So I am still trying to catch up on all of the questions I’ve been getting, so let me go ahead and answer another one. This one comes from Peter, and his question is, “I keep hearing a lot about Penguin and Panda updates. Recently, my lawn care website disappeared from the Google.” From the Google, I like that. “How do I know whether my site has been penalized in Google or not?”
Hi, everybody, Andrew here again. I am in the Service Autopilot offices here in Dallas, Texas. I’ve been helping them out this week. We handle a lot of their marketing. We are their official marketing agency, so I’ve been giving a hand in some input on some of the things that they’ve been doing down here, and they gave me a cup. It’s a pretty nice cup. I like it.
So I am still trying to catch up on all of the questions I’ve been getting, so let me go ahead and answer another one. This one comes from Peter, and his question is, “I keep hearing a lot about Penguin and Panda updates. Recently, my lawn care website disappeared from the Google.” From the Google, I like that. “How do I know whether my site has been penalized in Google or not?” That’s a good question. There’s a lot of paranoia surrounding this issue right now, and it has affected a lot of sites. There’s a couple of things you can do. First off, don’t panic. Let me back up. Peter doesn’t really give me a clear idea of when he exactly says that his website disappeared, and the Google Penguin updates happen a while back. They’re still making tweaks. They make tweaks every day to their algorithm, but when he refers to Google, I’m sorry, when he refers to Penguin and Panda, those are major updates. Google does update their algorithm every 17.5 hours. Panda and Penguin, in particular, were very large updates that they did that impacted a large number of websites.
For the most part, I’m making this as simple as possible, it touched on a number of different ranking factors, but when he’s speaking of a penalty, one of the things that Google did in this most recent update was that they were looking at the incoming links, other sites that are linking to your site, and exactly how those sites link to your site. A lot of Black Hat SEO companies, a lot of shady SEO companies will do link spam, and they’ll do automated back linking. They’ll use different programs and software and stuff to build links to your website which artificially boosts your ranking. Over the long-term it’s not a good strategy, and if you’ve been doing it, your website’s probably taken a hit here in this last update. That’s what Peter is referring to, to just give you a little background. Hopefully, nobody out there is doing it. We don’t do it. We don’t recommend it. We believe in building your rank organically over time. Shortcuts rarely ever pay off.
First of all, Peter, don’t panic. Changing rankings are normal. It can be a number of different things. Again, you didn’t give me the time frame exactly when this happened, so we don’t know if it’s in relation to either of the updates and, again, Penguin happened this year, earlier this year. Panda happened last year. So, don’t panic. Rankings shuffling is normal. The first thing you need to do is after you discover it, I would wait, at least, two weeks so Google can refresh its index and you can see if that was just a temporary shuffling and you’re back up to where you were or close to where you were before you make any changes to your website or do anything like that. So, hold tight, wait, and see what happens shortly.
Another reason for the shuffling and moving around is your competitors could be making changes to their website which has moved them up and you down. It could be something besides the Google update that’s possible as well, or in regards to the update, have you hired a suspicious SEO company in the past? Have you hired anybody who was doing SEO work for you previously, and maybe they didn’t tell you exactly what they were doing, and they did some sort of shady Black Hat things to your website.
Now, with this latest update it’s hurting you in Google so consider that, that might be the case. The first place to check would be in your webmaster tool box, and you can do that. Your SEO company will have that information, and you should be able to log in there and see any major site errors or problems that your site is creating when Google tries to [inaudible 00:05:00] up. They’ll generally tell you some of the things that are wrong with your site, if there are things that are wrong with your site. That would be the first place that I would start.
If you don’t see anything there, it might be time to refresh your content and run a ranking report and see exactly where you’re at because maybe you just fell off the search engine result page for one search. There’s many different ways to find a site. If you’re a lawn care company in Oklahoma or a plumbing company in Oklahoma, people are searching for other things besides, a plumber in Oklahoma or a lawn care company in Oklahoma. So I would run a full ranking report and see exactly where you stand in the rankings currently and see if you’ve been de-indexed, and you can also check that in the webmaster tools which I just mentioned as well.
Those are the places I would start. Don’t panic. Check Google webmaster tools and run a ranking report and see if you’re actually still indexed. That would be what I would do. Thanks for the great question, Peter. Keep them coming. Thanks.