Search Engine Penalty Removal
Did you use to rank very highly for a series of relevant keywords or phrases? Has your website experienced a sudden loss in natural or organic traffic? If so, you could be suffering from a search engine penalty.
What is a search engine penalty?
All search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc) rank websites according to an ever-evolving set of criteria or ‘factors’ – all of these factors added together are contained in what is know as a search engine algorithm.
In the same way that a search engine will rank a website it regards as the most relevant and authoritative at the top of its listings, the opposite is true for a website which the search engines deem to be breaking their guidelines or trying to cheat the system.
The growth of negative SEO
The practice of seeking to damage a competitor’s search rankings is becoming increasingly common. Similarly, due to poor website security, websites are routinely being hacked by spammers who add invisible links pointing to illicit websites which have a short-term benefit for the external site. The long-term effects for the hacked site can be extremely damaging however.
Types of search engine penalty
The Thin Content Penalty, The Unnatural Links Penalty, Top Heavy Penalty … penalties come in many shapes and sizes! There are two major categories though: automated and manual.
- Automated penalties get the most attention because they affect many sites at the same time. A change in the search engine algorithm results in many sites falling foul of a new ‘rule’ and the affected sites get penalised automatically, without any form of human intervention. Webmasters are usually notified of such penalties but not always.
- Manual penalties are applied by a specialist ‘web spam’ team who’s job is to continually review sites that have been flagged up as potentially breaching search engine guidelines. The Web Spam team will manually inspect websites and if they conclude that the site contravenes the latest guidelines, they may well choose to apply a partial or full site manual penalty. Manual penalties are often quite severe and can result in a website being removed entirely from the search engine index. This often results in a massive and sudden drop in website traffic overnight. Notifications of manual penalties are always sent to the Webmaster (via webmaster tools such as Google Search Console).
How to remove a search engine penalty
Websites can receive a penalty for a number of different reasons. Many penalised sites contain nothing but very low quality regurgitated content and deserve no place in the search engine results. But sometimes, entirely legitimate sites that are trying their best to do everything by the book can also be affected. If you have experienced a noticeable drop in rankings and/or traffic, it’s a case of finding out what you’ve done wrong and making it right. Onvigil uses a suite of proprietary tools to forensically analyse your website to pinpoint exactly where the problems lie.
Once we’ve identified the problems, we’ll work with you to undo the actions that caused the penalty, such that it can be removed. This can take some time depending on the severity of the penalty. Once a penalty is successfully removed, we typically see rankings and traffic levels return to what they previously were. By being vigilant, we’ll also design an SEO strategy to help you stay ahead of the curve and avoid similar problems occurring again.
If you think you might be suffering from a Google Penalty (the most common) or a Yahoo or Bing Penalty, just fill out the form below for a free no obligation quote, or why not give one of the Onvigil team a call on 01730 77 66 33 to find out how we can help.