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Has my site been Penalised


Has my site been Penalised

Ref :

======= Guidelines! =======


Seriously - Read Them!


Webmaster guidelines


If your site is Not breaching/breaking/exceeding them,

then the chances are it is Not a Penalty.



======= Okay ... in breach ... but was/is fine... =======


Don't try to convince yourself/us that it is justified, acceptable, permissable etc.

We don't care if company/site X are doing whatever.

IT makes no difference if you have been doing it for X years either.

It doesn't matter if someone did it on "your behalf" either.


If you are in breach of the Guidelines - rectify/remove the fault,

then file a Reconsideration Request.



======= Cannot see a cause? =======


Okay - now for the vexing bit...

... because, in most cases, when people come in stating they are "Penalised",

they aren't.


So - a quick run through for comon Technical Issues;

* Poor server responses

(gets 500, 410, 404, 301 etc. instead of 200 or 304)

* Timeouts

(Domain doesn't respond, site takes forever to load etc.)

* DNS issues

(unable to reach Domain, Domain doesn't resolve etc.)

* Malware/Hack (1)

(site is harmful and has been pulled etc.)

* Malware/Hack (2)

(Site redirects to some other site/domain without your intention/knowledge)

* Canonical and/or Duplication

(slapping up the same/highly similar content on multiple pages/sites, stealing other peoples content etc.)

* Over marketed

Having a weak site/page - and slapping up posts/links in popular "meMeME" sites (Facebook, Digg etc.),

or pushing to strong Directories may result in your page ranking lower!


If you are certain that none of that applies,

(and by "certain", I mean you have actually bothered to Check/Test!!!),

then we can look at things a little more...



======= Devalued/Annulled =======


Here's something that some people seem to struggle with...

Google may automatically Devalue or Annull some things.


A prime example is Links.

If you have a load of Dodgy/low quality/unnatural links,

Google may/can/does treat them as worth less, or worthless.


That is NOT a penalty!

That is G making sure you rank more naturally.

So if you have poor rankings after such an occurance,

there is Nothing you can do.



======= Doing some checks =======


So - here's the standard checks ... that we do Constantly,

(basically because the majority of you folk Don't bother looking at related topics and/or using a bit of common sense and doing the checks yourself!)


Do the following searches,

replacing the relevant parts with your details.

(Please Note: All searches below are using the site ... small, fluffy, cuddly and good with curry :D)


--- Checks for Penalty ---


Indexed (1) :



Indexed (2) :



Full Domain :



Partial Domain :



Title (in quotes) :

" contents"


Content (in quotes) :

"Short sentence / part of a paragraph / 6 to 12 consecutive words"


Keywords (in quotes) :

"key term"


PR check (use the Google ToolBar!) :

GoTo : your sites main root domain

(http://DomainName.tld or http://www.DomainName.tld or the https version etc. What ever your site is set for)

Look at the PR score.

Is it Greyed out, or N/A'd etc.?


You can also try some "specific" versions ...


Domain + Title (in quotes) :

site:DomainName.tld " contents"


All the above is assuming/testing the Homepage/MainRoot.

If you are querying a specific section/page/URL,

then adjust to suit.

And Please - make sure that the page is Indexed!

(That doesn't just mean you think it was, that means checking your server access logs and making sure GoogleBot actually crawled that URL!)



--- Results of Checks ---


Of course - we have already made sure that we don't have common technical faults,

(You Have checked, Right???).

Good - as that means the results we get can start telling us what sort of problem(s) we may have,

and what the possible causes are.


Not Indexed - at all?

Okay - not good!

This is hefty and extreme ... and if there isn't a technical fault,

means there is some serious breaches of the guidelines.

* Cloaking - showing the bots something different that Users (normally stuffed to high heaven too).

* BANS/MFA - low value, unoriginal sites, the sole purpose being to generate revenue with no real content.

* BANS/Doorways - the sole purpose of the site is to pass traffic to some other site

* Attempting to Own the SERPs - running multiple sites for the same thing, for the same audience, targeting the same words.

Of course - other forms of breaches of the guidelines may cause this sort of thing,

but the key point is - it is Major - and not likely to happen by accident!


