We’ve seen quite a few of these (Google penalties due to artificial link building practices) recently, and this one was from one of our clients, although we have changed the URLs to protect their identity . If you have GWT (Google Webmaster Tools) running and your website’s configured correctly, you may receive an email and message within GWT such as below:
If organic traffic to your site has dropped, it could very likely be as a result of a Google penalty.
The above message means that the Google staff believe that your site has been subject to ‘spammy’ link building practices and as a result, have applied a penalty.
The context of this post is too short to go into the full details of how we go about getting these removed, but we:
- execute a full link audit and analysis using special tools
- followed by outreach to request link removals
- disavowing unremoved spam links
- finally, a humble and extremely polite letter to Google’s staff requesting a review.
We then wait an expected 2-3 weeks before receiving an update. Whilst many people report their requests being rejected and having to reapply several times, we have been fortunate enough to have penalties removed at the first time of asking.
SEO Recovery From a Google Penalty
A manufacturer of military specification LCD monitors and touchscreen displays – we’ll call them “Tuff Displays Inc” – approached us in June 2014.
Tuff Displays Inc had a comprehensive website of over 100 pages showcasing their established business of 12 years. They had used the services of an SEO company for several years and enquiries were generated from the UK and overseas. However, the tactics used by the SEO company eventually became problematic with algorithmic changes in Google eventually causing them to be hit with a penalty from Google. The suspicions that things were not well were aroused when enquiries and website visitors dropped drastically earlier this year. Things had gotten so bad that even searching for the company by name only yielded results from page 10 of Google’s results.
The Problem: Investigating the link profile, it was obvious that Tuff Displays Inc had some highly suspicious links, including a disproportionately high number of links from a single site, links from low quality sources and many links using the same text. This issue appeared to have been worsened by the omission of traditional ‘white hat’ optimisation techniques, meaning that when the inbound links were discounted and ultimately penalized, rankings & visitors plummeted.