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25 Jul 2022 /

The Expert’s Guide to Google Penalty Removal in 2022

Has your website’s traffic been slow or non-existent recently? Have you received a warning in Google Webmaster Tools? Is it difficult for your consumers to locate you on the internet? You’re probably dealing with a penalty, and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. We are going to explain to you step by step method of the Google penalty removal.

The Unabridged Guide to Getting Rid of Google Penalties teaches you how to find, address, and recover from Google penalties using our approach and tactics. This guide will provide you with the information and resources you need to restore your website’s position, whether it’s due to an algorithmic or manual penalty.

An Introduction to This Guide

Consider this: You’re the owner of a successful website. You’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort to establishing your online presence, and you’ve reached the top spot on Google for your keywords. Your traffic and revenues are through the roof. There’s no stopping you now.

Then, one morning, you check your website to find that conversions and sales have stalled. There is no traffic. You Google your keywords and brand name, but your site isn’t visible or has been pushed back to page 10. It’s as if your company never existed online in the first place.

We’ll go ahead and take the fact that you’re reading this guide as an implication that something like it has occurred to you—that it isn’t merely a figment of your imagination, but rather a serious problem. It’s very probable that you’ve been penalized if your website has vanished from Google’s search results, resulting in a significant drop

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of recovering from a Google penalty from beginning to end. The procedure will not be simple, and recovery will take time and effort. However, if implemented correctly, a restoration strategy can help your website reindex and rank again.

Before we begin, it’s important to understand the history of Google penalties and why they happen.

What Are Google Penalties?

Since the launch of Google, it has continuously improved its search engine algorithm. The search engine employs a wide range of algorithms, or rules, to figure out where a site appears in its results for searched terms or phrases.

The first documented update to an algorithm was made in September 2002, and the first named upgrade, Boston, debuted in February 2003. Google’s intentions at this stage were to release monthly upgrades to improve user search results. Basic problems with search results, such as hidden text, hidden links, and keyword stuffing, were addressed with these initial monthly upgrades.

Over the past ten years, Google’s update process has been refined. The search engine now provides an open report on its updates, rather than leaving webmasters to guess what occurred or why something was done. In addition, penalties for sites are no longer limited to a certain number of times each month. Finally, instead of keeping webmasters in the dark about their sites’ rankings, Google now provides more information to help them improve their position in search results.

Google hands down website penalties in two distinct methods:

Algorithmic Penalties: Penalties are incurred automatically, as a result of one (or more) of the algorithm updates we’ve previously described. Minor penalties can be recovered in time as your site improves its quality and continues to be relevant. Major penalties are more difficult, and in some cases may require you to take specific action on your site, such as cleaning up harmful content or making structural changes to your site architecture.

Manual Penalties: These penalties are usually more severe than automatic ones, and you will often find your website deindexed—removed from Google’s search results entirely if they feel it is extremely harmful or spammy.

This guide will assist you in recovering from either an algorithmic or a manual penalty. Each penalty type has its own set of problems and recommended actions for recovery.

In the following chapter, we’ll look at why penalties occur in the first place, which will assist you to understand why your site may be targeted by Google.

Why Penalties Happen

You’ve undoubtedly heard the inquiry “why do good people suffer?” In your case, you might be asking, “why do terrible things happen to reputable websites?” You run an honest company and sell only high-quality items or services. Why would Google want to penalize your website?

We’re sorry to tell you this, but if you’ve been penalized—particularly if you’ve been deindexed—then your website isn’t perfect. Google makes mistakes on occasion; however, it’s unlikely that your site was penalized “for no cause,” or that you’re being targeted. Instead of focusing on all the things you’re doing right, it’s time to look for the things you’re doing wrong.

For one very particular purpose, Google makes search engine algorithm modifications and hands out fines to websites: they want to improve the user experience. Users may abandon a website that’s too slow, has intrusive pop-ups, or is difficult to navigate. If a website isn’t providing a good user experience, it’s violating one of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

It was simple to alter a website’s ranking in search results a few years ago, shortly after Google began updating its algorithms. People found a way to “game the system” by stuffing their web pages with keywords, for example. Links were crucial, so websites bought links to their site or established directories solely for the purpose of obtaining them. Because keyword density was once significant, keyword stuffing was rampant (and still is, to a certain extent). To discourage these and other disingenuous practices, Google has taken action. As a result, many companies that used to rank highly in search results have been penalized. They’re not necessarily bad companies, but they did use black-hat SEO techniques.

Google is continuously finding methods to identify and penalize websites that practice this behavior, with each algorithm update. Their goal has always been for the user experience to come first, and they are succeeding. As a result, many companies that used to rank highly in search results have been penalized.

So, if Google is committed to providing users with the best experience possible, penalties will follow as a result. Their algorithm upgrades are just one way they’re able to achieve this. If you sell a product or service, you probably want users to be able to find your website when they search for it. Let’s get started now by identifying the penalty your website has received, which will provide you with the information you need to develop a recovery strategy.

This lengthy list of potential penalty causes may assist you to learn more about what Google dislikes seeing on websites in order to improve its rankings.

Determining a Penalty

As we mentioned above there are two sorts of penalties: algorithmic and manual. Algorithmic penalties are automated punishments that result from a change in search engine rules. Manual penalties are imposed by Google’s Search Quality team when they believe that a site has violated the Webmaster Guidelines.

It’s critical to figure out what type of penalty you’ve received, as well as what action or actions triggered it, in order to get back on. It’s nearly impossible to recover from a penalty without having an understanding of what you did wrong. Otherwise, you’d be content-dumping your website with hope and a prayer, rather than using targeted actions that have a good chance of being effective.

You can find out the severity of your site’s penalty by examining Google Webmaster Tools for notifications from Google. You or the firm that built your website should have registered your site with Google Webmaster Tools.

Checking for Manual Actions

To check if a manual action has been taken, go to Webmaster Tools and select “Search Traffic,” then “Manual Actions.” If Google has taken a manual action, you will see a message under “Site Status.”

Google Penalty Removal Services

Google’s manual action notifications are quite brief, but they frequently include useful information about the location of the problem. For example, a warning about hazardous content usually includes a link to the page in question or even the location in the code where the problem is occurring.

content injection

If you see a notification on this page, keep note of what it says. The following is a list of current Google manual actions and fines:

  • Hacked website
  • Thin content
  • Unnatural links to your website—impacts links
  • Unnatural links from your website
  • Unnatural links to your website
  • Cloaking
  • Pure spam

If you don’t see any fines or warnings listed here, don’t give up yet! This implies that you’ve been affected by a Google update, but the good news is that there are a few things you can do to get your traffic back. Just keep reading!

Identifying Algorithmic Penalties

It might be difficult to figure out why Google has downgraded your site in Webmaster Tools if there is no message there. However, because of Google’s continual announcements and algorithm adjustments, it is quite simple to identify which update has affected your site.

Start by loading Google Analytics and looking at your traffic data for the last 30 days or so. Look for any noticeable changes in traffic that occurred over a very short period, usually a day or two. If your traffic took a nosedive on April 6 or steadily declined between the 6th and 10th, this is a sign of the algorithm update affecting your website.

google algorithm

Google is always changing the algorithm to keep up with its ever-changing online world. It’s important that you stay on top of these changes, so search for “Google update April 6” and check out what information might be available online about any updates they may have made recently!

What do these sources have in common? They all provide valuable information that will help you understand what’s going on with your site and how it might be affecting rankings. For example, if Google reports an update was made to target websites containing low-quality content or increased penalties for sites producing unnatural link profiles then this could very well account for why my search engine traffic has slipped over time!

Was it Panda?