Indexed - but not at the top?

Hmmm ... if you aren't facing canonical/over marketed issues (because you checked that already!),

then this is likely an indication of mistrust.

* Attempting to Own the SERPs - running multiple sites for the same thing, for the same audience, targeting the same words.

* BANS/MFA - low value, unoriginal sites, the sole purpose being to generate revenue with no real content.

* BANS/Doorways - the sole purpose of the site is to pass traffic to some other site

* Dodgy Links (1) - Selling/Buying links, excessive link marketing/dropping etc.

* Dodgy Links (2) - Linking out to bad sites (Spam etc.!).


Indexed - but much lower than before?

Again - so long as there are no Canonical/Dupe issues,

then this may indicate "over doing it" a bit.

* Stuffed Site - cramming in the specific Term(s) every single place you can think of in/on your site.

* Over Use - using the same Term(s) repeatedly in your content (57 uses of X in 400 words is Not Natural!).

* Heavy Links - loads of self created/lkow value links - often using the same link text.

* Potentially Spammy - having content that is "hidden" from view (scroll boxes, hidden via default CSS etc.) may, possibly, potentially, on some occassions if you have a questionable history ... result in G ignoring/devaluing that content.

(Please note - the emphasis is on "may" etc.! It does NOT mean using such things in your desing will cause problems - only if the site is deemed as untrustworthy in the first place!!!)


Indexed - but not ranking/showing?

* Over Use - using the same Term(s) repeatedly in your content (57 uses of X in 400 words is Not Natural!).

* Potentially Spammy - having content that is "hidden" from view (scroll boxes, hidden via default CSS etc.) may, possibly, potentially, on some occassions if you have a questionable history ... result in G ignoring/devaluing that content.

(Please note - the emphasis is on "may" etc.! It does NOT mean using such things in your desing will cause problems - only if the site is deemed as untrustworthy in the first place!!!)


PR is N/A or Grey?

If you are certain that the PR wsa green/active before,

and that you don't have Canonical Issues,

and that you haven't lost a load of links,

then this could be a Links issues.

* Dodgy Links (1) - Selling/Buying links, excessive link marketing/dropping etc.



======= Some/All of that applies... =======


Well - in that case, you do as stated previously,

you go and fix things, and fire off a Reconsideration Request.



======= I did the Reconsideration Request already - no change? =======


Okay ... this could be due to several reasons;

1) There was Nothing wrong i nthe first place - you just have sucky Rankings!

2) There was something wrong - it's been fixed - and not you rank naturally (and suckily!)

3) You didn't fix anything - so why should it be ranking better?

4) You missed something (or several things)

5) You need to give it a bit of time to get adjusted and update in the SERPs

6) Your breach was that bad, that excessive - you got a fixed term penalty - tough luck!






This is a "general auto-response" post.

This is Not a Topic for discussion;


It is a point of reference to save having to type the same answer repeatedly due to the sheer number of times this question is asked and is meant as an aid for people that don't seem search/read the various other posts regarding this topic.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Auto-Response.




Domain Level Penalty Part I

Has your website’s search engine ranking dropped drastically for no apparent reason? It is possible that your site has been hit by a domain level penalty from Google’s web spam team. A domain level penalty means your whole site has been demoted drastically in the search engine rankings – not just certain pages of it. The bad news is this can be difficult to pin down. While there are tools to help you figure out if your site has been penalized, there is a degree of speculation about it.


When your site’s Google search engine ranking takes a hit suddenly, then you can pretty easily conclude that you have done something wrong in the opinion of Google. They’re not all that specific about what happens when they “catch” you doing something wrong, and exactly how they penalize you. But in general, there are a few categories into which these mistakes fall, and there are ways to make a reasonable conclusion about which sin you’ve committed.

Here is how to figure out if you’ve been hit with a site level penalty.


* Is your site still indexed?

* If not, you may have been banned. If you think this is the case, verify it with Webmaster Central, fix the problem you think caused you to be banned, and file a re-inclusion request.

* If your site is still indexed, find out if it still ranks for its domain name.

