I have been testing Adsense Ad placement for the last 5 years on the Candytech.in (Blog) and have earned a lot of experience. In this article, I will share with you the best practices that we use to get the best revenue from Adsense on desktop.
Also, I strongly consider the UI/UX before doing Ad placements. After all, we don’t want to annoy our readers.
For all the placements that I have discussed in this article – you can use the free WordPress plugin ad-inserter to place the ads. It is as simple as starting a blog.
Using Auto Ads On Desktop
We tested the Auto Ads on the desktop but the Ad placements at times can break the user experience. Some of the Ad sizes are either too big or placed at the locations which are not ideal from a reader’s perspective.
I will not recommend using Auto Ads placement for your website. Auto Ads are good for those who don’t want to spend the time to optimize the Ads. Since you are here I assume that you want to put in the extra effort to get the best out of your traffic.
Above the fold Placement and Sizes
Let’s start with the Above the fold placement. Typically, the Above the fold Ads get higher RPM and earn more revenue per click. But these may not have the highest CTR.
Above the fold – you can use a 768*90 Ad unit or can even use a bigger 970*250 ad unit. In our experience, the revenue from the 970*250 Ad is about 14% higher than the 768*90 ad unit, based on 7 days of testing.
However, the 970*250 is a big ad unit and looks bad from the user experience perspective. Also, bigger Ad units can make the website sluggish and slow loading due to the higher amount of code(Js, images, HTML, and videos).
I usually use the 768*90 ad unit at the top or you can use a responsive ad and set the size for desktop as 768*90. You can even try the 970*90 Ad size and see if it helps to improve the CTR.
Sidebar Ad Placement and Sizes
For side-bar it is ideal to have a 300*600 Ad unit which is placed parallel to where your article starts. It will give the ad unit much higher visibility and CTR.
If you want to add a second unit, you can add it after some content on the side-bar. Don’t have two ads together, not ideal for the UX.
Essentially, you should use a 300*250 Ad or 336*280 Ad as a second ad unit. The bottom ad unit usually has a very low CTR and revenue so for my websites I usually don’t use it.
These are the most important Ads and we can use either square floating ads on the left or right of the content or we can use a full-width responsive ad.
Typically, I prefer to use full-width responsive ads as it doesn’t break the layout and is not so annoying for the reader.
The first ad can be placed before paragraph 1, and the second ad can be placed after paragraphs 7-8.
You can even use a matched content ad to reduce the bounce rate on your website and increase the page views and revenue.
Typically, you should use the responsive Ad in this position with a “horizontal” Ad format. A rectangle or a large square may not look nice to the reader.
We must ensure that the experience for the reader is not annoying so he is easily able to read the content.
Next, you can place an ad after paragraph 15 then 30, 45, 60 and so on. Ad-inserter plugin can make this task very easy for you.
If you are using the responsive Ad unit, another nifty trick is to use the “rectangle” ad code for ads you are placing in the middle of your content or at the bottom. The rectangle ads offer better CTR and can increase your revenue.
The last Ad can be placed below the content, but you must take care of pagination. It is ideal to have the Ad below the pagination navigation.
We saw an increased bounce rate on one of the sites where the bottom ad was right above the pagination.
You can try a large 970*250 or 970*90 in the footer, but in my experience, there are low clicks and very little revenue from this placement.
Sticky Ads on Desktop
If you have seen websites using sticky sidebar ads, they are not Adsense Ads. These ad units are from Adx and publishers can use them with sticky placement. Adsense doesn’t allow sticky ad units on either desktop or mobile.
It is not advisable to use the sticky Adsense Ad unit as its Adsense team may ban your account or give a warning. (Read the latest discussion on the Sticky Ads.)
Less Can be More
One of the most ignored optimization principal is fewer Ads can mean more revenue. In fact, Google in its official optimization guide states this.
Don’t try to use more than 3-4 units unless you have a very long article. It is best to have ads on the top 50% of your article and one Ad at the bottom.
Most of the readers quit the website halfway and some who reach the bottom are then looking for what to click. I have done several studies using a scroll map and heat map and found that it is best to have ads in the top half of your article.
