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Google Penalties Recovery


The past two years have been a tremendous ruckus with Penguin, Panda and other penalties rolled out by Google. Many sites were affected and the algorithm updates had large impact on other sites. Here are some useful points on how to recover from those penalties and keeping your back link profile clean.

We differ between Manual spam (ie anchor text issues) and Manual actions, which appear on GWT as a warning under the Search Traffic tab called Manual Actions. There you’ll see two different types of warnings: Site-wide matches and Partial matches. Site-wide matches means that your whole link profile is pretty bad and needs an immediate audit. Partial matches gives you a hint that you are actually losing value with a couple of bad links pointing to specific pages. You can request a review after you have cleaned up your backlink profile.


What to do if you received a manual link penalty?

Don’t panic, here is a little guideline on the steps you should consider:

  • Check your link profile and keep checking even after you get rid of that penalty
  • Using link tools can be used as well in your research process, but be careful that they sometimes include good links as well. Hence, it is better if you go through the links yourself as you would do the same with the tool.
  • Get rid of all the negative SEO, which might have been popular back in the days – Linkspamming= NOT GOOD!
  • Beware, that removing the anchor text won’t be enough! You will still have to disavow that link!
  • If a link doesn’t exist anymore, disavow immediately as well!

Penguin and Panda

Penguin was a huge rollout, which targeted brand links and links with a heavy reliance on the anchor text. Penguin literally looks for sites with loads of bad links and therefore sites were hit bad, which were usually heavily optimised for.

According to Google the Panda rollout isn’t a penalty. It focuses on the content and usability of a site, which effectively hits on domain level and results in major losses in rankings. Hence, the importance of getting a low bounce rate has become even more of a stand out factor.

However, the main point is – If you only have bad links in your backlinks profile, then don’t expect to recover from Google’s penalties. It would be a good suggestion to change domain in this case.

So what about your own pages?

How should they be built up, in order to avoid any Google’s punishment?

  • Duplicate content? – Always check duplicates on other sites, such as product descriptions on ecommerce sites.
  • Thin pages – Make your content as valuable and interesting for the customer/user as possible.
  • Banners & Ads – Don’t even start adding spammy banners and ads to your pages.
  • Value? – Is your page adding any value to the user?

What makes a good link actually good?

Here are four major points you should consider when starting your link audit:

  • NO to exact match anchor texts
  • Brand anchor texts should only be on useful pages
  • NO to directories, unless it drives some traffic to your business
  • If the blog you receiving the link from says the slightest about ‘sponsored post’ next to the link or on the site itself.

Why should you keep these bullet points in mind and follow them?

Basically, Google uses to search for anchor texts, in order to identify unnatural links. Google are specialists in uncovering networks and devaluing your site or handing out penalties.

How do you work yourself through these links you have?

Google obviously presented their Disavow tool to the public, which would make it very easy to lose any relationship with spammy sites. However, people in the beginning broke out in hysteria and shock, meaning that they disavowed nearly their whole back link profile. The art is to find the bad links and disavow them and checking again and again. Make sure, you haven’t included a very good link in the spreadsheet filled with the links to disavow. Here are some bullet points you should remember:

  • Disavow if it solely helps your rankings!
  • Disavow on domain level
  • Keep track of spammy links (ie on a spreadsheet including domain level, domain URL, Live or not live, duplicate yes or no?)
  • Disavowing is enough – No need to remove links
  • Add 404’s and dodgy ‘no follow’ links to the disavow tool
  • Refresh every week and keep refreshing your disavow file

It is a massive work load to get back your rankings if you have been hit by Penguin or Panda, but it is possible. However, if your backlink profile is purely filled with bad links, then consider moving domains. Moreover, not every ranking drop is penalty based, as it could relate to a link devaluation.