How can you to tell if Google has penalized your site?

Lots of people wonder if a sudden drop in their website ranking is the result of a penalty from Google based upon Google Panda or Penguin algorithm updates.  According to Matt Cutts of Google, the answer is … maybe.   At least that’s the safest response.

According to Cutts,  if you have been hit with penalty from Google’s web spam team, you will get a message in your Webmasters Tools indicating what the problem is and what you can work on to correct it.  However, SERP changes will not always be so easy to identify.

On any given day, Google can be rolling out additional algorithm changes.  Some (particularly Panda) are becoming so well integrated with regular indexing updates that the answer may not always be so easy to identify.  And since the goal of all if these changes is always to make the web a better user experience, when one site suffers another may benefit and is that really a penalty?

As a rule, just try to do the right thing with your site.  Keep content fresh and unique don’t over-stuff with key words and watch those links.  If you do that, you should be fine. 

By Donald MacMellville

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