Some SEO related blog posts
Some SEO related blog posts
If you’ve noticed that your website isn’t generating as much business as it once did or that your organic traffic is down considerably YoY, then it’s likely that Google has either reduced your online visibility algorithmically or taken manual action against your website.
Identifying a specific date in time when traffic reduced considerably (perhaps a big drop overnight) can help pinpoint the specific reason for the loss.
Setting up a Google Webmaster Tools account and navigating to ‘Search Traffic’ > ‘Manual Actions’ is the quickest way of determining whether you’ve had manual action taken on your website.
As Google endeavour to serve the most relevant websites in their search results, they continually tinker with their complex algorithm, which looks at over 200 factors in determining your position. That means that what was once algorithmically acceptable might now be viewed as bad practice by Google.
The most common causes of an algorithmic or manual penalty are:
Google look to promote good quality, original content over low quality content that has been duplicated from other websites.
Their big algorithmic update in 2011 dubbed “Panda” penalised sites that fell under this “low quality” bracket. Often, Google has access to pages on your website that you’re not aware of or you don’t think is a problem but could be harming your overall performance.
A good SEO consultant can use a combination of tools to identify specific content that you might have to block Google from accessing completely to avoid “Panda” issues.
Another common mistake by some business owners is to copy other sites content and customising it slightly for their needs. What they don’t realise is that Google is very sophisticated at spotting content that is ‘near-duplicate’ or similarly structured paragraphs of content and this is another low quality signal.
Inbound links to your website are widely known to be a very powerful factor in how Google perceives your website, as links are viewed as a recommendation (or vote) from one website to another.
Over the years, link building has been abused in order to gain advantage in Google’s results. A common link building technique used 5 years ago might have made a positive impact at the time but is now likely causing more harm than good.
Google updates such as “Penguin” were aimed at penalising sites that had high levels of spammy, unnatural links pointing at their sites.
It’s important that when diagnosing a drop in traffic that your backlink profile is analysed carefully so that any toxic or harmful links can ben dealt with. This can be achieved by requesting removal of the bad links pointing at your website, or using the “disavow tool” that Google released to deal with links that you cannot remove.
Sometimes by complete accident your website could be coded in such a way that it uses techniques that Google finds suspicious or directly against their webmaster guidelines. Old SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing or hiding content from users that is written purely for the search engines are some examples for these outdated techniques.
A thorough on-page analysis would need to be carried out to ensure your site complies with best practice and that it’s fully accessible by Google.
Have you experienced traffic losses or have specific questions about this article? Please leave your comments below or contact me directly.