The Google algorithm update “Panda” is an ongoing process that modifies and refreshes their search results with new algorithms. The first release of this software, in 2011 impacted 12% percent or more English language queries when it came out to push websites having high-quality content at the top while moving low-quality sites down (or even off) page rankings over a time period through refinements made by them after releasing each refresh cycle until they have improved all aspects related towards webpages who are not meeting standards set forth within these criteria.

Unlike some other algorithm modifications, Panda affects the whole site; as a result, if you have a few pages that are regarded to have “light content,” your entire site may be penalized. This can lead to a significant ranking drop on competitive terms, especially if similar sites provide superior content and fewer advertisements than yours.

If your site has been impacted by Panda, your efforts will be focused largely on improving the content of your site. You will need to add more content (to your homepage, to product pages, to a blog, and so on), cut back on ads (if you have any), and remove any duplicate content.

Was it Penguin?

Google released its “Penguin” update approximately a year after Panda. Penguin was created to penalize websites that employ spammy methods to improve their rankings, and it was first announced in April 2012. Penguin, also known as the “Webspam Update,” affected roughly 3.1 percent of English-language search queries.

According to Google, Penguin was created to encourage high-quality sites and punish those that utilized methods such as keyword stuffing, content used only to hold unrelated links, and over-optimization in order to achieve ahead. Penguin is updated on a regular basis in order to influence additional search queries and adjust how it affects a site that breaks Google’s quality standards.

If your site has been hit by Penguin, you should focus on eliminating any spammy content and as many unnatural links as possible. You’ll need to develop high-quality connections to your website, improve your content, and remove anything that breaks Google’s guidelines (such as sitewide footers with paragraphs of keyword-rich text). It’s also important to note that Penguin is not a penalty – it’s simply an algorithm update. This means that if you take the necessary steps to improve your website.

What Should You Do Next?

You should have a reasonable idea why your ranks have plummeted after going through your communications in Webmaster Tools or learning about your penalty with some effort. It’s critical that you immediately cease any activities that led to the penalty at this point.

If your penalty is due to the presence of unnatural or paid links in your backlink profile, you should cease creating links from directories and paying for links in sitewide footers of unrelated sites. If your punishment appears to be linked to scraped material on your website, stop scraping it. Take a long hard look at what you’ve been doing wrong and make the necessary changes.

If your SEO is handled by a third party and you believe they are to blame, it’s time to have a talk with them. Inquire about anything that may have contributed to the penalty. Some less-than-reputable agencies offer higher rankings through spammy approaches like keyword stuffing or by creating links on every site that will accept them, even if the client is never aware of it. You may want to think about breaking away from them and looking for a better partner who can assist with recovery progress, or even going it alone at this point.

In the following chapter, we’ll look at the first stages you should take on your journey to recovery from a penalty. Then, in each category of penalty, we’ll look at some more specific actions you can take to improve your chances.

Extra reading: Google Webmaster Central Forum

Do you have a problem with Webmaster Tools? The official forum at Google is where you can ask questions or read messages from others.

First Steps to Recovery

Recovering from a penalty is generally time-consuming, complicated, and stressful. As a result, it’s preferable to think of the process in terms of long-term damage control, rather than attempting to reverse the decision overnight. Here are five simple steps you may follow to get started without scaring yourself or your team.

1. Investigate the penalty thoroughly. Set aside at least an hour to read up on the penalty you received. If you’re still in the mindset of “but we didn’t do anything wrong!” … well, that’s something that definitely has to alter before you begin. It’s probable that if you aren’t serious about recovery, you will not succeed in your endeavors.

Do some research on your penalty until you have a greater grasp on why you were penalized, what it implies for your SEO strategy in the future, and how others have recovered. Case studies may assist you in developing your own recovery plan. Moz, Search Engine Watch, and Search Engine Journal are good places to start looking for case studies.

2. Communicate with your team. Take some time to sit down with your team, agency, or developers and discuss the penalty. Find out what their ideas are and what suggestions they have for your recovery strategy. Avoid blaming one another and pointing fingers; you’re all in this together, so you’ll probably have to work together to get your site indexed and ranking again.

3. Unify your efforts and resources. If you’re working with an agency or SEO company that only does part of your online marketing, set up a face-to-face meeting to combine your efforts. After you’ve gone through the strategies in the following section, you’ll probably want to allot specific team members with responsibilities.

Consider creating a collaborative document where you can all “check in” and review progress if your recovery appears to take a long time and effort—for example, if you have hundreds of links to remove. You may also use a program like Basecamp to establish a group project and share files or set goals for achievement.

4. Keep working. In the previous chapter, we advised you to cease any activities that may have caused the fine. This does not, however, imply that you should stop working entirely. You probably still have consumers and visitors coming to your site via other channels who are unaware of the problem. So stick to your normal routine as much as possible, whether it be fulfilling orders or continuing to drive traffic to your site. The one thing you should not do is ignore the problem, as this will only make it worse.

5. When you have time, take a rest.. The recovery phase might be time-consuming and difficult for you and your team. If you spend a week removing useless links or rewriting hundreds of words on your site, set aside some time to unwind or thank your staff for their efforts. Buy them a cup of coffee, take them to the theater, or give them several hours off on Friday afternoon.

After you’ve taken your first baby steps, it’s time to get serious about your recovery efforts. The following chapter explains how to recover from various manual and algorithmic penalties in depth. Use the links below to jump to the most relevant section (or just keep scrolling).

Bonus reading: How to Evaluate and Overhaul Your SEO Strategy

Creating a new SEO strategy for your website will be crucial in the future. This article provides you with several practical ideas that you may use throughout the recovery process.

Penalty Resolution Methods

  • Security Issues (hacking, spam, malware, or malicious content)
  • Unnatural or Spammy Links
  • Thin Content
  • Duplicate or Scraped Content
  • Other Issues

Security Issues

A hacked website may be a webmaster’s worst nightmare. If Google finds that your website has been infected with malware, has been tampered with to include spammy or harmful content, or is otherwise altered in a way that might damage a user’s computer or ruin their online experience, it will take two steps:

  1. Notify you via a Webmaster Tools message
  2. Display a “This site may be hacked” message beneath your site in search results

Here’s what the message to users may look like:

hacked site

Unfortunately, these security concerns might result in your site being penalized. Google doesn’t want users to access a website that has been hacked or is potentially harmful, so they’ll do whatever it takes to remove it from their search results. This is especially true for spam, which is considered harmful yet does not include a caution signal in search results.

Fortunately, recovering from a malware infection or hacking is usually a fast process, and you may regain your position in search results just as quickly. Google has a great step-by-step guide to recovering from a sitewide infection and requesting a review, so we’ll walk you through the basics.

1. Take your site down. To keep others from doing more damage to your website, you should immediately prevent them from accessing it. Google advises that you set up your .htaccess code to return a 503 (or “Service Unavailable”) error, which indicates that your site is temporarily unavailable. You should also update all of the usernames and passwords used to access your website.

2. Contact those who need to be kept in the dark. This can include staff, consumers, or users of your service, depending on your company model. Also, contact your website host to notify them that there’s an issue in case this is a cyber attack rather than an individual site.

3. Find the source of the problem. There are a number of methods for determining what is going on. You should check your Google Webmaster Tools account to see if you have any malware warnings—click Health, then Malware, and look for messages. Google also has a diagnostics page that will report any known problems automatically; you may examine your .htaccess file or server logs to see if there are any 500 errors. If you don’t have access to these tools, ask your host for help.

4. Clean it up. Remove the threat, modified files, or spammy content. If you have a previously verified good backup on your server, you can simply restore it and replace the pernicious files. Just be sure to close any security vulnerabilities if you go down this route!

