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Google Penalty Myth Buster - Choosing Your Road to Recovery

REVEALED – The myths & facts surrounding Google Penalties

To help you choose the right road to recovery, we’ve put together a guide to all the myths and mistakes people make that stop your from recovering your business.

Post Contents & Navigation

We’ll cover the following topics:

  1. Choosing the Right Backlink Audit Service
  2. Common Google Penalty Myths
  3. Which Backlinks Should be Removed
  4. Anchor Text Myths & Misconceptions
  5. Manual Actions & Reconsideration Requests
  6. Using Google Disavow the Right Way
  7. Myths & tips: Building Links Pre & Post Recovery

Click on the above links to get to the section most relevant to you and find the information you need!

What You Will Learn:

Mistakes Link Auditors Make That Cost You More Rankings

Avoid removing your good backlinks, causing negative SEO attacks and misdiagnosing the root causes of your penalties.

Get Google Webmaster Tools Manual Actions Removed

Uncover exactly what is expected from a Google engineer to remove a site-wide or partial match through your link removal and reconsideration request

Myths Surrounding Google Penguin Drops & Recovery

We’ve recovered clients’ rankings from Google Penguin algorithms updates in a matter of weeks, find out why others struggle for years

FREE BONUS: Download a Free PDF guide to recovery that will ensure you avoid mistakes made by link auditors that cost you valuable rankings. Including how to get a Penguin or Manual Action penalty removed.

Choosing the Right Backlink Audit Service

There are different levels of skill and methods used to remove backlinks and audit your Google Penalty. You’ll have to choose what’s right for your business and budget.
Automated Link Removal & Audit Services

These will typically be low cost solutions where you can enter your domain or submit some links and a program will make an educated estimate on which links might be causing problems. Some manual intervention may occur with reporting and loading the links into autmated email outreach tools.

Benefits of automated services

  • Simply drop your links into an online form and wait
  • Typically a low one-off cost or month payment
  • Ideal for recoveries that are not urgent with small drops in rankings

Cons of using automated services

  • A computer program has made an educated guess, from an algorithm, on what links are toxic to your profile. It will probably miss bad links and, more often than not, flag food links for removal.
  • Outreach is generally less aggressive with timescales, particularly in recurring monthly services where their business goals may be to keep you paying.
  • Chances are the tool will not replace email contacts that are incorrect or bouncing back, fill in contact and domain privacy forms and send multiple emails in a short period of time to maximise removal rates.
Manual Link Removal & Audit Services

This will be more expensive as it requires a person using software to find and grade your links, then sanity checking them against Google’s guidelines. Typically, that person will also be cleaning the data for the removal by finding additional contact details and forms, setting up the email outreach, replying, commenting and verifying that the links are gone. The chosen partner should have a strong history and knowledge of SEO in different niches, this will help them spot which links are toxic.

Benefits of manual services

  • A well trained person is reviewing your links against Google’s guidelines, furthering the accuract of the audit from software and human intervention.
  • Your good links are in safer hands, providing the person reviewing the links is well trained.
  • Faster and much high rates of removal of backlinks thanks to a personal touch.
  • Hands on customer support

Negatives of using manual services

  • Costs are higher, due to the fact you’re employing a person to review your backlinks.

Beware Common Google Penalty Myths

MYTH #1
Google Will Take Pity

If you’ve been hit by a Google manual action or an algorithm update like Penguin or Panda, and you’ve lost a tonne of revenue, panic sets in when you do your numbers. You might have to lay off staff, cut costs of subscriptions and review a whole heap of other factors crucial to your business.

So by telling Google this has put your business in a state of emergency they should take pity, right? Wrong.

They may appreciate that the damage done is ruthless, but they have to stick to strict guidelines and not take any preferences otherwise everything they are working towards will fall apart.

Google is a business focused on quality.

The algorithms are a machine, so exceptions cannot be added easily – and why should they be? Simply because you, or the company you employed, opted to take shortcuts and manipulate their results?

AdWords is a Google product; it’s in their interest to make sure the results in their search engine are as natural as possible; this keeps people coming back and clicking on ads to generate their own income.

MYTH #2
Downloading Links From Webmaster Tools is Enough

This is one of the biggest mistakes made when auditing which links need to be removed.

Google Webmaster Tools does not record all of the current or historic backlinks pointing to your site – but there are dozens of services around the web that crawl the internet daily, recording your historic links.

Link removal toolsWell known examples are Moz Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO, ahrefs, SEO Spyglass, WebMeUp, SEM Rush, LinkResearchTools, Search Metrics, Scrapebox and many more.

By using these services you will gather a much greater list of links and ensure that you don’t miss masses of bad links which Google could find and penalise you for later on.

