Demand For Website SEO Analysis Up Since Google Penguin 2.0, According to Ker Communications
June 25, 2013 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology NewsJune 25, 2013 - Since the roll out of Google's latest Penguin 2.0 algorithm update on May 22nd, 2013, many website owners are struggling to find out why their websites no longer rank as high as they did previously in Google's organic search results. The Penguin algorithm update is part of the search engine's ongoing battle against "webspam", which includes several promotion methods which fall outside of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Ker Communications, an inbound marketing company, says this has sparked an increased need for thorough forensic website analysis.
Unfortunately, many webmasters have used methods of manipulating rankings ranging from excessively repeating the keywords for which they would like the websites to rank, to buying or otherwise building hundreds or thousands of backlinks emphasizing those key search terms. While a great many website owners did know that what they were doing could one day get them in trouble with the search engine, many did not or were taken advantage of by unscrupulous offers of overnight search engine success. Low-cost, "too good to be true" search engine optimization or "SEO" schemes have tempted many business owners into SEO practices which have severely limited their websites' positions in organic search results.
Not all SEO service providers are spammers.
It is important to note that for the most part, legitimate search engine optimization providers are also working hard to eliminate spammy tactics and their practitioners from the search marketing industry. Inbound marketing leaders like Moz.com, SearchEngineLand and others provide well researched and documented explanations of safe and effective legitimate optimization and online marketing methods, as well as comprehensive guides to how to optimize websites for best results without resorting to linkspam, keyword stuffing or other "black hat" SEO tactics.
Help is on the way.
Many SEO consultants offer deep analysis of websites and link profiles to help webmasters find out exactly where improvements can be made, where mistakes have been made, and what to do about it all.
Nick Ker is an SEO consultant and founder of Ker Communications, a Pittsburgh Pennsylvania based inbound marketing company which provides website auditing and other SEO services. "When the first Penguin update launched in April of 2012, we spent a great deal of time analyzing sites that suffered from ranking drops and traffic losses, and analyzing the data and findings of dozens of other reputable search experts so that we can help people get their websites back on track. Our SEO audit reports have traditionally focused on the site and gave an overview of the quality of the site's link profile."
The first Penguin update in April of 2012 targeted spammy links which could include links from irrelevant or low quality sites, or even links from good sites that simply used the same keywords entirely too much. A commonly held misconception in SEO is that having lots of links to your website is always a good thing. Links which are purchased, exchanged, or are otherwise built just for SEO purposes no longer have as much value in SEO. Confused? You are not alone. Nick explains, "The SEO industry has a serious problem with misinformation. One blogger with a good reputation can throw out one wrong idea and a hundred more bloggers will repeat it. Then thousands of webmasters and inexperienced optimizers stumble upon that bad information and implement it in their search marketing strategy. Webmasters and inexperienced SEOs tend to have a "more everything is better SEO" mindset, when the opposite is closer to the truth. Next thing you know, you have all of these websites all doing something spammy that either doesn't work, or will have a negative impact on business. And they are doing a lot of it."
Enter Penguin 2.0.
According to Matt Cutts, head of Google's search quality team, the latest Penguin update goes a little deeper in the hunt for webspam and closes some of the loopholes that existed in the first Penguin update. Google estimates that 2.3% of all search queries are effected. Since Penguin 2.0, Ker Communications and other SEO experts have seen a surge in requests for penalty analysis. "Demand for SEO auditing services has grown steadily over the past year and we have added much more link detail to the standard audit. We now also offer penalty diagnosis services which dig a little deeper into the link profile to root out the spammy links. The number of calls and emails we get asking for help with Penguin problems have more than tripled, and most of the SEO people I have compared notes with have also seen a rush of audit requests. I think that 2.3% figure is a bit low."
Not every drop in a website's search engine ranking is really a penalty.
Nick explains, "Nobody wants to acknowledge their own website may be to blame. Sometimes websites have other issues that can cause problems with Google, whether it was intentional or not. In our SEO auditing process, we look for potential penalty or algorithmic problems, as well as analyze the site for more traditional optimization issues that are often much easier to deal with."
Google provides additional tools for webmasters who believe that they have been hit with a penalty. Website owners can submit a list of the backlinks that are from low quality sites or were acquired through unapproved methods using Google's Disavow Links Tool. This sends Google a request to not count those potentially negative links. There is also a Reconsideration Request form for those who have received a written warning about "unnatural links" from Google. Neither of these come with a guarantee of restoring your previous position in the search results. Since the disavow tool in particular is designed to ask Google to ignore certain links, high rankings which were largely a result of those links are not likely to return. The idea is that by having those links ignored, the search engine's algorithm will allow the site to return to a normal ability to appear in the search results based on acceptable methods.
Nick explains, "We have had a pretty good success rate with unnatural links penalties, since those are usually triggered by paid links which are relatively easy to track down. Penguin problems are a bit more persistent, and it usually requires getting a lot of other websites to remove links that they may not even be aware of if they were truly spammy links like blog comments. Still, if your domain has good brand recognition or is otherwise worth saving, the disavow and reconsideration routine is the last hope of getting back on Google's good side." The dismal alternative to cleaning up hundreds or thousands of links is to move the penalized website to a new domain and starting over.
What Can You Do?
If you think your website has been penalized, check Google's Webmaster Tools for any messages. If there is a warning, read it carefully and follow any instructions it gives. Google has started giving more examples of possible causes, and you may be able to fix it yourself.
If there is no warning from Google and your rankings have dropped more than just a few positions, you may have met the Penguin, or some other part of the algorithm. Chances are good that something you or your SEO company did was not in line with Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Review the guidelines and see if your site breaks any of the rules. If you are unable to tell, that would be the time to consult with a reputable SEO. Accurately determining what went wrong and what can be done about it is essential. According to Ker, a majority of the penalized sites he reviews usually have several violations due to following bad advice, or are caused by webmasters doing way too much of one or more SEO tactics. "A lot of people think they have done nothing wrong, when in fact they have broken several of the rules because of bad information or they hired a dirt-cheap fake SEO company who broke lots of rules without the site owner even knowing about it. Or they just didn't know there were any rules. There are very few cases of websites that have nothing wrong being penalized."