* If not, you may have been hit with a penalty for keyword stuffing, manipulative linking, or cloaking. Get rid of your bad outbound links – particularly any paid links. Then go to Webmaster Central, beg forgiveness, and submit a re-inclusion request.

* If your site does still rank for its domain name, find out if it still ranks highly when you search on five or six unique terms in your title tag.

* If it doesn’t, then your links have probably been cleansed of any value they had. If Google finds out about any attempts to pass link love, it penalizes it. Fix the problem, plead your case with Webmaster Central, ask for re-inclusion, and next time get your links honestly.

* If your site still ranks highly when you search on several unique terms in your site tag, then you’re probably not penalized at all, but just lost ranking naturally. Maybe some spam comments got through, or maybe it’s time to review your on-page SEO.


Google Penalties Explained


Cataloging the various Google penalties people have come across is like trying to herd cats. Whatever relationship exists between the punishment and the crime either isn’t transparent, or is not handled evenly across the board. Being banned is, of course, as bad as it gets, since your site is suddenly not able to be found. This usually only happens when some kind of serious deception is going on on the site. But there are a few activities that have been pinned down as sending the Google gods into a frenzy.


Domain level redundancy is one thing that can get you penalized. This is what happens when webmasters clone sites. In other words, they point the Domain Name System (DNS) from several domains into the same directory. This makes each domain display exactly the same site.


If you duplicate the same content over several pages or sites, or if someone copies your site or content, Google will ding you for content redundancy. If you think someone else is ripping off your content, check Copyscape and see if you can track it down.


Purchasing a number of domains, each of which address separate keyword targets is now considered punishable.


If Google thinks you’re a link seller, your links will rapidly mean zilch. If your links do not pass on PageRank juice, they’re worth less than the pixels they’re written on, even if you are using them on your own site.


There is a certain amount of mystery surrounding the Google “sandbox” theory. Some people believe that young sites are penalized. You don’t see this penalty unless you try to SEO the heck out of it within the first few months of the site’s existence. Apparently there is a certain amount of dues paying your site has to do before your SEO starts getting respect from the big guys.


Does your site support (or appear to support) porn, gambling, or “male enhancement” sites? Well, duh. Of course you’re going to get penalized. Same with spam.


If your site may be perceived as a threat to national security, like if you sell fake IDs or something, your site will be penalized. If a third party hijacks your search engine rankings by means of cloaking and proxy, unfortunately, your site gets hit with a penalty. This one is mostly Google’s fault. The same is true if an affiliate uses content from your site, or if your competitor intentionally links to you from “bad neighborhood” (porn, gambling, etc.) sites.


And, of course, there’s the fact that the Google algorithm isn’t perfect. Algorithm quirks can have the same effect as a penalty if it makes your site unreachable.

In Part I, we talked about how to determine if your site has been banned or penalized by Google and what to do about it. This part delves more into Google penalty folklore, and how the search engine is constantly changing and evolving to counter nefarious work-arounds that people develop to game the search engine world.


In August and September 2009, Google made changes that demote a site by 50 places in the rankings if you are penalized. At this time, variation of anchor texts grew in importance even more than it had in previous years. The “rules” of building natural anchor text change a lot. Not that you should stop using natural anchor text. More on that later.

Here are five things you probably shouldn’t spend much, if any, time worrying about anymore:


1. Alexa Rank is tilted enough toward online marketers that it does not tell nearly enough of your web traffic story to be worth much.

2. Google back link data can be dicey. Suppose a random sample is returned with your most spam-laden link? Don’t make major decisions based on Google back link data. You want the kind of links that come along with good content. You’ll find them with little page widgets like the one in the screen shot.

3. Google cache date is overused to where great pages can be returned with no cache set. Therefore cache date is irrelevant too.

4. Google PageRank can be randomized to throw SEO experts off. Apparently Matt Cutts has confirmed this, as can be seen here.

5. Precise anchor texts are officially “out” since anchor text filters have been in effect for quite some time now.


DNS level penalty part II


The so-called “minus 50 penalty,” a filter in Google operates on the domain, page, and keyword level. In other words, pages drop by 50 positions in the ranking because of over-optimization of keywords the page has been linked to, either internally or externally.


