Charity search engine Everyclick.com has become the latest victim of the dreaded Google penalty, having been relegated to

number 60
 in the search engine for its brand name.

Will Critchlow has covered this on the Distilled blog, seeing no particular reason for the penalty, and speculating that the fact that Everyclick is a search engine may have something to do with it.

I contacted Everyclick, and talked to MD Polly Gowers about the issue.

Apparently, the penalty was applied last Thursday, and a number of other search terms related to Everyclick have also been affected:

“We have over 260,000 pages indexed and we have seen a drop in position across all keywords. Our highest drop appears to be for our website name. For other keywords we have fallen to about #40.”

Polly thinks the issue may be related to duplicate content; something that was a problem on Everyclick’s previous site:

“We think we may have found the reason, and the site has been submitted for reconsideration. We’re continuing to look for any further issues and can only wait to see if Google changes its mind in the next few weeks. Fingers very crossed.”

If this is the reason for Everyclick’s penalty, it seems harsh when compared to recent examples of Kwik-Fit and Gocompare. Both were penalised for buying paid links, but were only dropped down the rankings for the term ‘car insurance’, not their brand names.

This still had a serious effect on the two sites; in the case of Gocompare, its traffic for the term dropped by 87% as a result.

The company did get back into Google’s good books, but recovery from this kind of penalty can still take time. Even now, Gocompare is only on page three of Google.co.uk for the term.

This has meant that the company has had to buy traffic to compensate for the loss of positon, as these Hitwise stats show.

Gocompare paid and organic traffic

With Google’s market share so high, especially in the UK and Europe, Everyclick’s problem emphasises the need for companies to be careful about what they and their SEO agencies are doing. The costs of breaking the search engine’s rules isn’t worth the risk.

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Related articles:

Q&A: icrossing’s Nilhan Jayasinghe on Google penalties

Q&A: Polly Gowers of Everyclick

Related research:

Search Engine Marketing Buyer’s Guide 2008