Don’t Let Search Engines Drag Your Rankings Down

If your website has suffered from an unexplained slip in rankings or a significant loss of traffic, your website could be marked with a search engine penalty. Penalties can do real damage to your website and your business. Many companies don’t even know they have received a penalty.

That is why penalty assessment analysis is a critical piece of SEO strategy at the Toronto SEO Group. Our experts will conduct a thorough assessment of your website in order to identify any issues or penalties that might be affecting your site. We will collect backlink data, identify low-quality links, and check anchor text for over-optimization, among much more. From there, we will come up with a comprehensive plan to fix any damage that has been done in order to regain lost traffic. Don’t let search engine penalties drag your website down!

What Is an SEO Penalty?

Major search engines like Google have established a set of criteria to ensure that the content that they index and show to users meets certain standards. This prevents spam and improves user experience. When content violates a guideline or fails to meet specific criteria, the website that has published that content will be penalized.

The explicit intention of search engine penalties is to punish those who are using black-hat techniques. Anything that is a flagrant violation of content guidelines will likely be penalized. However, because the guidelines and criteria are complex and nuanced, companies often don’t know that the content they have published violates a rule. In fact, a good chunk of search penalties is slapped not on malicious spammers who knowingly violate guidelines, but on companies that just didn’t fully understand the rules and made an honest mistake. For example, did you know that over-optimization of anchor text could result in a penalty? Or too many press releases with backlinks to your site? Or too many blog comments that link to your site? The list goes on and on.

That is why the Toronto SEO Group is here. We can help your company avoid SEO penalties, both big and small. There is no denying it: The algorithms used by Google and other search engines are incredibly complex. Google alone updates its algorithms a staggering 550 times per year! Our industry experts are on top of the latest updates and changes to rules and guidelines. They have years of experience helping websites to both avoid and recover from major search penalties, including:

  • Rich Snippet Penalties: Rich snippets are those lines of text near a Google search result that give information in response to specific queries. They are typically the first piece of content a user will see in relation to your site, and they can be used by businesses to display information about products and prices, location, or customer reviews. However, because rich snippets draw users’ attention to a specific search engine result, they are a valuable component of SEO strategy and are therefore often exploited by spammers. In order to crack down on this exploitation, Google has instituted a rich snippets penalty, punishing websites for “techniques such as marking up content that is invisible to users, marking up irrelevant or misleading content, and/or other manipulative behavior that violates Google’s Rich Snippet Quality guidelines.”
  • Duplicate Content Penalties: Google and other major search engines are wary of duplicate content because it is often an indication of spam. Spammers frequently use a tactic known as “scrapping,” meaning they will take content from one website, make a few minor changes to it, and then post it to their own website. Not only does this negatively affect user experience, but it is also a form of plagiarism. In order to cut down on this, Google has instituted duplicate content penalties. If a site publishes content that has already been published somewhere else on the web, it will be punished.

    The problem with this is that not all cases of duplicate content constitute spam or plagiarism. For example, printer-friendly content versions can cause duplicate content issues, as can session IDs (where each individual user that visits a website is assigned a different session ID that is stored in the URL). There are some cases in which duplicate content is legitimate. But with these penalties, even legitimate duplicate content can incur a harsh penalty. The Toronto SEO Group can come up with appropriate solutions in order to help you navigate around a potential penalty, including 301 redirects, 404 pages, and robots.txt.

  • Penguin Penalties: One of the most notorious Google penalties, the Google Penguin penalty is intended to fight spam by specifically penalizing websites using black-hat link-building techniques. The penalty can affect websites with inbound links on link farms, websites leaving comment spam, or any website flagged by Google for malware, pop-ups, or other spam-related issues. The Penguin penalty is a serious matter. In many cases, it will cut a website’s traffic by up to 60 percent.

How Can the Toronto SEO Group Help?

Because the consequences of a search penalty can be severe — causing serious drops in rankings and significant losses in traffic — it is best to address the issue sooner rather than later. With a comprehensive analysis of your website, the Toronto SEO Group can help you identify where your website fails to meet search engine guidelines. The Toronto SEO Group’s penalty assessment services include link analysis, anchor text analysis, content quality evaluation, plagiarism check, Penguin penalty check, and on-page Google Guidelines violations testing to identify problems like cloaking, hidden text, hidden links, and more. We will then develop recommendations to fix any identified issues and lay out actionable task lists and procedures for correcting problems with the site.

At the Toronto SEO Group, we can help you undo the damage done by penalties, helping you recover your lost traffic and lost revenue as quickly as possible. To find out more, call us today!