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Roadmap for a Rapid Google Penalty Recovery

by on Mar 16, 2016 in Marketing, Social Media Marketing

Getting hit by a Google penalty is a matter of concern for all site owners. A Google penalty throttles your site traffic by reducing the number of new leads that your website can generate. Search engine traffic is essential for online businesses. That’s why marketers and SEO experts are twisting and manipulating the link-building process to get maximum traffic from organic search, and many of them are getting penalized by Google for violating its guidelines.

Google Penalty

After getting hit by a Google Penalty, you get the first shock when you receive this message regarding detection of unnatural links.

According to Matt Cutts , the former head of Google’s web spam team, Google handles more than 400,000 manual penalties every month. Only 5% of websites are trying to recover their rankings, which implies only 20,000 webmasters are submitting a reconsideration request for removal of penalties.

What does a ‘Penalty’ mean?

There are 2 types of penalties initiated by bad backlinks: Manual penalty (Panda) and Algorithmic penalty (Penguin).

Algorithmic penalty: It is the penalty that aims at detecting your bad backlinks and is a master step towards identification of unnatural link profiles. There are 3 link patterns that can lead to an algorithmic penalty that are – link quality, link velocity, and link diversity. To recognize an algorithmic penalty, it is important to match the date of your traffic drop to the date of the algorithm release (Penguin algorithm is quite huge and runs for some weeks). For example, after getting penalized by Penguin in September 2014, Niche Pursuits saw a considerable drop in web traffic.

Manual penalty: This penalty is as severe as Penguin, but it basically grinds weak content. If Google analysts manually examine your web domain making use of black hat SEO practices, you are slammed with a manual penalty. If some pages on your domain are discovered to violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, the ranking of either those specific pages or the entire website will be affected. After getting hit by a manual penalty, you are going to receive a message in your webmasters account that reads like this:

Penguin

Manual penalty: This penalty is as severe as Penguin, but it basically grinds weak content. If Google analysts manually examine your web domain making use of black hat SEO practices, you are slammed with a manual penalty. If some pages on your domain are discovered to violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, the ranking of either those specific pages or the entire website will be affected. After getting hit by a manual penalty, you are going to receive a message in your webmasters account that reads like this:

Manual Penalty

So, before getting into the strategies of how to recover from a Google penalty, the best thing to do is to ensure that you don’t receive a penalty in the first place.

How to recover from a penalty?

If your site is penalized, you can still get back in the game and continue to excel in SERPs by adopting the following steps:

  1. Find out the cause : If your site is penalized, the first thing that you need to consider is the cause. A penalty can either be a manual one or an algorithmic one.
    • If the penalty is a manual one, you can head towards Google’s Search Console to find the reason for your penalty.
    • In the other case, you have to put in some efforts to find out the algorithmic penalty related to your website. Using Moz helps you maintain a record of the change history for all Google’s algorithm updates, like Google Panda and Google Penguin.
    • The penalty is linked to the content quality of your website if your site is penalized by Panda. To avoid a penalty, you must ensure that your content is unique and well-written with a decent length.
    • Bad links may be the reason if you are penalized by Penguin.
  2. Identify bad links : As soon as you determine the cause of your penalty, you can scan through your backlinks to identify and remove those that affect your ranking. With Google Search Console, you can quickly check the backlinks to your website.
    • Many tools like SEMrush, Majestic Backlink Analyser, Moz have backlink databases that are more comprehensive and larger than the ones available in the Search Console.
    • It is recommended that you download your links from some other source and blend it with the data downloaded from the Search Console.
    • You must remove all unnatural backlinks from the mixture of both natural and unnatural links and, while identifying them, look out for the following:
    • This is the step where you need to be really cautious. If you are not a specialist, you might erase the links that are actually good, and do no harm to your website.
      • Spammy business directories
      • Sidebar links
      • Links to poor content pages
  3. Erase bad links : This is the step where you need to be really cautious. If you are not a specialist, you might erase the links that are actually good, and do no harm to your website.
    • It is a good idea to use the link analysis tools provided by software like Cognitive SEO or Link Detox in case you are not completely sure to identify a bad link. However, bear in mind that these tools aren’t 100% accurate every time.
    • Therefore, it is important to check the links manually too.
  4. Discuss with the webmasters : After identifying the bad links, you need to contact site owners, discuss the situation and ask them to remove those links or change them to ‘nofollow’.
    • In the email to the webmaster, discuss the nature of the issue and the exact location of the link that needs to be removed. That makes it easy for the webmasters to help you.
    • If they ask for money or ignore your request in any way, you can follow the process of disavowing the domain. Do not pay even a single penny to anyone under any situation.
    • You need to be alert while using disavow tool as it can hurt you too if used incorrectly.
  5. Submit reconsideration request : After identifying bad links and disavowing or removing them completely, you can get in touch with Google and ask them to reconsider your penalty. A successful request includes two statements:
    • Clarify everything that you’ve done to clean up your website.
    • Explain the measures that you’ve taken to prevent it from accumulating bad links again in future.
  6. Maintain patience : After going through all these steps, the process of waiting begins. You will start seeing the difference gradually in terms of site traffic and website ranking in SERPs.

Got hit by a Google penalty?

At Grazitti Interactive, we have an experienced team of certified digital marketers who can help you plan, strategize, and manage your website optimization strategy, content and online campaigns effectively – driving maximum results. Feel free to reach out to us at info@grazitti.com to know more about our PPC, SEO, SMM, and unique content services.

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