ATTN Attorneys: Recovering from a Manual Google Penalty (Part 1)
Google penalties – or any search engine penalties for that matter – can have devastating effects on websites’ rankings, and they can take some time to recover from. The good news, however, is that, with some diligent work over time:
- You can do what is necessary to resolve the issues that caused the penalty in the first place.
- You can successfully help your website slowly regain its position in search engine rankings.
Below and in a few upcoming blogs, we will highlight the specific steps that website owners should take in order to properly deal with manual penalties and to minimize (if not eliminate) the chances that their sites will be penalized again in the future.
Step 1: Clean Up Your Website
When your website has received a manual penalty from Google, it’s important to start getting to work right away, and the first thing you should do is start cleaning up your site. Specifically, this means that you (or the company that maintains your website) should:
- Fix all error (404) pages.
- Delete any duplicate content that may be posted on your website.
- Start and continue updating certain other content like, for example, the site’s blog.
- Fix content that may be overstuffed with keywords.
- Fix broken links on the site.
- Make sure each page has the appropriate title tags, descriptions and other necessary SEO information. – It’s important to point out that developing good SEO for a website is a complex, involved effort of its own that will likely take professional help to undertake; however, if your site has been penalized, SEO will be a secondary concern to getting the penalty lifted.
Basically, the first step is to conduct a thorough cleanup of your site and to make sure that everything on the website is in good working order.
Step 2: Create a Comprehensive List of All Bad Backlinks
Once the basic site cleanup has been completed, the next step will be to create a comprehensive list of all of the bad backlinks associated with your site. The reason that this is so important is that it is usually the reason that manual penalties are imposed in the first place (in fact, “artificial or unnatural links to your site” is literally language in the notices that Google sends website owners when their sites have been penalized).
This step is, in and of itself, a very involved step because it generally involves:
- Developing a list of all of the backlinks to your website (which can be done using Google’s Webmaster Tools).
- Going through each link – one-by-one – and determining if the source is a low-quality source (i.e., a source that has poor search engine rankings), a “spammy” site (like, for example, a gambling site) and/or a bad anchor (like, for example, a source with an exact-match anchor or a source that is stuffed with keywords).
Stay posted for the upcoming second and third parts of this blog for additional important information regarding the process associated with overcoming manual Google penalties.
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