You can avoid this from happening again simply by cleaning up your site and taking action after. Although not all breaches are preventable, you may make it more difficult for someone to target your site. Only provide passwords to individuals when absolutely necessary, using strong passwords for all accounts and access methods connected with your website (such as FTP accounts). Don’t transmit sensitive website data via email. Finally, double-check that your CMS or platform is up to date because there are frequently exploits in older versions that give hackers access to a site with an out-of-date CMS.

Continue reading to learn how to prevent this from happening again by following these next steps: After you’ve eliminated all of the bad links and updated your site, jump to chapter 7 to find out how to submit a reconsideration request so that your site will return to the rankings.

Extra: Audit Your Competitors: A Complete Guide to SEO Websites

Unnatural or Spammy Links

There are a few different messages about unnatural links that you might receive in Webmaster Tools, all with slightly different meanings. Here are the messages you might receive:

Unnatural links to your site: This indicates that Google has discovered links pointing to your site that seem unusual. Paid links, directories from multiple countries, spammy blog comments, or even a large number of links from tactics that would be standard at a lower volume are all possible sources of unnatural links to your site. Link networks are also a typical source of unnatural links. If you’re unsure whether the links pointing to your site are artificial, check the referring sites to see if they appear to be part of a link scheme. If the links don’t appear to be part of a larger, cohesive strategy, they may be artificial.

Unnatural links from your site: This notice informs you that your website is linking to other websites in an unusual manner, similar to the preceding notification. You could have been paid to add these links, or they might have been added without your knowledge.

Unnatural links to your site—impacts links: This is usually the message that Google uses to notify you when they believe some of the spammy links to your site are beyond your control. They probably don’t think you’re paying for links or engaging in any other activities that might be considered spammy. As a result, this warning simply indicates that the links have been targeted—not your website..

If you’ve been penalized for having a manual link, you may be curious about the differences between a “natural” and an “unnatural” link, or what makes a “good” vs. a “bad” connection. Google is fairly clear on what they think constitutes a violation of their guidelines and has a page on link schemes that may help you determine the difference between good and bad. Here are examples of links that can impact your ranking:

  • Links that are purchased or received in exchange for goods and services
  • Excessive link exchanges with other websites for the sake of link building
  • Guests posts or articles posted on multiple sites with anchor text links
  • Links achieved through any kind of automated program or service

Google places a high premium on the user experience, which is why unnatural links are frowned upon. Most unnatural links appear strange and may perplex or irritate website users. As a result, if Google believes that the quality of your website’s connections is insufficient, you will be penalized.

Removing Links from Your Site

It’s really straightforward to remove links that you’ve established: edit your website and delete the connections. That’s all there is to it!

After you’ve gotten rid of the unnatural links, you’ll want to submit a reconsideration request. To learn how to do this, go to chapter 7.

Removing Links to Your Site

To get rid of the manual penalty for unnatural links pointing to your site, you must first remove links that others have generated as a consequence of your actions or theirs. This may appear difficult—and it can be—but if you want your penalty to go away, you must persevere.

There are a variety of methods to examine your link profile and begin eliminating those unnatural links pointing to your site. We’ll demonstrate Link Detox, but you may use whatever tool you want. For this example, we’ve chosen Link Detox since it provides a wealth of information about every link leading to our example site, including a score.

We’ll start by inputting the URL of our website into Link Detox, which will do the rest. When it’s done analyzing all of your inbound links—which may take a long time if you have a lot of them—you’ll be able to see a quick overview of your findings first. This summary will show your overall risk and detox scores, and how many different types of toxic links were found.

In this case, our site’s link profile isn’t looking too good.

link detox

The majority of the links redirecting to this website are unnatural, with only 35% appearing natural. That’s not a good sign. Let’s dig.

The first thing we clicked on was the “toxic” links, which make up 18% of the links pointing to our site. The Link Detox information displayed here is very useful and includes the URL, anchor text, and link’s danger. As you might expect, the more dangerous the link, the greater its potential impact on your site.

link detox

You’ll probably notice two things in our example results:

  • The 25 links on this page all employ the same anchor text, with the exception of one.
  • These connections appear almost identical as if the same website was duplicated across multiple domains – perhaps for the sole purpose of generating these backlinks.

Unfortunately, the first several pages of results seem to be identical, so we can probably conclude that the issue is linked to the same anchor text being used on possibly spammy websites. Let’s look a few pages further into the results to see what we can discover on lower-risk sites.

This page has a variety of low, moderate, and high-risk links. Take another look at how the anchor text from the initial page of results is popping up all the way down here? This is a fairly reliable indication of paid links. Links purchased naturally are seldom as optimized as that. In fact, if you look at the bottom of the first page of results, you’ll see some examples of sites that have been penalized by Google for paid link schemes.

If you’re wondering why Link Detox labeled a certain site or link as high risk, look in the “Rules” column for some additional information.

In this situation, many of our links follow the same regulations. Take note of how they also use the same registrar and IP address. It looks like our theory about site duplication was right on the money. These links were probably created by the same person and for the main purpose of tricking Google into thinking that multiple sites were linking to our site. All use keyword-rich anchor text, coincidentally.

Google’s algorithms are quite intelligent. As a result of Google’s detection, Link Detox identified the same registrar, IP, and other similar details that were previously discovered by Google—thus the manual penalty. So whether or not these links were intentional for our example site, the fact that they originated from essentially the same source is hurting them significantly.

With so many high-risk, unnatural connections, you’ll need to get them removed. This can be done one of two ways: by submitting (and obtaining) a removal from the webmaster or using Google’s link disavow tool.

Requesting a Link Removal

Before proceeding, make a list of the backlinks you want to be removed first. The simplest method to accomplish this is to create an Excel spreadsheet with columns for the following information:

  • URL where the link occurs
  • Webmaster contact information
  • Date of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. contact
  • The person responsible (if you’re working with a team)
  • Any additional details you think are important, like the URL (on your site) being linked to, the site name, or the name of the site owner

Copy over the URLs from Link Detox, or your link profile tool of choice, to fill in the first column. This should give you what you need to get started. Unfortunately, the rest of your columns will have to be filled in by hand through hard work.

Let’s make a one-off link removal request to give you an idea of how they should proceed. For example, orange-juice-weight-loss-plan.info is a very spammy site that links to the website profiled above in Link Detox. Because this site is highly unskilled and has nothing to do with our field so we want to remove the link. So we’ll start by simply asking them to take it down!

Begin by visiting the website that is cause for concern. Look for contact information on the site. An email address with a name connected to it is preferable, but finding one may be difficult. Here are some techniques to discover contact information that you can utilize to remove a link:

  • Check the “contact us” or “about us” pages—you may be able to find a phone number instead of an email address, or even a contact form.
  • Check the website’s registration information by performing a WHOIS search—usually you’ll find a name, address, and email address linked.
  • If you can at least figure out what name and where this individual goes by, do a Google search to look for his or her social media accounts or any other online presence.
  • There is usually a webmaster@site.com email address set up by default on most servers—if all else fails, give that a shot.

After you’ve discovered the contact information, save it to your spreadsheet. Then begin drafting your link removal request email. This message (or phone call) should be detailed but brief, and as direct as feasible. Explain to the webmaster why you’re contacting them and what you want them to do.

Here’s a sample email template you can use if you like:

Hello [WEBMASTER NAME],

My name is [NAME], and I run [YOUR SITE]. We recently received a manual penalty from Google for unnatural links that pointed to our website, and we’re attempting to correct our link profile. I’d like to request that you remove the connection between your site and [YOUR URL]. Here is a list of all the pages on

[Add Links]

Please let me know if you have any questions about this request. Thank you for your time!

Regards,
[NAME]

Document the date in your spreadsheet after you submit this request. Set a deadline by which you’ll follow up if you don’t receive a response. Then proceed to your next link removal request. If you have hundreds of spammy backlinks, though, you’ll need to do this several hundred times. You may save time by using a template for your link removal requests.