Thanks for Reading the Adsense Optimization guide for Desktop. If you have any queries or need help, drop a comment, I usually answer within 24 hours.
Summary: If you want to improve the views on your tech videos, here are some of the best tips for you. Also, we have discussed some of the major issues and challenges when growing a new Youtube Channel and the best SEO practice that you can leverage to beat the Youtube algorithm.
In 2016-2018, we saw a great run for many Tech Youtube channels. A lot of views and moolah back then, but things are getting worse for many channels currently.
Looking at the success of a handful of Tech Channels like Trak.in or Technical Guruji, TechBurner, who have millions of subscribers and are paid fat stacks, the business looks flourishing & enticing.
On the other hand, some of the more prominent tech channels like iGyaan, or Phoneradar or Sharmaji Technical are struggling for views. Back in the days, these channels use to get millions of views on the fresh content. But now, even after having over a million subscribers, the views on videos are sometimes as low as 20-30k.
Even for some new Channels that are creating cinematic content, like the Revatlas or TechforLuddites getting views is becoming difficult.
The struggle of established channels brings us to the question.
Should You Start a New Youtube Channel in Tech Niche?
Frankly, It is tough to get success in the Tech Niche that is overcrowded and fighting for the same share of viewers.
Competiton is not from local channels but several international channels with a huge budget, resources, and high reach.
Creating a new brand name and attracting viewers is not so easy. Besides, old and established channels are struggling for views.
Later, I will share some of the things struggling, and new channels can focus on to get more views.
Challenges in Running a Tech Youtube Channel
There are many challenges with Tech Niche; it is essential to understand these before we attempt to improve the channel performance.
The No.1 challenge for new channels is to get the devices early. Big Channels get the devices from the brands a lot soon and post videos on the product launch day.
Most viewers see it, and if you buy the device after 7-10 days and even post a high-quality video on the topic, viewers are not interested. They have already seen several videos on the subject and moved on.
The second biggest challenge is the ability to buy new devices and sell them later on. It is a significant investment, and sometimes when you sell a device a month or two later, you can lose a substantial amount of money. You are already not making money, and this is an added pain.
The number of views is usually low, and considering Youtube Pays around Rs 50 to Rs 70 for 1000 Indian views, the viability of running the channel profitably is slim. Even if you get 50,000 views, you are making you are only making Rs — 2500, not enough to cover the cost of the device and your set-up.
Reasons Why Not Getting Enough Views
Repetitive Content – One of the biggest reasons for not getting high views is the repetitive content topic. If I have seen 2-3 iPhone 11 reviews, do you think I will be interested in watching yet another one?
First to Market: A lot of SEO success on Youtube and Google search is related to who targets the keyword first. Creating Videos on Topics early can be a massive factor in failure or success.
Low User Retention: One of the most critical factors for success on Youtube is how long people watch your videos. If it is anything about 35-40%, you will do good on Youtube. The algorithm will push your content to a lot of viewers.
Low CTR – A high CTR above 8-10% is essential if you want to get a lot more views. CTR and user retention are the two most important factors for Youtube SEO. Don’t worry about tags and keywords and other crap; they are not so important.
So How Can You Get More Views if You are running a tech Channel on Youtube:
Here are the top suggestions for You:
1). Post-High-Quality Videos
MKBHD or Jonathan Morisson has set very high standards when it comes to tech videos. You can’t catch them early on, but be inspired and create the best content that you can. With High-Quality videos, your watch time may increase, but not necessarily — your content matters.
2). Unique Topics
Don’t do what others are doing. One of the most exceptional pieces of advice from Bhuvan Bham (BB Ki Vines) in his Ted Talk was “Be Different and Unique to Win on Youtube.” It is essential to create more videos on unique topics than to work on repetitive topics that are already covered by several other channels.
3). In-depth Content
Your Videos Need to Have great content on the topic and should be able to hold the user’s attention. Usually, if you are also babbling the same crap that others have already said, it is not going to keep the user’s attention. You need to be different, as Bhuvan Bham said.
