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Re-friending Google, Dealing with Penalties and Suspension – SMX London Day 2

17 May 2011 BY

This was a great session with frank and honest assessments of Google penalties and how to avoid them and if you get them what to do about it.

Michael Wyszomierski from Google

It starts with creating a Google friendly site that conforms to the Google webmaster guidelines. Ethos is “don’t try to trick Google to think youre a great site, just make a great site” if you optimise for the best possible user experience you will be in line with Google’s ethos and have limited.

Common mistakes:
• Don’t hide links
• Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords
• Don’t participate in link schemes for page rank
• Avoid doorway pages
• Don’t cloak or use sneaky redirects

Spam fighting at Google
Two major methods:

1) Algorithmic – they pick up issues automatically and once these are rectified they will reverse it
2) Manual Action – they act on spam reports, these are ordered by user impact. These actions do have a timeout period so a site isn’t affected forever. If you feel you are affected file a reconsideration request.

Checks
• Check for crawler access
• Check the cache date for your site
• Look for crawl errors
• Malware check

If you receive a WMT message read it carefully and file a reconsideration request after you have fixed it. Remember to enable email forwarding so that there isn’t a delay in you getting the message.

For Reconsideration requests:
1) Note previous violations
2) Don’t try to hide information
3) It doesn’t help to submit multiple requests
4) If you have bad links then just note it in the request as you won’t be able to remove all links, submit a list of sites that you haven’t been able to remove.

Next steps
You may get an additional message saying it has been revoked or that the site still violates the guidelines.

Mikkel deMib Svenson

Most likely your site hasn’t been penalised there is often another reason you need to understanjd why.

4 categories of “penalisation”
Changes to your website or market

Website changes
This is the most common, issues range from server and network issues. Website performance is a key cause of issues. Rackspace has excluded all crawlers in the past so you need to check your cache date. Check code libraries and monitor site speed. Javascript checking and redirecting is a big no no.

Make sure you are involved in tech changes. Check your bounce rates and correlate as this is a big part of the quality signals within Google. Check if your site is hacked ensure that WMT is setup as they are good at letting you know about hacking.

Make sure that youre monitoring the crawler diagnostics in WMT as they will affect your rankings.

Market changes
Monitor your markets and test against your competitors, see how they are moving and see if you can learn from that. Have there been universal search changes that are causing drops in your traffic?

Filtering
Filtering is not the same as penalisation. You don’t get penalised for duplicate content, you get filtered out. Fix your problem and wait for re-spidering no need for a reconsideration request.

Algorithmic changes
Google makes more than 300 updates a year, we tend to focus on the main ones but if you optimise for users it brings you in line with the updates and you shouldn’t be hit by major updates.

Automatic or manual penalization
Hidden text, sneaky redirects etc get nailed by these updates, clean it up and you’ll be re-spidered. Less than 1% of penalties are manual but be honest when you submit a reconsideration request. Make sure you don’t do it again! Most search engines have a two strikes and you’re out policy so make sure you don’t do it again.

Bottom line is know the risks and operate with a good backup plan. Affiliate is very short term so make sure that the next site is ready if the current one gets bombed.

Craig MacDonald from Covario

1. Don’t cloak
2. Clean up your content
3. Fall on your sword
4. Stop paying for links
5. Clean up your link profile
6. Document everything

Trends that they have seen how the algorithms are reacting to changes in onsite factors:
• Have keyword in the URL
• H1 still matters
• Linking relies on quality not quantity
• Page load times are important
• Bing likes link count less than quality
• Google really hates to have to wait
• Bing is far more sensitive to localisation than Google – 80% of the results are different

Most advertisers not affected by Panda

Conduct audit of the process

Search engines want relevancy
1. UCG
2. Distributed link strategy

Craig Danuloff

PPC Quality score is Google looking backwards at your keyword and predicting future ad performance. It’s a largely secret formula that is often misinterpreted.

Elements of quality score
CTR is a large factor although the CTR next to your keyword is not the one that they use. Relevance is another factor which is the relationship between the query keyword and ad copy.

Effects of Quality Score
1. Ad eligibility
2. What position does that ad appear
3. How much you pay for the ad
4. What is the keywords first page bid estimate

Measures
If your quality score is below 5 you should weed them unless you’re making a lot of money from them. It’s a good sign of relevance , try and improve it and if it doesn’t improve, turn it off. & is the most common.

You should spend as much time optimising quality score as you do managing your bid.

How to get a quality score penalty
a) Provide a bad user experience
b) Violate landing page guidelines
1. Poor load times
2. No privacy policy
3. Little original content
4. Too many ads
5. Missing about us page
6. Failure to disclose on email requests
7. Pop up, bots or unexpected code

c) Choose a questionable business model

Constantly weed out your poor quality scores to maximise quality scores.

AUTHORED BY:
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Louis Venter is the founding director and CEO of MediaVision, a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) company specialising in all areas of search. His particular interests are organic search marketing, paid search marketing, conversion strategy and online PR.
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