Google’s main aim has always been to display quality content on top of its search results and be aware of spammers. So in order to achieve this, Google has released many algorithms to fight against spam. Among all these algorithms, Google Penguin is likely the deadliest update made by Google. The Penguin update mainly aims at decreasing the search engine rankings of those websites or blogs which try to rank on top by manipulating the Google ranking factors and not following the Google Webmaster Policies and using the so-called “black hat SEO” by artificially building links to a particular page.
How to Recover from Google Penguin Penalty and Regain Traffic
How to Recover from Google Penguin Penalty and Regain Traffic – Undoubtedly, Link building has been one of the most power Google Ranking Factor. But, you know what, people on earth (specifical bloggers) spammed the web like anything to get as many backlinks as possible. Now what? Here’s how Google entered the game. It launched a Penguin update which killed lakhs of websites overnight. Killed in the sense that they are no more in the top SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). Mainly it was a lesson to those who were buying backlinks OR making comments and forum backlinks at the extreme level. Penguin penalty did change the world of SEO or Search Engine Optimisation thereafter.
The algorithm works wonderfully well for Google, but not for the site owners or bloggers rather. The update might also result in a penalty of sites which have not been undergoing black hate techniques to rank on top. Since its just an algorithm and Google believes it is effective, we cannot go against it.
Many bloggers fail at this point.
It’s not the end of your blogging journey if you are hit by some Google update. According to Matt Cutts, only 5% of the sites which are hit by penalty submit a reconsideration to Google Webmasters. Which means that out of 100 people, only 5 are trying to recover from the penalty. What could be the reason for this? Do they at least know that the site which is hit by a penalty could be recovered? So, I am writing this article to answer all these questions and clarify all your doubts regarding the Penguin algorithm.
Google Penguin Algorithm and Its Updates
The first Penguin update rolled out on April 24, 2012, which covers the biggest ranking factor i.e. backlinks. Penguin is all about spam. This includes too many numbers of self-built low-quality links like blog commenting, paid links, banner links, etc. The update might be very simple to understand but the impact of this is huge!
The initial Penguin algorithm had few updates and these updates are never ending until the word “spam” is entirely terminated. To know about various Google updates, I personally follow a few sites like Search Engine Land, Seroundtable, etc. Here are few updates made in Penguin:
- Penguin 1.0 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)
- Penguin 1.1 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
- Penguin 1.2 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)
- Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)
- Penguin 2.1 on Oct. 4, 2013 (impacting around 1% of queries)
- Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 (impacting around 1% of queries)
How will you know that your site is hit by a penalty?
Getting hit by penalty is almost inevitable, especially in the initial stages of your site. But you have to identify that you are penalized and try to recover from it. There are various ways to check if your blog is hit by some penalty or not. Firstly, check if there is any drop in the traffic of your site. And then check for the ranking positions in Google Search. If you find a drastic fall in the traffic or the ranking positions, then your site might have got hit by some penalty. To confirm that, check your Webmaster Tools for any errors or messages and also keep a track of the updates being made by Google.
After all that research, if you understood that the site/ blog has been penalized, then don’t lose hope! It’s time to take measures to recover the site from a penalty and ask for reconsideration.
Penguin Penalty Recovery Process
First, you need to analyse the penalty completely. Check in the Webmaster Tools to know if there was any manual penalty. Also, keep a track of all the Google Algorithmic updates to know if it is an algorithmic penalty.
Once you understand the kind of penalty your site has been hit with, do a lot of research about the impacts and outcomes of the penalty. Consider the following steps and plan a strategy accordingly.
1. Discover your backlinks
The first and the foremost thing you need to do is to have a look at the backlinks and analyse them properly. To check the backlinks of your site you can either go for tools like openlinkprofiler (free), ahrefs etc or go to your Webmaster Tools and check the external link backs your site has got. Do not depend on only one source. Diagnose the links from at least two or three sources, so that you don’t miss out on any bad link.
2. Analyse your backlinks
Download all the links and keenly observe the quality of the links, what kind of links they are, whether you have built those links or they are natural, or if someone has done a negative SEO to your site. This will help you a lot to understand why your site got penalized.
Links which are of low quality (Bad links)
Bad links or the low-quality links are very harmful to your site. It’s not about the number of links your site has, but its always about the quality of the links. There are many different aspects of bad quality links:
- Links from sites which are penalized previously by Google because of bad or improper content which has violated Google’s terms and policies.
- Spammy commenting in various sites and forums.
- Websites unrelated to your niche.
- Links from de-indexed sites.
- Links from new websites with no content and page rank.
- Advertising or Paid Links.
- Site-wide Links.
- Hidden Text Links.
- Links from adult or gambling sites.
- Cloaking, Irrelevant redirection, etc.
- Usage of auto-generation tools for building links.
- Links with keyword rich anchor text.
So, you need to differentiate all the links which are good and bad keeping in mind all these important aspects. Collect a list of the links which are not at all good to your site and are of very low quality.
3. List out the bad links you need to remove
Categorize your entire list into various segments and collect all the links which you need to remove. The entire list of the links along with the keywords is important to move on to the next step. Save it in a notepad or a spreadsheet for further use.
4. Contact the webmasters or the blog owners
Once you collect the list, start checking each website and get into the contact page. If found, contact each and every blog and ask them to remove your link from their website.
5. Disavow the remaining links
If you do not find any contact form or if the webmaster doesn’t take any action on your request, then disavow the links. You need to be very careful while doing this process, I have already written an article about how to recover from negative SEO by using disavow tool. This will take few days or weeks of time to disavow all the links.
Doing all this is a huge task. But this is just a part of it! You have now just removed all the bad links of your site. You have to undergo all the rebuilding process to your site. And this time it will be more challenging as you are working on a site which is already hit by Google.
6. Try to gain some organic links:
If you get some good number of organic links then the chances of getting rid of penalty natural are very higher. So, try to gain some natural backlinks with good content marketing strategies.
A various thing you need to do after removing bad links
- Start working from scratch again.
- Access everything and prepare a strategy.
- Do not go for low-quality link building.
- Start working on proper targeted articles and keyword rich content.
- Work smartly with a proper plan.
- Concentrate much on content marketing strategies.
- Offer Giveaways.
- Get in contact with influential platforms and webmasters.
- Acquire links from influential platforms.
- Increase your brand name and brand value in the market.
Google penalties are a part of any blog’s journey in the initial stages, where many bloggers tend to build links little vigorously for faster results. But one needs to be aware of the outcomes and also be ready to face even the worst scenarios. Follow the above-mentioned methods and you will definitely be able to pull back your site from the penalty. Patience is a key here, as it is a very long process and might take months to bring the site’s authority and traffic back to normal. So, I would suggest, it’s better to abide by the policies and terms of Google, rather than being penalized and then trying to recover back.
Even one of our site was recently hit by the penguin update i.e www.allindiayouth.com was badly hit in the penguin update but we disavowed many links and got it back to normal.