1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

In Order to FIX a Google Penalty, You Have to FIRST Know WHAT You Got Hit With!

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by t0mmy, Aug 27, 2015.

  1. t0mmy

    t0mmy Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,652
    Likes Received:
    14,169
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Spain
    Home Page:
    [​IMG]
    In Order to FIX a Google Penalty, You Have to FIRST Know WHAT You Got Hit With!



    My apologies for the lateness of this weeks post. I usually shoot to have a thread up at the beginning of each week, however I've been traveling (driving) from my home in the South Of Spain right up to the North Of France the past few days. Tomorrow I catch a ferry from France over to Ireland to spend some time with friends and family. Also thanks to "Not Ste Hughes" troll post the guys from ahrefs ended up on BHW, they spotted some of my threads and have now asked me to contribute on their blog. They're putting a lot of work in to getting the blog out there and I'm obviously down for helping. So between working on the ahrefs post, this long ass drive and my regular business it's been a hectic week!

    But the show must go on.. So I'm sitting finishing this post at 3am in my hotel room in my boxers.. calm down ladies! :p

    So today I want to talk about Google penalties.. I think we can all agree that they suck. They can stop your website traffic instantly. They can make all sales disappear overnight. But.. they are a REALITY and you always run a risk of getting hit with a penalty if you are doing ANY kind of SEO. Black, white, gray, etc. There isn't any form of SEO that is safe, no matter what the bullshit artists tell you.

    Using some SEO methods means it's just a matter of WHEN you get slapped, not IF you get slapped. A bitch slap from Google can mean your website falls from the top way past the top 300 positions that the most thorough rank checkers search out. We all know that being off the first page is a death sentence, so there really isn't a difference being slapped to #50 or #500. Either way you lose traffic and that means less monies.

    Now, not ALL penalties are caused by sloppy SEO. What if someone decides to attack your website with negative SEO? (and YES.. negative SEO works and will always work!)

    It doesn't matter how you got the penalty.. once you get nailed your online business is FUCKED and the sooner you can bounce back the better chance your business has of surviving. Someone doing IM as a hobby or part time source of income will feel the sting a bit less than a huge e-commerce retail giant that receives 95% of its traffic from the organic results. Imagine if Amazon got hit today and their site was penalized and removed from the Google search results? They would lose millions of dollar by the minute. It could literally ruin their business.


    How do I know if I have been hit?

    The most obvious indicator is a sudden drop in traffic. While sometimes it can be due to a new data refresh or a pending rollout, a sudden loss of traffic is a good indicator that Google just slapped your site. You can also do a quick "site:www.yoursite.com" search to see what that returns. If it is zero results that means Google has completely de-indexed your website, removing it entirely from their search results.


    There are TWO types of penalties that Google can nail your site with..


    ALGORITHMIC

    Those damn Pandas, Penguins and Hummingbirds really know how to ruin a good thing. There are two decent online resources to help you determine the likelihood that you got nailed with an algo penalty. The first is the Moz algo change history:

    https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change

    The SEO "content is king" knob jockey crew keeps this updated with official news and even some updates that Google didn't officially confirm. There are so many SEO blogs, forums and hubs online that news of a penalty spreads quickly. As soon as it is certain this will be updated.

    Then there is this tool:

    http://feinternational.com/website-penalty-indicator/

    This penalty indicator is from BHW member meatheads1234's company.. you may remember I've mentioned this tool before in past threads. If you enter in your URL it will compare organic traffic data from SEMrush against confirmed penalty dates. If you see a traffic drop when a known penalty was released you get a good indication of what the problem could be. Take the SEMrush data lightly. I would suggest comparing your actual Google Analytics traffic to the penalty dates to get a true picture.


    MANUAL

    Know all the sales threads in the market place that offer PBN links? You know, PUBLIC BLOG NETWORKS...

    Well, if you are buying them you are basically pulling your pants down and asking Google to come fuck you.. Right in the ass.. No lube.. Raw.. They won't even buy you dinner first! Google used to go after known networks publicly and make a big scene. They even went after some networks on BHW in the past. If you don't think they are snooping around here every week looking for ways to find sites to nail, you are crazy. They are 100%.

    If you notice your traffic comes to a stop then log into Google Webmaster Tools and see if there is a nice love letter from Google telling you that they handed down a penalty. Sometimes it can take a few days for a message to show up in GWT, so if you don't see one right away don't think you are in the clear just yet.

