With the Delegator® AlgoSleuth Tool you can plot your website's organic traffic against Google's major Algorithm updates and see what was won or lost.
Robin Good's insight:
Easily find out if your web site or blog has been affected by one of Google algorithm updates such as Panda and Penguin. Next to the excellent Panguin Tool, now you have an additional tool to make sure you have not been hit.
From the official site: "AlgoSleuth harnesses the power of the Google Analytics API to provide a powerful analysis of your site’s organic traffic and highlights all major Google Algorithm updates that may have affected you over the past several years.
The tool includes all major Panda and Penguin updates from January 2011 to today.
The process for extracting your data takes, on average, just 2-3 minutes. After that, you can use AlgoSleuth to query results for one or any number of Google Analytics profiles."
He writes: "AlgoSleuth uses the Google analytics API to fetch traffic details from your account, and matches with known Panda & Penguin updates to verify whether you have been hit by a Google algo update."
Here's an excellent visual poster illustrating the key differences between the type of SEO activities that were effectve back in the days before Google Panda and Google Penguin made their first appearances, and the ones that are appropriate and effective today.
Things have changed a lot in these last two years, and this visual diagram does a great job of reviewing and synthesizing what has really changed.
Whether you are new to web publishing or have a long established web presence, I think you will find lots of valuable information in here as well as many confirmations of things you thought but weren't sure of when it comes to SEO.
Jeff Foster has a point and I do agree with him. His concern is indeed appropriate.
He writes: "Just as low-level article directories (ezinearticles, articlesbase, and others) got hurt by Google’s Panda Update in 2013, I predict that Google will hurt sites abusing guest blogging in 2013.
I don’t feel guest blogging is bad, nor that all bloggers who do it will be penalized by Google.
SEOMOZ.org allows guest blogging and their rankings increased during the Panda update.
But when SEO companies start to abuse any link building tactic, you need a preventative plan in place because an update from Google will be coming."
The article provides great advice on how to manage guest posts in ways that guarantee maximum safety for you and minimum risks of being penalized because of them.
Has your organic website traffic been affected by Google's algorithm updates? Use the Panguin tool to merge Google's updates with your traffic data to find out.
Robin Good's insight:
If you wonder whether your site has ever been penalized by the Google Panda or Penguin updates, you don't need to guess anymore. You can check and be sure of whether any of the Google updates has ever affected your web site by simply using this free tool.
Panguin, this is how it is called, is a web-based tool that allows you map the dates of each major Google algorithm update, including each Panda and Penguin update over your traffic graph inside Google Analytics.
If you are trying to understand better whether your site has been losing traffic sue to Google Penguin, and possibly some not very high quality links pointing to your site, here is an informative article, summarizing for you what type of links you need to be avoiding to steer clear from any risk of being hit by Google Penguin.
If you read the article in detail, you will see that many type of links that are normally thought to be "ok", present in fact a serious risk to your site and this is way it is a good idea to understand in detail what types of link can present some risk before it's too late to do something about them.
Robin Good: If your site has suddenly disappeared from search engine result pages you may likely have overlooked one of these 17 typical mistakes, that can get your site de-indexed in matter of seconds.
Nothing new under the sun in this list, but always a good reminder to look at if you are new to web publishing or if you have been recently penalized and are wondering what you may have done wrong.
From the article intro by Eric Siu: "...unnatural link acquisition isn’t the only way to get banned by Google. There are actually quite a few more. If you are new to SEO, let this be a warning.
If you are a seasoned SEO, let this be a reminder—or a crib sheet you can forward to anyone who is suggesting you do WHATEVER it takes to rank them.
Here’s a list of absolute “don’ts” where ranking is concerned."
Robin Good: If you have been wondering whether your lowering traffic is a consequence of Google penalties or whether your blog or website is at risk of being soon hit by one of Google filtering algorithms, here is a great set of questions to ask yourself before deciding on what course of action to take.
From the original article: "Let’s say you’re a sole proprietor who’s hired someone to do SEO for you.
Or maybe you manage a marketing team, and SEO has always been one of those things you wish you had time for but decided to outsourceinstead.
How do you know that the SEO you're outsourcing is truly legitimate and won’t result in your website being considered spammy?
...So, how do you know if your website is spammy?
And what should you do to make sure it isn't considered *GULP* web spam?"
Among others, four typical traits of web sites "at risk" of being classified as spammy are:
1) Low use of social media
2) Over-optimized content, use of keywords, text manipulation
3) Many 404s and broken links
4) Lots of ads on the page
But there are at least four more that you should be aware of.
Useful. Good reminder to those too concerned with SEO and too little with creating unique, valuable content. 8/10
Robin Good: Google has launched its own version of (Bing) Disavow Links tool which has been designed to help webmasters reduce the negative impact of inbound spammy links when these cannot be easily removed by simply contacting the original web site owner.
N.B.: "Google recommends to remove your unnatural backlinks by either removing the links yourself or by sending a request to the concerned webmaster for the removal of the links. If still there remains some extra backlinks which you are unable to remove then you must use the Disavow tool."