Let’s take the last client we worked with for example – their name is of course protected for competitive reasons under a non-disclosure agreement:

  • Google Webmaster Tools Backlinks: 4,987
  • Historic backlinks gathered from 150+ backlink sources (including Google): 65,537
  • From reviewing the 65,537 historic backlinks we found 10,463 were still alive.

This illustrates how Google Webmaster Tools has missed over double the links that are still alive, pointing to this website (Google: 4,987 | All Sources: 10,463).

Imagine if we only removed the penalty from the Google Webmaster Tools’ backlinks – how likely is it that those 5476 missed backlinks from their report contained some unnatural or toxic links?

Our client would no doubt be contacting us again in the future after provoking another penalty. Your Google penalty link auditor should take your crisis seriously and be educated to know that using Webmaster Tools, or a handful of subscriptions, is not enough.

MYTH #3
I Have Bad Links But We’ve Not Had a Penalty Yet, We’re Fine!

Most of you will already see how narrow minded this notion is – simply assuming you’ve dodged the bullet does not mean the gun will stop firing.

Logical Reasoning:

  • A Google engineer may not of manually reviewed your site yet
  • The algorithms run every day and you can get flagged for review any time
  • The Google Penguin algorithm keeps evolving, becoming more intelligent and aggressive
  • Google Penguin will eventually merge into the regular algorithm, meaning you’ll be consistently under review.

SANDDon’t Bury Your Head in the Sand!

Make the smart business choice and remove the unnatural backlinks. You’ll drop in rankings but this will be considerably less than you will if you get caught.

This also gives you the ability to re-strategise and re-evaluate where your links come from while you have the income to support it. Be a better business owner and set a healthy foundation.

MYTH #4
Whoever Built The Links Should Audit & Remove Them

This is a terrible idea – you need an external source to review the links impartially, and here are some reasons why:

  • Whoever made the links is obviously fixed on bending the rules, thus unfitting to evaluate and self-critic their questionable backlink creation.
  • Would an agency or employee admit they need to remove 100% of the work you paid them £100’s or £1000’s for? HELL NO! They would protect their reputation and leave toxic backlinks in your profile.
  • People become precious about holding on to links they think are OK or borderline.
  • Is that person qualified to judge what a good or bad link is? Someone who audits links every day is much better qualified to identify toxic areas on your profile.

Bottom line; find someone you trust that bases their opinion on documented Google guidelines.

MYTH #5
By Re-launching My Website on a New Domain, I Will Recover

Like most shortcuts when it comes to Google, this strategy carries a significant risk…

Website owners began employing this strategy after the first Penguin penalty was released, and initial reports suggested their rankings were recovering. The general methodology behind this is that migrating content and code onto a new site OR 301 redirecting their whole site including backlinks, website code and content would result in discarding the penalty.

A few weeks / months later… they take a huge slap from Google!

Remember those horror films where a family moves into a haunted house, things start moving and scaring them? They decide to run from the house, but when they leave the supernatural ghost follows them!

You guessed it – so do Google penalties. They’re like a possession that you need to exorcise. Get that metaphor into your mind-set and you’ll be prepared for what needs to be done.

Google can link domains together in a variety of ways, which is why private blog networks started getting de-indexed by their algorithms. This is why a penalty can follow you even if you don’t redirect the links.

If you like to gamble and are still thinking of following this route, you should also be aware that domain migrations are a risky business. You open yourself to vulnerabilities including other algorithms like Google Panda and, if you’re on the ropes, a few more mistakes could knock you out!

Here’s one point we must disclose to provide you with all the information:

There is a way to redirect a site that does work called the ‘Orca Technique’ (Orca whales eat penguins), but we can’t help you with this. The reasoning: in most cases your website can be recovered through the right methods, keeping a clean record and not taking shortcuts.

MYTH #6
A Recovery Means I’m Safe / I Won’t Get Penalised Again

If you get a sitewide or partial match manual action revoked, by removing links and submitting a well-written reconsideration request, it does not mean you’re safe.

Google may have decided you’re on the good side of the fence, but you need to consider that all your bad links and history might not be gone.

Likewise, if the Google Penguin algorithm updates and you see positive increases in your rankings, what’s to say the next update won’t be more aggressive and tip you back over the edge?

If you built bad links in the past, or couldn’t get the links removed when performing outreach, you still have skeletons in the closet. Furthermore, if you’ve been hit by a manual penalty, chances are you’re still on Google’s radar.

2 Basic Risk Management Tasks You Should Adopt:
  1. You, or your link auditor, should use the contacts and data in the final report to continue the outreach and chip away at the bad links in your profile.

