Many lawyers really suffered the last several months in their rankings. I decided to compile this checklist to expand upon attorney Michael Ehline’s post over at the Circle of Legal Trust. There are occasions when webmasters are confronted with a situation, where a website and high-performing keywords are not shown in the SERP of Google.
One of two things may have happened, it is a website that has been penalized by de-listing from the result pages or Google has made changes to its algorithm.
In order to recover from these problems, the webmaster has to ensure whether cause of the drop in rankings is due to changes in the algorithm or has the website been caught by Google’s filters for some type of unethical activity.
Drastic Dip Reasons—Analyzing Rankings
Techniques for checking Google penalties is not an exact science, there is no accurate technique. Webmasters might discover an unanticipated dip in their rankings, for several of the substantially range keywords. This could be due to changes in Google’s ranking algorithm. There have been studies into this phenomenon and whenever there has been an update in the algorithm, users have experienced fluctuations in the SERP’s keyword rankings. Consequently people cannot claim or specifically say a particular website has been penalized by the search engine.
There are a few things that can help users, whose websites have been penalized.
Google does veritable advances and enhancements in its algorithm in the filtering method for finding infractions and unscrupulous actions, exercised by websites that attempt to improve ranking in Google SERP’s. There are theories that some of the filters likely have discovered a site and is displaying a dip in the SERP for some keywords.
Link De-valuation Effects
As one of these webmasters who is debating and searching for the reasons of a diminish in ranking, it is essential to know that, Google has always applied link de-valuation. They have done this to backlinks from non-trusted and non-reputed sources. Initially the reason for this is spammers have been recognized for using dishonorable methods to have high ranking websites in search engine results pages. Consequently appropriate measure to deal with these webmasters and just manner and reward webmasters who used ethical means of optimizing their websites, Google updates and makes changes regularly.
Being affected by the devaluation, it is most likely due to the fact that your website is involved in reciprocal linking. This can occur during the building of back links for the website, you may have submitted the URL to link farms that are in low quality directories, or paid link advertisements. Any of these factors will adversely affect website rankings as techniques regarded and handled strictly by Google. Websites that use any unethical methods will experience punishment by the search engine.
There are many websites that webmasters in the past it had ranked high in the SERP, which are now de-valued and not seen in the SERP’s. When these websites are analyzed it is often found many of the backlinks were from do-follow blogs and directories. Low quality directories no longer have much value by Google and they have suffered reductions in their overall ranking. Another issue that has been seen is these websites have a large quantity of backlinks from unrelated niche websites.
Whether you know or doubt Google is penalizing your website, it is best not to assume or make any decision. Before coming to a conclusion it is best to visit a few of the better regarded as SEO forums. It will be immediately clear in the discussions at these forums; if there have been any changes in the algorithm, since your website would not be the only one with changes in the rankings.
If there have not been any algorithm updates, then it can be considered a possibility that your site has been penalized by Google. The webmaster guidelines outline violations, which can lead to permanent de-valuation of the websites, in some cases this is not just a de-valuation, but a permanent de-indexing has been seen.
Recovering can be extremely difficult and the only possibility of being been withdrawn would be convincing Google personnel that you are not involved in any illegal activities.
Cloud Examinations for Substantiating a Penalty
- Test 1. When you believe your website has been penalized by Google, comparing the total number of prior indexed URLs with the current figures can provide answers. In order to do this, it is possible to use the command “site:yourdomainname.com” in the search bar of Google. When doing this, if there were not any URLs seen, then use the command “link:yourdomain.com”. If there are no links shown, then there is a distinct possibility the websites have been penalized by Google.
- Test 2. A reduction in the rank for your unique company name, as a Google penalty should not be considered as an indication of de-valuation, if you have a new website it may not have been crawled yet. Google will not usually see new websites with few backlinks, which means you cannot assume the website has been penalized. Today Google Page Rank is not a constraint any longer, though you would see a reduced page rank.
To ascertain whether Google has de-indexed your website altogether, copying some content from the website and pasting it in the search bar of Google, it may be possible to determine. If the content from the page does not appear at the first place, then you will need to use the command “cache:www.websitename.com/page.html in the search bar. When your domain name or the webpage is not listed in the search results, then it is assured you have been penalized by being de-indexed. This type of ban is the most extreme kind, and will usually happen when you have used Black Hat SEO website techniques.
Google Penalization Confirmation
Once you have confirmed your website has been penalized by the search engine, and then you will need to use the following steps.
Google Penalization Checklist
If your site has been penalized by Google, you must go through the below checklist. Identify the likely cause, and then you must make the required changes. Move forward by requesting Google to reconsider your website for inclusion.
Banned Websites Backlinking
This requires you to check all of the outbound links from your site and check if you have linked to websites that have been banned by Google.
