We’ve seen quite a few of these (Google penalties due to artificial link building practices) recently, and this one was from one of our clients, although we have changed the URLs to protect their identity . If you have GWT (Google Webmaster Tools) running and your website’s configured correctly, you may receive an email and message within GWT such as below:
If organic traffic to your site has dropped, it could very likely be as a result of a Google penalty.
The above message means that the Google staff believe that your site has been subject to ‘spammy’ link building practices and as a result, have applied a penalty.
The context of this post is too short to go into the full details of how we go about getting these removed, but we:
- execute a full link audit and analysis using special tools
- followed by outreach to request link removals
- disavowing unremoved spam links
- finally, a humble and extremely polite letter to Google’s staff requesting a review.
We then wait an expected 2-3 weeks before receiving an update. Whilst many people report their requests being rejected and having to reapply several times, we have been fortunate enough to have penalties removed at the first time of asking.
We were absolutely delighted to get these figures in last week. We were called in to work with a national retailer recently in order to improve sales from its E-Commerce website and a Google AdWords campaign.
A Reduction Of AdWords Costs By 32.63% Whilst Revenue Increased By Nearly 40%
At Crescent Digital, we are bordering on being obsessed with the conversion rates of our clients websites. Many times, clients will approach us about their under-performing websites, thinking that SEO is the answer, but commonly, we see that some sites are receiving a great amount of traffic, but the visitor numbers are not converting into goals (E-Commerce revenue, leads, etc).
In this particular case, the client was concerned about:
- falling revenue
- runaway AdWords spend
We had a lovely testimonial in last Friday from a long-term client of ours. Our focus is on search and conversion. We do this by driving highly targeted visitors to websites optimised to convert visitors into clients:
I know you are not one for blowing your own trumpet, but it’s the first time I have looked at the Google analytics and ad words and all I can say is wow! Never seen a bounce rate so low for an adwords campaign, very impressive! Great job! Brilliant results.
I am going to start working more closely with Michelle but just wanted to say how impressed I am with what you have done!
Craig Downton MCIM (Chartered Marketer)
Improving a Slow Web Site in Order to Reduce Bounces
At Crescent Digital, in our strive for constant improvement, we sometimes stay awake at night worrying about how fast our clients websites are loading and is there anything else we can do to squeeze more performance out of them in order to generate more conversions.
Problem Explained: Whilst many people are familiar with metrics such as hits, ‘bounce rate’ is a hugely important metric of your website and potentially your business. Bounce rate is a measurement of how many visitors are rejecting your site. They land on your site and ‘bounce out’ without reading anything. A bounce rate of 50% means you’re losing half of your visitors without reading anything.
There’s a double penalty: Bounce rates show Google that your site is unloved and not what searches are looking for, which will ultimately mean your site losing visibility in Google.
Bounce rates can be influenced by a number of things and are a whole different subject we’d happily spend hours discussing, but the single biggest thing you can do today is to reduce the time it takes for your website’s pages to load.
Example: In my clients case – let’s call them “Zoom Microscopes” – the first thing that struck me was how slow their website was. After hooking up Google Analytics, a bounce rate of > 60% was observed (meaning 60% of visitors land on the site and ‘bounce out’ without reading anything). I suspected that many of these visitors didn’t even wait for the pages to load. Zoom Microscopes, like many companies, use cheap, shared web hosting from reassuringly well-known web hosting companies. This particular hosting company – one of the most well-known hosting companies – unfortunately hosts it’s UK sites in Amsterdam. (There is minor loss in performance from being located a little way from the UK, but in terms of SEO, a website hosted in Holland is sending confusing signals to the search engines, particularly if non-UK domains are used, such as .com.)
SEO Recovery From a Google Penalty
A manufacturer of military specification LCD monitors and touchscreen displays – we’ll call them “Tuff Displays Inc” – approached us in June 2014.
Tuff Displays Inc had a comprehensive website of over 100 pages showcasing their established business of 12 years. They had used the services of an SEO company for several years and enquiries were generated from the UK and overseas. However, the tactics used by the SEO company eventually became problematic with algorithmic changes in Google eventually causing them to be hit with a penalty from Google. The suspicions that things were not well were aroused when enquiries and website visitors dropped drastically earlier this year. Things had gotten so bad that even searching for the company by name only yielded results from page 10 of Google’s results.
The Problem: Investigating the link profile, it was obvious that Tuff Displays Inc had some highly suspicious links, including a disproportionately high number of links from a single site, links from low quality sources and many links using the same text. This issue appeared to have been worsened by the omission of traditional ‘white hat’ optimisation techniques, meaning that when the inbound links were discounted and ultimately penalized, rankings & visitors plummeted.