4). Thumbnail Design
Your Thumbnails have to be super high quality and should be about the topic. Look at Beebom or MKBHD thumbnails, high quality, and right on point. CTR matters, and even if your thumbnail is a bit of a clickbait, do it. I mean, look at Casey Neistat or even TG or any successful channel, they all do it. Also, a lot of YouTubers run Twitter polls to decide on the thumbnail that is more appealing to users.
5). Know Your Viewers
Don’t make a video for other creators – Make your videos simple and easy to watch, covering basics, and knowing what an average person would want to know is essential. If you just talk about very advanced topics, you are limiting your audience.
Let me sum up what you need to do for Youtube’s success.
Summary: How to Grow Your Tech Youtube Channel
Be unique – don’t pick up topics that are already covered too many times. Or at least bring a unique perspective.
Be the First- If you can cover a topic early, it is going to help get more views.
High user retention and CTR are essential for Youtube success.
It is not easy, and It will take time, effort, persistence, and learning from a lot of failures.
Be consistent – Post videos every day or at least 3-4 per week.
Don’t fret over keyword research, title tags, meta-description, or other crap old fashion SEO’s are teaching you. Youtube is smart; they know what content will make users stick to the platform. These things don’t have much impact on the views.
It is easy said than done. Work hard like Elon Musk.
Topic: Do you need Social Media for getting blog traffic and improving SEO?
Why your Blog may not be able to drive traffic from social media?
Organic Social Media Reach is limited, you will have to invest in Paid Ads.
SEO and Social Media – Does Social Media Help you rank Higher?
Social Media Strategy is different than Search Engine Strategy.
Social Media Success Needs a lot of effort.
Social Media can distract you from your goals.
If you are starting a new blog or even if you started a blog a while back and looking for getting some serious traffic, I would suggest you ditch social media.
I started blogging back in 2013 and it is almost 6 years I have been writing blog posts and so far articles I have written are read by over 10 million people.
I write on my primary blog Candytech.in daily, without fail and on some days I put in 8-10 hours. So now you know, the numbers I have quoted above are to make sure that you know the advice is not coming from an amateur blogger.
Your Niche Matters for Social Media Success
A lot of people will advise you to focus on social media, create engaging content on social media like Facebook, follow trends on Instagram and Twitter and leverage the trending hashtags.
But if you are not creating content that is viral in nature, social media is not the right strategy.
If you have a blog like Buzzfeed, Scoopwoop or Boredpanda which is creating viral content, social media is your friend.
But if you are writing about blogging or WordPress, SEO or How to do a server configuration, you are going to find it very difficult to get traffic from Social.
Study of More than 50 FB pages – What I found out?
I have studied around 50 Facebook pages which are there for more than 2 years. There is a secret that I want to tell you that will make you spend your time where it should improve your odds of success.
Which Type of Content and Pages do Well on Facebook?
Pages that are posting viral/funny videos and posts are 10x more successful than pages that are posting boring but informational stuff.
Videos – Pages that post interesting/ witty videos do great on Facebook and even Twitter.
Just have a look at https://www.facebook.com/problogger/, FaceBook page. Darren Rowse Blog (Problogger) gets massive search traffic and has huge resources but on social media they get may 10-20 likes. The page has over 100,000 likes but the organic reach and engagement are nill.
On the other hand, https://www.facebook.com/Scoopwhoop/ has over 4.7 million followers and the page is growing. Posts can get even 10000 likes, 1000s of reshares and massive traffic from social.
There are different types of content that work on social media and there are certain niches that don’t appeal to people.
Say, I wrote a post on fixing Nginx Cache issue, do you think it will do well on social media? Or if I wrote about the new 53000 dollars iMac, will people would want to know more about it?
Nevertheless, even if your content is interesting, it is very hard nowadays to create a following on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Organic reach is 2-4% of your followers and social media giants want you to pay for the reach.
Twitter will give you the best return if you are Tweeting about trending hashtags. Otherwise, engagement and traffic are not going to be significant.
Social Media Needs Time and Additional Effort.
Also, social media needs better images and titles to attract people, your SEO optimized post may not do well on social media.
