AskPat 454 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 454 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always I'm here to help people answer your online business-related questions, five days a week. We have an SEO question today from Tom. So let's just go right into Tom's question. Here we go.
Tom: Hi, Pat. My name's Tom, and I have a question about SEO. Couple of years ago, my site got hit by the Google Panda penalty and I dropped in the rankings. I disavowed all the external links that Google seemed to think were spam, except for the ones that I knew weren't, and I've tried everything with my SEO that I can think of to come back. I've been writing decent articles, I've been posting them on social media, I've been getting shares. But still I can't seem to get out of this penalty area. I'm just wondering if you had any tips on what somebody can do if they were hit with a penalty?
Pat Flynn: Hey, Tom. What's up? I'm so sorry to hear about your penalty and that you've been trying really heard to recover from it. I know a lot of people who got hit really hard and who still haven't yet recovered. A lot of people even had to start over essentially. But that isn't something that most of them had to do, there's just a little bit of investigation that has to be done, or maybe a lot a bit of investigation, to understand exactly what penalties are happening and why, and all those sorts of things. A little bit of background for those of you who don't know, Google Panda was an algorithm change that Google came out with in their effort to have better search engine results for people, because a lot of people were gaming the system and trying things. I even got involved with a little bit of that myself with niche site Duo 1.0, creating back links and all those sorts of things. Now it's all about content value, user experience, time on site, bounce rate, all those sorts of things play a major role in your website.
So Tom, make sure you're paying attention to those types of indicators as well. The user experience and how people go through your site, navigation, mobile-friendliness, those sorts of things are extremely important. Potentially maybe you fixed the Panda problem but … Google Panda is just the name that they gave that algorithm change in 2011 … but perhaps there are some other reasons that are current that you're not up to date with that may be affecting your search engine results as well. But that's just one thing I wanted to point out. But there is a great resource out there, probably the ultimate guide for getting out of any sort of penalty related to your website that might have happened. This is by a guy named Neil Patel. I've had him on the show before. He's, as far as I'm concerned, the king of SEO, and just knows everything there is to know about all this stuff. You can check out this article, I've created a nice short link for you. If you go to AskPat.com/penalty, so again AskPat.com/penalty, that'll redirect you to Neil's article here on QuickSprout.com, which is called “The Step By Step Guide to Fixing Any Google Penalty.” So, if you haven't done some of the things mentioned in this particular post, this will outline the things that you should do.
Now, I'm not going to go through the whole thing; it's quite long, actually and … but I'm just going to over a few things. So step two here says to make sure you understand your penalty. Step one is just to understand what it is that … what is that one here …. step one is to understand the two types of penalties, and how to tell which one you have. But then step two is to understand your penalty here. So there are a couple of things that can happen. One, you can be penalized from Google, meaning you will be de-ranked or even de-indexed. De-indexed is the worst thing, where you actually can't be found in Google anymore and that's if you've done something really bad. But getting de-ranked is where you might have been on the first page for a long time, and then you get penalized and you're not even on the tenth page anymore. You're way deep in the search engine rankings, where nobody can find you, essentially. That can happen for a number of reasons. One, unnatural links. Tom, it sounds like you've fixed those, these random links that are pointing to your website that aren't relevant. Google only wants to count natural backlinks that were created without your involvement. That's a major change that's happened over the last number of years. A number of other things that could be happening on your website are thin/duplicate content. So thin meaning, there's just … it's just shallow, it's 300- to 500-word articles, and that's it. So if that's the kind of articles you have, you might need to beef them up a little bit. Pretty much, thin content, according to Google, has little or no added value. Of course that's up to debate, but we're under Google's rules, and that's what happens when you play that game.
Spam is another thing. A lot of spam on your website just shows that it's not been up kept or that it's just old, and so it just doesn't need to be ranking really high. Google doesn't want to show websites that have a lot of spam on it. The Panda algorithm, there's a number of different things that Panda specifically was affected by. Shallow content, like I said. Poorly written content, substantial duplicate content, and content that adds no real value. There's the Penguin algorithm as well, which, there's a lot of other things that are involved with that.
Step three here is identifying and fixing all relevant problems, and he talks about fixing natural links here, and he goes into how to discover let's see … this is really long. Fixing thin content, so how to find duplicate meta descriptions which could be an indicator for Google on things that could be de-ranking your website. Fixing the Panda penalty specifically, he talks about … actually, I'll read this part to you. “It's important to understand that both Panda and Penguin are algorithmic penalties. Even if you fix the issue, you will have to wait until the algorithm is run to again see if you were successful.”
So it sounds like you've given it enough time, but that is something for everybody to know. Even if you fix it right away, it might not show up right away. “Since a Panda penalty can be triggered by many different things, here's a list of most common fixes you should implement. Get rid of any thin or duplicate content, see above”. Again, he walks you through that. “Create unique meta-tags and titles for each page if not done already, go through all articles to see if they read awkwardly. If the keyword seems forced, replace it with a synonym. Reduce or eliminate any link cloaking”. So that's specifically for Panda, which will hopefully help you, Tom. There's a lot more information in here as well. The last thing you could do for manual penalties is to put your best foot forward and ask for reconsideration, which is something you could do as well. He shows you how to do that, too.
Again, this is a really helpful article it's very detailed and in-depth. It goes definitely into the depths of fixing your penalties. And again, I don't know much about this, but Neil does, and that's why I wanted to recommend this article to you. Go to AskPat.com/penalty and that'll redirect you to this page here. I've made sure it works, actually; just let me double-check for you. Askpat.com slash, boom … oops, not “boom” but “penalty.” I didn't actually type in “boom.” But yes, that redirects to it. So go ahead and check that out. Again, AskPat.com/penalty.
And Tom, I hope that helps you out in some way, shape, or form. For everybody else out there who you feel your site was de-ranked because of something you did, this will help fix it. Wishing you all the best of luck, Tom. Thank you so much. I wish you the best, and for having your question featured here on the show, we're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt. Thank you once again. You'll hear from my assistant in a couple of weeks to collect your information so we can send that to you free of charge.
Thank you to everybody who has asked a question in the past; we're trying to get through as many as we can. Five days a week, that's how many we do. If you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask or write there on that page.
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Thank you so much for listening to AskPat today. I appreciate you, and as always we're going to end with a quote. This quote comes from John Lennon. He says, “When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down, ‘happy.' They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.” Thanks again for listening in. I appreciate you, and I'll see you next week at the next episode of AskPat. Bye.
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