I cant tell whether my website is penalised by google


I’ve got a website which has been running for 9 years. if I look at the traffic stats for 4 years ago, the level of traffic was 3 times what it is today. So there has been a steady, albeit slow decline in google organic search traffic to my site. (below, traffic stats from Jan 2007 - Jan 2012)

I look at google trends, and I also notice a similar(ish) trend in traffic dropping over the years for keywords which my site is targeting. (Google trends from 2007 - 2012)

Still today, the site appears to place at #1 when doing a search via www.google.com/ncr for keywords i’m targeting.

I am also aware that the drop in traffic could be to do with the fact that ‘google image search’ now places results above traditional search engine results. And that might have come in about 4 years ago as well (I don’t know?)

Another thing is, the turning point, when traffic started going downwards roughly correlates (give or take 3-6 months) when I put a few paid text links on that website.

Now the paid text links, make a small amount of money, not a lot, but I would still like to keep that income coming in if possible.

I could remove the paid links and submit a reconsideration request, but i don’t know whether i’m being penalised, I don’t want to lose out on the income if I don’t have to.

Considering what I’ve said above, does it sound to you like this website is being penalised, or rather it is just suffering due to a change in ‘what’s popular’ and google changing the way search results are displayed?

Thanks for any opinions on this slightly confusing predicament.

If your site is still showing up in the #1 slot for particular keyword searches then I do not think you are penalized, but your drop in traffic is more likely due to some other cause. One real possibility, like you suggested, is a change in search behavior.

The history shows the site get penalized slightly due to the paid links or some other reasons …if any tech, or algo effect it, the dropping will remains maximum 1 month but its since long time. So need to be care full and remove paid links, affiliate, adds etc…

Paid links in themselves are not a reason for a site to be penalised. There are many thousands of high-ranking sites around that earn much of their income from paid links.

What Google doesn’t like are paid links disguised as editorial content. I would always place a paid link separate from the main content of the page, and in a way that it’s obvious what it is (for example, under a heading such as Sponsored Link or Advertisement).

If ony a few of your pages have paid links, you could always use robots.txt to prevent Google seeing them. The pages in question will drop out of Google completely (after a while), but, if you’re right about paid links being the cause of the problem, the rest of the site should benefit.