What does this mean? Un-optimize your keywords?


Actually, yes.


Since the moods of Google change fairly rapidly, the things that worked last year may not work now. If you’re hit with a penalty, all you can do is fix the problem, suck it up, and move on starting today. Various webmasters have said that it takes 60 days to get rid of the penalty, so the sooner you deal with it the better.


Something else you must do is change up your anchor texts. Don’t just use one hot keyword to link all your links. And you can’t just vary them singular and plural. You have to use everything from natural language phrases to pieces of keyword phrases to misspellings and typos. What you don’t want is to overdo the linking with the hot keywords and phrases. Write your anchor texts as if you don’t care about squeezing every last bit of juice out of a particular keyword or phrase.


When it comes to anchor text variety, your best bet for figuring it out is to check out what your best competitors are doing because there’s no exact number of times a keyword text can be used to anchor links. The key is not to be too far out of line when compared to your competition.


Page level penalties are becoming more common, whereas before, penalties were usually applied at the domain level. In many cases the page level penalties are hitting home pages of sites. Key phrase specific penalties are becoming more common too. This happens when there are easily detected paid links pointing to a page with exact anchor text for one key phrase. The problem is, the page can continue to get search traffic for some phrases, but not the one you want.


Apparently the reason Google does it this way is that sometimes Google susses out paid links, and sometimes it doesn’t. If the algorithm is going to hand out penalties for paid links, it needs to prevent itself from messing things up for a site too badly if the algorithm thinks there are paid links when there aren’t. Therefore, they limit the penalty to one specific page and one specific key phrase so that an entire site isn’t penalized in the even to of a mistakenly applied penalty. Of course, the best thing to do if you have paid links is get rid of them and wait for your site to be crawled again.


These page level and key phrase specific penalties are sometimes hard to detect, but there are some things you can do that might give you clues that your site is on the receiving end of a page level key phrase specific penalty.


* If you have paid links from a link network that it would be easy for Google to pick up. Get rid of them. If you haven’t been penalized yet, you will. It’s just a matter of time.

* Paid links use identical anchor text and point to the exact same page. Again, get rid of them.

* If the page linked to doesn’t have a good ranking for the target key phrase, you can be hit with a “minus 30″ penalty or worse.

* If the page ranks OK for similar key phrases, then you could be the target of a key phrase level penalty. Test your ranking across several similar key phrases.


In the long term you’re always better off using above board link practices, such as the following:


* Don’t purchase links for Page Rank. Seriously, why would you do this? Google uses PageRank mostly as a signal that it has been banned. The ego-stroking that a high PageRank gets you isn’t what gets you traffic, search engine ranking, or conversions. Make yourself not care about it.

* Don’t have links on duplicate content pages such as article sites and article directories. And don’t add links into ancient pages without changing their content.

* Put in some no-follow links on relevant pages. If you add a no-follow tag, it still passes along relevancy and trust, even if PageRank juice isn’t passed along. Not that you would care, because you know not to care about PageRank, right?

* Links on relevant pages and in appropriate context are what you need. Simple, but true.

* Domain trust is very important, both from your domain and from domains linking to you. Domain trust has to do with domain age, and that site’s links. If your page has a link from a page that links to bad neighborhood sites, then by the mysterious Google transitive property, you may look sleazy by association.

* Conversely, “juicy” pages pass value to you if you put a link on it. Juicy pages are ones that rank for a keyword or phrase that is important to you, regardless of PageRank or other metrics.


The moral of this long story is that while domain level penalties appear to have peaked, you have to watch out for page level and keyword specific penalties. While Google’s intentions in doing this were probably honorable, these penalties can be a little harder to figure out than domain level problems, particularly keyword and key phrase level penalties. If you have paid links, shady links, or happen to link to a nice looking site that itself has questionable link issues, you need to fix these things now. It isn’t always easy finding out which of the sites you link to themselves link to porn or other dodgy sites, but it’s worth checking out. The bottom line is that if you shun all questionable practices, build links organically, and continue to provide fresh, relevant content with natural sounding anchor text for links, your site will bubble upward and is almost certain to resist getting penalized.



Categories : Online business    Themes : SEO
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