First off don’t panic and remain calm. These things happen to website owners and business owners from time to time. If you feel that your website has been given some sort of Google penalty then the best thing you can do is to first stop any new online marketing and make a list of all your search engine optimization and internet marketing efforts that you have executed for the last year. Sometimes the problem could be one minor link sitting on a website or it can also be a much deeper rooted issue that has been building for some time. You might have been given a penalty at Google if your rankings suddenly dropped (not the normal ranking fluctuation) or visitors from Google dropped over time. In drastic situations, your website is unlisted from Google. If your SEO efforts are white hat (following Google’s webmaster guidelines) then there are places to start your hunt and discovery to solve the Google penalty problem.
Here is a short list of some suggestions to consider if your website has been given a Google Penalty:
• Google Webmaster Tools: If you don’t have Google webmaster tools installed on your website yet even without the penalty this should be the very first step you take. Google webmaster tools allows you to see what types of links are pointing directly to your site. This will be a very good and important starting point for your investigation. Once Google webmaster tools is installed take a step back and go through all your links. Make sure none are point from any spammy or irrelevant websites. If you have found any that might not be right for your website you will have to contact blog and website owners to remove the links. By installing Google webmaster tools on your site you also show the search engines that you have nothing to hide and you welcome them to look at your efforts.
• New Website Changes: If you have made any website changes over the last six to twelve months go through all those changes. Identify any new content that might have a bit too many keywords listed in it or if you have updated any links to any of your pages make sure you did not add to many links or links pointing to sites that Google does not like. Per Google guidelines a web page should not exceed fifty links. You don’t want to make too many changes backwards just yet. Make some and then wait and give it some time to see if that was the issue. Once you have a penalty it could take some time along with trial and error until you find the problem.
• Google Analytics: Check your Google analytics (or your web stats program) to see when the problem first started occurring. You will quickly be able to see where the dip in traffic occurred and allow you to associate with what possible marketing efforts where conducted at that time for the problem to occur.
In conclusion stay calm and use your analytical hat to be sure you have covered all of the bases. Also, be sure to spend time learning (before there is an issue) search engine optimization best practices and Google’s webmaster guidelines as well.