You’ll receive a variety of replies to your removal request emails. The webmaster may respond that the link has been removed. You could get no response at all. Alternatively, you might be asked for money to remove the link, or have a webmaster dispute your site’s spamminess with you.

Keep track of what you hear back in your spreadsheet. If the link is deleted from the record, strike it from the list. In any other case, continue to attempt or note that you’ve hit a roadblock while attempting to remove the connection. Avoid paying for link removal services: you may easily do this yourself (for free!) using Google Disavow Tool.

You can capture any emails you’re sending, websites’ responses, and contact forms that you submit. Remember to keep a record of everything as thoroughly as possible!

Set a deadline for when you’ll quit working on link removals. When you reach that date, record the data for all the links you haven’t been able to remove. You can now disavow these links using the Google Disavow Tool.

Using the Link Disavow Tool

Before you proceed with the link disavow tool, you should be confident of two things:

  1. You’ve done everything you can to get bad links removed by contacting webmasters, right?
  2. These remaining links, however, may be due to unsafe domains or spammy sites.

The Google Disavow Tool is an “advanced tool,” according to Google, and they’re correct. If you misuse this feature—that is, if you disavow links that have genuinely aided your search-engine rankings–you risk setting yourself back even further once your site has been reindexed.

Here is their official warning on using this tool, which we think is worth repeating:

This is a more complicated option, and it should be used with extreme caution. This tool can have a detrimental impact on the performance of your site in Google’s search results if used incorrectly. Backlinking disavowals only if you believe you have a large number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you. In most cases, Google can assess which links to trust without additional guidance, so most normal or typical sites will not need to use this tool.

Those of you who have a lot of spammy links may find that this tool is required. So, to get started, open your spreadsheet with the unresolved link removals you’ve requested. You’ll need it to generate Google’s disavow file.

For disavow requests, Google only accepts text files (.txt format, UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII encoding). Start by creating a new text file and aligning it on your screen next to your spreadsheet. You’ll need to paste the links you wish to disavow from your spreadsheet into this document in Google’s preferred format.

You may add any of the following lines to this sheet: single links, domain connections, and comments. A single link is used if just one website’s page appears to be causing you damage. Domain connections are used for entire sites that should have their links revoked. Comments, although they aren’t believed by Google to be read, are methods in which you can explain the rationale behind your disavow requests.

Here’s an example of how to properly format a single link and domain disavowal

# requested removal on 4/2 and 4/8, no response received
http://www.spammysite.com/link-page.html
# was asked to pay for removal of footer links
http://www.really-bad-website.org/bad-links.htm
# asked for removals on 4/2, 4/8, and 4/12, no response received
domain:poorseo.com
domain:shady-website-tactics.com

You may use a variety of comments and links in your file to signal what work you’ve completed and which links you’d want to be disavowed, as shown above. When unsure, it’s usually preferable to disavow entire domains rather than individual ones because one link can appear on many different pages in Google’s index. When adding new pages or sites to your disavow file, be sure to include a comment with the date (e.g., “Disavowing these links on September 5, 2020”) so you can keep track of changes over time.

After you’ve finished compiling your file, go to Google’s disavow links tool page in Webmaster Tools. You’ll choose your site, click the “disavow links” button, and select the text file to upload from there. When Google crawls the web, it will consider the redirects you’ve disavowed.

Although the link disavows can take a few weeks to complete, you must nevertheless continue working throughout this time. Skip ahead to chapter 7 to begin preparing your reconsideration request after removing and disavowing your undesirable links.

Thin Content

When Google detects that your site’s content isn’t enough, it issues a “thin content” warning in Webmaster Tools. Resolving this is really easy: produce more stuff!

thin content

The penalties for not renewing your affiliate agreement are severe. Websites that are part of affiliate networks are particularly susceptible to this penalty. Affiliate sites, which you may be unfamiliar with, advertise items for sale on other websites. When a person clicks the link at an affiliate site, they go to another website (usually the manufacturer’s) to complete the purchase. The affiliate site owner then earns a commission on the sale.

Affiliate websites often are singled out for having thin content. Many affiliate sites do only what is required to rank for specific keywords or phrases, include the links to the target stores, and then wait for money to come in. But Google doesn’t think that this is fair, especially if affiliate sites pull content from the manufacturer’s site to describe the products they are trying to make money off of. Just like any other website, affiliate sites should have high-quality, unique content.

If you’re unsure whether or not your site has been penalized for thin content, you should follow the steps below to recover as soon as possible:

  • Remove any copied material, including product descriptions or instructions. Your site’s content should be unique.
  • Remove anything that was produced primarily to improve rankings, such as keyword-stuffed and otherwise senseless homepage content or blog articles with numerous links buried in them.
  • To allow the site to load properly and speed up page loading, you should add some new content. Make a list of everything that has been removed and then write fresh content to replace it. Remember that you must write for people as well as search engines, so your writing should be intelligent rather than simply keyword-rich.
  • Create a content marketing plan that will fill your website with useful and interesting content, even if you are a commercial site. This might be a blog, white papers, articles, infographics, or any combination of these.

If you don’t have the resources to create such material, consider enlisting the help of an Internet marketing firm. An agency can write content for you, get it published on your site, and even assist you in promoting it to acquire relevant links to your site.

As we said, the resolution of a thin content penalty is straightforward since Google’s advice tells you precisely what is wrong with your website. However, don’t just create content to get out of the penalty and stop as soon as your site is reindexed. An ongoing content marketing campaign may help you acquire more visitors, and increase rankings for additional keywords.

After you’ve made a strategy to add fresh material to your site and overcome this suspension, move on to chapter 7 where we’ll discuss making a reconsideration request with Google.

Duplicate or Scraped Content

Google’s mission as a search engine is to give its users the greatest possible experience. It flourishes on providing numerous answers for queries and multiple sources of information for each query. However, what happens if all of the websites that rank for a certain term have identical content? Wouldn’t it be aggravating, particularly if the material doesn’t really answer the query? This is where Google’s latest update comes in – to crack down on sites that have little or no original content.

To avoid perplexing searchers by offering identical information in multiple results, Google frequently has to make judgments about which source of the material is most original.

According to Google, most of the time they are able to determine which site to rank in the top spot for a specific source of content, even if it is repeatedly scraped and republished without your consent:

In most situations, a webmaster has little control over third parties that scrape and distribute the material without his or her consent. We understand that this is not the fault of the afflicted webmaster, which implies that identical content appearing on numerous sites isn’t necessarily considered a violation of our webmaster standards. This is where things get sticky. Instead of relying on the goal, Google’s algorithm would be fooled by content that appears to come from a different site—a feature known as “content farm”

So, if you’re seeing your blog articles copied and republished on a few websites here and there, or if a few other shops have stolen your product descriptions for their own ecommerce website, you probably haven’t been penalized for duplicate content on different domains. However, if there is a lot of duplicate material on your own site, your ranking could be negatively impacted.

If you detect that your site has been penalized because of duplicate content, verifying this penalty might be difficult. There is no actual “duplicate content penalty,” unless you’ve been duplicating material deliberately and in large quantities. This implies that you won’t receive a notification in Webmaster Tools. You’ll have to figure out whether or not you’ve been penalized by looking at your traffic data and comparing it to historical patterns.

Let’s look at the three situations where duplicate content may lead to trouble, as well as how to know when and where to act. They are as follows:

  • Your content duplicated on your own website
  • Your content is duplicated or scraped on other websites
  • Duplicate or scraped content placed on your site

Your Own Site Duplicates Your Content

This happens frequently by accident, and without the site’s webmaster or owner realizing it. It’s especially frequent on eCommerce sites with sophisticated search features or sorting options. If your company creates unique URLs or offers numerous pages for a single product, you may fall in rankings for your preferred keywords or phrases occasionally. This is due to Google’s algorithms thinking that you’re trying to game the system or engage in other black hat SEO tactics.

