Q: Are there cases when Google doesn’t like what’s going on with a website and they remove you from searches? For example, if Panda finds that your copying content from another sites could that be used to penalize you? If that’s true, I read that your need a new URL and you need to reword all the content on your site. Is there truth to that?
Answer. First of all, you need to distinguish between the three different problems here. These are: first, the Panda update, which penalizes websites for low-quality content; second, the Penguin update which penalizes websites for nefarious inbound links; and third, manual Google penalties, which usually occur when a competitor complains to Google and the Google Web spam team manually decides it does not like your website for various so-called violations of the Google terms of service.
So, in analyzing your website or anyone’s website, you have to make some judgment call as to which, or all, of these penalties are being applied.
Now, when your website is penalized, you have a number of options. First, you should get a notice through Google webmaster tools that your website has been penalized. This is especially true if it is a manual penalty. If you have a notice from webmaster tools, you should read that notice carefully, and try to comply with whatever issues Google is identifying.
If, however, your penalty is algorithm based, you probably will not receive a notification. You will know that you are being penalized, because by watching the Google official blogs, you will know when an algorithm update has rolled out, and you will see a massive drop in your traffic after that rollout date.
In that situation, you are not really being penalized by Google but rather hurt by an algorithm update.
So, if the penalty is manual or you have a notification in Google webmaster tools, then it’s relatively simple. You need to comply with whatever their demands are, and then issue a reconsideration request. But, here’s the bad news. This process is not very rapid, and my suspicion is your website is probably blacklisted for a very long time as a bad boy. So, you may be better starting a new website that is a virgin website and does not have any of this bad reputation!
If the penalty is algorithmic, then the situation is not quite so dire. You just need to adapt to the new algorithm. If it is a Panda (content) penalty, then it’s more content oriented, and by fixing your content you should be in good shape.
However, if it is a Penguin penalty, then Google is mad about your inbound links, and essentially you have to undo all of those bad links. That can be pretty difficult! So in that situation you may indeed want to launch a new web domain.
Finally, many webmasters believe that they are being manually penalized by Google when in fact it is an algorithm update. Or, their website just socks and never gets any traffic, because they don’t do the basic stuff correctly… And so they blame Google.
In sum, you need to diagnose what the problem is first. And, you are right in some situations unfortunately you may have to launch an entirely new web domain. Google has made SEO very much a contact sport these days, and there is a whole new trend of negative SEO, in which your competitors can rat you out and cause problems!
(Be sure to read the user comments. They are, shall we say, interesting!).
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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