Once you’ve identified you have a Google penguin penalty, you’ll want to get rid of it – and fast.
Unfortunately the process of revoking a penalty can be painstaking. In today’s whiteboard video we give you a step by step overview on how to get rid of a Google Penguin penalty.
We’ve added a photo of the whiteboard along with a transcription below. Enjoy!
Hi, my name’s Martin Wood. I’m the Head of Technical and Insight at WMG, and now I’d like to talk about how to get rid of a Google Penguin penalty.
For the observant, again, you’ll notice I’ve put ‘penalty’ in inverted commas, as it’s not actually a penalty as such if you’ve got an algorithmic issue. But again, as I referred to in a previous video, the industry terminology does lean toward describing everything under the same roof as penalty.
Step 1: Confirm that You Have a Penalty
So how do you get rid of these problems with your website that are linked to Penguin? Good question. The first and the most important thing is you need to confirm if you’ve actually got a problem itself, and the type of problem you’ve got. I’ve seen a lot of instances where people think they’ve had a Penguin issue when it’s not; it’s a Panda issue, or other technical problems with the website, specifically when you get to algorithmic issues, where they’re a lot harder to detect than a manual.
So confirmation: when in doubt, get an expert who’s seen it a lot of times before, and they’ll give you a really, really good, clean, straight answer in a short period of time based on experience. So confirmation of either an algorithmic or a manual action.
Now, the process involved in dealing with an algorithmic or a manual action is very much similar, although with an algorithmic issue, it will take a longer period of time because it depends on a refresh, whereas a manual action, you can see an impact soon after it’s been revoked. Important stage there.
Step 2: Data Collection
The next section we want to discuss is the collection of data. Now, the collection of data is probably one of the most important stages, because without the right data, everything else below it is going to fail. So collection of data. By that, I mean collecting link data. The more, the better.
There’s a lot of comments on the internet that you only need Google Webmaster data for your link data or a very, very small sample range. The truth is, the bigger your number of links pointing to your site, the more sample data won’t help you. You shouldn’t just rely on Google for your link data because it’s only a snippet, as it is sample data. So the more, the better. We use third party tools to get the whole picture of your link profile.
The next one, if you’ve got any links reports or SEO reports lying around from a long time ago, these will also give us insight into the type of link manipulation that’s gone on in the past, and that can be then fed back into the data collection process.
Also, now it’s quite common that we see a lot of people coming to us who have previously been with other SEO providers who have tried to remove algorithmic issues or manual actions, who have unsuccessfully done that. We can also use the work that they’ve done originally from looking at their disavow file to see what they’ve identified already. So that will get put in the process. That’s not necessary; that’s just a bit of a time-saving thing, to see what’s happened on the account before.
Step 3: Data Processing
Data processing. Data processing, this is the most important part of the process before the review. The data processing stage enables us to collect all that information and then combine it, filter it, and then work it into a manageable format. This is key. Without doing effective data processing, we won’t be able to take that data and then analyze it to differentiate between a good link and a bad link.
Manual Link Identification
Manual link identification. Big red box around it because this is an absolute must. There’s a lot of tools out there that promise to rid you of a Penguin penalty in a given time, promising results with no manual identification. These use algorithms, and they make a best guess to determine if a link is natural or unnatural. From our experience, we know that these do not work effectively, and the only way to do a true identification to see if a link is good or bad is to eyeball it using various metrics and also visual interpretation of that link. Was that link built to manipulate Google’s search results? So, absolute must.
We’re talking about links, and as we mentioned earlier in a previous video, Penguin is all about links. What it looks at is the links pointing to a site, and also, we believe, pointing out from that site using other manual actions. But generally, most people have got issues down to links which point to their website.
As part of that manual identification process, we go through and we establish whether a link is manipulative or not and then record it in a very, very large database, and then we know which action to take following that identification. Is it a good link? Great, let’s keep that. Good links are really going to help. Is it a bad link? Well, yeah, this looks like a bad link, or it’s not there anymore; yeah, we suspect that’s being a bad link based on the evidence and the metrics we’re using. We’re going to flag that for either link removal or disavow or both.
So what is the purpose of doing this? The purpose of this is to cleanly identify which are manipulative links and which aren’t, because to successfully remove a manual action, we need to show good intent with Google that we have tried to clean up the link profile for this particular website.
Step 4: Link Removal
There’s a lot of debate out there on the internet saying that you only have to disavow; we know from our experience that this isn’t actually true. You have to show intent with Google that you have tried your best to remove links and taken action to do so. Typically, we’re looking for a waterfall graph and a certain percentage of links removed. This isn’t always the case; there are reports from people who have just disavowed. This is the exception rather than the rule.
After we’ve done all this process, we’ve gone through, we’ve collected the information, we’ve processed it, and we’ve ID’d it, the next stage is then a link removal and then disavow links in the file to make Google aware that we no longer want these to count towards our website.
A successful completion of all these processes will result in a clean link profile, and then if it’s an algorithmic issue, we then wait for a refresh, which then will hopefully clear the Penguin issue against the site. If it’s a manual action, then we’ll raise a reconsideration request with Google, and then hopefully, all being good, they’ll revoke the action that was taken originally.
Hope that explains a bit more about how we go about getting rid of a Google Penguin penalty.