How do you know if the domain name you purchase for your website is penalized? That is one of the most difficult questions to answer even for the top SEO experts. Unfortunately, there is no easy to use Google directory that lists penalized websites. How do I know? Because this very website that you’re reading this blog article on is penalized as of the day of this writing.
I have had a lot of success with my techniques as have many of my colleagues. After owning this domain for nearly a year while performing some basic yet effective SEO methods on the website, the ranking of the site even for low competition keywords has been terrible. In fact, I can’t even rank for my own company name. So how can you determine if your site is penalized? Here are a few methods you can use:
Check for Past Owners – The registry that looks after your domain suffix (.com, .ca, .net, etc) keeps a record of all the owners and is visible through a whois tool. The tool will show you the current owners details (unless they’ve paid for privacy) and how how many times the domain has changed ownership. You can also find the year the domain was first registered. Unfortunately, for some of the more detailed information, you will likely need to pay a fee. One website that offers a lot of information is whois.domaintools.com. If you’re domain name has never been registered before then you have nothing to worry about.
Check for Unique Content – Recently, I discovered that three blog articles were added to the website by the contractor I originally hired to build the site. Using an online plagiarism checker, I found that the content was quite literally plastered all over the internet. These articles were no where near unique. Google wants to see that your website is unique. It accepts some duplicity so you don’t have to rush to check every single piece of content on your site. Just make sure that the majority of your articles or content is unique.
Check your Backlinks – What’s a backlink? The simple definition is that it’s a link to your website on another website. Backlinking is an integral part of an effective SEO marketing campaign. As a general rule, if a website receives a significant increase in backlinks and then the backlinking stops, Google sees this as being unnatural. If it’s severe, Google may even deindex that domain. In otherwords, it will not be listed in any search results regardless of how hard you look. A great tool for checking your backlinks is www.ahrefs.com.
Just a quick note, there may be a slim chance that you will run across a website that has received 20,000 or more backlinks in a very short period of time. A very small few internet marketers do this in very competitive, very profitable niches. However, this technique doesn’t last forever. When it stops, Google hits that site hard. It’s not a method for any real business.
So, if you’ve performed SEO methods on your website and haven’t seen any results, it’s possible that your website has been penalized. Need some help checking your site? Feel free to contact us for a free and quick assessment. We can also provide SEO marketing services to improve your results too.
Clinton is owner of The Complete Webdesigner, a Kelowna Search Engine Marketing based company.