You need to either click or use more catchy images, follow the amount of text guidelines of Facebook and spend time on your images.
Also, your boring headlines won’t catch anyone’s attention, you need cheeky, sort of clickbait titles to get more clicks.
There is always a battle between writing an SEO optimized (with relevant keywords) headline or a clickbait social media headline.
Social Media is a Big Distraction
For social success, you will have to constantly follow trends to leverage them instead of spending time on creating deep content.
Also, I tend to drift once I am on social media. I waste a lot of time watching usual crap videos and all sorts of garbage. It happens with most of us.
Better to Leverage Google and Youtube
But should you abandon social media and focus on just Google instead. No, not entirely.
Google and Youtube are both great resources to drive traffic to your blog.
See how bloggers like Neil Patel and Brian Dean (from Backlinko) are using Youtube to drive traffic.
Youtube doesn’t only show your videos only your subscribers but also to people who search for that topic. If you can make a video that people can watch even 50%, you can drive insane traffic from Google to your blog.
Creating Ever Green Vs Viral Content
Viral news type blog posts can drive high traffic for a short period of time and then you will need something new to drive traffic. On the other hand, evergreen long-form content can drive traffic for a long time and you can even update it improve your keyword rankings.
SEO and Social Media – Does Social Media Help you rank Higher?
The answer is no. I can share with you several examples of websites that have an abysmal social media presence, yet they are doing great on Google and have tons of traffic.
Can check igyaan.in and bestgadgetry.com one is a killer success on social while the other just drive traffic from Google without any social presence.
It doesn’t matter to Google actually, as long as you are satisfying the searcher’s intent.
Also, there are websites with over a million social followers but doing pathetic on Google.
Leveraging Social Media – Quick and Dirty Way
It is not a secret that you can drive a lot of traffic from Facebook or Twitter if you are willing to invest. If you are a serious blogger, I would recommend fixing a monthly budget for social media and start paid promotions.
Rather than spending hours on social media to chase trends, create amazing articles that can do good in search. Use the same articles on social and do pay promotions, you can even use remarketing on FB Ads or Google Ads to drive traffic.
You Have Limited Time in A Day
You can spend your time on social media or spend the same time to create a website that people will type in browser and reach directly.
There are several things on which you can invest time:
Design an amazing website.
Make it super fast.
Create Quizzes and Polls.
Optimize Ads and Affiliate links.
Format Your Posts to improve readability.
Create an amazing email newsletter.
Create Videos about your popular content.
If you still have time spend it on social media marketing.
If you are getting the warning message in your AdSense console regarding your ads.txt file and earnings at risk there can be a couple of solutions you can try to resolve it.
Typically, Adsense will show you the message as follows:
Earnings at risk – You need to fix some ads.txt file issues to avoid severe impact to your revenue.
Another Message that you may see in the Adsense console:
Earnings at risk – One or more of your ads.txt files doesn’t contain your AdSense publisher ID. Fix this now to avoid a severe impact on your revenue.
To prevent severe impact on revenue, download an ads.txt file then upload the file to the root level domain of each site:
Now there is a link to download the text file and you can upload it in the root directory of your website.
For WordPress, you can simply download the file and upload it to the public_html folder where you also have other files like Wp-Config, etc. You will have to use a client like Win-SCP or Filezilla to upload the file.
If you are not comfortable uploading the file, you can use a plugin to fix this issue.
First and foremost if you are using a CMS like WordPress you can download the Ads.txt Manager Plugin that is available for free.
Next, copy and paste the contents of your ads.txt file that you have downloaded
The content looks like this – google.com, pub-363434349433445212, DIRECT, j08f56ase09765a1
Just copy the contents of the Ads.txt file that you have downloaded in the plugin and hit save.
That’s all you have to do, to get rid of the error.
How to Check if your Ads.txt file is working properly? You can type in a browser – yourwebsite.com/ads.txt and you will see the contents of your ads.txt file. If you see a 404 or any other message then there is some issue with the ads.txt file.
