Holiday Trivia: How do you know when your site is being penalized by Google?

It’s that time of year when the Internet goes into a virtual slumber. But we here at Performancing wanted to keep things a little spicy (just like that spiced butter rum you’re drinking). So we’re offering you a trivia question to keep your mind active (and free from complete holiday comatose):

Besides getting an explicit notice in Webmaster Tools, or an email from Matt Cutts, what is the clearest sign that your blog is not in the good graces of Google?

I have one specific answer in mind. It’s really obvious and gets at the core of what Google is all about.

Here’s a clue: what’s the most important stat chart that an SEO can look at?

First person to get my answer gets a free submission in the EatonWeb blog directory. I’ve told the answer to Ahmed Bilal, so the answer is locked in.

Any guesses? Post your answers in the comment section. First person to answer correctly wins.

17 thoughts on “Holiday Trivia: How do you know when your site is being penalized by Google?

  1. I give the prize to aedean! In fact, those are the exact 2 things I look at initially. My bet is that aedean has experienced a Google penalty (like me!)

  2. Performancing stats is an easy way to find out if your being penalized by google. You will see that none or very few of your search engine traffic from your popular keywords are coming from Google rather Yahoo, MSN, etc.

    Also the keywords that used to bring you traffic from Google will not even have your website in the SERP.

  3. Combine all the hints literally into one meaningful sentence and you should have it. If I would have a page where Yahoo+MSN generate more than 15% of the incoming SE traffic I would be in trouble (regarding the original question). Just another hint…

  4. Rich…you’re on the right track with your second guess. PageRank, of course, is irrelevant. Search referrals are critical. But I’m looking for something more specific. My second clue gives it away.

  5. Try two:

    Search referrals vs. Time. A wise man once called it the only SEO graph that matters.


  6. For me….it was when I not longer had Google search results showing up in my stats. Fortunately I was able to send an email to Google to clear up the problem.

  7. Maybe you do not see any activity from GoogleBot or search engine search results links in your log files.

  8. Here’s my answer: if your site/blog is not AT LEAST on the first page of Google when searching for it.

    Sly from

  9. Uh, you find a .mp3 file of Matt Cutts chortling “bwah ha ha ha ha?”

    No? How about you find a competitor’s wikipedia entry ranking for your brand name?

    Actually, it’s a good question. We tend to look at keyword related search traffic because it is pretty consistent for us. YMMV.


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