Google Algorithm Updates and Manual Actions/Penalties

Google tunes and tweaks its algorithms on a daily basis, and periodically releases larger algorithm updates. In addition, Google actively reviews its results to find sites that are violating its guidelines, and those sites may be subjected to ranking penalties. These measures are designed to help improve the overall quality of the search results.

Both algorithm changes and penalties can have a major impact on your organic traffic, and significant decreases in the search engine traffic can be devastating to a business. For example, if the business shown in Figure 9-1 generates most or all of its revenue from organic search traffic, the drop depicted here would represent a crippling blow. This type of loss of revenue can mean laying off employees, or even closing the business.

Figure 9-1. Major loss in traffic

If you have already suffered such a traffic loss or been otherwise impacted by an update or penalty, it is important to understand the cause and what you need to do to recover. For that reason, you need to have a working understanding of how the Google ecosystem works, how Google recommends that you operate your website, and the various scenarios that can lead to visibility and traffic losses. Otherwise, you may be adversely affected by Google updates or penalties, and it may seem like you’re suffering for reasons ...

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