After Doing SEO for the last 5 years I came to the conclusion that although Google is the most advanced, complicated and monstrous search engine in the world, it is still just a robot with algorithms and most of the time these algorithms just don’t cut it.
Just last month I came across a very interesting SERP when I was typing the word Viagra. It seems that in the TOP 5 results there was a ballet website called ballet west.
It is pretty obvious that the reason this SERP appear is the result of an attack, but Google with all of its might, did not manage to recognize it and although not one single page of ballet west website contain the word Viagra or even words close to it, it appears there, on the high mountain of Viagra SERPS.
By a simple analysis of the backlinks, the anchor texts and the work that has been done with this attack you can clearly see it was a calculated attack, with diversity of anchor texts, phrases and specific keywords.
It was also done in a certain specific rhythm; to make sure it won’t appear as the classic one keyword ‘Google bomb’, it was done in two different segments and created a wide diversity of keywords, including long tail phrases such as natural Viagra alternatives
You can clearly see that there are more than 500,000 referring pages with these keywords. Building this amount of links in that short period of time leads me to believe it is a simple scrapebox attack or other automated software. Some say it was an experiment, to see how google reacts to “Grey” methods of SEO on websites that has nothing to do with the anchor texts.
Whatever it was, it succeeded, ballet west at the time of the attack was nowhere to be seen on legitimate SERPS and was highlighting on the Viagra ones.
The difference between algorithm penalty and manual penalty
Algorithm penalty occurs when Google’s algorithms as crawled your website and found that your content or website has been compromised either by you or as a result of an attack and penalize your website, the problem with these sort of penalties is that there is almost nothing you can do to recover from them. Unlike manual penalty which you can just send a reconsideration request, here it won’t help you much.
John Mueller : “When a site is algorithmically found to have been compromised, a reconsideration request is unnecessary — it’ll be updated automatically as we recrawl & reindex the content from there, and see that it’s no longer compromised”
That means that if you are algorithmic penalized, the course of action you need to take varies, there are no easy and quick fixes (even if they occur sometimes). The success rates of recovering from this sort of penalty are low, most of the times a new domain will be much quicker than trying to recover. You can use all the tools you have in your arsenal to recover and still it may take months for the penalty to be removed and even than Google will never look at that domain the same, and most of the times the results are harder to come by and getting to the TOP almost impossible.
Manual penalty occurs when you get a message in your webmaster tools saying that your website is compromised either by you or as a result of an attack and it was penalized, most of the time the ‘unnatural links’ message contains a Link to a reconsideration request form. After you clean all the bad links you can file for a request, the success rate for these kinds of penalties are very high comparing to what they used to be, and most websites can recover very quickly. Once again although it has not been proven, Google mark your website and achieving top rankings becomes almost impossible.
What can you do against these Algorithm flaws?
Lately more and more websites owners who’s been penalized by Google are consulting with me, to try and find a solution to get their websites back to Google’s index. Unfortunately in some cases it is impossible and my advice would be to build a new website with a new domain, much faster than to try and recover.
Sometimes we make a long term recovering plan, removing bad links, removing WebPages, adding new content, refreshing the hierarchy and creating an holistic full online marketing plan which will allow the website to strengthen its ‘brand signals’ and allow it to gain back its authority rank. In these cases it is important to know the difference between authority rank and popularity, authority is by Strong links over a long period of time, popularity Is A lot of buzz including links in a short period of time.
In conclusion I might say that recovering from manual penalty is fairly easy while recovering from algorithmic penalty is much more tricky, both of them are possible and both of them can be done, remember not to put all of your eggs into one basket, use PPC, social media and offline advertisement to build a strong and firm brand, so if Google penalize you, you’ll still be functioning. There is nothing worse than when en entire marketing plan leans on Google organic search results., Divide and rule wisely.
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