  2. You, or your link auditor, should cross reference any new links found with your previous audit. You can audit on the go, watching for problems and discovering new opportunities to help your SEO.

By continuing to perform this link risk management you will steadily remove all the bad backlinks to your website, have a handle on negative SEO and see steady growth for your site in the future.

Don’t sit back and hope for the best. Google has made this a timeless risk – get insurance!

Which Backlinks Should Be Removed

MYTH #7
I Must Delete All Paid Backlinks

Buying or selling links that pass on page rank is against Google’s guidelines and this is clearly stated in their online documentation.

So you, or your SEO, purchased or exchanged goods for a bunch of links a while ago – it made you rank and now it’s come back to haunt you. A common assumption is that you should remove them all, when actually your link auditor should run through this methodology:

Do they send traffic?

If they do, then request that the site owner place a HTML rel=”nofollow” tag on them. Even if the page is plastered with ‘guest post’ ‘sponsored’ ‘paid’ it won’t matter because you’re adhering to the guidelines and blocking the transfer of page rank, but not traffic or customers!

If they don’t send traffic

Then they are or will be a contributing factor to the penalty, you should remove them.

MYTH #8
Delete all Low Authority Links

There’s a generic thought that low authority links are harmful, so it would make sense to remove them all to be sure, right?!

WOW…NO! This would be a huge mistake! If a link is natural and from a good website with no bad history, chances are it’s helping you rank as well as being a positive factor – fighting against the bad links that provoked your penalty.

If you only had high quality, high page rank, super juicy links then that would look suspicious. Furthermore, when you start doing SEO properly and earning these links, you’ll realise that they’re hard to get, so you want to keep them.

Think about what you’re doing!

Every website starts from the bottom. If CNN News launched today and linked to you – imagine removing that link only to discover, 10 years later, that you’d give your left arm for it! You’ll find yourself creating stunning content, graphics, reports and surveys to perform content marketing outreach, hoping to earn a link from that site. Keep the link, it could be one of the pillars holding your site above the rest.

Anchor Text Myths & Misconceptions

MYTH #9
Penguin is Just Anchor Text Related

This is also a myth. We’ve had clients come to us before having not recovered, after employing an external source to audit their site and remove unnatural links with exact match anchors or partial match anchors.

Anchor examples:

Exact Match Anchor Example: ‘health insurance’ (Direct sales related keywords)

Partial Match Anchor Example‘the best health insurance’ (Mixing common words with the above)

Based on years of experience, here are some other contributing factors and similarities that have impacted the ability for websites to recover from a Google Penguin penalty:

  • Links that generally break Googles Link Scheme’s guidelines
  • Exact match anchor texts (like the example above)
  • Partial match anchor text, overdone (like the example above)
  • Too many inbound sitewide links (links in footers or sidebars appearing across multiple pages of an external website)
  • Paid links and editorials that do not have the ‘nofollow’ HTML tag
  • Link networks or private blog networks (PBN’s) – this includes interlining your own websites
  • Huge link juice being passed from sites that have no trust metrics
  • Unnatural power and trust distribution (sites linking to you with backlink problems)
  • Redirects in place that manipulate page rank and link juice
  • Unnatural link velocity and growth (unnatural spikes in link building)
  • Unnatural geographic ratios (e.g. a local pet store in London with 100’s of links from Russia)
  • Unnatural homepage to deep link metrics (e.g. compared against other sites in your niche, are all your links going to a homepage?)
  • Links from de-indexed websites or huge volumes of links dropping (a sign of backlinks from low quality sites that have been hit and shut down.)

Do all these metrics seem like obvious red flags? Make sure your link audit covers them or expect to be out of the rankings for a long time.

MYTH #10
Remove All Keyword Exact Match Anchors

This is another common, uneducated mistake made by website owners and link auditors alike. If they suddenly see rankings drop on a certain keyword, they go and attack all those links to get them removed or added to a disavow file.

Consider that all these links might not be from an unnatural, low quality or toxic domain – you could have a golden goose of a link that simply has the same anchor text as your other spammy links.

An example of this is could be when you release a good bit of content, reach out to journalists and get covered in 50 premium industry blogs. One of those journalists may not use your brand name and link to you referencing the service you perform (which will most likely be your keyword.)

In this scenario, you would want to keep this keyword anchor providing you’re removing all the similar bad ones, or contact that person explaining the situation and kindly asking for it to be changed to your brand name.

Here’s the bottom line – don’t let someone delete good links as you need to rank after you recover, of course!

