Feb 13

Does my Website Have a Google Penalty?

Google Penalty - Panda and Penguin If you are dis­ap­poin­ted by the per­form­ance of your web­site in an online search then one of the first ques­tions you need to ask is: Does my web­site have a Google penalty?

Much is writ­ten about Google pen­al­ties, the dif­fer­ent types, names and dates, and how to recover from them. It is a con­fus­ing and ever chan­ging story. I want to give a brief simple guide to help you determ­ine if your site is being affected by a Google penalty.

How To Detect a Google Penalty

Have you had a noti­fic­a­tion in Google Web­mas­ter Tools?

If Google has (manu­ally) pen­al­ised your site you will receive a noti­fic­a­tion in your Google Web­mas­ter Tools (GWT) account. This is usu­ally for lar­ger more ser­i­ous offend­ers who are already well aware that they are not entirely innocent.

Is your site in Google’s index?

If your site has been removed from Google’s index you are likely to know about it and be well aware that you have a prob­lem but it is the next thing to check. Go to Google and type in site:yourdomain.com. This will give a list of all the pages on that domain in Google’s index. If your site has very few or no pages in Google’s index then you need to invest­ig­ate — it may indic­ate a penalty.

Have the num­bers of vis­it­ors find­ing your site in a web search dropped dramatically?

Look in your ana­lyt­ics at a graph of organic search vis­it­ors over the last year. (In Google ana­lyt­ics go to Acquis­i­tion, select All Traffic then select source google/​organic). In some situ­ations you will see a sharp drop-​off — that’s a pretty good indic­ator of a pos­sible pen­alty and you can check if that is asso­ci­ated with Google rolling out another update. Often the decline will not be clearly asso­ci­ated with a spe­cific date but gradual, hid­den in the noise of nor­mal fluc­tu­ations over Christ­mas or sum­mer – you may still have a penalty.

Is your site hit by a Google Pen­alty but per­form­ing well in a Bing web search?

Google and Bing do the same thing but in dif­fer­ent ways using dif­fer­ent algorithms. Often a keyword will be on page one with one and not in the top 50 with the other. Hav­ing said that in many cases care­ful com­par­ison of your sites per­form­ance in the dif­fer­ent search engines can give evid­ence that your site is being pen­al­ised by Google. I would recom­mend ana­lys­ing your rank­ings for at least 50 keywords and com­par­ing your site to other tech­nic­ally sim­ilar sites as there are many other factors that affect rank­ing dif­fer­ently in Bing and Google. This can be com­plex. We are happy to include this as part of a web­site audit to help you asses your site fully.

Identifying a Google Penalty Graph of Search engine ranking results Bing vs Google

Has your site got an unnat­ural back­link profile?

Large num­bers of back­links gathered in a short space of time, with the same anchor text or from low qual­ity sites are all con­sidered by Google as evid­ence of an unnat­ural link­ing pro­file and this may res­ult in a pen­alty. Again this can be time con­sum­ing and com­plex to asses but can be included as part of an audit.

As out­lined by Colin’s pre­vi­ous post bet­ter search rank­ings is only a means to an end and should not be the sole tar­get for a mar­ket­ing cam­paign, but it is not some­thing to over­look. You do not want to miss the oppor­tun­ity to attract new vis­it­ors to your web­site at just the moment when they are search­ing for your ser­vices. Often if you are frus­trated by declin­ing rank­ings mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als will be quick to recom­mend invest­ing in a web­site redesign, more con­tent or link build­ing. Any com­pany that has been work­ing on your web­site for some time will prob­ably not want to raise the pos­sib­il­ity that your site is being pen­al­ised by Google. My research and exper­i­ence in this area has con­vinced me that many web­sites whilst not ser­i­ously pen­al­ised are sig­ni­fic­antly under per­form­ing in Google search res­ults due to algorithmic pen­al­ties that they may not be aware of and are not easy to detect. I value your com­ments and feed­back on this topic.

I hope this post has been inform­at­ive and help­ful. If you sus­pect your site is under per­form­ing or being pen­al­ised in Google search res­ults and want a clearer answer prior to decid­ing whether to invest in a new site, SEO or domain recov­ery activ­ity please do not hes­it­ate to con­tact us and we will be happy to dis­cuss this further.

Nov 12

SEO — Just One Metric in a Complex World

SEO ais part of an integrated marketing campaignThis post is for any­one who thinks that effect­ive Inter­net mar­ket­ing is simply a case of achiev­ing a top 3 pos­i­tion in a Google search.

As a com­pany involved in help­ing people achieve advant­age­ous search engine res­ults we’re cer­tainly not going to deny that a con­nec­tion exists but it really is only part of the story. Pay per click advert­ising will get you straight to the top but unless it’s com­bined with a coher­ent mar­ket­ing strategy and a well thought out web­site much of the money will be wasted.

On the assump­tion that most of us would be happy with a lesser pos­i­tion in the search res­ults if sales had quad­rupled I offer the fol­low­ing thoughts on keep­ing SEO in perspective.

