I read something over the weekend in a twitter post that lead me to an article that talked about the "dreaded Google Slap".

If you’re new to SEO, Search Engine Optimization, you may be asking: "What in the Sam Hill is a Google Slap?" Well I'm glad you asked. I don't like the term because it implies that Google randomly punishes you for no reason. Google is in business and they do quite well - they want to provide the best search results they can. If they just randomly decided to move a highly ranked site from the 1st page of results to the 50th, people would not get the same quality of search results. They're not going to jeopardize their business just to mess with your rankings.

While it's true that every now and then Google will adjust their algorithms for ranking. When they do this, some sites that previously ranked well for certain search terms (called Keywords) may no longer rank well for those same terms. When this happens, those affected will complain that they've been "Google Slapped".

This not only happens with "Organic Search Results" (the non-paid listing of sites you get when you type in something to search for), it can also happen to paid advertising. PPC (Pay Per Click) paid advertising shows up on the Right Side of the Google search results. When this happens with PPC, you can be dropped for a keyword, or your bid amounts can go up drastically.

I've had my rankings drop and then return after a day or two to where they were. Maybe Google changed something and realized it was a mistake and fixed it. Maybe it's just part of their algorithm to "cycle" some sites around. This is not the same thing as getting "slapped". The rankings returned pretty quickly and were not buried at #999 or so. When you're "slapped" you don't bounce back in a day or two.

When Google finds that people are "gaming" their system and getting sites to rank higher than they should, they update their algorithms to counteract whatever trick someone figured out. If you have quality content, follow my advice, and don't try to cheat, then you don't usually have to worry about getting "slapped", delisted, or otherwise ignored by Google.

There are a couple of sites I normally bounce around with in ranking for the search term Internet Business. Most are good sites that I respect a lot. I've been neck and neck, #1 and #2, back and forth, for a few months with a particular site. They've been #1 for a while and I've been #2. Not any more! I'm #1 again. Three days ago, they dropped from #1 to #201, then #195, and #193. Were they Google Slapped? Who knows? Time will tell. If their ranking jumps back up then it was just some anomaly. Update: the "other" site popped back up – they were not slapped!

Author's Bio: 

Fred Black is a web site developer, online business operator, systems integrator, father, husband, musician, songwriter, and Search Engine Optimization Expert.