Top Tips for Unnatural Links Google Penalty Removal
There is little more devastating than logging onto your webmaster tools to see that you have been hit with a Google penalty which basically eliminates all of the work your digital marketing agency and SEO teams have done to increase your visibility. Fortunately these penalties are usually lifted fairly quickly after resubmission provided that you take certain steps to analyse and remove any issues.
It takes a lot of back research, time and resources to get back on track and so ultimately avoiding anything that goes against Google’s quality guidelines in the first place is advisable. This is of course great advice now as if you have already been slapped you will be looking at ways to get back on track and fast.
There are a number of penalties that Google hands out to webmasters and the most common of these is the unnatural links penalty. Google are looking to get rid of black hat SEO practices and are interested only in advancing natural SEO. If then you have spammy links, paid for links or indeed anything that goes against the Google grain you need to take steps to find them all and eliminate them the best you can before submitting.
Collating Backlink Data
The first step to getting your penalty lifted is to get together a comprehensive list of all the links pointing to your website. There are a number of tools you can use and many recommend using a combination of these to cover all bases while others say to focus on Webmaster Tool Links.
Top tools include:
Google Webmaster Tools – Login and click the website you believe has been hit by a penalty. “Links to your site” may be found under the “search traffic” option. Once there click “more” under the “Who links the most tab” and this will enable you to download “More sample links”.
Open Site Explorer- Visit the site, type in your exact domain name and once the page has updated you need to click the Advanced Reports tab and then select “Links that come from: External linking page”. You will now be able to export the data you are looking for.
Ahrefs – This is an extremely usefully tool which enables you to quickly analyse data and see info such as followed/ no-followed links, site-wide links and more.
Majestic SEO – Enter your exact domain name on the site and look for and select the “Historic Index” tab. Click on the backlinks tab and download your data from the bottom of the page. Once you have your data you need to take steps to put things right.
Track Your Work
The chances are you will have a fair bit of work in front of you so the first step is to set up a Google spreadsheet to show where you are with the link process (Google prefer to deal with their own products apparently). Ensure that when you put your master spreadsheet together that you include relevant data such as the contact name, email address and website contact form as well as social media urls, the dates of the first, second and third contact, any notes and of course the current status of the link.
This looks like a lot of work, however it is the only way to show Google what you have done in order to have suspect links removed and this needs to be done thoroughly before you resubmit your site.
Contact Webmasters Nicely and Show Google you are Sincere
A great idea is to enter into your spreadsheet some contact examples. These could be copies of emails sent to various webmasters asking your links to be removed. Keep this friendly and non-threatening (remembering that Google will be reading these) and explain that you are asking for your links to be removed as you are looking to ensure that you are working within the Google quality guidelines and as “this” link does not adhere to these guidelines you would appreciate it being removed. The more polite your email, the more likely you are to get a quick and positive response.
Removing high quality links will result in a loss to your site and won’t affect your penalty status. The best way to ensure that you are removing poor links only is to check them manually. Don’t delete good links off your spreadsheet, mark them as positive and leave them in as this shows Google that you have done your leg work.
Resubmit Your Site to Google
When you believe you have completed your link review the very best that you can do is save your spreadsheet and send this as part of your resubmission request to Google. Do make the effort to make it clear that you are now better aware of the guidelines and will be following these closely in future and highlight what you have done to remedy the issues that resulted in your penalty.
In order to ensure that your digital marketing and search engine optimisation efforts in future result only in advancement and not in penalties focus on natural and organic SEO methods and key an eye on the Google guidelines.
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