Many legitimate business websites and blogs have been hit hard (disappeared from search results) by Google’s Panda & Penguin algorithm updates because the SEO companies they hired used spammy SEO techniques or SEO over-optimization.
Organic search traffic from Google and other major search engines constitutes around 50% of all Internet traffic. Losing valuable visitors and customers as a result of a penalty arising from webspam SEO techniques can be devastating for any startup, business, blogger or Internet entreprenuer.
This article discusses the steps needed to recover from Google SEO penalties and start re-appearing in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). The good news is that it can be done. The bad news is that it takes time, effort, and if you’ve learned your lesson and are going to hire a decent SEO partner, money too.
1. Perform a full website and SEO audit
Google doesn’t release the intricacies of their algorithms. It’s happened before that sites have disappeared as a result of bugs on Google’s side of things. So no one can tell you precisely why your website or blog dropped out of the rankings – although, if you engaged in link building blog rings then that is a fairly obvious candidate.
It’s important to perform a professional website SEO audit with a focus on any and all potential SEO problems that might lead to penalties.
What does an SEO audit involve?
Here’s what your SEO audit should include at a minimum:
- Webmaster tools: Helps to find unwanted, low PR (PageRank) back links
- Google analytics: Can pinpoint drops in search traffic and relate it to any major search algorithm updates. This may provide clues as to the type of SEO problems your blog or site succumbed to
- On-site SEO: Have you checked your site for duplicate content? Stub pages? Caching? Aggregation? Speed? Performance? Malware? SEO keyword stuffing?
- Off-site SEO: Have you got plenty of niche backlinks from quality resources? Is anyone talking about you in social media? News? Blogs?
- Backlinks: This is the main culprit in the recent Penguin algorithm update. One of the most likely candidates if you have been using unethical SEO services up ’til now
2. Isolate and act against main SEO culprits
After performing a complete SEO audit, it is time to work out what SEO features of your site or blog are the best candidates for improvement.
Spammy backlinks are SEO poison
Unfortunately, getting rid of spammy backlinks is not easy. In some cases, unethical websites are extorting businesses to remove bad quality backlinks. If you’re in this situation don’t pay up.
Take your case directly to Google and trust that they will take these situations into consideration as they move forward. It’s not in their interests to have business owners at the mercy of unscrupulous negative SEO sites.
Top reasons for SEO penalties from Google
Here are the most likely reasons for a recent drop in the search engine results pages:
- Poor quality backlinks: If you’ve joined a blog ring, or paid for backlinks… well, I trust you’ve learned your lesson
- Lack of fresh content: Adding a site five years ago and expecting to remain at the top of search results is not realistic
- Over optimization: If you spend more time working for search engines than human visitors, you are not being productive
- Poor SEO: If you have not implemented any of the major SEO guidelines then its possible that straightforward SEO could fix the problem
- Lack of buzz or social interaction: Google takes into account what other people think of your site or blog. If no-one is interested in your site, is it realistic to think Google will be?
Fixing the above SEO issues can take time and effort, and it can take even longer for your site to reappear in the search results. Fortunately, it is possible to give your site an advantage…
3. Add great new content
Much of Google’s algorithm metrics are relative. This means that if you have 88 spammy backlinks out of a hundred, then 88% of your backlinks are spammy and from Google’s perspective your site is most likely poor quality.
Add 50 new high quality, well SEO’d articles that are shared and promoted socially and all of a sudden, you have 300 backlinks of which only 88 are spammy. Now less than one third of your backlinks are spammy and, from Google’s perspective, you are most likely a high quality site with a bit of webspam.
Top ‘how to write great content’ articles
Here’s a list of articles and resources that can help you to create killer content for your business or blog:
- How to create award winning blog content from a small business ‘Top mover’
- Top reasons why your content is not driving traffic and how to fix it
- The magic ingredient: What to change about your blog and social in order to succeed
- Three laws of blogging that get traffic and maximize ROI
- Anatomy of a blog post: How to get more traffic and social engagement from your content
4. Implement Panda & Penguin friendly SEO
SEO is basically a bug in the search system. Google continually adapts to close up loopholes exploited by people attempting to derive greater benefit than the quality of their content warrants.
The SEO trade-off
You can either invest resources into creating a great online presence that drives traffic to your website or blog and converts them to create a flow of revenue, or you can try “beat the house” at its own game.
Top SEO articles & resources
Assuming you would rather not have sleepless nights worrying about when Google is going to catch up to your black-hat SEO and drop you from its results, the following articles will help you implement Panda and Penguin friendly SEO:
- Five money making SEO tips for small business online stores
- Five awesome tips to extract valuable SEO secrets from Google analytics data
- How to double your search traffic using SEO, Webmaster tools and Google analytics
- Google’s Panda and Penguin updates are great for bloggers, marketers and business
- Top five questions to ask your head of digital marketing and SEO
- Content revenue calculator for bloggers and businesses
5. Partner with only high quality SEO companies & services
Risking your business by trying to cheat Google’s search algorithms is not a sound business model. Instead, work with a reliable SEO consultant or partner to implement best practice SEO, which is designed to make your site as valuable and relevant as possible.
Recommended SEO services & companies
Here are some services, articles and resources that I recommend:
- How to find the best SEO service in the Google Panda & Penguin era
- SEOMoz – Start ranking better!
- Analytics SEO
- DIYSEO – free SEO report card
On the other end of the scale; I received the following unsolicited (spam) email from an SEO company trying to sell backlinks – not one week after the Google Penguin algorithm updates (that penalize sites engaging in unnatural back-linking for SEO purposes) hit:
Online SEO Expert is one of the most popular SEO Services providers in India.
We provide a range of On page and Off page SEO services that can help your website grow and your business expand. Each of our services possesses the irreplaceable quality and efficiency that has made us a favorite.
In this service we provides below services:-
Directory Submission $25 per 100 (Approved)
$10 per 100 (Non Approved)
Social Bookmarking $25 per 100
Blog Commenting $25 per 100
Forum Posting $25 per 100(3 threads in 1 forum)
Article Submission(Article will be provided by client) $20 per 100 (Non
$30 per 100 (Approved)
Press Release $25 per 100
Link Building (One way only) $2 for PR 1 per link
$4 for PR2 per link
$6 for PR3 per link
$8 for PR4 per link
Link Building Packages (Mix PR 1 to PR 4) 50 Links at $175
100 Links at $300
150 Links at $400
200 Links at $500
Complete SEO packages
Awaiting for your valuable reply.
Thanks and Regards
Online Seo Expert
Needless to say that I hope you don’t fall for these genuinely harmful SEO offers.
My organic search traffic has doubled nearly every quarter for the last year and a half. Using the techniques outlined in this article, and avoiding the temptation to risk your business by engaging in dubious SEO practices, you can achieve the same growth in organic search traffic. But it requires skill and persistent and consistent hard work.
Where you spend your SEO dollars is up to you. You can follow my advice, or, you can take your chances with the Panda and Penguin.