To detect this problem, pretend you’re a regular visitor to your website. Locate one specific page, whether it’s a product page or a category page, using your search or sorting approach. Take note of the URL (it’s probably better to copy and paste it into a text document). Then, access that same page utilizing every other method you can think of. This might involve going through menus, sorting by various criteria, or looking for a different (but still relevant) keyword. Make a mental note or copy and paste all of the resulting urls.

Take a look at the URLs that you’ve created after performing this procedure a few times. If they’re all identical, it implies that you aren’t being penalized for having duplicate content on your own site. However, if your list resembles this…

http://www.your-site.com/good-stuff/
http://www.your-site.com/good-stuff?sort=oldest
http://www.your-site.com/demo/good-stuff/
http://www.your-site.com/collections/gifts/good-stuff/
http://www.your-site.com/good-stuff?session-id=198

You’ve received a penalty because of duplicate content. Because you can get to this page via multiple URLs, and Google has presumably crawled your site and indexed all of them, the search engine doesn’t know which one came first or which one is most important. It doesn’t want to rank all of them, therefore it won’t rank any of them. This might lead to penalization on a larger scale, especially for eCommerce stores with hundreds or thousands of items.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution for this! All you have to do is inform Google which page is the “correct” or original version. To achieve this, add the canonical tag to indicate that these additional versions shouldn’t be considered in your ranking.

You should have a good understanding of which version of your pages is the original. In our example, it’s apparent that it’s the first URL. When you sort the page content, view the “print version” of a page, and so on, other results appear. If you’re not sure, use a FTP client or File Manager tool to determine which version has an actual HTML, PHP, ASP, etc. file in your directories. The original is identified by the file with the actual file.

Here’s what you should add to the original page:

<head><link rel=”canonical” href=http://www.your-site.com/good-stuff/”></head>

So, how does Google discover this? The process is straightforward: the URL’s canonical code contains a line that says “this tells Google ‘hey, there’s no original content on this page if it’s accessed some other way—the real source is actually this URL.’ In turn, Google may read this code and acknowledge it, allowing only the canonical URL to rank. This not only aids in user comprehension, but it also prevents inadvertently duplicated material from penalizing your rankings.

By default, some ecommerce and website content management systems include rel=”canonical.” However, if you’re not sure, you may want to contact their customer support (or even a developer you trust) to inquire whether it’s there.

Keep an eye on your Google Webmaster Tools site status after you’ve applied the canonical tag to your pages. You should notice a significant drop in the number of indexed pages once Google recrawl your site. This is due to the fact that rel=”canonical” is equivalent to a 301 redirect for URLs that have been deleted—that is, duplicate URLs will no longer be seen as genuine since they were before. Following this crawl, you should see your rankings begin to improve again.

Your Content Duplicated Elsewhere

Let’s assume you’ve written a fantastic post on the subject of ethical farming practices. One of your friends, who is a farmer, enjoys your work and asks to have it republished on their website—one of the most popular farming forums in your region. The next thing you know, their version of the article has surpassed yours. What’s going on here?

Google does a decent job identifying the source of content, however, it does make mistakes. If your website is relatively new and your friend’s farming community is recognized for producing high-quality articles similar to yours, Google may consider you copied the material—not vice versa.

If you don’t want to make these types of errors again, use the same rel=”canonical” tag we discussed in the previous section. If someone asks you to include your material on their website—and we’re not talking about quotes here, but full articles or pages—they should include the following in their page’s <head>:

<head><link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.your-website.com/your-post.html”></head>

This tag informs Google not only that your website is the origin of the text on the page, but also that this secondary page should not rank (or at least rank as highly) as your primary page. If your friend wants to repost your piece simply because they feel their readers will like it, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t use this tag. If they have an issue with it or refuse, well… maybe linking to your site would be a better alternative for them.

In today’s SEO environment, there are many more people out there that are seeking to find ways to duplicate your content. Offsite content duplication becomes an issue if you encounter sites that regularly post material produced by others for the sake of ranking – commonly known as content farms – or less-than-reputable blogs that “scrape” other websites for fresh material to sell under the guise of creating it. If you communicate with the site’s webmasters and request a canonical tag, they’re likely to laugh at you (if they respond at all). Their main objective is to rank and make money, not to satisfy users.

In this case, you’re better off trying to get the duplicated content removed completely. There are a few steps you can take to do this:

1. Ask nicely for the removal. Send a brief, direct note to the webmaster informing them that your material has been copied from your site. Request that it be deleted, with an expiration date provided. If the content is not removed, you should take further action. Keep track of what’s going on and wait for a response. If no action is taken after 24 hours, go to step 2.

2. Use Google’s Copyright Removal tool. If the duplicate content is ranking alongside or even outperforming yours (or perhaps ranking higher), you may report it to Google. This application will need your contact information, as well as confirmation that you found the copied material and a link to where the duplicate page can be found. If several pages have been scraped, they must be reported separately. If Google accepts your claim, the scraped pages will be deleted from the index.

3. Contact the infringing website’s host. Look up the company that hosts the website where your scraped material was discovered using a WHOIS search. Send a DMCA take-down notice to the host. Web hosting businesses want to avoid legal difficulties at all costs, so they’ll most likely remove the offending page(s). IP Watchdog offers an excellent tutorial and sample letter for this procedure.

4. If all else fails, contact a lawyer. A legal consultant might be expensive, but obtaining assistance may be the greatest solution if the scraped material is harming your business severely or is too widespread for you to handle. You should be able to avoid being outranked by your own articles or blog entries by combining canonical tags and removal notifications—as well as careful monitoring of your content as it spreads across the Internet.

If you’ve removed a lot of duplicate content from other websites that you feel is hurting your rankings, keep an eye on Webmaster Tools to see whether particular keywords or long-tail phrases improve. Again, while Google is good at detecting the source of original material, almost everything can be harmful in excessively large quantities.

Duplicate or Scraped Content on Your Website

This type of situation might occur in a variety of circumstances. The basic idea is that if Google believes your site’s content is largely unoriginal — that is, it has been stolen from other websites either deliberately or inadvertently — your rankings will suffer. We spoke about this earlier, but why would Google want to give their users the same stuff over and over again in search results?

You might be wondering why you’re having trouble removing duplicate content on your website. You may have accidentally published the manufacturer’s short product descriptions instead of writing your own. Perhaps you paid a freelancer to write blog articles without double-checking if they’d already been published elsewhere. Perhaps you just let your SEO firm take care of it and they scraped and republished content from one or more websites on the internet, regardless of the reason. It’s now up to you to remove this duplicate material so that you can recover it.

There is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty, as we said in the beginning of this section. However, which product page will rank highest for the long-tail keyword in the copy if you and 500 other ecommerce businesses are utilizing the same manufacturer’s product description? Probably not yours. As a result, it’s somewhat of an indirect penalty.

Deleting duplicate or scraped material is the simple part. Finding it may be more difficult. Copyscape makes that phase much easier than it otherwise would be. Simply enter the URL of the page with suspicious content into Copyscape and see whether you get any results. If the content has previously appeared, you’ll be given links to additional sites as well as a sample of the copied text. (This is also an excellent tool for locating original material that has been stolen from you!)

