At the end of April 2012, Google rolled out Penguin, which in turn rolled over a huge number of sites, chunking down their ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). The updates lead to sites moving to graveyard pages and losing their top page rankings. Since then, the search giant continuously releases updates, and as a brand, you need to know how to find, fix and avoid Google penalties.
Here’s the quick rundown to outsmarting the toughest Penguin algorithm change and recovering your ranking in case you take a hit.
How to Find Out Your Site is Affected by A Penguin Update
The most immediate and powerful memo you’ll get is a sharp or significantly quick downturn in your website traffic. You can get that from your website dashboard, Google Analytics account or a third-party traffic tool.
Another way is as shown here:
This is from Google and will be sent to you if you got hit with a manual action penalty as opposed to an algorithm penalty, which differs. It could be a site-wide match or partial-match penalty.
The email explains what an actual, trained human being following Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, saw in your website that made them conclude that your site should be penalized for lacking in E-A-T- (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust).
Here’s how to find that email:
If you find the message there, you’ll need to fix the issues it highlights (mostly poor-quality or unnatural inbound links or anchor text) to have your site safe from filters or manual action or both limitations slugging your ranking plan.
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After fixing the issues, you can send a Reconsideration request to Google to have the limitations revised and lifted.
You can also use link auditing software such as Link Research Tools, Open Site Xplorer, and Webmaster Tools Backlinks or an SEO expert to help you along.
How to Fix Your Site After a Google Penalty
Knowing the problem means you are 50% on your way to a Penguin penalty recovery.
The next step is to review the issues the message highlighted, preferably, manually. It is better to use a professional SEO as they can have the experience in handling issues.
Send emails asking the webmasters using to remove the poor backlinks on your site. You can reach them via their social media channels or contact information in their About pages.
You’ll need to document this effort. Google will need you to show them proof in your reconsideration request that you tried your best to have the spam links removed from your site. Now you can disavow all poor links that remain from that step.
Remove the ones you can. And be sure you did not attract the penalty yourself by using black-hat SEO techniques or sneaky link schemes that infuriate Google and readers.
Only then can you send Google a request to re-evaluate your website or blog and have the manual action or algorithmic penalty lifted so you can rank again.
In fact, the best way to avoid a Google penalty or the hustle of having to make a Penguin penalty recovery is to only use white-hat SEO techniques. Hire SEO services which follow the best practices and consistently aim to build your E-A-T profile with quality content.