Reversing search engine penalties
Google has over the years become increasingly unforgiving of any perceived attempt to artificially improve a website’s ranking. In the war between the spammers and the search engine there has been a great deal of collateral damage. Our years of experience can help you navigate what can be a minefield, isolating the cause of a poorly-performing page or website, and taking steps to rectify problems.
When people search on Google they are asking a question, and the search engine wants to return the most relevant answer to that question. The stronger signals a page sends to Google that it is relevant to its declared subject, the more relevant Google will consider it and the more likely it is to rank. At a page level, the term ‘search engine optimisation’ refers to editing of text on the page and certain parts of the code file that generates that page to send the strongest possible signals to Google.
A page could send weak signals and be considered not very relevant, or stronger signals and be considered more relevant. But if the on-page optimisation has been over-done, the page will be sending what Google considers excessive signals, and will be marked down and ranked lower.
In addition, as Google is able not just to read the text and code in the page but also to understand what it looks like to a human, they will make a judgement on whether or not the page’s layout (including but not limited to the amount and placement of advertising) is likely to deliver a good user experience or not. A change of nothing but the layout of the page can result in a penalty.
Most people with even a slight familiarity with SEO will likely have heard that links are important to rank a site. Search engines understand a page not just by the content on it but also by the links pointing to it.
However, just as it is possible to ‘over-optimise’ a page, so it is also possible to have links that are a liability rather than an asset. Google has changed its attitude to certain type of links, meaning that the same links that helped a site rank in the past can end up hurting it in the present.
Google seems to have an amnesty on old links in some instances, so an older domain that has ranked before can continue to rank with links that would not help a new domain one bit. However, the acquisition of new links can then cause a re-evaluation of the entire profile by today’s stricter standards, resulting in a penalty.
We undertake exhaustive link audits to build as complete a picture of a domain’s link profile as possible, cataloguing links that are definitely or likely to be hurting rankings. Even when a site is not penalised, link removal (i.e. getting links that are likely not well-regarded taken down) can have dramatic effects on rankings. Less really can be more!