<.h2>Bad Sites and Sharing Links
You will need to analyze if you are sharing links with any bad sites. These are websites such as link farms or doorway pages. They are spam sites and doorway pages that have only one intention, which is sharing links, they have no useful or quality content. Google views the domains with lowest amount of trust, therefore should be completely avoided.
Automated Query Penalties
Websites can be penalized by Google that employ automated query tools that use Google’s API, especially if the queries are run from the same IP address hosting the website. This violates Google’s terms of service, without any doubt. Google does permit few automated queries in its database utilizing its analytic tools. The user must be registered and have a Google API account. Use of any different kinds of automated queries would certainly result in problems.
Over-optimization and Google Filters Penalties
Link building for selected keywords and key phrases persistently in the anchor text can draw the attention of Google. It is advised to apply varied anchor text/keywords, while doing work for your link building campaign. The use of a backlink anchor text analyzer tool can be wise to check the number of backlinks for a specific keyword/phrase. It is advantageous to be steady in building backlinks, while using long tailed keywords and their variations.
Link Schemes and Cross Linking
When you have multiple websites and you think all of the sites have been penalized, it is important to immediately start analyzing the interlinking between all of the domains. Google may view the sites as being involved in link schemes, if you have done extensive interlinking of the websites from the same C Class IP address. This would be violating the TOS and if you receive backlinks from sitewide pages of a website, then Google would address that as a Grey Hat technique or even a Black Hat method. The purchase of backlinks from external domains and adding it to the footer would be detected by Google. The search engine would not give priority to these backlinks compared to the backlinks received from quality content. Most recent updates and the suggestions from SEO Gurus, webmasters ought to rigorously attempt to abstain from site-wide links. Almost all site-wide links provide to the lowest degree of rewards. Google considers the number of backlinks from unique domains to your website.
Duplicate Content Consequences
Content duplication is not counted very stringently, Google will merely de-index the duplicate content or page from the search result pages. This can have a different affect, like losing traffic to a website, which is equal to being penalized.
Hidden Text Links
Numerous webmasters use a method hiding the text in the content. They use same text colour as background for the text links. This is literally invisible to the human eye, however it can be seen by Google bots and crawlers. Removing these links and keywords is more beneficial choice.
Keyword Stuffing is Not Dissimilar to Spamming
Recover rankings in Google SERP’s by removing excessive keywords from the web page content, the use of natural and informational content is the best method for rankings.
Search for Malware Issues
While it is usually not said, if Google has black listed your website, due to unsafe browsing, it is worth looking for malware. This can be done by using a link from Google, www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=yourdomain.com replace the your domain, with your website.
Automatic Page Redirects
Google does not suggest using any type of page re-directs, besides a permanent 301 redirect, however the Mod Rewrite technique can be used instead of the 301 redirect. A .htaccess file should be setup on your web server.
Buying and Selling Links
According to SEO experts, they have detected purchasing backlinks can hurt your website optimization and recently Google penalized link selling websites.
Campaigns for Reciprocal Link Building
Aggressive reciprocal link building can draw the attention of Google and once confirmed, it will result in being penalized or a SERP’s filter being used for if the same or extremely similar link anchor text is used frequently and if there are a large quantity of reciprocal links added in a short amount time. It can be even worse, if the backlinks are coming from websites that have low quality.
It is commonly known that Google does not like affiliate websites with insignificant content and are purposely setup with the intention of adding Adsense to them. Users that want to use affiliate sites, should ensure they are of good quality and have original content, if they do not want to be filtered out of the search results.
Experts say that content feeds, like RSS are widely used on the internet, though fetching large volumes of duplicate content by using these feeds could have an unfavorable effect on the sites rankings, if done often. This can even result in alerting Google and cause the site to be penalized.
Registrant Domains and Google
Google has the ability to access the WHOIS database for domains. They can use this information to penalize a website which has the same registrant.
Google Webmaster Tools
Efforts have been made by Google to improve its communication with webmasters whose domains have been banned. The most recent information is they now notify webmasters with the reason the site penalized and banned. They have developed a new Webmaster Console in order to do this and once the user has made the suggested changes, they can make a re-inclusion request using this console. The webmasters are required to sign-up for a Google Webmaster Tools account and upload an XML sitemap onto your site. Google has made it easy, by having a video tutorial that explains the process for reconsideration. There are tips about what Google expects when they make an assessment for re-inclusion for any website.
Recovering from the effects of Google changes and rank well in the SERP’s it will most likely take about two or three months once any website issues are corrected. The amount of time to recover cannot be guaranteed by anyone, with the exception of Google. So if your a lawyer, and you really are confused, this comprehensive checklist should help you. Enjoy!
Posts by Michael Ehline
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