Sometimes, even if you have an ads.txt file or plugin active Google may show this message. In such cases, you need not worry and ignore it. Google will re-crawl your website and it will go away in a couple of days.
Google rolls out quality updates every month and several times during a year.
Your new or old website may have been doing great but suddenly has lost traffic from Google search.
This can happen to anyone in any niche, not only to smaller blogs on WordPress, Blogger or any other platform but at times to medium to large websites.
But the quality update killing your website traffic is more common on the smaller blogs and websites.
If you have ever visited the Google Webmaster product forum, it is full of complaints and cries of people whose businesses are wiped overnight by some search engine update.
It takes months and years of hard work to create a blog but a small Google update and can remove all your posts from Google search to oblivion.
Why there is a Sudden traffic dip?
Initially, most of the blogs and websites start getting traffic and grows as you work on them and create new content.
At some point, the Google crawler scrutinizes the website for Quality related issues and applies a penalty which is mostly related to Quality.
But at times the webmaster feels that their content is good, and they don’t deserve the penalty from Google.
However, it may sound odd, but sometimes Google penalizes sites that lack E-A-T despitehaving good content.
In my assessment, most of these sites are smaller/medium-sized blogs.
E – Expertise A- Authority T – Trustworthiness
If your website is lacking in the E-A-T factors (despite having good content), it may get severely penalized and may lose up to 50% or more traffic from the search engine.
Most bigger websites and brand names have the E-A-T, and smaller blogs usually find it difficult to showcase that they have the required E-A-T to search quality raters. (You can read more about E-A-T and search quality rater guidelines here).
There are several guides on the internet written by so-called SEO experts that promise to help you to crawl out of Google Penalties like Panda, Penguin, Fred or Hummingbird.
But to be frank, it is very difficult to get out of these penalties. You may need to change everything on your website for Google to re-evaluate and rank it.
Sometimes it can take years to get back to higher traffic ranking and at times Google may not like it as much as it used to.
E-A-T is not the only factor absence of which can cause a major decline, there are several other things. Usually, a high E-A-T website with tons of backlinks and traffic is not penalized for smaller issues which may cause a major traffic dip for smaller websites.
Is Google Killing Small blogs and Websites?
A huge number of smaller blogs are unable to keep up with the large rival publications in terms of quality, quantity, technology, authoritativeness, and trust.
Add to that lack of backlinks, slow-loading sites, no-amp implementation, higher ads and more affiliate links.
All of this makes smaller blogs less attractive to Google, Google wants to send searchers to the best possible results and may not think the smaller blog offers the experience the user is looking for.
Back in the days, a 300-word post was enough to share the information. Now the deadly trend is to write 3000 words to convey the same thing as Google thinks that is a higher quality article. (How long should be your article by Yoast)
Small blogs and websites are finding it difficult to compete for competitive keywords and the rise of videos is another factor making life difficult for bloggers.
Repurposing content and writing thin content will not cut it.
But Why is your Website traffic dipping and what to do about it?
If your website is losing traffic and your keyword ranking is also declining, it is a serious concern. But fixable.
The traffic drop can be due to many reasons like un-natural links penalty, poor quality content, plagiarism, poor user experience, competition activity.
Dive into Google Analytics to find out which articles are getting less traffic. Is the traffic drop across the board or specific to some top-ranking articles?
There is no sure-shot way to understand the cause but you will have to create an action plan to improve both your content and user experience to rank higher again.
How to Get the Traffic back or Grow your Blog? – Top 6 Tips.
1). Save Yourself from Quality Updates like Panda
I have tried these on several sites and have failed miserably. The issues of thin content or improving content quality doesn’t always end with the lifting of a Google penalty.
I met with Mr. Gary Illleyes from Google Search and had a very long discussion on penalties, and he said that creating a stronger brand and E-A-T is sometimes the only option, improving content may not help.
Deleting or no-indexing your posts may also not help in case the Panda update has hit you.
2). Save Yourself from Unnatural Link Penalties
Google is unforgiving if it finds out you are doing un-natural inbound or outbound linking. Don’t do it, Google will catch you and penalize you.
