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Google: How To Tell If My Site Is Affected By a Particular Algorithm

   
7:05 pm on Mar 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month




Google see it as holistic ranking, so it could be one or many things affecting it.

11:21 am on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



Penalties vs Filters vs Ranking Issues all combine into deciding the one thing that counts to me - Did I profit today?

For people (especially newbies) having trouble making money online they should remember most things are interconnected. For example if you publish poor content it will lead to weak link development because no one likes linking to poor content. There are ripple effects when working on different parts of your site.
5:55 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Watched the video. My take if you don't have a notification in your account it is probably not a penalty but a ranking factor. I thought all along using a penalty to the Panda or penguin update was wrong, but who am I to say.
6:24 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I generally don't work with active SEO tools because they are designed to replace your brain. However, (Barracuda Digital) [barracuda-digital.co.uk...] came up with a nice Google API tool that passively uses Google Analytics data so to compare the before vs. after effects of output Google traffic/Google queries when compared to the algorithmic updates.

Scale-wise the tool's datasets are a week long so the update announcement line will fall in the middle of a denoted loss (or gain).
7:20 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Yeah that video didn't help much, typical M.C.

My take if you don't have a notification in your account it is probably not a penalty but a ranking factor.


I've dealt with sites that got hit on or near suspected (small) update dates, no notification in GWT, but a disavow and reinclusion request got an official 'manual action revoked' notice in GWT, along with traffic returning shortly thereafter.

So, no notification, but a manual action was somehow removed... blurred lines all around.
7:50 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I've always wondered if a Google type can tell if a site's been affected by a particular algorithm just by looking at it.
8:23 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Matt Cutts: “It’s tough because we don’t think as much or really much at all about algorithmic ‘penalties’ Really, the webspam team writes all sorts of code, but that goes into the holistic ranking that we do, and so if you’re affected by one algorithm, you call it a penalty, and if you’re affected by another algorithm, do you not call it a penalty, is a pretty tough call to make.


Navneet Panda: Bragging rights - Father. Author of the Google Panda Update to penalize low quality content.


Hmmm… someone's not quite "on message" - "penalize" - wouldn't that make it a "penalty"?
11:51 pm on Mar 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I've always wondered if a Google type can tell if a site's been affected by a particular algorithm just by looking at it.


Not likely. All they can tell (without serious investigation) "we didn't take manual action".
10:21 am on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Hmm well I have tried some things the last month time. I had a site which was hit some years ago, I have changed the content, cms, design, add 300 words of text to each page NOTHING happen, not on step up the rankings. The site also dont have a manual penalty, so something is holding it down. When I hear what Matt says, thats not the case, its the algo, but if you completely change the site and no move, hmm. Well I then as usual try to read between the lines of Matts words and try not to believe everything. I moved the site to a new domain and I now see that im ranking again, not as before, but went from 700 to 2200 visits a day. The most important thing is that when I now copy a inner page title in"" then I see the page, that was not the case before.
1:31 pm on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

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if you don't have a notification in your account it is probably not a penalty but a ranking factor.

matt's statements are wishy-washy. a personal example: end of last year, i got hit with a "degradation". from one day to another, my traffic plummeted to 30% of before. exactly four months later, i returned to around 70% of before, also from one day to another.

my site has obviously triggered a penalty that got lifted after an accurately defined period. it was not the first time i encounter this pattern. and i actually read about different penalties and different probation periods according to severeness and recurrence of the specific violation.

my take: of course there are algorithmic penalties and at least some of them are clearly attributable to one kind of violation. often it's just hard to name the regarding algorithmic filter on google's side that triggers the penalty.
4:32 pm on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If you don't have a manual action but have some kind of algorithmic penalty, do you guys think that this is likely to be on-site content?
7:56 pm on Mar 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



so something is holding it down.

If you have 1000 links that use to provide your ranks and 300 of them were unnatural and PENGUIN detected the unnatural pattern your ranks would decline... and no matter what you do the ranks would not come back until you replace with say 1000 natural links.

I imply "more natural links are needed" than the original number of lost unnatural ones because "click here" or "website" or "www" or "check this out" (along with brand oriented anchors) are common natural link anchors where unnatural link anchor are commonly detected as targeted keyword phrases thus on a one on one scale the boost from an unnatural link is far superior to that of a natural one.

