Getting out of Google penalty hell
One of the things that you may have to deal with as an internet marketer is “Google Penalty”. We will now explain in this article how exactly you can deal with this problem. We will tell you how a penalty is applied and why. We will also explain the ways you can ensure that you deal with the penalty and come out as a winner.
How can you identify Google Penalty?
Most of the time people do not even realise that they are being penalised by Google. We will now explain how you can get to know about Google penalty. All that you have to do is use the Google Webmaster tool. On the left hand side you will have to click on “search traffic” and then at the end you will have to click on the “manual actions”. When you click on that you will have to see if you have got any message saying that “you have a manual penalty”. The concept people have is that if you are not getting a good traffic for a long time your penalty increases. This is not true you are pushed down because bigger and newer brands are just pushing you down. So what is it that you actually need to do?
- Just check the messages in your Google Webmaster tools. Check if there was any message about penalty.
- In case you cannot see any message, then look for the date when the traffic dropped and see if you had got a Google update on that day.
What happens when Google applies a penalty?
Well when you see that Google has applied a penalty on you then after a while you will realise that the traffic has also reduced considerably. The traffic will not go down gradually there will be a drastic fall. Sometimes a penalty is applied known as “partial match”. In this case what happens is that a part of the site is affected by the penalty of Google as result traffic to the other parts of the site remains the same. This is a very rare case scenario. The drop can be anything between 30% to 95%.
How can you use Google Analytics to look for penalties?
Sometimes you may not get the message in Google Webmaster and you will have to use Google Analytics. Choose the organic traffic when you are searching in Google. Compare the organic traffic of Google with the organic traffic of Bing. If you see that Bing traffic is stable but the traffic in Google has dropped then it definitely means that a penalty was put on your site.
What are the different types of Google updates?
There are basically two updates from Google and they are:
- The penguin update – This is all about the bad links.
- The panda update – This is used to address the content issues. If the content is very little without much depth and is a duplication Google penalty will be applied for sure.
Analysing the links
A common message that you may see inside the Google webmaster tools is about “unnatural links to your site”. This basically means that you have to check the backlinks so that you can identify the good and the bad links. In order to do this you will have to export the backlinks and download them. It will appear like a sample of some sort but it is not a sample instead it is the whole thing. Some of these backlinks might be old versions so you will have to remove them. Majestic is also a good tool that you can use to get to the backlinks. Try to collect as many backlinks as you can.
After getting the backlinks what next?
Now you know the bad and the good backlinks that you have got. You also know which one is working for you and which is not. You have also removed the bad backlinks now what should be your next step? You can use the tools namely Disavow Analysis and Penguin in order to do the following:
- First separate the live from the dead links. Keep in mind that almost fifty per cent of the links that you will get from webmaster tools will have to be removed.
- Try to find the patterns with the help of directory links, link-trade pages, Spammy blog reviews.
You will have to remove all the bad backlinks. You have to inform webmaster that these links have to be removed. Even if you mail three times that is fine for Google.
So now you have mailed Webmaster about the bad links so you can move to the next step. In this step you will have to send a letter to Google and this letter is called “reconsideration request”. You will have to clearly mention that you did do things in the past which was bad and you were sorry about it. Also say that you got a bunch of directory links. You paid for the bunch of blog reviews and you got content syndication. After you admit your guilt say that you have learnt from the mistake and you will work towards creating a better brand in the future as well as work on the content. This will ensure that Google will get back to you. Remember that admitting your guilt is very important. If you do not admit the guilt Google will perhaps take longer to get back.
Does Google penalize only for mistakes done?
A common question that people as is “do Google penalise only for mistakes or you can be penalised for no mistake at all?” The point is you can be penalised if your backlinks are not good. It is not a bad idea to clean the junk in your site now and then. Each month keep a few days to just keep a check on the backlinks. Try to remove the ones that are especially shady. This will ensure that you do not attract any penalty. If you are not keeping a track of the backlinks to your site it is definitely a mistake and you will have to pay for it.
In which cases you do a disavow
Suppose you were hit by Penguin and on that day your traffic suffered terribly then you were going to do a disavow. On the other hand you got an unnatural manual penalty and you got a disavow because you had not removed the bad links. All you have to do is identify and remove the bad links and then submit the disavow document with the reconsideration request to Google.
Is it a good idea to hire a professional?
There are many professionals who are providing services to those sites that have been penalised by Google. It is definitely a good idea no doubt. Well! let us tell you why we are not in support of taking the help from a professional. For example some days back I saw a professional claiming that they will do a 100% recovery. This is not possible until and unless all the backlinks are combined and send to Google telling them to disavow them all. If you do this then you might have to start building a site from scratch again and that might not be a great idea.
You are the best person to do the analysis for the backlinks to your site. It does not take much time if you do it regularly on a monthly basis. You have to ensure that the good links are kept and this can be done only when you check each link one by one. This can be time consuming but this will help you to maintain a healthy balance. Always remember that it takes time to warn a good link so ensure that you do not remove a good link just like that. If you remove a good link Google may release your penalty but a good link is like a gold that will take you some time to get it back. Even after the penalty is taken back but just because it was at the cost of a good link getting traffic will still be a challenge.
After the backlinks are removed there is no guarantee that the traffic will improve. There are many other things that can affect the traffic. Try to understand the case well and then plan a strategy to remove backlinks. Ensure that the content is good and it is of interest to the users. If the content is not good and people are not interested in it you will not get the traffic and the response that you are expecting. If you create a site for the user Google will take care of it. Do not try to go behind unnatural and short-tail links as they will not get you anywhere.
The best strategy that you can use and that we will also recommend is the one of “slow and steady”. Look to build good resources that will get you good links that are natural and will stay longer. Do not try to create a huge backlink that will be only for a while and then most of it will become bad and you will have to remove them. The days of exact-match anchor text are also over. You must have a trusted author who understands the need of the readers. Try to build the site slowly and win over some loyal customers. Try to build a good digital asset that will comprise of how-tos, widgets and tools). This may take long to build the traffic and there will be a gradual increase in traffic however you can be rest assured that there will be no looking back and the traffic will only increase and not decrease.
How should we disavow?
Some people feel if the disavow is going to harm anyone or the site. The answer is no. If you have been hit by a penalty you will have to follow the steps that we have mentioned and there is no other way so you will have to disavow. You will have to spend some time clean up the links and submit the reconsideration request. You have to do the “real things” that will help you get out of the penalty. Only after the penalty is released can you do something so the first thing you have to deal is with the penalty the other things actually do not matter. If the penalty is not removed you will keep suffering from a low traffic and things will just not show any improvement. Concentrate on this and you will definitely do a good job. So now that you know your priority we will do a quick recap of the whole article.
- Go to Google webmaster tools and see if there are any penalty messages there.
- Sometimes you may not find anything there so you will have to look at your search referrals. Here you will have to check if the drop in traffic coincides with any of the Penguin updates.
- If any of the above two things have happened immediately analyse the backlinks of yours and separate the good and the bad.
- With manual penalty, you will have to email all those people and try to ensure that the bad backlinks are removed. Then you will have to disavow the rest as well as submit the reconsideration request.
- With the help of Penguin try to create a disavow document that will remove all the unnatural links and keep only the good links.
Penalties are common and many sites have faced this problem. If you give up there is nothing much that can be done but if you want to fight back the points and ideas that we have discussed in this article will definitely help you and ensure that you come out as a winner. The steps are simple but maybe a little time taking.