Good, rational analyis by Gianluca Fiorelli of what could be the key reasons triggering the new EMD (Exact Match Domain) filter on your website (English-speaking websites only) and why most of our emotional negative reactions to it could be seen from a more rational viewpoint.
Extracted from the original article intro: "I don’t deny that Google should have tried to refine better this new algorithmic update, having somehow replicated the same “black or white” mistake done with Penguin, but its purpose is surely laudable and the real complaint should be why the hell Google waited so long before rolling it, if it is true, as Bill Slawski with many reasons suspects, it was something that was patented almost 10 years ago.
It’s this unjustified delay what is causing that also respectable and not spammy EMD sites are now dropping like flies.
Few days ago Dr. Pete wrote an excellent “instant post”, describing and commenting what the Mozcast’s metrics are saying in relation to EMDs and the update. If you have not read it yet, I really suggest you to do it.
And read also the comments, a sort of anthology of everything can be said against Google and Matt Cutts. Somehow it was like reading Webmaster forum into SEOmoz.
The most common reaction was something like this:
"Hey Google, my EMD was totally fine. It had gazillions pages of content with gazillion words. It was all White Hat and legit and useful and You – tricky b*ast*rd – You screw it!"
Surely it is an understandable reaction. I’d react the same way if I were seeing my site falling from the first page into the Index Limbo.
But, let’s try to analyze what that kind of reaction actually tells us."
From the original article: "Google has refreshed its algorithm, this time with Panda update number 20.
This update would affect 2.4 % of the English queries while other languages have a 0.5% impact that's rarely noticeable. Panda 20 update went live on September 27th, 2012.The first Panda update went live on February 2011.
What to do next?
You don't need to panic with this update. This refresh has been done to improve the quality of search results so your strategy as a search engine optimizer would be to present the most relevant content to the user in an appropriate manner. Its better to stop overdoing seo and take natural steps towards making your website look genuine. Concentrate on adding fresh content to the website as Pandas love fresh content."
How do you get links in a post-penguin world? For far too many the answer seems to be, exclusively, guest posting. Today I’m going to give you four reasons why I think this tactic can be as dangerous as those it replaced.
Robin Good's insight:
Google is getting smarter every day, and it makes little to no sense at all to keep going after links like it was 2005.
In this very interesting article by James Finlayson on SEOMoz, you can get a good idea of how Google thinks and looks at your inbound linking profile when looking at your site.
Better understanding link quality, type, position and authorship can help you a great deal in saving yourself not only lots of time and money, but also the risk of having a site that is penalized.
The best strategy of all in my opinion is to build oustanding, uniquely useful content, ike no one else in your niche does.
Are you confused about the difference between Penguin and an Unnatural Links penalty? Not sure whether you should be disavowing your links? Wondering whether you should file for reconsideration? Well...you're not alone!
Robin Good's insight:
Excellent review of Google Panda, Penguin and "unnatural links" manual penalties from Google from Marie Haynes, including symptoms, consequences and best approaches to recover from each one.
The article also cover the use of the Disavow Links tool, when and whether to file an official Google Reconsideration Request and what is the best course of action for most troublesome penalty-related situations your site may have fallen into.
Can using Google’s link disavow tool help remove penalties? Yes, the company says. But when it comes to manual penalties, disavowing links alone isn’t enough. With algorithmic penalties, there may be a time delay involved.
Robin Good's insight:
If you have been hit by a Google penalty, whether "manual" or "algorithmic" here is some useful information for you.
Danny Sullivan reports on how the link disavow tool works and what you should expect from it, in terms of how much time it takes for the tool to process your submission as well as how much time you should wait to see some benefit to your site.
On August 15, 2012, our agency's website (which was in the middle of a complete redesign) was hit with a manual penalty by our friends over at Google.
Robin Good's insight:
Here is a detailed report by founder Lewis Sellers, of how his web agency in the UK, Pinpoint Designs, got hit by a Google penalty without having consciously done anything tricky, and how it gradually found a way to get this penalization revoked.
Start by building up a list of all the links pointing to your website - This is extremely easy. Login to Open Site Explorer, Google Webmaster Tools and use other websites such as Ahrefs or Majestic SEO. ...
Work to remove those links hard - Removing links isn't easy, there are numerous sites out there that will help remove links from you, but it's a fairly slow process. ...
If you can't remove links - If you can't remove links, use the Google Disavow tool. That being said, don't use it unless absolutely necessary. ...
Write good quality content - Show Google that you can write good content. Make sure that all the content on your website is unique, up to date and interesting...
Spend time on your reconsideration request - Google must receive hundreds, if not thousands, of reconsideration requests each and every week. Rather than sending in a paragraph, spend some time telling them what you've done wrong and most importantly, be honest. Tell them why you think you've been targeted, what you've done to rectify it and how it won't happen again.
