How To Know When Any Search Engine Has Penalized You ?
Posted 03 November 2006 - 02:53 PM
It all depends on what you define as a penalty. Is the discounting of links to your site because you link back (reciprocal linking) already a penalty or is it just part of the normal algorithm?
If you just notice that the traffic from a search engine has gone done, it could mean any number of things:
- a change in the algorithm
- a change in your website (server down, etc)
- a change in the demographics
- a penalty on your site? (as you mention)
- a change in query usage
- a change in other peoples websites (because of any of the above)
The easy excuse is to say that the search engine gave you a penalty and you can't do anything about it. The easy way out is to push the blame to someone else instead of working to figure out what the real problem is :-)
Don't fall into that trap - work on your site and work to stay current (especially if you're employing borderline tactics)!
Posted 03 November 2006 - 03:42 PM
Not to get penalized, you simply link to relevant and trusted websites (no black hat ones), focus on providing value to your visitors and don't try to cheat the search engines.
Posted 03 November 2006 - 10:02 PM
In most other cases it is much harder to say what is going on: a "penalty", change in algorithm, surge or drop in popularity, etc.
Why is that? You would expect that a punishment, and aren't penalties a little bit like punishments, stands out clear. So what's going on here?
It is because full-out penalties actually don't exist anymore. Maybe they sort of did in the "old days" but it was all too easy to game. Nowadays instead of worrying about penalties or rewards we are simply trying to score to "perfect 10".
Think about how in certain Olympic events the judges and referees assign points to the athletes based on their performance. Well, likewise these days Google and other search engines look at various factors, Google claims over a hundred, and the way that they interact with each other, and assign plus or minus points, or sometimes even refrain from assigning points, based on them.
Got a lot of low value reciprocal links? Substract X number of points. Got a lot of low value reciprocal links but also incoming links from the Washington Post, CNN and the international Herald Tribune? Add X number of points. Use certain stop words? Minus points. A certain combination of industry specific keywords? Who knows...
And those same factors and decisions aren't the same for every site on every run either. A certain combination of industry specific keywords might earn you plus points while on my site, because of other unknown factors, it means minus points.
Factoring all this in I would say that most of the time "penalties" are in fact part of the natural algorithms.
Edited by Ruud, 03 November 2006 - 10:05 PM.
Posted 12 November 2006 - 01:50 PM
One approach is to run several SEO Metrics, such as described in my resource page.
The second approach is to run an experiment. Time-consuming but necessary...
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