Be that as it may, the only thing holding many websites back (or down) is lack of understanding. This might not be your case but you didn't say you got a large influx of natural links that you acquired from all that great new content you added to improve your page(s).
2:32 pm on Mar 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If you don't have a manual action but have some kind of algorithmic penalty, do you guys think that this is likely to be on-site content?

in my case the algorithmic penalty was pretty clearly attributable to a mass 301 redirection to homepage, where i didn't see the consequences.

as said, the penalty duration is determined by a) severeness and b) recurrence of the violation. mass 301 redirection is quite a heavy violation in google's eyes. so when the trigger is pulled after detection (in my experience 2 weeks or so) you get degraded for example for two months. if it's not the first violation of the same kind, you get punished for a longer period, for example four months.

google seems to record your violation stats - the gap between two violations of the same kind probably doesn't play a role. due to the exact timing of the penalty duration, there also seems to be no escape to shorten the time frame and get back your former rankings earlier. so if you accidentally screw things up, you have to wait the complete time frame even if you correct your faults immediately after you have noticed (which is harsh imo).

there are very likely other violations that trigger an algorithmic penalty for an exact period. maybe duplicate content, cloaking, hidden text, keyword stuffing..

would have liked to read more about this stuff here in this forum. especially the penalty durations for different violations are of interest. i mean, the procedure is relatively straightforward and obvious and i can't imagine that i'm the only one who has experienced this.

[edited by: moTi at 2:49 pm (utc) on Mar 27, 2014]

2:45 pm on Mar 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I think we have to be careful not to label any drop in rankings to be "algorithmic penalty".

Penalty means punishment. In many situation the site was not punished by Google, but its ranking may have dropped because of less than optimal technical implementation or some other reason.
3:24 pm on Mar 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



I think we have to be careful not to label any drop in rankings to be "algorithmic penalty".


Agreed.

I find the terms "manual action" and "algorithimic demotion" better.
8:51 am on Mar 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



in my case the algorithmic penalty was pretty clearly attributable to a mass 301 redirection to homepage, where i didn't see the consequences.


It's important not to assume "a redirect" caused an algorithmic penalty.

If you had pages that were 1) ranking and then you redirected so they, themselves, cannot rank anymore or 2) redirected pages that were the landing pages for incoming link juice... thus the ranking pages lost the source of what made them rank neither of these are violations to Google's TOS.

If you yourself disallow bots to crawl then they cannot credit thus cannot score properly which means they cannot rank your pages either.

mass 301 redirection is quite a heavy violation in google's eyes.


This is categorically wrong. Here is Matt Cutts on the subject

[youtube.com...]
9:44 am on Mar 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Yes 301 dont cause a penalty.
10:08 am on Mar 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

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According to Google this behavior [imagizer.imageshack.us] is not a penalty because it's not caused by manual actions.

I didn't changed the content of the site and I didn't made external changes like link building. Of course, there are changes due to other effects like (for example) automatically generated links from pseudo search engines or automatically changes on the website like lists of most popular articles. Anyhow, the quality of the articles didn't change at all.

I still call such a behavior (dramatic traffic changes within one day) a penalty - "When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck."
10:10 pm on Mar 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



You may call it a penalty if you like.

But simply calling it a penalty doesn't mean there will be a notification appearing in your webmaster tools account telling you what google believes you are doing that is violating its TOS.

Likewise, calling it a penalty doesn't mean that you will be able to submit a reconsideration request through WMT either.

It seems that it is actually easier to recover from what google calls a "penalty" than it is to recover from than what google calls an "algorithmic devaluation".

But if you want to call it a penalty, have at it.
7:47 am on Mar 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Of course, Google is just sending notifications through WMT for manual actions (penalties) not for algorithmic ones.

Devaluation means for me that somerhing is ranked lower and not a traffic decrease by 90% within one day (even without changing anything).

Of course, if Google want to call it a devaluation or whatever, they can do it.
1:54 pm on Apr 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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doc_z, off topic but I have a graph which is almost identical to the one you posted earlier, feel free to drop me a pm if you want to discuss specifics.
 

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