A sudden drop in traffic can be due to a Google penalty that is charged when a website violate Google Guidelines. Good news is you can surely recover from penalty and regain its position. While some websites take a few days to recover, others may take months!
Factors which affect process of recovery
How long a website takes to recover from penalty depends on following factors.
- Which penalty is charged?
- How much does it affect website?
- How much time has already passed?
- How much time do you take to resolve the issue?
- What is the duration of the reconsideration request?
Most common Google penalties–
Panda and penguin are two most common types of Google penalties that affect your website in a similar pattern. Correct identification of penalty is very necessary and it is done by investigative the symptoms, checking Google updates and finding notice from Google in your Webmaster Tools.
Panda is the most common type of website which has affected nearly every website and even, Google has stopped referring to it as a penalty, rather a Quality Algorithm. A Panda penalty is issued when the quality of your content drops, making it difficult to rank in the search engine.
Panda penalty causes a sudden drop in traffic that, after some time, become stable. You will find difficulty in ranking however, you may find your website on page 2 or 3 for some of the keywords. If the penalty is not removed then the situation is more likely to get worse after Google updates.
The easiest way to find out if you are affected by Panda is by looking at your keyword rankings. If all the rankings have dripped then, you may be experiencing Panda.
Penguin is the second most common penalty after Panda. It targets those webmasters which are involved in aggressive link building which manipulates ranking due to artificial links.
According to Google, external links must be natural and so, any link that is not created due to the quality of content is considered a violation. Paid links, links created through SEO tools and negotiating links come under violations.
Penguin causes a sharp drop in ranking for a specific keyword or a group of keywords. Resulting drop in ranking is massive like from position 3 to position 400 in rankings. De-indexation of pages containing the specific keyword is also common however, the rest of the website remains indexed. Sometimes, a page of the website, that was never supposed to show up, starts showing up in the ranking for the penalized keyword.
De-indexation of pages and site
There are some other penalties which are not named and often de-index pages or the whole the site. The good news is that your site can surely recover if it is also a victim because Google never forgets to crawl even de-indexed sites and pages. However, the site does not appear in search engine results until the issues are solved. To check if Google is indexing your site, type www.yoursitename.com in Google and search if your site appears in the results.
Manual actions are also Google penalties that appear under Search Queries and Manual Actions of Webmaster Tools. Usually, these penalties are issued in case of
- Selling/purchasing of links
- Using doorway pages
- Thin content
- Unnatural links
A reconsideration request is sent to Google in case of manual actions.
Gradual traffic declines
Such traffic declines are common for the sites as they are tracked back to Google updates. As a matte of fact, Google is continuously upgrading the quality of its algorithms and this adversely affects your traffic unless you keep on increasing the quality of your content.
Recover from Penalty
After the correct identification of penalty, the next step is treating the penalty. Here is a brief overview of how you can resolve the penalty.
Recover from Panda
- Panda is issued when the site contains low quality content or does not return high quality content on a search result. Check each page of your site and evaluate if all the pages contain high quality content for respective keywords.
- Once you have discovered the low quality content, start changing it. You must be aware of the fact that having a Panda penalty means there should be a combination of different factors which collectively caused this penalty. Some usual factors are thin content, copied content and missing a contact page.
- Sometimes, you need to change hundreds of pages to recover while some other times just a few. It is very necessary that you should know what exactly should be changed in order to save your time and effort.
- Once removed, wait until Google bot issues new quality score to your site. Your site will experience increase in traffic ideally within next two days.
Recover from Penguin
- Penguin is issued due to unnatural links so, you need to find out the keyword and the page that is facing the penalty.
- Go through the entire link list and considers which links are treated as bad by Google.
- Remove the links and disavow them.
- Once Google bot crawls your pages, you will see increase in traffic. However, it may take a few hours or a few months.
Recover from Manual Action
- The path to check if you are facing Manual Action is Webmaster Tools Search Queries Manual Actions.
- Once you know the exact nature of penalty, resolve the issue as soon as possible.
- Submit reconsideration request and wait until 3 weeks.
- If the request is not entertained or the issue is not resolved, repeat the process.
Tools for Recovery Process
Xenu Link Sleuth highlights problem areas in a site like broken links and broken pages. An expert user of this tool can really work great with this tool by identifying a lot of other issues as well.
Google Webmaster Tools shows most important information like notices of penalties, crawl stats, errors, site query drops and incoming links. Take your first step in resolving penalties from here.
Ahrefs shows full link lists with some important information that is useful for recovery process.
Majestic SEO crawls your links and is very useful in dealing with Penguin penalty.
Panda Breakthrough is a video tutorial that shows you the ways to deal with Panda and Penguin penalties and Manual actions. It is also a good source of information on how to increase traffic.
Webmasters at SEO Syed offer penalty assessment and recovery services for all the websites which experience Google Penalties. They have years of experience in dealing with issues that sites often face in case of violating Google Guidelines. Let us know if you are experiencing such situation because not only we draw your site out if this but also recover your lost rankings.