Our SEO Manchester experts explain how to tell if you’ve been hit by a search engine penalty or something different

SEO Manchester experts Wecan Media talk about penalties

It’s not uncommon that we’ll speak to prospects who complain about a drop in organic traffic believing they have been the victim of an algorithm update or penalty. They immediately think a search engine change is to blame. Unfortunately here at Wecan Media, currently targeting companies for SEO Manchester, we are also aware that certain professionals may use Panda or Penguin as excuses for a drop in organic traffic. Fear not however because Craig our SEO guru is here to shine a little light for those who feel somewhat in the dark, explaining just what the real problem could be.

Have you been hit by a penalty or not?

One of the first steps in identifying whether you’re a victim of an algorithm update or penalty is to check your organic traffic. If it’s down to the work of an algorithm update or penalty then you’ll often see organic traffic take a nosedive. If you dig deeper however and see that the drops aren’t from one sole search engine then it’s likely not the cause as an update or penalty would only affect traffic from one search engine. It’s also possible to check the timing of the drop against the release date of a new update and see if it matches. Additionally you may find that your current SEO agency has been creating spam links as opposed to the quality and authoritative ones we provide here at Wecan Media.

You can see if this is the case easily by checking some of the backlinks that Google has identified and listed with their Google Webmaster Tools. Click on the links themselves and view the pages with your own eyes. What are they like in terms of quality? It can be quite hard to define the term spam and what constitutes as spam but you’ll know a site or link is spam once you see it.

Other common reasons for organic traffic drop

There are multiple other reasons that you could be seeing big traffic drops including blocked indexing and market changes.

Blocked Indexing

If you find your traffic is dropping from multiple search engines then it could be sign of technical issues preventing search engine indexing. Your robots.txt file could have been moved from your test server to your live server accidently, which could block search engines from indexing.

Market changes

On occasion its been known that organic traffic will drop simply because of a decrease in searches for a particular market. It doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with an algorithm update, penalty or even your rankings for key terms. Sometimes it can simply be down to market conditions.

If you’d like to avoid future slumps in organic traffic and find out the multitude of other reasons for such slumps then contact our SEO Manchester team here at Wecan Media.