3). Think About the Users and Google First
Most people will tell you to think about users, but I think you need to think about Google and understand what Google considers quality content and experience.
Afterall Google is also your customer who sends you tons of traffic to make a living. Learn about SEO and how to create original quality content.
4). Show Fewer Ads, Popups and Limit Affiliate links
You are not running Economic Times or Times of India, who can show only ads and still Google will love you. Use fewer ads, pop-ups and affiliate links.
Optimize your ads and link to products that sell and offer a good margin. Be mindful when linking.
5). Create a Blazing fast Website – Especially on Mobile
Google loves fast loading websites, use caching, faster hosting, lightweight themes, CDN and AMP to make sure that your website loads in less than 3 seconds on mobile and desktop.
6). Unique Content is King
The content was king a couple of years back. Now the unique content is King. You can re-write and re-word the articles published on 10 other websites and call it unique.
Most people think that unique content means what they have typed and not copied from anywhere. No, that is re-worded content.
Write about an original idea and share your thoughts about it or be the first to write about a topic or add a spin to what is already said by others. That is unique content.
Is it Hard to Run a Successful Blog in 2020?
You bet it is. It is super hard to run a successful blog in 2020, your day job with your mean boss sounds like a better option.
But if you want to run a successful blog, you will have to burn the midnight oil and produce content that is hard for others to match.
Should You Update Dates Frequently To Improve SEO Using Content Freshness
There are a lot of Webmaster and SEO professionals who want to understand the impact of content freshness and article date updates on Google ranking.
SEO and Blogging are always evolving; what may have worked in the past may not work now. The best SEO practices from a few years back may land you in trouble.
Publishers and SEO experts continue to explore new opportunities to rank better on Google. Whether it is optimizing your content for the featured snippet to get to rank number 1 on Google.
Or to optimize content for voice search to help Google feature it.
The increasing use of AMP and reduction of Pop-Ups in the last few years are helping publishers increase traffic.
But these are all legitimate ways of increasing traffic.
What if I told you that I observed something black hat being used by several large publishers to have an undue advantage in search?
Let’s talk about it and understand how and why they are doing it?
Content Freshness Exploit
A lot of publishers are changing dates on their content daily to increase the relevance and take benefit from Content Freshness variable of the search algorithm.
As we know, there are over 200 factors that impact the position of a webpage in Google for a particular keyword.
The content freshness is one of these factors and is essential. Most of the people want the latest information or updated information about the topic they are searching for.
Say I am searching for “Legal Rights of Landlords.” I would like an updated article which informs of the current law of the land, than something which was written 3 years back and has stale information.
The three years old article may be the best, but it may not have the current clauses, which is essential for me.
Hence, Google tends to rank fresh content higher than stale content.
How Are some of the Big Publishers Exploiting Content Freshness?
I observed several publishers are automatically updating the dates on several articles, and even some are updating the title to add current date.
How does it help them?
Say a searcher wants to know the “iPhone Xs Max Price on 28 July 2019”.
The publisher can exploit these time-specific queries by updating the article every day using a script and even add a date to the title.
Some of the publishers, as mentioned below, are doing this daily. And it gives them a couple of advantages by fooling Google and the searcher.
Advantages of Exploiting Content Freshness:
Google thinks content is updated and ranks it higher.
Searchers Click on the result as they see the date and think it is highly relevant.
Higher CTR and freshness help improve ranking overtime.
It is great for the SEO of the whole website because so many pages are daily getting updated.
More post updates and changes, and Google believes the website has a lot of new content.
Finally, it leads to more gain in ranking and backlinks.
On the other hand, e-commerce stores like Flipkart or Amazon or other blogs who are targeting similar keywords may not rank as high.
The date updates may not be impacting all the queries in the search, but some of the queries where freshness has a higher weightage.
I am not 100% sure, but I think there are several queries where freshness gets a higher weightage and others where it is not so relevant.
Here are some of the Queries and Websites that seem to be using this technique at the moment.
There are several big websites like 91mobiles.com, digit.in, gadgetsnow.com, ndtvgadgets.com. pricebaba.com who are using this currently.
