If Google search traffic on your site suddenly drops you may have fallen victim to the dreaded Google penalty. Webmasters know the frustration and pain of finding their numbers drop and trying to figure out what has happened.
Many times this is caused by a change in Google’s algorithmic updates, especially if there are several of them which happened all at once (think March 2013).
The first thing you need to find out is if this is a manual or algorithmic penalty. Once you’ve determined this the penalties are fairly easy to fix.
#1 – Find Out If You Have a Manual or Algorithmic Penalty?
A manual penalty is one that Google has applied to your site manually. You will usually get a message in your Google Webmaster tools account. This is the first place to check if you see a significant drop in Google Search traffic.
An algorithmic penalty is a bit trickier to figure out. This type of penalty occurs when Google changes its search algorithms and your site no longer matches its parameters. There is usually no notification in your Google Webmaster tools account, but the significant drop in Google Search listings is a huge red flag.
It is important to know which type of penalty you have because then you know what course of action is needed to fix the problem. Is the problem caused by Panda or Penguin? Knowing this will help you solve the problem quickly.
If you don’t have any message about a manual penalty, check your analytics data in your Webmaster Dashboard. You can also check there to see if there are any manual penalties not listed in your messages.
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