Once you’ve figured out where the unoriginal content on your website is, you’ll need to start removing it. Here are some simple guidelines for deleting and replacing stolen material:

  • Instead of removing any scraped blog entries or articles, it could be a better idea to produce fresh material for the page. If you used to rank for one of the keywords within, new, original text may help you return to the top. Consider hiring a freelance writer if you’re short-staffed.
  • Duplicated descriptions or parameters do not usually cause difficulties unless they are repeated thousands of times or if huge retailers carry the items. If your products are common, consider writing new, distinct product copy. Create 3-4 sentences that are keyword-rich yet readable for customers.
  • If a page must be deleted entirely, add a 301 redirect to send visitors to another relevant page on your website. This informs Google that the page has been permanently relocated. If there isn’t a suitable alternative, it makes more sense to have links to 404 (or return a “not found” error). Users and Google may become confused by 301 redirects to irrelevant pages.
  • Remember to ask if the content has ever been published elsewhere when replacing duplicate content with material created by a new partner (like a freelancer or new SEO agency). Consider whether it’s worth the risk of adding it to your site if the answer is yes.
  • Once you’ve added fresh, unique content to your website, you’ll have to wait a little while for Google to crawl it again. Once this is completed, your rankings should start to climb. If you aren’t creating the content for your website yourself in the future, make use of Copyscape—it may prevent you from repeating the same mistakes.

Other Matters

We can’t really know what the next Google update will be. Although we may observe patterns that might result in an algorithm change at some time, it’s impossible to say when Google will act. Sometimes many months, if not years, pass between releases of a fix for a widespread problem.

Stay up to date is our top advice for individuals concerned that their website has been penalized by Google or has undergone an algorithmic change. Do your homework, sign up for blogs from prominent SEO and online marketing experts, and work with a business you can trust that will keep you informed about any significant changes in your ranking or site performance.

If you believe your site has been penalized by an algorithm change, do your homework before making any changes. The worst thing you can do is make changes blindly without knowing whether they will make a difference. If you’re not sure why your rankings plummeted so much, get expert assistance from the best SEO Company like Creative Sprout Media.

You’ve completed your tasks and your site is now ready to rank again. You’re ready to go on to the next chapter if you were given a manual penalty; chapter 8 explains how to submit a reconsideration request for algorithmic penalties.

Extra reading: Google Webmaster Central Blog

Reconsideration Request

If your website was penalized by an algorithmic penalty, you can skip this section. Reconsideration requests should be utilized only in the event of a manual penalty, according to Google’s webmaster guidelines. Recipients of algorithmic penalties may skip ahead to chapter 8 to discover possible recovery options.

It’s time to make a reconsideration request once you’ve looked into everything accessible for boosting the quality of your website. A reconsideration request is a communication addressed directly to Google in which you ask them to manually analyze your site to see if it fits their standards.

If, after this procedure, your website remains deindexed—that is, it no longer shows in search results even if you search for your company name or URL—you’ll need to repeat it. If your website was deleted from search results by hand, you must now restore it manually.

To start your reconsideration request, visit the appropriate page in Webmaster Tools.

google reconsideration request

You must then compose a statement expressing your request. This is critical. The message you deliver here will let Google know what steps you’ve taken to improve the quality of your website. This is the time to be as descriptive as possible in your note. You should never miss this phase or ask for immediate re-ranking just because you fixed the problem.

These demands are received and acted upon by real Google people. They aren’t going to assist you if you aren’t genuine, thorough, or convincing. Nothing is going to alter for you if they have even the slightest suspicion that you’ll return to your bad behavior or that you haven’t done everything possible to remove spammy links and scraped content. They don’t want to anger their customers, therefore you must offer them a compelling argument as to why they should take a chance on you!

Here are some ideas for creating an effective reconsideration request message:

1. Be detailed. It’s not necessary to produce a three-page letter full of your thoughts and emotions on being deindexed or how much it damaged your company. This means you should follow the five Ws—who, what, when, where, and why. Include dates, times, procedures, people involved, and so on if possible. The more precise numbers you provide are beneficial. Let Google know how many hours you spent dealing with link cleanup, how many emails you sent out and how many links were deleted.

2. Explain the actions you took. If you received a notification of unnatural links and took steps to remove 1,000 spammy links and disavow another 1,000, say so. Telling Google that you recognized the problem and took the necessary measures to correct it is an essential aspect of this procedure..

3. Proof in the form of Google Docs. Google is a company that intends to be the primary source of information for users. Since Google has considerable control over search engine results, it is able to employ this strategy as part of its stated mission. According to Matt Cutts, Google employees will not follow external documents’ links because they fear spam or virus infection—but they will open a Google Document. If you’ve gotten rid of spammy links pointing to your site, go one step further and convert your Excel spreadsheet of revoked links as well as your disavow request into Google spreadsheets. Include a link to each document in your request.)

4. Throw somebody under the bus if you feel the need. Although this isn’t a sure thing, webmasters whose penalties were caused by an unethical SEO firm may have some luck shifting the blame. If you can accept responsibility for what occurred, show that you’ve cut ties with the company, and are now dedicated to doing things correctly, Google may be persuaded. They understand how frequent this is; after all, they invented it..

5. Be polite. Take the time to carefully compose your reconsideration request, following the instructions above. This is what a typical reconsideration request for a website with an extremely spammy link profile might look like (Feel free to use this as a template for writing your own!).


Hello,

On [Date], a warning in Webmaster Tools was generated regarding unnatural links pointing to our website. When we looked at the alert, we discovered that there were roughly 1400 links leading to our website that we believe caused this penalty.

We apologize for the penalty we incurred as a result of our violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. We had previously been working with a local SEO firm that was link-building for us, and we failed to notice that these were the sorts of connections being generated. Since then, we’ve terminated our relationship with this firm.

We’ve been cleaning up these links for the last three weeks. We used Link Detox to check all of our site’s backlinks and contact webmasters and site owners to request the removal of any undesirable links. Approximately 500 backlinks were eliminated, as well as 400 disavow requests were submitted to Google.

Here are links to the documents showing the work we have done:

[LINK TO GOOGLE DOC W/LINK REMOVAL HISTORY]

[LINK TO GOOGLE DOC W/DISAVOW REQUEST]

With these backlinks eliminated, we are now sure that our website fulfills Google’s quality standards, and we will work to maintain that status going forward. We’ve started a content marketing strategy, and so far all of our links have come via natural methods. Please reconsider adding our website to your index.

We apologize once more for our conduct in violating the standards and establishing low-quality links to our site. Thank you for taking the time to read this. We hope you have a wonderful day.

Sincerely,
[NAME]


After you submit your application, there’s nothing more you can do until it’s been properly completed. Reconsideration requests are manually examined, and you may get a response in five days…or five weeks. The majority of responses come back within two to three weeks.

Google will review all of your pending requests if you submit a lot of reconsideration requests through your account. If you make multiple reconsideration requests via your account, Google will evaluate all of them once the first one on the list reaches the top of the line.

It is not enough to simply submit an application for review. In the meanwhile, you should strive to improve your site’s reputation. Focus on generating new content, enhancing your links (if this is possible—if you’re deindexed, some sites may not want to risk linking you), and continuing to offer the greatest service possible to your consumers or clients while waiting for a response from Google. This might even be additional evidence that you are taking this seriously, so don’t hold back while your request is evaluated.

What Happens if the Request Is Denied?

You might see a similar message in your Google Webmaster Tools inbox after a few days:

google reconsideration request rejected

Unfortunately, this means that your request for reconsideration has been denied, and the penalty will be applied to your site. Although not every response is as explicit as this, you’ll probably get some idea as to why the penalty hasn’t been lifted.

If your request is denied, the best approach to move on is to get back to work. It’s time to be ruthless if Google finds that there are still spammy links in your link profile. Examine all of your remaining backlinks and eliminate any you’re unsure about by contacting webmasters or submitting a second disavow request if necessary. If your message suggests that there is still spam or dangerous content on your website, consider working with a reputable agency or developer to assist you clean it up.

You’ll need to renew your reconsideration request once you’ve finished additional cleanup work on your site. Keep in mind that a new person will be reading your second request. So, before making your second request, consider summarizing the first one, noting that this is the second time you have made a request, and describing what you did to improve your site since the rejection message was sent.

