a correlation with shorter posts and panda penalties, but there are no causation. Duplicate content can also cause your site to be viewed as low quality. If your site uses a lot of information from other web sources, then it is frowned upon by Google. You could compare this to plagiarizing a paper without being kicked out of school. The best way to avoid a panda penalty because of low quality is to write original and interesting content. Here are two other important notes to keep in mind: 

  • When it comes to ads you should enforce the rule of two; no more than two ads per page. We all know what it’s like to scroll through a site and then be bombarded with ads. It’s annoying and makes your content look cheap.
  • Poor usability is THE worst thing you can do. Every user should be able to navigate your site with ease. In doing so the user is able to find the information they want as well as stumble upon information they weren’t intentionally looking for. It’s like going on Youtube to watch a video on the bee epidemic then three hours later watching a video on how the Illuminati is linked to the shooting of Tupac, and not knowing how you managed to get from one to the other. It’s all about seamless transitions from one part of your site to another. To improve the usability of your site, check out Must-Read Tips On How To Improve Site Usability For Better Conversions.

How to resolve penguin algorithmic penalty

There are three backlink factors that can cause your site to be penalized—anchor text, link diversity, and link velocity. Anchor text is the clickable text used in a link (It’s the blue underlined text). An overly optimized text can result in a penalty, so try to keep a natural flow of keywords. Link diversity pertains to the variation of sources linking to your site. If the majority of your backlinks are from one source then it will look like there is a linkage scheme. Link velocity refers to the speed of new backlinks over a period of time. A sudden increase also suggests that there is spam involved. In our previous post Google Penalty: How To Remove This SEO Nightmare we mention how to resolve unnatural inbound links. Do yourself a huge favor by reading it and taking a few notes.

Once you’ve fixed this issue on your site it’s then time to play the waiting game. Sadly, submitting a review request like manual actions will not speedup the penalty removal process. The team at Google who reviews sites cannot change algorithms or run them again solely for your site so you’ll just have to wait. On the flip side, algorithmic changes run continuously, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long.

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