How to tell if you have been penalized in Google for certain keywords

We show you a way of how to check whether Google has penalized your website on some specific keywords with a real example.

Google we all know occupies 85% of the world’s searches and so naturally many SEO strategists aim to optimize site for the Google search engine. However, it is very good practice to pay attention to the top three search engines which includes Bing and Yahoo and I explain why.

Here, we provide you with an example site where Google has penalized a site for a set of top keywords. The site in question is Jumpdates.com. You will also be able to determine whether you have been ‘black-marked’ this way.

Keyword: “Free Dating Sites”

If you were to do a search for the above keywords in Bing and Yahoo, you will clearly see that Jumpdates.com is listed as an important site in the eyes of Bing and Yahoo and positions the site near the top of the second page. Now go over to Google and do the same, you will not find the site in the 35 pages or so.

What the h*** is going on, you say!

According to the keyword planner from Google Adwords, the monthly search volume for this set of keywords is about 301k with a suggested bid of $4.04. So these keywords are highly competitive and demand a high advertising rate too.

From the results, it is a clear indication that Google has deliberately tagged Jumpdates.com for those specific keywords. Gooogle has taken measures to deliberately pin down Jumpdates.com below all the other sites for these natural keywords. One really questions then, whether Google is providing users with the best information. The question of quality of content and results come into being when it comes to providing users with the best set of results.

We have done an extensive survey of all the sites that appear in the top 30 pages in all three search engines. We can conclude that many of these links consist of information to many blog posts on the areas of dating (maybe took someone 30 minutes in total to research and write) with perhaps 8% being actual dating websites. However, we are saddened that some of the sites that do appear on the first page of the search results for all the search engines are in fact ‘not-free’ but paid dating websites.

Such is the fierce competition for these keywords that all search engines have made blunders in their definition of the meaning of ‘free dating sites’. Can this really be called organic results? However, credit is due to Bing and Yahoo for placing Jumpdates.com on the second page of their results irrespective of what Google is doing. This is indeed good news for those who think that the other two search engines are ‘copy-cats’ of Google. In reality they have their own set of algorithms to determine site indexing and this is very healthy competition and good news to the end-user.

However, based on our findings we are a little bit suspect of Google methodologies of ‘black-marking’ some websites in this manner. You may want to head over to Jumpdates.com and see for yourself whether it qualifies to be penalized for those and other sets of keywords. However, make sure you check out all the sites within the search results to make a fair and qualified decisions and not just simply take our word for it.

The unique feature of Jumpdates.com is that it has an impressive blog section covering every aspect of dating including one of the most comprehensive unbiased reviews of other dating sites. We have done a deep analysis of other review sites and many are setup to funnel traffic to the top paid dating sites through an affiliation program. We are surprised that none of the search-engines actually pick up on this.

The fact that ‘free dating sites’ may have appeared umpteen times within the Jumpdates blog is not a reason for Google to take such a heavy handed action. Here is what we as SEO strategists consider the most pertinent information to determine a site’s ranking in search engine.

  1. Readership of blog and hits (content consumption)
  2. User engagement with the website (ie. bounce rate, session times, returning users)
  3. Authority of the website and it’s content
  4. Support level of the site to help it’s visitors (something not always measured)

As you can see, the criteria for providing the best set of results to the search engine users is based entirely on the users perception of the site, how it interacts with it, how often it comes back (retention) and the buzz it creates in the social scene. Unless of course the search engine decides to make a unilateral decision all by itself. We fail to see why Google has penalized the site for those keywords which warps the organic search results and suggest you look into some of your own keywords.

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