Unfortunately, some websites—particularly those that have amassed a large quantity of spammy links or have severe malware infections—will receive multiple rejection emails, each equally vague as the last. If you receive more than one refusal, it implies that you must dig further. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance at this point; especially if you’re working alone. Make every attempt to summarize your efforts and how you intend to alter things in the future when requesting a new reconsideration request.

It can take four or five reconsideration requests to resolve a major problem. Unfortunately, Google’s procedure isn’t particularly open, and you’ll frequently be left guessing as to the nature of the issue in later reconsideration requests. Persistence is required; continuing to examine your website from a new perspective will improve your chances of approval.

What Happens if the Request is “Processed”?

google-reconsideration-processed

Simply receiving a response from Google saying they have “processed” your reconsideration request is uncommon. This generally means that some of the problems with your site have been addressed, however there are still further concerns to address. When a site-wide penalty is changed to a partial match penalty, this happens frequently.

What Happens if the Suggestion is Accepted / Approved?

With any luck, you’ll receive an email from Google like this in your Webmaster Tools inbox one day:

reconsideration-approved

Great news! This indicates that Google has accepted your reconsideration request and removed the manual penalty from your site. Give yourself a pat on the back, celebrate with your team, or throw a party—you’ve just cleared a significant obstacle.

However, the approval of your reconsideration request does not signal the end of your efforts. In fact, the work has barely begun. If your site was penalized for something out of your control, such as spam or malware, it’s likely that its rankings will recover rapidly. However, if you were penalized for unnatural links, this implies that all of the links that helped you rise to the top have disappeared… and you’ll have to build many new connections..

Bonus reading: 5 Not-So-Common Reconsideration Request Errors

The Way to Recovery

Recovering from a Google penalty is not easy. There will be no overnight return to #1, and your new content won’t instantly get you to the top of search results for the keywords or phrases you were previously ranking for. The road back, however, may be considerably longer than webmasters and company owners believe.

When a manual penalty has been lifted, or a serious issue with a website has been addressed, it’s unusual to discover how low the same once-popular (or at least highly ranked) site is ranking in searches. This is frequently due to the fact that the same reasons that damaged your website were also working in your favor. For example, if you had hundreds of spammy links utilizing identical anchor text, Google most likely penalized you for that… but such anchor text was why you were ranking so high for that term or phrase.

Google’s guidelines and recommendations for webmasters are straightforward: your main objective should be to provide the greatest experience possible for visitors to your site. This implies producing high-quality, unique content with easy-to-understand site navigation choices and making the viewing or purchasing process as simple as possible. Having said that, you can’t expect people to visit your website just by making it “better.” It will take time to recover from this setback.

In this chapter, we’ll go through three of the most effective strategies for recovering from a penalty and improving your rankings: on-page SEO, link building, and content marketing. But first, let’s learn about SEO and why it’s so essential for your website.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The goal of SEO, often known as search engine optimization (SEO), is to improve the performance of your website in search results. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Optimization might be a difficult task, especially for small company owners who are responsible for their own website.

If you’re reading this POST, there’s a good chance you already know something about SEO. You’ve probably heard of SEO by now if you got penalized for creating links to your website. The quality of a website’s optimization, and thus how well it ranks for particular search keywords, is determined by a variety of variables. On-page content (like product copy, title tags, and so on), the number of links pointing to the site, how fast the site loads, how many users depart rapidly after arriving, and so on are all factors that influence how effectively a website is optimized.

Moving on, you should familiarize yourself with the differences between “good” (also known as “white hat”) and “bad” (or “black hat”) SEO. In general, excellent SEO entails attracting site visitors through content marketing, email campaigns, or other “natural” approaches. The site is designed to attract people and persuade them to convert. Spammy links that aim to improve ranking in order to make money by selling ad views or clicks are considered bad SEO tactics. Keyword stuffing and hidden text have historically been seen as “black hat” SEO techniques by the broader SEO community.

Although they are frequently regarded as components of SEO, the three techniques we’ll discuss for recovery are all considered parts of it. While they do have an impact on the user, many webmasters now think of them from the perspective of “it will make my site better, therefore it will improve my ranking.” While this is true, don’t forget that everything you’re doing should be done for your visitors’ benefit—not just their rankings. Many site owners receive a manual penalty because they lose sight of this fact.

We’ll start with on-page optimization, which involves improving your site content and getting the right keywords in the right spots.

On-Page Optimization

There are two incorrect ways to optimize your website and only one correct way. Let’s assume you’re planning a vacation to Florida and want to rent a vehicle there. Which on-page content would you trust more?

This..

At Class A Rentals, we offer rental cars for Florida travelers and Miami Beach renters at prices you can afford. Our inexpensive car rentals in the Florida area are right for first time visitors, families on trips, and couples on a romantic getaway. Visit any one of our four convenient locations in the Miami Beach area to rent a car, van, or RV for your next trip.

or this..

Class B Rentals has cheap rental cars Florida and cheap rental cars Miami. Miami Beach rental cars are best for travelers and need to rent a car in Florida. Contact us in Miami Beach to rent a car in Miami and to get good prices for rental cars Florida.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the exception. Webmasters may not believe they have any means to construct a sensible paragraph or two around their keywords, so they just jam them together in something that resembles one. However, as our first example demonstrated, it is feasible to write content that is both keyword-rich and readable (even pleasant!) for your visitors.

If your website’s copy looks anything like the second example, get rid of it. Rewrite it yourself or pay a professional copywriter to do it for you. Google can spot you attempting to game them, and keyword-stuffed, link-heavy content won’t help you rank.

Your website’s title tag, on the other hand, should include the keywords most relevant to your business while also appealing to visitors.

That’s better. Class A Rentals noticed something crucial: a well-written title tag will match for multiple terms. Their website title, in this case, would match for “affordable rental vehicles Miami,” “rental cars Florida,” and so on. They also included their company name, which is essential information for anyone looking for you specifically. (How would someone searching for Class B Rentals know they were on the correct site if their title tag didn’t?)

The remaining parts of your website copy—whether they’re in menus or navigational areas, assigned to product or category pages, or on other pages like a “contact us” form—should be optimized for inclusion of your relevant keywords while still being readable. Unless it makes sense to do so, don’t include a phrase. If you’re creating your own text and aren’t sure if it’s legible, ask a buddy or family member to have a look at it for you.

Finally, don’t exaggerate. Some websites opt to create large blocks of keyword-heavy content that span the bottom of every page or even their worldwide footer. This is a disaster in the making. It doesn’t just make your site seem unattractive—and increase your bounce rates—but it also takes only one algorithm update to send your website down the rankings for the keywords you’ve crammed in every nook and cranny conceivable.

Link Building

A Google penalty is a black mark on your search engine optimization (SEO) history that might impact the visibility of your business online. It’s time to get back in the game, so let’s take a look at where you went wrong and how you can avoid making the same mistake again. Link building may have gotten you into your present problem with Google, and now that you’re aware of what you shouldn’t do… but even so, it’s worth staying for a refresher course on what constitutes a “good” link.

Google now considers how many other sites trust or approve of a site when ranking it. This is one of the most significant elements that Google takes into account while rating a site. The amount of links pointing to each site is evaluated by Google, as well as the “weight” of these links. Let’s say Class B Rentals has 1,500 links and Class A only has 600. Isn’t it apparent that Class B would outperform Class A on the basis alone that it has more links?

No, it’s not. We’ve already established that Class B has poor on-page content and a bad title tag. However, aside from that, the profile of a Class A backlink appears to involve links from authoritative Miami Beach resources or tourism websites as well as about a hundred links from news publications covering a charity carwash event. There are several questionable backlinks in the backlink profile of Class B. As a result, it’s quite likely that Class A Rentals is sitting pretty at the top of the rankings.

