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How to Deal with a Google Manual Penalty and What to Do Once It’s Been Removed!

May 1, 2013   //   by Sandy Pardal   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  10 Comments

serp-penaltyGoogle search penalties have become so frequent, right? The worst part about such penalties is that your site can face the heat even if it has a single page of spam. I’m sure you heard about the manual penalty levied on Mozilla. After Google detected user-generated spam, they sent Chris More (Web Production Manager at Mozilla) a notice about the manual penalty.

There are several cases like these.

It’s not just small business websites or blogs that face manual penalties from time to time. Even big brands around the globe are hit with manual penalties by Google. Though you make every effort (most importantly after Google’s Panda and Penguin release), manual penalties are sometime unavoidable. Many times, you won’t even be able to know why you got into trouble.

Google search penalties can be broadly categorized into –

  • Manual Penalties
  • Algorithmic Penalties

However, in both the cases you are sure to lose keyword rankings for some or all of your site’s content, which had good rankings earlier.

You may be ready to deal with a manual penalty by Google when you know the reasons (i.e. you get a notice). But what to do when you don’t have the slightest idea as to why your website was penalized?

It happens many times.

This is what you should do when you have no idea what’s gone wrong with your website or blog – go to Google’s Webmaster Central help forum.

If you are not sure what might have gone wrong with your website, the first thing to do is to figure out why you’re in trouble. According to Matt Cutts (the head of web spam team at Google), Google’s webmaster help forum has plenty of experts who will provide you adequate help. You can submit your site there are post your questions or ask for recommendations.

Many times, the answers that you get on the forum will be excellent, golden pieces of advice. However, sometimes these volunteers might not be able to cite the exact reasons as to why a site was penalized.

Though this is an excellent web forum to seek help, you should also keep your eyes and ears open before arriving at a decision.

Filing a reconsideration request is yet another way of collecting more details of the manual penalty imposed by Google. If you are not satisfied with what you are advised on Google’s Webmaster Central help forum, you can file a reconsideration request so Google itself can provide you more details. If you know the problems already, you can fix the issues first and then file a reconsideration request to get your site back into the Google search results.

After the Manual Penalty is Removed …
Since you already faced a manual penalty, you wouldn’t want to get into the same trouble again. Therefore, it’s important to take a microscopic look at your website and take the safer route.

Once the penalty has been removed, it’s high time to get the basic issues with your SEO fixed as quickly as possible. For example, your website’s internal architecture should be in order. The source code must also be clean. Duplicate or low quality content should be removed, even if it’s in the least quantity.

At the same time, you should quickly launch a link building campaign in order to generate top quality backlinks for your site.

Even if you were able to recover from a Google manual penalty first time, it may not be the same with a second penalty. Worse still, you may not be able to get rid of a second Google manual penalty at all!

Here is a short video where Matt Cutts talks about manual penalties vs algo updates.

Please feel free to share your opinions.

Sandy Pardal

An avid blogger, Sandy Pardal leads the team of creative people at WebStartToday, which is a free web builder. Online marketing comes to him as a deep passion. He likes to experiment with websites, track their performances and share his insights with readers.

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