    Google assigns a time to each penalty, but they won't tell you. It could be 90 days.. it could be 2 years.. heck, it could be 10 years. You never know and you will never find out.

    The good thing is that most penalties can be corrected or removed, as long as you clean up your act and beg Google for forgiveness (I'm not even joking about that part.. more on that later down below).

    [​IMG]


    Use Common Sense: What Caused The Penalty?

    OK, nothing bothers me more than when someone says, "But why did I get a penalty? I was using white hat SEO!" Yeah, that so called white hat service used crap content, crappy PBN links and pure crap. Nothing is safe from a penalty, and the sooner you pull your head out of your ass and understand this the quicker you can start to dig yourself out of the sandbox.

    Common causes of a penalty...

    SPAM ATTACK: I've seen so many local sites get nailed by a few Fiverr gigs. It's sad, but if a site doesn't have a lot of authority to begin with a couple blasts can royally fuck it up. Exact match anchor of the main keyword can trigger a penalty. Some negative SEO attacks will actually move a site up but then it will eventually be handed a penalty. You could blast authority sites all day and they won't budge. The little guy gets screwed all the time when dealing with negative attacks. A quick ahrefs scan can identify this disaster.

    CRAPPY CONTENT: Don't throw cheap content up. Don't fall for the "hand written" line of BS. Content needs to be real. Written by someone with a brain that is also going to format it for the reader. Don't you think Google is smart enough to be able to differentiate between blocks of useless text that are just thrown there to act as "content" and real content that is formatted, has bullets, headings, etc.? Yes.. they are. I know many people successfully scrape by with crap content but I like to sleep at night knowing I'm not going to get roasted for something so easily avoided. I have a simple rule: only post content that you would be 100% fine with a Google employee reading. Simple.

    PANDA:
    This has to do with low trust sites. Google assumes that a site with little to no content is not a site that is going to provide useful information to their users. They are right. This penalty also dives more into overall content. Low quality content, and duplicate content can also trigger the Panda to come out of hiding and ruin your day.

    PENGUIN:
    This is set to identify link building that is trying to game the system. Thousands of links built in a day and then nothing for some time is a major indicator that something "unnatural" is happening. Another thing people forget about is diversity. If you only use sidebar and footer links don't you think that looks suspicious? Or all SAPE links? When we take on new SpeedRank clients we always tell them to mix in a bunch of different link types to make the link profile spread out. Too much of one thing looks suspect and will stick out like a sore thumb!


    Fix The Problems That Caused The Penalty

    Once you know what caused the penalty you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. There is no easy way around it. You have two options.. you can pay an SEO agency between $5,000 and $10,000 to try to remove the penalty or you can get very organized and try to clean it up and submit a reconsider request. I'm assuming you don't want to drop ten grand (if you do you know where I am hah :p )..


    If you have crappy content..

    We all hear "500 words" as the magic content length. Do you know how easy it is to spot a shitty low quality blog? Just look at their posts.. if every one of them is 500 words you can bet that site will eventually get nailed. It creates such a footprint that so many people fail to realize.

    You can delete all the content and start over fresh or you can re-write it and add to it. Make it longer, add videos, outbound reference links, video, graphics, etc. You know, make it GOOD


    If Penguin uncovered your link Schemes..

    You need to do two things before the next refresh (this algo update automatically refreshes so make gains before the next refresh to hopefully see your site bounce back up) and that is remove the really bad links and build more high quality links. If you simply just start deleting links that's admitting to Google, "Yup, you caught me.. I was trying to game the system.. but I deleted them so we are good now!" If you have some really toxic links remove them but I would focus on buying solid links. This is the instance where Huffington Post type links will really help ;)


    If Panda slapped you silly..

    See the suggestion in the crappy content solution above. Panda automatically refreshes so you will need to pay attention and see if you move back up after the latest data refresh. Clean up your content from all angles and also take time to make sure your on-site SEO is perfect. Some spam sites don't even pay attention to things like alt-image tags for images or non spammy titles.. go the extra mile to make sure it's not spammy and done correctly. This matched with good content can get you back up.

    [​IMG]


    If you received the dreaded unnatural links message..

