The SEO community was in consternation earlier last week when Google hit Australian SEO agency dejanseo.com.au with a penalty. Their traffic disappeared overnight. Dejan SEO owner Dejan Petrovic vehemently defended his brand’s SEO efforts, and eventually migrated his site to a new domain and cleaned up his backlink profile.
What really interested us was the general sentiment amongst SEOs that Google had duped us into thinking that ‘manual actions’ such as this were fewer. From what we’ve seen since Penguin 4.0 is that Google was pretty consistent in dishing out penalties.
In fact, we’ve been saying this for a while; see our post on How to Avoid a Google Penalty for more tips. Recent noise from Google has suggested that Google is responsible for your disavows, but that is no reason not to attend to best practice. Disavowing low-quality backlinks is easy enough. Had DejanSEO monitored their backlink profile they may have spotted the warning signals earlier.
Was the penalty fair?
Link Research tools were quick to point out that Dejan SEO had a toxicity score close to 1700.
It seems dejanseo.com.au was a maligned domain with links from virus and malware sites as well as exact match anchor text for terms like ‘SEO’ and ‘link building’. Were dejanseo.com.au caught with their hand in the cookie jar?
The answer is, we just don’t know. They could have been a victim of negative SEO, or perhaps it was just bad luck.
What to do if you think your site might be at risk
Run your website through some tools. We use a whole host to tools when we audit a site, simply because we want to leave no stone unturned.
Create and maintain a link disavow file to avoid a link penalty. There’s a nice article here if you’re doing this for the first time: https://www.bruceclay.com/blog/complete-guide-bing-and-google-disavowing-links/
Manage your anchor text. We really cannot stress how important this is. The algorithm is looking for unnatural backlink patterns, but you can mitigate this by reducing the number of backlinks using ‘head terms’, and being super selective about who links to you. We use the format below:
Read more about our specialist SEO services, or contact us today to find out how we can grow your visibility online.
High-value links from those in your industry pass strong authority signals, and the benefit is that this will deliver relevant, qualified traffic to your website. However, be brutal when it comes to deciding what links you keep.
What do you think about Dejan SEO’s Google penalty? Let us know! Tweet us @honcho_search or get in touch on Instagram or LinkedIn to share your thoughts. Like keeping up with the latest news and industry updates? Sign up to our newsletter!