Google Penalty Revoked at Last!
You may have remembered way back when I was hit with a Google penalty here. Ouch! Right? I hope you haven’t been hit by one or get hit by a Google penalty in the future. That’s why I’m writing and revealing about this one for you.
It was last April and I got an email from Google about having unnatural links and my site being penalized. The first place I started looking at the links was in the Google Webmaster tools. I saw many inbound links coming from websites that were no longer in existence linking to the site here.
I then made an excel spreadsheet with the list of dead links and enlisted the help of Mayura. For almost a year we tried several times to get the penalty revoked. Nothing. Mayura used a WordPress plugin to change links from Follow to No Follow here. Still Nothing.
I then decided to go post by post since the beginning of time. Over 430 blog posts. It took time and work. And the links all had to put in a spreadsheet. I found something very interesting. The plugin did not look at the links prior to WordPress. Many posts were originated on another platform, Blogger. The mystery began to become clearer.
Then Google emailed me a hint when I pleated with them “I really don’t understand….why my site is still being penalized.” They replied with a hint! Yes, GOOGLE actually did that! I found the link they complained about and made it no follow along with another 800+ links. The typing was great for my physical therapy as I hope to return to my day job soon.
The moral of the story? Don’t rely on automatic systems! You have to sometimes dig deeper and do the real dirty work!
- Go to your Google Webmaster Tools – You do have them, right? If not, do sign up today for this FREE Google tool. It can help you find out what may be wrong with your website – things you may not be aware of. The webmaster tools can also tell you what you have been doing right with your website.
- Verify your website if you haven’t done so already and check that Google has verified it. They include instructions on how you can verify your own website. There are at least 2 different ways that they let you choose from so you can verify your website.
- Go to your manual actions section and you will see what Google has done. Hopefully you won’t see any manual actions in your webmaster tools!
- Fix the issues that Google has claimed your website may have. Give yourself time and patience to do this. If you don’t understand what the issue is about you can check their webmaster help section.
- Double check the security issues in your Google Webmaster tools. Make sure you have none!
- Click on “Request a Review” which is only shown if you incur a Google penalty. In that section you must explain what you have done to your website and describe the steps you have taken. Do have your documentation ready if Google asks for it. You may have to attach it. Having documented what you have done is helpful on it’s own for yourself too. It won’t be a waste of your time.
You can also listen to Matt Cutts from Google on his high level view of what you can do to get your Google penalty revoked. He has a few cool tips on the subject for you to hear only as he can give them.
The Important NO FOLLOW Attribute
I had to keep searching on how to change my links from Follow to No Follow. If you don’t know how to make your links no follow please see the example below:
<a href="http://example.com/post" rel="nofollow">Post Example</a>
That is how I changed my links from Follow to No Follow manually, one link at a time! It is not an easy process but one you must do if you ever get hit with a Google penalty. Another thing I learned was that many affiliate links do NOT include the No Follow, I just assumed they would. Never assume a link is No Follow unless you see the attribute in your code. (Just one more lesson I had to share!) See why you have to dig deep into your website to check all the links?
Bonus Tip on No Follow Links to Avoid a Google Penalty
Making links that are not relevant to your website a no follow attribute is another way to avoid a Google penalty. Why link out to other websites that are not relevant? You may want to show examples of things on your blog like I did on the white space blogs. I used them for examples but many of these example blogs were not a blogging, social media or SEO niche type of blog. If other websites or blogs are not related to your sites topics or niche do not give them a follow link. I know, it may make you sad not to give your friend a follow link but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!
Why does it matter so much to Google? When a link is a follow link, link juice is given to the site (the one that is being linked to) thus being one of the 200 factors to increase their ranking in search or pagerank. When it is a no follow link, no link juice is given. #SEO still matters after all Click To Tweet Many folks have claimed SEO has died and you don’t have to pay attention to search engine optimization anymore. I think you still have to pay attention to it and do your best to comply with the latest SEO techniques that Google sets the standard for today. Don’t get caught with a Google penality if you can help it!
Have you been hit by a Google penalty or have you had a Google penalty revoked in the past?
I’d love to know about your experiences with a Google penalty in the comments below and if you still practice SEO techniques.
Cat Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net