    This is common. It happens to the best of us.. instead of rehashing info go check out this post I did in the past:

    http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackh...ion-audit-agencies-charge-5-000-10-000-a.html

    #10 on the list explains how to gather all of your link profile data. You have to clean it up. Manual outreach is key. The last thing you want to do is just upload all the links into a disavow file. I've seen a lot of reconsider request honored and I have also seen a lot of them get denied. I have enough first hand experience to stress the importance of trying to delete as many bad links manually first.. before even attempting to upload a disavow file. I will only use that option if I have to delete hundreds or thousands of links form the same domain. In this case, in my reconsideration request I will note that it was a spam attack.


    Ask (BEG) For Forgiveness

    It is important to assume that you only have ONE shot at a reconsideration request. Do not even think about submitting one unless you have fixed all of the problems 100%. Google will only remove penalties if there is an obvious change. Think of how many requests they receive daily. Thousands every hour. 24/7. Most of them are shit. Most of them are ignored. Most receive a "we aren't removing fuck all" reply.

    During your clean up effort it is important that you document EVERYTHING. If you attempt to clean up your link profile make notes of what links you had removed, what webmasters you attempted to contact to remove a bad link.. including the dates you reached out and the means of contact. Then, when you say, "OK, we got XX,XXXX links deleted, which are highlighted in yellow on the attached spreadsheet.. the ones highlighted in blue were contacted but we never received a response from, so we included them in a disavow file which was uploaded on X/X/XX."

    You also have to explain WHY you got the penalty. NEVER admit that YOU did the SEO. In fact, never even admit that you know what SEO is. Want to know what approach I have seen get the best penalty removal rate? The "We hired this marketing company that said they would do some SEO and that it would make our website better. We have since fired them as it just got us into this mess. We will not be hiring any of these types of companies in the future as this is not something we want to ever deal with again." This is admitting you fucked up without taking full blame.


    TL;DR

    Penalties suck balls, but they are part of SEO. If you get hit, quickly figure out what kind of penalty it was and start working on cleaning it up right away. If you do it correctly, you can have the penalty lifted.. sometimes ;)

    That's it for now guys.. I'm off to bed as morning comes early and I've another day of driving ahead tomorrow. As always I hope you enjoyed the read. Any questions or feedback I'm sure you know the drill by now - fire away! Until next time.. Ciao for now!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 25
  2. archon10

    archon10 BANNED BANNED

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,181
    Likes Received:
    1,668
    If you get hit with a link penalty or penguin, you can kiss your site goodbye for a year. It's a year to recover. Not sure why anyone bothers with the shitty outsourced SEOs with their "white hat backlinks." Can't tell you how many small business owners I've seen lose their ass because they bought that SEO service from "sir, I rank you high sir" SEO. Big businesses can buy CPC ads and compensate, but small businesses are toast when it happens.

    Just don't do it.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  3. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    3,613
    Likes Received:
    11,004
    Dear sir/ma'am,

    Greetings of the day!

    We only do bestest SEO as according to Google guidelines that are approved sir. All links are 110% white-hat only and according to best SEO practices sir. We can do most best SEO for only 99$ USD staring. All contents are 110% hand written by natives for totally safe rankings at #1. Plz reply for to have SEO from us sir.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 12
  4. EatSleepSEO

    EatSleepSEO BANNED BANNED

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    376
    Thanks for the 3 AM post t0mmy, good read! Enjoy your trip to Ireland tomorrow, have a safe one and post some pictures! Would love to travel there one day.
     
  5. bigkapp

    bigkapp Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Messages:
    461
    Likes Received:
    376
    Really enjoyed the post t0mmy, especially the Google algorithm change history.
     
  6. rabbitking

    rabbitking Elite Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Messages:
    1,712
    Likes Received:
    3,580
    This hits home since some arse decided to hack and spam some of my sites along with neg SEO attacks. The thing people
    don't realize is being penalized isn't the end of the world. I got my site back to normal within 6 weeks counting going through
    malicious code.

    Then some of the Negative SEO attacks didn't even stick. Google neglected them right away. This was a new experience for
    me and maybe I got lucky? Whatever the case it's not impossible to make corrections and restore rankings. The tutorial is
    spot on and parallels my real life experience.

    So since I launched a couple of case studies to figure out what the hell happens during attacks. Just like ranking a site, taking
    one down is a process too. I have no freaking clue why people take chances with Brick and Mortar businesses. To think of all
    the local ma and pa shops fucked because some clowns were hired.

    Edit: Site detox is standard procedure, but I will admit freaking hacking and injecting code was a new clean up and a pain.
     
