The Google 950 penalty is one of the most feared phrases in SEO. While some thought of it as a great white buffalo that was more myth than reality, the truth is the 950 penalty is very real and very much in play. When a website suddenly slips down the Google rankings to the bottom, a shift of around 950 places, that is the 950 penalty. If a site was ranked number 1 for a particular keyword but is now the last result on page 100 of Google search results, this would mean that the site has now shown a drop of 950 places hence the term 950 penalty.
Even after being hit with it, there are still many people who believe that the Google 950 penalty does not exist. Recently, a webmaster stated his site had been hit by the Google 950 penalty. He said he had been ranking well for a few keywords however now he was on page 100 of the search results. Instantly, we knew the webmaster had been penalized by the Google 950 penalty. It can be levied for any number of reasons, but there is generally only one solid, dependable way to efficiently recover from the 950 penalty.
The first thing to do is look through the site, and figure out if the site had serious coding problems. In the above cited case, it was not even HTML compliant let alone XHTML compliant. The first thing to do is clean up the code of the site, and then make it XHTML 1.0 compliant. That takes care of the first problem. A great number of search engine optimization firms have ignored the importance of the XHTML validation, but we knowmaking the site XHMTL compliant helped greatly and was something relatively easy to do. While we went through a lot of steps, we are not sure which one exactly worked, but by listing all the major steps we carried out we hope to help other sites get out of the Google 950 penalty.
Next, we removed any duplicated content and pages from the site. In earlier blog entries, we have stressed how Google is cracking down on improper SEO practices, and even if by accident a site has duplicate content then it should definitely make sure it cleans it up ASAP. In this case also we removed all duplicity from the site. This is good for several reasons and may have in part helped reverse the 950 penalty.
We made sure that the site’s structure and the structure of all the pages on the site were SEO friendly. Going a step further, we corrected pages that were ill structured. We also carried out optimization of the supplemental pages. By optimizing all the pages on the site we ensured that there were no search engine optimization related discrepancies on the website. This is a more lengthy task, but regardless, it pays big dividends.
The last step was getting back links from established sites. Instead of paying for high PR links we actually got the customer genuine links from niche sites and directories related to the site. This way we ensured that the site was not picked up by the Google paid links algorithm which would torpedo all of our previous efforts to rehabilitate the site. Once all the steps were completed, within a month or so the site is now back in the top 20 rankings in Google. It didn’t go back to the top, but it made a strong surge and held a respectable position.