All these sites enjoy massive traffic and ranking in Google. You can check the Alexa rank for traffic growth of these websites.
Updating Dates of Posts – Right Way Vs. Wrong-Way
What you have seen is the wrong way of updating post dates to increase your CTR and content freshness.
Google says you can change the date of an article. Further, the search engine considers the time when the URL was crawled first.
When Google re-crawls it, they look for the revised date and any content changes.
So when you actually add some new value to your content and make it relevant for the current date, you should change the date.
If you are making minor adjustments, keep the date same or just add a last updated date. Google structured data support this.
You can even show last updated date on your article and in the serps easily if you are using WordPress.
So, in summation, there is no harm in updating dates when you are updating your content and making it more relevant.
But doing it just to game the search engine may be working today but may not work in the coming days.
Does Google know about this?
I had an interaction with Mr. John Mu from Google on Twitter.
@JohnMu have observed some big sites are using a script to update the Date on hundreds of articles every day. Is this practice okay? I think it helps them with the freshness aspect of the content. If you wish can share some examples.
Google Penalties- Let’s Find Ways to Recover and Bring back traffic…
If you are a webmaster looking for real advice on recovery from Google Penalty, this article will help you get started. Also, the tips in this article are based on my 3 years of experience dealing with Google penalties.
Additionally, I have included advice from Google official staff, and their own Youtube Channel and Twitter account on penalty recovery. Google staff is not always transparent with the causes and recovery process, and that is a big pain for webmasters.
Google Penalties are evolving and keep changing with time. There have been several penalties that have rocked the SEO world in the past like Penguin, Panda, Fred and several other minor updates.
I have interacted continuously with several website owners and bloggers who saw a sharp decline in the traffic suddenly, and then they discover that they have got penalized.
It is critical to understand the different stages of a website/blog before we begin our work to recover from a Penalty.
Here are the stages of a Blog/ Website
Initial Stage – Inception
When you set up a blog, you have no traffic and no backlinks.
Google discover your blog from different links or when you submit the sitemap or fetch it like Google and start indexing it.
After a few months, as you start creating content regularly, people start visiting your blog you gain traffic.
Also, you start ranking for several keywords in the Google SERPS, and you get traffic from the Search Engine.
The blog grows, and you reach new heights every month. Also, working more on the blog can help you gain visitors and backlinks from other websites.
Google Penalty – Panda or Penguin?
Manual or Algorithmic Penalties
Also, Google Penalties can be Manual (you get a notice in the Webmaster Tools about the Penalty), or can be algorithmic (Panda or Penguin)you don’t get any information and you need to figure out about the penalty.
Panda – Mostly relates to Quality of Your Content and Website Experience.
Penguin – Due to shady backlinks or un-natural paid backlinks.
Why Does a Penalty Happen?
To keep things simple – There is something that Google doesn’t like on your website, or if Google thinks your backlink profile is shady, then you get a Google Penalty.
But Why Google didn’t penalize you earlier?
The algorithm runs from time to time and Google continues to push out filters around the year. Once your website gets detected by any such filter than the penalty happens.
Huge Number of Google penalties are due to what is on your website – is it repetitive content, that is present on other 50,000 websites. Same articles, but rephrased, or even written in your own words.
Doesn’t matter, most of it is considered junk by Google.
Google rewards website that has excellent, unique, high-quality articles. Nevertheless, I will get to the high-quality part later.
I have had several conversations about the Penguin penalty and based on several Google moderators/staffers you do not need to worry about it. Only in case, you hired someone to create such backlinks, you may have got a penguin penalty, else you don’t have Penguin issues.
Google has repeatedly denied an effect of negative SEO, in bringing down a website. Google says they filter out the shady or bad backlinks automatically, and you really don’t have a need to disavow any backlinks.
Now we have understood the Google penalties – it is time to take action and get back our traffic.
Getting hit by a Google Penalty is painful and one of the worst nightmares of anyone.
Many successful blogs can be in this situation and not because they were doing any black hat SEO tricks but due to the Algorithm Changes.
Authority Sites usually are spared and rarely get hit, but mid-size websites typically get hit and lose a major chunk of traffic.
