Matt Cutts from Google has released a new video which looks at how you can tell if you have a Google Algorithmic Penalty or see if your site is just being outranked by better content.
Matt says to first check in your Google Webmaster tools to see if you have a manual action notice against your website. You should also check for simple errors like crawl errors or removing a noindex tag if the site has been moved over from a development area. He goes on to say that Google rolled out 665 algorithm changes associated with search results in 2012, this gives us an idea of the scale of work going on behind the scenes at Google. Matt says they try and give people a “heads up with major algorithmic factors like with Google Penguin”, but in general we will never get to see them all.
“If you site is not ranking where you want it to it is hard to say if you would call it a penalty or the result of poor content according to Cutts. It is however algorithmic so every change you make on the site can have an impact, so looking at what your competitors ranking higher than you are doing is a good thing. The algorithms can reprocess and re-score your site.” The interesting point here is Matt talking about the onsite elements that the algorithms are reviewing and leaving off much of the talk to do with backlinks and offsite elements in this particular video.
Take a look at the full video below.