  7. artloopdigital

    artloopdigital Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2015
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    35
    Occupation:
    Founder
    Location:
    Delaware <> CH
    Home Page:
    Interesting about google algo.
    Thanks for your post.
     
  8. moneysitez

    moneysitez Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    South Florida
    question-
    will a WMT slap also lead to an adwords account suspension?

    thanks for another great post. safe travels t0mmy.
     
  9. t0mmy

    t0mmy Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,652
    Likes Received:
    14,169
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Spain
    Home Page:
    @archon10: I think its because a lot of these small business owners simply do not understand what they're signing up to. They see or hear some greased up fancy chat.. they get all excited and moist at the thought of extra profits.. they'll pretty much sign anything then.

    Then it ends up costing them a clean fortune to repair.. if even possible!

    @EatSleepSEO: Pictures will be the last thing on my mind when I reach Ireland. After this drive the only thing I'll be looking for is the closest beer serving establishment! Lol

    @RabbitKing: Why would someone go to the bother of hacking your sites man.. I mean you're not anyone special and I doubt the sites contained anything really important? I mean that in a nice way not an insult just some realism. I would hazard a guess that some dodgey plugin or similar was the culprit! Not everyone is out to get you.. sometimes the answers are much simpler than our vivid imaginations would have us believe.

    I mean I've made quite a few enemies over the years from Russian Gangs when we first outed sape to nasty competitors.. In all that time I've only ever been ddossed, I think you're safe enough ;)

    @moneysitez: I've never had it personally happen but I have heard stories from others claiming it has happened.. If in doubt try to keep them separate I guess.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  10. M4XW3LL

    M4XW3LL Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,094
    Likes Received:
    1,275
    I'm reading this post at 3am in my hotel room in my boxers. Great read as always. Thanks t0mmy!
     
  11. Ambitious12

    Ambitious12 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Messages:
    3,096
    Likes Received:
    609
    Occupation:
    No Occupation
    Location:
    Among the Stars
    Many people(as I was earlier) have no idea that Google slapped the site and still I am creating links for that.
    Good Share for them.
     
  12. subodhrkr

    subodhrkr Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    14
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Under The Same Sky Like You Do
    I find this (in the picture) while i search on Google.Since Aug 13/14 the traffic is decreasing as well.Am i got hit with the Panda 4.2 ???
    Captureaa.jpg
     
  13. kelvinjohn

    kelvinjohn BANNED BANNED

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    3
    Very nice read. Thank you tommy for this late night post :)
     
  14. archon10

    archon10 BANNED BANNED

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,181
    Likes Received:
    1,668
    Yep, I agree. They also say that they thought they hired someone who knew the guidelines and who is an expert. They wind up paying 10x as much for the repair man and the loss in revenue.

    And, then they think they are hiring someone in the US, which is even sadder. 95% of my SEO related gigs are other SEOs who can't rank their customer's site or got them penalized in some way. But their "link building" is outsourced to India and every single time, the links are some junk PBN, social bookmarking sites, directories, forum profile links, etc. Every... single..timmme.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  15. mickyfu

    mickyfu Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    7,212
    Likes Received:
    20,748
    Occupation:
    King Of Crypto C
    Location:
    Solihull Young Offenders
    Should have got a flight T0mmy, only takes three hours. Think of all the time you could have saved to write this post.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  16. verbe

    verbe Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Messages:
    370
    Likes Received:
    448
    Occupation:
    IM
    Location:
    BHW
    Another great and useful guide, thanks t0mmy :)
     
  17. SEO FOX

    SEO FOX Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2015
    Messages:
    3,520
    Likes Received:
    725
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Infront Of U!!
    Home Page:
    Another great share by t0mmy. Always rocking dude.
     
  18. ushadeep

    ushadeep Regular Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2014
    Messages:
    461
    Likes Received:
    157
    Location:
    India
    Interesting share thank you for the share
     
  19. Xlr8

    Xlr8 BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    174
    Great Share Tommy.
    Thanks a lot. I've always wondered how do people go about fixing penalties.
    Atleast now I know the basics
     
  20. t0mmy

    t0mmy Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,652
    Likes Received:
    14,169
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Spain
    Home Page:
    Yeah man my car still has Irish plates on it and it's over due the Irish equivalent of the "mot" so I had no choice.. I'd of done the journey in one day on my own but had the kid with me so had to stop each night :p