Google algorithmic penalties

Penalty is like a disease - better safe than sorry. In a moment you will see what you need to analyse to make sure you are dealing with a penalty and how to get rid of it.


Beginner web masters often panic when the ranking of their sites declines and are quick to jum to the conclusion that a ban has been applied. This is why you need to remember that a banned web site is the one you cannot find in Google, so after typing in the
command no results will be displayed.


The main indicator of Google penalty is the decrease in the website ranking. Usually it is related to a large number of phrases, decrease of which is connected with a visible decline in traffic.
Traffic drop after Google Update


The first step when dealing with a penalty is to define the reason behind it. Algorithm actions, as indicated by their name, are applied automatically after detecting a violation of Google webmaster guidelines. Such situations are most likely to occur while using old, well known techniques such as content hiding or keyword stuffing.


Algorithm penalty can be removed in two ways:
re-indexing of the new website version – if you have been able to identify the reason why a penalty has been applied and you have amended the website accordingly, all you should to do is wait for the website to be re-indexed. If keyword stuffing is the problem, you may have to edit the content and wait for re-indexing;
subsequent algorithm update – what may happen is that one algorithm update will affect your website ranking while another will rectify it. Then you will not have to do anything if you have not dealt with the initial problem.


What's important is that it is impossible to remove the algorithm penalty by requesting reconsideration. Bearing that in mind, it may still be worth submitting a request in order to establish what type of penalty has been applied. If a manual spam action is not mentioned in the reply, it means that the ranking decline has been caused by an automatic action.


A list of Google updates from the last months may assist you with establishing the reason for an algorithm penalty application. Below there is a list of selected Google algorithm changes:


Panda Update

– introduced on the 24th February 2012 r., initially only in the US; has affected approximately 11.8% requests. Panda’s task is to affect the ranking of websites which are low-quality and low-value for users; copy content from other websites; are not very useful.
„This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful.”
Panda Update should satisfy webmasters of websites with original and diverse content, for example those featuring results of research and analysis.


Penguin Update "Webspam Algorithm Update"

– introduced on the 24th April 2012; has affected approximately 3.1% of English-language websites. Penguin’s task is to affect the ranking of websites which use: keyword stuffing, keywords overload, especially frequent repetitions that make the content difficult to understand; unnatural linking – in Google help a term ‘link schemes’ has been used to describe different methods of acquiring references that violate Google guidelines. Among other things this applies to link exchange schemes, buying and selling links, excessive links exchange, excessive linking from microsites.
„We see all sorts of webspam techniques every day, from keyword stuffing to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings.”
Affected websites may not be those containing visible and aggressive attempts to boost ranking. On the face of it the website may not appear to have been created to manipulate search engine ranking.


Top Heavy

– introduced on the 19th January 2012 r.; has affected approximately 1% of requests; other names „Page layout algorithm” and „
Above the fold”. Top Heavy affects the ranking of websites which display excessive amount of advertisements over the scroll line
– the main problem is affecting users’ access to the main content of the website by pushing it down with excessive advertising. This forces users to scroll down in order to find relevant information.
„If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.”


EMD (Exact-match domains)

– introduced around the 28th September 2012 r., full name: „Exact-match domains”. EMD affects web sites which are low-quality
and feature keywords in the domain name. There is no detailed information on the number of affected websites. Matt Cutts only mentioned it on Twitter.
Now you need to establish whether the dates of ranking declines match the dates of algorithm updates. However, it is worth mentioning that algorithm penalties can be applied during major updates and during minor changes that do not receive muchattention. So as soon as you know what influenced the drop in ranking and the traffic, you need to remove the problem and wait for re-indexation.


This article is only the piece of content of "Google penalties from A to Z" ebook written by the SEO Station Team.



License: Creative Commons