Staff Writer: Carolyn Johnson
Thanks to the latest Google Penguin algorithm updates, many websites have been losing traffic and plummeting in the rankings. Most of the websites and SEO marketing companies that have seen steep declines and disfavor from Google have done so for some of the same common reason.
Some of the reasons a website might see a steep decline after Google Penguin including keyword-stuffing on multiple pages, lack of good product information, no apparent marketing strategies or social media marketing in place, lack of regular updates, or the site is not user-friendly.
One of the most common methods in which a website drops in rankings occurs when anchor texts lead to other shady link networking sites. These links are usually bought for a high sum or are formulated via submission schemes. Paying for links has always been a big no-no of Google’s, and not until now have webmasters finally paid for their misdeeds.
Pre-Penguin, this method worked very well to boost Google rankings. It was an easy way to utilize anchor texts as opposed to natural links. Many of the top-ranking sites pre-Penguin almost always had fake paid-for links, which were stuffed to the gills with anchor texts. This means that much of the great websites with actual good content to offer and natural links would be subjected to the second page of Google.
People and SEO marketing companies using the paid-for links method ended up being caught in a vicious cycle. They paid a ton of money for the fake links, then Google Penguin put its foot down. After that, those guilty sites had to pay those same SEO guys even more for their shady link building. This is because, if they didn’t, they would lose a lot of their traffic to the competition.
If your site was one of those sites that suffered post-Penguin and you use Google Webmaster Tools, you likely received a message from Google warning you about those links they found tied to your site that appeared unnatural. The message warned that if those links weren’t eradicated from your site, you would see your rankings suffer. Interestingly enough, now that Google was penalizing sites for this practice, Google was essentially cutting its nose to spite its face, so to speak, as the shady practice drove a lot of Google’s business.
You could still have a few unnatural links tied to your site, yet may not have received a message from Google yet. This could be because you have enough real, natural links on your site for Google to overlook. That, or all you need to do is wait and you’ll be targeted in the second round of Google email warnings. If you haven’t received a message yet, consider yourself lucky and get rid of any unnatural links before Google sniffs you out.
So what do you do after receiving that scary Google message? It’s time to clean up your site. Depending on how much links you have, link pruning may be a very long and tedious process, but it’ll be worth the time if it gets you back in Google’s favor.
Receiving Google’s unnatural link warning doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your website. Indeed, it will motivate you to clean up the shady links on your website so your can submit a reinclusion request via Google Webmaster Tools and get your rankings back.