How Much Traffic You can lose from Google Panda Penalty?
In my experience, I have seen slight dips of 30%, more significant declines of 50% and at times it can be 90% too.
A Google Penalty can destroy a small business, and it is more unfortunate when there is no fault of the owner.
When you are blogging or have a business that depends on Google, you need to be very careful about SEO and guidelines by Google to ensure that your website continues to do well in the search results.
Google is not your friend. You may have thought otherwise in the past. But not anymore.
Whatever I am suggesting in the Panda or Quality fix can be done preemptively to avoid a quality related penalty.
Also, recently Google tweeted and informed that at times some pages would show lower visibility in the search and there is no cure for this.
As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded….
After reading about Google Penalties and interacting with Google Employees, Moderators and SEO experts here are some of the fixes recommended by them.
10 Fixes for Google Penalty that Actually Work?
Removing, No-indexing or Improving your content is one of the first things recommended by a lot of SEO experts.
Check Your Backlink profile and can selectively disavow irrelevant links in case you wish to guard against spammy backlinks. However, I will not advise you to do this unless you have deliberately build those links.
As per Google moderators, Google neglects the spammy links automatically, and you need not worry about the negative SEO or links from shady sites.
Creating More Content that is useful to the readers. It is one of the most important things that you need to do, despite the loss of readers from search.
Basically, You need to improve everything on your site to make it more credible in the search engine eyes.
1. Design and Experience
Update your theme and layout to make it easy to read and navigate your site. Keep the important elements linked to the homepage and make it easy for users to read and navigate your website.
Try to answer the user queries and always keep in mind the user intent when writing posts or creating pages.
2. Website Load Time
Google wants your site to load in less than 3 seconds, use a CDN, better hosting, Caching Plugin, Optimize images to make sure your site is fast.
3. Reduce Ads and Remove Affiliate Links
Showing too many Ads is going to get you hammered by the Google algorithm. Google may not have clearly said this, but there have been updates in the past that penalized websites which were overdoing Ads.
In my experience, Google doesn’t trust affiliate websites. Google says you need to build high-quality pages and affiliate links are okay. But if they find too many of these, they are going to see it as an affiliate farm.
Remove most of the affiliate links, if you have them.
4. Mobile First
Google recently rolled out the mobile first index, which means Google will index your mobile site and focus on the mobile version of the website more. Make it fast, accessible and improve the user experience and reduce the bounce rate.
If You are also facing the issue – URL Is On Google, but has Issues. I have some solution for you which you try to fix the above warning in the Google Webmaster Console.
The message Says” It can appear in Google Search results (if not subject to a manual action or removal request). However, some issues prevent it from being eligible for all enhancements.
Several webmasters have reported the issue on the Google Webmaster Forum (read here) and here – but the solutions were not very clear, so I thought of writing it.
Recrawl the URL from the Google Webmaster Console.
You need to re-submit the URL and press the request again URL and see what if the error is resolved on the fresh crawl. Google has a cached copy of your URL and may have found some issue in the past but it may have got resolved.
So re-crawl the URL once again and see if the warning is gone. Return back after a couple of hours and re-crawl the URL once again to see the issue is cleared.
Sometimes, these are due to false positives and there are actually no issues on the page.
2. Check the AMP Version of the page
Sometimes the Google Webmaster Console can show that the AMP version of the page has issues –
Linked AMP version is valid with warnings – It is eligible for some AMP-specific features in Google Search results but is not fully compliant with AMP best practices. Learn more
You will need to next go to the AMP validation website to see if your page has any errors.
If there are any AMP related issues you may have to solve them and at times the AMP validation will show that the page has no problems.
In case your AMP page is valid and Google Webmaster Console is showing a warning, you can ignore it as it again a false positive.
3. Your Page has Reported Content or Manual Google Penalty
On the left side of the Google Webmaster Console, we have security and Manual Actions link – you can click on the link to check if your page or website has any security or manual action warning from Google.
In most cases, you don’t have to worry much about this as they get resolved automatically when Google re-crawl your website.