But there is a lot more useful stuff in the article, including all the steps taken, tools used and what to do if Google says no to your Reconsideration Request.
This is the first in a series of articles looking at the aftermath of Google’s Panda algorithm update, which launched February 24, 2011.
Robin Good's insight:
Two years ago today Google Panda hit thousands of web sites bringing them to near oblivion in a matter of hours. After two years most of the sites that were originally hit by this Google penalty are still suffering from it, and there are only a small number of cases where the site has been able to recover fully its pre-Panda traffic levels.
It was originally called the “farmer” update because Google’s prime target was “content farms,” a name used to describe sites that created high-quantities of low-quality content that sometimes ranked highly in Google’s search results.
As you’ll see below, on a list of nearly two dozen of Panda’s original losers, only two websites have returned to the SEO visibility that they had about three weeks post-Panda. The others have all continued to lose search visibility.
Some other Panda-hit websites have recovered, though not all of those recoveries have been permanent. We’ll look at all that later in this article."
If you have been hit by a Google penalty, this may have been triggered by the number and type of links that are pointing to your site. Given the new quality standards Google is after, it may be a good idea to clean up any inbound link that is at risk of compromising our site trust.
From the original article by Jesse Woodhouse: "If your website has been impacted by “garbage” links, you may need to take a street sweeper to your backlink portfolio.
Seeing a drop in traffic or rankings can be concerning, especially when it happens suddenly.
If you have noticed this, chances are your were affected by a Google algorithm update or penalty.
If so, then you may need to consider pruning your backlinks by finding low quality or harmful links pointing to your website and then remove them. Doing so can help you put your website back on a road to recovery."
Useful. Excellent, illustrated advice for who is new to this. 7/10
If you are trying to verify whether your site has been effectively penalized or not by one of Google anti-spam algorithms, the best way to proceed is to go and look at the traffic reporting stats from your analytics tool and check whether your site has had a sudden drop of visitors from one day to the next over the course of the last year.
If you have such a sudden and sharp drop of traffic in your traffic stats, then it is time to go and check the Google Change History algorithm page by SEOMoz, which cronologically lists all of the Google algo updates week by week since the year 2000. If there is a correspondence between your sudeen traffic drop and the Google algo change date, then you know what has been the cause of it.
Robin Good: PlagSpotter is a free web service which allows you to rapidly identify which specific sentences of your articles have been duplicated elsewhere on the web and at which specific URLs they have been republished.
After analyzing a specific URL, PlagSpotter presents you with a report, that includes a copy of the text published at the URL you have specified, in which the sentences that have been duplicated elsewhere, havebeen highlighted.
By clicking on any of the highlighted sentences you can get a list of the URLs where that specific content has been duplicated.
From the official site: "PlagSpotter is an online duplicate content checker that allows users to put their webpage URLs in to start an Internet duplicate content scanning and detection process.
The user can get a list of sites that duplicate the original source by displaying excerpts of the plagiarized text in a sentence by sentence format."
"Wondering if some human at Google has reviewed your web site and decided it deserves to be penalized in Google’s search results? Google’s now reporting such cases nearly 100% of the time."
Robin Good: Danny Sullivan reports on Search Engine Land from the Pubcon conference where Matt Cutts said: “We’ve actually started to send messages for pretty much every manual action that we do that will directly impact the ranking of your site.”
“If there’s some manual action taken by the manual web spam team that means your web site is going to rank directly lower in the search results, we’re telling webmasters about pretty much about all of those situations,” he added.
This article reviews the two types of actions that Google applies most of the time: a) manual and b) algorithmic. Google prefers to refer to them as “actions” rather than penalties. Here their key traits and characteristics:
“Given the fact that Google updates impacted at maximum 12-13 percent of U.S. searches, how is it that 40 percent of SEOs and website owners are reporting an impact?”
How is the overall impact of a Google Panda or Penguin update/data refresh measured, beyond Google’s own numbers?
PM Digital’s Clay Cazier proposes a method of measurement using Google Organic Click Turbulence and invites SEOs to participate.
"The purpose of his research was to determine whether Panda and Penguin actually had the negative impact reported by SEOs. Early in 2012, digital marketers were surveyed to determine which of Google’s search changes had affected their business. Fifty-four percent voted for Panda. In May, 65 percent of SEOs reported less traffic after April’s Penguin update.
Do opinion-based surveys reveal the true state of search after an algorithm change, though?"
Here is the hot take:
"This fear and doubt Google has put into organic with these updates has certainly resulted in increases in paid activity.
There may be an echo-chamber effect, where activity in forums and on blogs results in decision-makers moving budget to paid”
This is what most Savvy SEO's and webmasters have been saying all along. It has nothing to do with fear and uncertainty. Google pushed out the quality sites specifically to get the site owners to pay for clicks.
If you can afford to pay an SEO top dollar and afford to pay for premium content, you can afford to pay Google for clicks. If Google takes your $100,000 investment and pushes it to page 3 of results you are left with only one thing to do, pay for clicks."