If you are wanting to know the top reasons why a website receives a Google penalty, gets deindexed or goes through what is defined as the, “Google dance,” “Google slap” or the “Google sandbox” here are the top reasons. There may be others but these are the ones we found to be most prominent. This list was compiled by one of the SEO brainstorm teams that I’m a part of.
This is the result of our team analyzing more than three hundred websites that “SEEMED” to be impacted by the latest Google algorithm changes. I say, “SEEMED” because after a careful evaluation, we determined that a good number of websites lost rankings not because of an algorithm change, “per say” but because of one or more of the reasons listed below.
- Google’s Algorithm Collateral Damage
- Negative SEO Campaigns
- A Lazy SEO Campaign
- CLEARLY Utilizing Blackhat Tactics
- A Webmaster Reported Their Website
- Erratic Link Velocity
- Negative Link Velocity
- Inadvertently Blocking Googlebots
- New Website Link Jitters
Victims Of Google’s Algorithm Collateral Damage
As the spam brain trust at Google attempts to rid the World Wide Web of what they classify as SPAM, there has been a tremendous amount of collateral damage. For those of you who don’t know, collateral damage is a military term that signifies when someone or something other than the intended target is destroyed. We found a great number of websites that lost rankings for no other reason than the fact that they were victims of Google’s algorithm collateral damage.
If you analyzed these websites from top to bottom and then analyzed their off page SEO, you would find everything you would expect to find in a top notch website. If you doubt the veracity of the statement, just spend some time viewing the Google Webmasters support forum and check out some of the sites of the complainants. If you analyze a good number of the sites in question, you are going to find sites that lost rankings based solely on the fact that they were victims of Google’s algorithm collateral damage.
Negative SEO Campaigns
If you have your face to the SEO grindstone, then you have most likely heard about, “Negative SEO.” In a nutshell, negative SEO is the process of someone using nefarious SEO tactics to ruin the rankings of their competitors. I need to be clear, there are only certain websites that can be affected by negative SEO campaigns. Authority websites and websites that are highly branded seem to be immune from negative SEO.
Primarily, it is thin websites that may be subject to this emerging but detestable SEO tactic. The thing is, although Matt Cutts and certain SEO Pundits say Negative SEO campaigns cannot hurt you, I beg to differ under the right circumstances; emphasis on, “RIGHT” circumstances. Check out this video with Matt Cutts; you have to read between the lines but he makes it pretty clear that negative SEO campaigns do exist and “MAY” impact a website.
A Lazy SEO Campaign
One surefire way to make a Webmaster feel like they have been Google slapped is to engage in a lazy SEO campaign. That means, the Webmaster has not set up any consistent SEO backlink building campaigns. Such as Webmaster can eventually expect to experience a drop in the rankings. If you make it to the top spot on the first page, you need to continue building backlinks just at a lower link velocity.
CLEARLY Utilizing Blackhat Tactics
Did you notice how I put CLEARLY in all caps? Do you get the point? Some SEO pros, online newbies and Internet Marketers brazenly and bodaciously use BH tactics to the extinct and degree that what they are doing is easily detected by the various Google algorithms. Once it becomes clear that a Webmaster, site owner or a SEO agency is using these tactics, it goes without saying; they are going to get Google slapped! In many cases, they may get slapped, punched and kicked. Translated? They may end up getting deindexed.
A Webmaster Reports Your Website
Unfortunately, we live in a world where some people are just full of themselves. When such a person becomes an online marketer and learns a little about SEO, all I can say is, “Watch out!” Our IM brainstorm team monitors a number of Google websites, Google feeds, Google groups and Google blogs that are related to indexing, ranking, reporting spam and creating Google friendly websites.
A few years back we noticed an alarming trend. Webmasters were reporting websites they “FELT” were of low quality. As we started tracking these complaints, one thing became clear; the complainants were out to destroy their competition by any means necessary and were essentially sic[ing] Google on their competition.
Although we’ve seen countless of these toothless complaints, know for a certainty that Google listens to these people because they present very lucid and articulate arguments. We have seen webmasters report sites because they felt their site had better graphics than their competitors. We have seen people file complaints because they felt competing sites had very low Flesch Kincaid readability scores. Sadly, these people will falsely report your site in hopes that Google take action against you. It’s the nature of the beast so get used it.
Erratic Link Velocity
Some Internet Marketers, SEO pros and SEO agencies still haven’t figured out that erratic link velocity triggers red flags in the Google algorithms much like an erratic driver triggers a police officer. If you have not built any links to your website in the past six months and you go on Fiverr to get some kid to blast your site with 20k in backlinks and then nothing, you have easily identifiable erratic link velocity. The buzzwords and phrases for link building are, “Drip feed,” “scheduled back link building” “drip blasts,” and constant and consistent link velocity.
Negative Link Velocity
Negative link velocity, better known as link decay takes place when you build links, they get indexed and then those links are either deindexed, devalued or otherwise fall of the radar. There are a number of reasons backlinks can fall of the radar. The websites with your BLs could have been deindexed.
The sites could have changed platforms or content. A case in point is the people who relied solely on various HPBL networks to get their sites ranked. When Google pulled the plug on those networks, many people lost their rankings overnight. The best way to counter negative link velocity is to maintain a steady link building campaign.
Inadvertently Blocking Googlebots
The action of inadvertently blocking Googlebots happens more times than you would imagine. For some odd reason, at one point, WordPress came out of the box configured to block Googlebots. In all of the cases and instances that I’ve seen, people did this inadvertently. That being said, once you block the bots, you are subject to experience a Google slap and most likely, your website will get deindexed altogether.
New Website Link Jitters
At the moment, Google seems to have the jitters with regards to new websites. Meaning, if you launch a new website this morning and a few minutes later, it is indexed and by this afternoon, you have slammed a ton of IB links at it, you are more than likely going trigger some red flags. In today’s SEO environment, there is a proper way to launch a new website that is totally different from the SEO environment that existed sixteen months ago. If you are launching a new website in our current state of SEO, start your link building in a slow and controlled manner and only gradually increase to a greater velocity when you establish a firm SEO footing.