Search engine traffic is one of the most important kinds of traffic you can get and the only major player that can give substantial amount of search engine traffic is Google. But what if you get into the bad books of the search engine giant? What if you get the manual penalty by google?
What is manual penalty by google?
To make sure the search engine results are relevant to the users, Google keeps rolling out different automatic algorithms which chuck out the spammy and irrelevant sites from the search engine results. Although there are a number of algorithms which check your site for relevance on basis of different factors, there is one penalty which is the most severe and that is manual penalty.
Once you’re hit by manual penalty by google, your search engine traffic is bound to go down or your site maybe completely de-indexed from google search results. One of my clients went through the same kind of issue and today I’m going to share my experience on how I managed to get them out of the penalty.
Partial or site wide penalty?
In order to begin fixing the penalty, you must fully understand what kind of penalty you’re suffering through. There are two main kinds of penalties – one is partial and other is site wide. In partial penalty, some pages of your website rank lower or get badly hit while in site wide penalty, your entire site faces the wrath of google.
Find out the reason behind the penalty
In order to find out about the kind of penalty you’re suffering through, log on to Google Search Console and choose manual actions in the search traffic tab. Here you will be able to see what kind of penalty you’re facing, in case of manual penalty by google.
First thing you need to check is partial or site wide penalty. You can give a sigh of relief if it shows partial but in my case, it was site wide penalty which definitely meant I had to fix the entire site in order to get out of the penalty.
Now, carefully read the text mentioned over there. Google usually lists the reason behind the penalty. Either the penalty can be because of links pointing TO your site or because of the links pointing FROM your site.
Links pointing to your site means there are a lot of spammy websites which are linking to you and bringing down your reputation. In this case, you would have to contact each of those websites and ask them to take down the links.
But my case was in which unusual links were pointing FROM my client’s site. That meant there is a lot of bad backlinking and SEO that was done by some naïve webmaster who probably thought that he was too lucky to be caught.
Here’s what I did to get rid of the penalty.
1. Fix the links in author bio: As my client’s site was a multi-author site, there were a number of authors that contributed to the website’s blog. Each of the author had a link in their author bio. So, what I did was I deleted the links in author bio from the authors who contributed to the site only once or twice. The authors who contribute just once and get a back link definitely mean that they’re indulging in paid guest posts which is considered spammy activity by Google (they’re not clear about it but they do).
2. Fix the links in the guest posts: Now was the time to visit all the guest posts and see how they’re linking to different sites. Each link has a value associated with it. It is mostly determined by two factors – one is whether it is a dofollow or nofollow link and the second is what anchor text has been used while creating a hyperlink.
Nofollow is definitely a safer way of linking for it doesn’t pass the link juice while dofollow is risky. The best idea to get this fixed is to convert all the do follow links to nofollow links. But let’s accept it! It is practically not possible. All the people who might have paid you for the guest posts would try to kill you for removing the links.
So, what else can you do if you can’t convert all the dofollow links to nofollow links? You can reduce the value you’re giving to each link. This is where anchor text part comes in. Let me tell you this with an example.
Here I am writing an article with a keyword – manual penalty by google. If I put a hyperlink on the exact keyword “manual penalty by google”, it would have much more value than hyperlink placed on some other phrase like “writing an article” or so on. So, what you need to do is remove the hyperlinks from exact keywords and put them somewhere else in the article.
3. Check for other links: Most important part has already been done. The main issues are fixed but still, I would suggest you not to ignore this part. In this, you just go through all the content on the site and check all the links. Remove the unrequired links that point to random sources. For example, if you wrote a post about wordpress plugins and you’ve put a dofollow link on each wordpress plugin’s name, it is bad. Better remove them or convert them to nofollow links.
This is all I did to get my client out of the manual penalty by google. It is considered a very big deal on the internet but as I have experienced it myself now, I can tell you it is very easy. All it requires is consistent efforts while following the things I mentioned above.
I hope this article helps you out. Let me know if you have any more queries regarding the same. I would try to help you as much as I can through my knowledge.