How to Address a Penalty Caused by Penguin

If there is one thing that can send a website owner into a spiral of confusion and hysteria, it is a Google algorithm update. Algorithm updates happen frequently, but there more intensive instances during the year that can have a significant impact on website rankings. Even the smallest dip in a site’s rankings can be detrimental to your firm. Learning what Google has identified as a problem and removing the penalty applied to your site is imperative if you want to restore your search relevance. If you suspect you might have suffered at the hands of a Google penalty, here are a few things you can do:

Determine What Caused the Penalty

Websites must adhere to Google Webmaster Guidelines. Google considers 200+ “signals” to determine the relevance of a website for purposes of search visibility. The most common practice that can harmfully affect website relevance in-light of the Google Penguin algorithm update is spam-based link-building. Google webmaster guidelines can be accessed at We recommend that these guidelines be followed with much care now and in the future.

Spam Link Building – Eliminate the Cause of the Penalty

If the cause of your penalty is link related, you will need to start by identifying bad links. Douwnload your link profile via Google Webmaster Tools ( Once complete, manually comb through the links. Automated link analysis tools may not work for this task because often times they are not accurate enough. A manual analysis also helps to protect good links.

One of the main criteria that Google uses for determining if a back-link is spam based is anchor text. Unnatural anchor text can trigger penalties. Even if the link itself is good, if the anchor text appears manipulative, it can result in a penalty.

In addition to removing questionable anchor text, you should also avoid linking to low quality sites or spam-networks used primarily for the purpose of manipulating rank.

How Do You Remove Bad Links?

Removing your bad links takes some work and creating an organized process makes it easier. Start by collecting contact info for the webmasters of your problem links. Create a brief form email requesting contact and if your emails are not returned within a day or so, follow up. Document the results of your contact in a spreadsheet that you can submit to Google with your reconsideration request.

Links for which you received no response can be addressed in a disavow file. This lets Google know to ignore these links when reviewing your site. The disavow file can be submitted through Google Webmaster Tools. The process is completely automatic, so all you need to do is submit your list.

Writing A Reconsideration Request

In addition to identifying and fixing the penalty by eliminating, fixing, or disavowing red flag links, you also need to submit a reconsideration request to Google. This is one of the most important steps in improving your rank from Google. The penalty request function is found in Google Webmaster Tools under Search Traffic – Manual Actions.

Use the following information to create your reconsideration request:

• Show what you did to remove your bad links (the spreadsheet, preferably created in Google Drive). You will also want to include your disavow information, even thought it was already submitted through the automated system.

• Give details for how you will avoid the same problems in the future. List your new strategy for boosting your ranks, such as adding quality content. The request should be detailed and well-written.

If you get a negative response from Google, keep trying! Once your request is accepted you should see improvements.

If you have questions, contact Legal Web Design for more information.

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