SEO Is Just a Means to an End

SEO rep­res­ents a means to an end, the end being increased business/​sales/​leads etc. Unfor­tu­nately it’s too easy to get so wrapped up in the SEO pro­cess that you lose sight of the actual goal. With that in mind here are 5 ques­tions that need to be asked early in the web­site improve­ment process.

  1. Apart from SEO, what other mar­ket­ing activ­it­ies are you using?
  2. Do you routinely meas­ure the suc­cess of your other mar­ket­ing? Do you know where your leads cur­rently come from?
  3. Once vis­it­ors arrive at your site is there a clear site struc­ture allow­ing them to quickly find rel­ev­ant inform­a­tion and is there a clear call to action encour­aging them to make contact/​download a brochure/​make a pur­chase? As an aside, we’ve seen plenty of beau­ti­fully designed web­sites that simply fail in the job of get­ting poten­tial cus­tom­ers to pick up the phone.
  4. Do you know how much it costs for each lead you get from each mar­ket­ing medium you use? Are you happy/​unhappy with this num­ber? Are you look­ing for more leads at the same cost or would you be happy to spend more to get more leads?
  5. Is there a limit to the amount of busi­ness you can take on or is it simply a case of the more leads the better?

These ques­tions aren’t defin­it­ive but they all aim to gather back­ground inform­a­tion that is cru­cial to the suc­cess of any mar­ket­ing cam­paign that uses the Inter­net. If you’re try­ing to improve your lead gen­er­at­ing cap­ab­il­it­ies using the web­site, but don’t have a clear view of the answers to these ques­tions then you’re really work­ing in the dark.

Search engine mar­ket­ing is an increas­ingly import­ant tool but it can’t be con­sidered in isol­a­tion from the other things that you do to drive sales.

Con­tact Colin@​web-​incite.​co.​uk if you’d like to dis­cuss any of the above in more detail.

Sep 01

The changing face of SEO for Google

The fol­low­ing video was pos­ted on You­Tube by Lisa Irby in July 2013.

The video provides excel­lent back­ground on SEO for Google and how the neces­sary require­ments to do it well have changed in the 15 years that Google has been dom­in­ant in Inter­net searching.

The take-​home mes­sage for 2013 is the import­ance of high qual­ity links into your site. Even a small num­ber of high qual­ity links are far more bene­fi­cial than a large num­ber of low qual­ity links. Get­ting these links into your site takes a little bit of effort. Your com­pany needs to get involved with the pro­fes­sional bod­ies or dir­ect­or­ies that exist spe­cific­ally for your industry and get them to link to you.

If you do any work for char­ity or in the com­munity then make sure that what you’ve done is well-​publicised and if pos­sible get links from local or char­it­able organ­isa­tion web­sites into your company’s web­site or Face­book page. Remem­ber that aca­demic and gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions as well as char­it­ies have some of the highest page rank. These are the people you need to con­nect with and you will have the added bene­fit that the links will come as part of a greater involve­ment of your com­pany across your industry, as well as in your local com­munity. All of which is great mar­ket­ing all by itself!

The other import­ant aspect covered in the video is the grow­ing import­ance of social sites in pro­fes­sional circles. Google is increas­ingly look­ing at how your com­pany inter­acts with social net­works on the grounds that any com­pany that is import­ant in its field will attract fol­low­ers across the social networks.

One mis­take I see quite fre­quently are com­pany Face­book pages that are essen­tially cop­ies of the com­pany web­site. Remem­ber, the clue is in the name! Social net­works should be where you put your com­pany social news and the fun things that hap­pen or are organ­ised by the com­pany. Keep the busi­ness stuff on your web­site and the fun stuff on Face­book and you’ll be amazed at how may fol­low­ers you can accrue.

Enjoy the video and don’t for­get if you’d like us to help you improve your web­site, or point you in the right dir­ec­tion on social net­works, or help you with any form of Inter­net mar­ket­ing then we’d be very happy to chat with you.

Con­tact Colin Fen­wick at Web Incite for more inform­a­tion or call us on (01625) 360610.

Aug 29

Google Search Results and How to Rank Well

Google search results

This post stems from a GoogleWeb­mas­ter­Help video on how Google search res­ults are cre­ated that was pos­ted by Matt Cutts in April 2012. If you don’t sub­scribe to this You­Tube chan­nel and you have an interest in what Google does then it’s cer­tainly worth a look. At the time of writ­ing the video is already nearly 18 months old and so doesn’t include the latest updates but it still gives a pretty good over­view of how a Google search works. Con­tinue read­ing

May 23

Search Engine Optimisation for the Science and Technology Industry

Search Engine OptimisationSearch Engine Optim­isa­tion for the sci­ence and tech­no­logy industry invari­ably offers the highest return on invest­ment of any mar­ket­ing cam­paign. In this post I aim to explain why it is such a valu­able invest­ment in today’s mar­ket and how you can assess whether your site would benefit.

Con­tinue read­ing