Link building is a natural progression of what you do on a daily basis. Are you attempting to get news outlets to cover an important occurrence at your firm? That’s link building. Are you utilizing social media to distribute links to your blog posts in the hopes that someone will write about it on their own blog? That, too, is link building. Do you ask relevant blogs to link to yours or include a mention of your company in the next annual roundup of local companies? You got it: link building.

It’s not necessary to be pushy or require hours of your time. However, you can’t just assume that someone will find you fascinating and link to your site on a whim. In the beginning phases of your recovery, you should ask for links as often as is appropriate. So, if you see someone mentioning your company on their blog, ask them for a link! Or if you get a lot of news exposure, make sure the stories include at least one or two links.)

Just don’t do the following:

  • Buy links (Google deindexes websites participating in buying/selling links schemes!)
  • Ask for links from unrelated websites on a regular basis
  • Put your link in the sitewide footer of a WordPress theme hundreds of people will use
  • Email hundreds of people asking for links without offering them anything in return
  • Build additional websites for the sole purpose of linking yourself (Google can spot that, too)

Keep your link building as “white hat” as possible and you’ll be fine. A link from an unrelated site here or there won’t hurt you—like if your mom gets super excited about your website and links to you from her church’s blog—but on a larger basis, it’s going to make you look suspicious.

Content Marketing

Traditional advertising (ads, billboards, commercials, and so on) does not persuade potential consumers to convert as effectively as content marketing. The objective of a content marketing campaign is to persuade potential clients to convert through the use of compelling written or visual content.

  1. It gives search engines even more keyword-rich content to read.
  2. It gives your visitors, fans, and customers something to read!

The phrase “it’s all about the content” is frequently used, and for good reason: content is one of the most effective methods to increase your site’s ranking. However, numerous studies have shown that your website visitors want and read content on your site, which can lead to feelings of loyalty or cause them to make a purchase. So this isn’t just about keywords; it’s also about people.

It’s important to remember that not every piece of content you create or distribute meets the basic standards for search engine optimization. The goal is to get your company in front of new potential clients and customers, especially those who are on the fence about whether or not they need what you’re offering. This will hopefully pique their interest and inspire them to learn more about your product or service so that they make a purchase decision quickly. It’s all about delivering value with excellent content. Not only can content marketing take numerous forms, but it also has different meanings. Blogs are the most frequent form of content marketing, and they’ve been used effectively for many years. However, there are various other ways to produce interesting material for people

  • Videos
  • Articles
  • Long-form guides
  • Downloadable guides or checklists
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Email marketing
  • Social media (if posting original content)
  • Special tools, programs, plugins, etc.

Many business owners are afraid that they can’t participate in content marketing since they “don’t have anything interesting to say.” That isn’t always the case! In most situations, all these proprietors need to do is think outside of the box a bit.

Let’s go back to Class A Rentals. They have some fantastic text on their website that is jam-packed with keywords, and they’ve put in a lot of time and effort to earn those 300 links. But they don’t feel like they have anything valuable to offer visitors to their site. After all, the only reason people would look them up is to hire a cheap automobile, right? What’s the point of having a content marketing strategy?

What if Class A Rentals included a PDF file on their website that explained how to rent the right automobile? I’m sure you won’t discover anything like it elsewhere. A short 10-page guide that compares vehicle models, sizes, and other factors important to consumers would be quite beneficial!

Let’s go deeper. What if Class A Rentals posted news about the Miami Beach region on their blog, developed an Instagram feed of new convertibles or sports cars they have available to rent, and offered special pricing for clients who signed up for their once-a-month email newsletter? “Nothing to talk about,” right?

The goal of this post is to show you that anybody can do content marketing and that if done thoughtfully and conscientiously, it may make a substantial impact—not just on your customers but also on the performance of your site. You’re getting more people through the door, fewer bounces, and extra keywords. New links will also be attracted by excellent writing!

Now that we’ve covered these three recovery methods, it’s time to move on to the key points you should have taken away from this book. Then we’ll look at some case studies that illustrate how penalty recovery works from start to finish.

What You Learned

We’re drawing near to the conclusion of our guide, which means it’s time to bring everything together. These essential lessons will assist you in future website modifications, marketing methods, and SEO strategies.

Here are some reminders we have for you as you reach the conclusion of your penalty recovery experience.

#1 isn’t the most essential thing. Sometimes a Google penalty is issued because you or your SEO firm concentrated all of your efforts on achieving the top spot—and you lost sight of the user. As we’ve previously stated, your aim should be to build a fantastic website and do some SEO work to increase its rankings. The rest will simply take care of itself.

Excess is anything that can be harmful.. When it comes to your website, moderation is key. If you develop a large number of links too quickly, Google will most likely regard your site with suspicion. If you attempt to rank for 500 distinct keywords, you’ll almost certainly fail. Set modest objectives and don’t focus on one thing excessively.

The regulations are in constant flux. Keyword stuffing was once considered a bothersome yet effective technique for manipulating Google rankings a few years ago. keyword stuffing has now been banned by Google. Keep up with Google’s changes and be aware of how they might affect your site.

Don’t do something if you don’t feel comfortable with it. You may be told that acquiring links to your top keyword will get you to #1 in Google. You don’t have to believe them. If something about it makes you uncomfortable, do not proceed, even if (especially if) someone assures you fast success. Remember: when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Picking the right SEO Company is important. If you’re planning to hire an SEO consultancy or internet marketing firm, make sure it’s reputable, has a substantial portfolio to choose from, and has online reviews or testimonials that you can read. Don’t hire the first person who offers to help you or the cheapest business that promises link development. Most importantly, keep in mind: You do not have to accomplish this work alone! Even if only on a temporary or project-by-project basis, you may always seek assistance.

Stay informed. Keeping up with SEO blogs or participating in online forums can help you stay one step ahead of Google’s algorithm adjustments. This may make a significant difference in how you respond to a major shift.

How We Can Help You in Google Penalty Removal

At Creative Sprout Media SEO Company, we understand how frustrating it can be to put time and effort into SEO only to be hit with a Google penalty. Whether it’s a manual action or an algorithm update, penalties can have a major impact on traffic and rankings.

Fortunately, our team of SEO experts has extensive experience in Google penalty removal. We will work with you to identify the cause of the penalty and implement a recovery plan that will get your site back on track. With our help, you can avoid the costly mistakes that lead to penalties and get your site back on track. Contact us today to learn more about our Google penalty removal services.

Additional Resources

Congratulations! You’ve completed our guide. We hope we were able to assist you in determining your penalty, resolving it, and improving your ranking even more than you were before the issues began.

At the end of this article, we’ll provide you with some more links to other resources that will help you stay up to date on Google’s algorithm changes, identify backlinks, learn about how search engines work, and more. Enjoy your read!

Webmaster Tools Provides comprehensive reports on the health of your website, as well as a contact center where Google can reach you directly.

Google Analytics  This tool provides insights into traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, and other site statistics.

Google Webmaster Central Blog Offering news and tips for site owners who are attempting to create the finest sites on the internet.

Google Inside Search Blog Google Search Trends, Tips, and Stories is a blog dedicated to covering the latest Google Search news.

Search Engine Land This popular blog delivers news and how-tos on search engine updates and penalty removals.

Search Engine Watch A comprehensive website for the digital marketing industry that covers SEO, algorithm changes, and internet marketing.

Search Engine Journal Search, content marketing, and social media consulting for busy marketers.

Moz Blog Online marketing, SEO, and digital marketing tips, tactics, and advice..

Link Detox To identify potentially harmful backlinks, you can use a link audit and risk management solution.

Ahrefs It’s a helpful tool that can help you find backlinks to your website. Every 15 minutes, it is updated.



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