MYTH #11
Brand Anchors Are Fine

If your website was called bluewidgets.com, your brand anchor would be classed as:

  • Bluewidgets
  • Blue widgets
  • com
  • http://bluewidgets.com
  • http://www.bluewidgets.com

Assuming that all links with this brand anchor text are fine is a rookie mistake. Just because the anchor is not intended to directly impact ranking for a sales related keyword, does not mean that it is safe.

If the site is harmful, spammy or just simply low quality, it can be hurting your overall ability to rank for other terms. Anchor text is not the only factor in determining what links are good and bad.

After some website owners get hit, they panic and use brand anchors in mass to adjust the balance or percentage of exact match/ partial match/ generic/ brand anchor text pointing to their site. If this is done with automated tools or on low quality sites, they are just digging a deeper pit to recover from.

Of course, if your site has been hit for a particular exact match keyword, then prioritise the audit and removal of that first.

MYTH #12
Generic Anchors Are Fine

Generic anchor text is a term used to define anchor text that does not include your brand name or keyword related terms. Here are some examples:

  • visit this website
  • check this out
  • click here
  • [link]
  • Found this site the other day

You get the picture – no keywords, no brand mentions.

So why are they harmful? Well, for the same reason brand anchors are not always safe and natural backlinks. Just because the link is not intended to help you rank for a particular keyword, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Your generic anchor could be on a low quality or spam-filled website; the anchor could be a sitewide link, placed suspiciously or built with an automated tool.

MYTH #13
Removing Links Means They’re Gone Straight Away

Just because you have removed a backlink does not mean Google knows it’s gone. A lot of the really low quality and penalised websites don’t get crawled very often at all, and why would they?

Google knows they are useless to users or manipulating their results, so why would they waste their crawl resource on checking and updating these low quality listings.

Want a fast recovery after your links are gone?

You should investigate how your link auditor can help to get these pages crawled so that Google has the complete picture on your current link profile landscape. Reports can be provided of the last Google crawl dates, so you know what’s been removed and what Google knows is removed.

boostWe use Link Detox Boost

Expensive on its own, but is included in our packages. Link Detox Boost will force the Google boy to crawl the pages that you’ve removed links from, syncing it with your disavow files and instantly refresing their knowledge of your link profile.

Important: Please do not work with anyone that uses backlinks to get them indexed – this is a very bad idea. There are a lot of safer ways to get this actioned.

Manual Actions & Reconsideration Requests

MYTH #14:
Moving From a Sitewide to a Partial Match Penalty Will Help Me Recover

This is one of the craziest opinions to have – a penalty is a penalty. Both types of manual action will put an indefinite chokehold on your ability to rank for keywords that you find profitable.

Sitewide penalties occur when significant volumes of black hat/unnatural links have been created and are pointing to the URLs on your site, resulting in the whole site being demoted. This is a sign that the SEO tactics have been extremely bad.

Partial match penalties occur when you have a variety of toxic links or anchor texts, which have caused Google to demote certain URLs on your website.

You need to aim to remove all penalties.

MYTH #15
I Should Keep Submitting Reconsideration Requests

You have to get in the frame of mind that you’re actually in the wrong here. In 99.9% of cases, Google has not penalised you for any reason other than you’re trying to manipulate their results. The removal of unnatural backlinks is a necessary duty you must action before submitting a new reconsideration request.

What to consider:

  • You need to make a concerted effort to clean up all your backlinks
  • Script a carefully written, detailed (but short) insight explaining anything important like services used, backlinks removed, efforts undertaken and explain you’ve learnt your lesson. Don’t beg, talk about revenue losses or how great your site is – they don’t care. Focus on the apology and facts on fixing the site.
  • The request can take a few weeks to be seen so be patient, they will get back to you via an automated message in Webmaster Tools.
  • If your request fails and you attempt to submit another as soon as possible, this just tells them you haven’t put much more effort into fixing the problem.

Google will also make you wait between reconsideration request submissions, to manage the volume they receive.

MYTH #16
Document and Submit Emails Sent to Webmasters

We actually do this, as we feel that submitting a PDF of emails and contact form screenshots shows the extra effort you’ve gone to with regards to cleaning up your act – e.g. it wasn’t just automated!

However, this is not a prerequisite and people have recovered with a couple of lines of text and a disavow file in their reconsideration request. We’ve had good success with submitting a short, but well written, reconsideration request with links to all relevant documentation:

  • Spreadsheet of backlinks (current and removed)
  • PDF of contact form / privacy form screen shots
  • PDF of outbound sent emails (showing the volume)
  • Disavow file

Note: Use Google Docs to upload files and set the sharing of each file too (with a link). These can be pasted into the reconsideration request; the engineers don’t like clicking on random links. This way they can read what work has been done and, if required, check.

MYTH #17
I’ll Recover to My Old Ranking Position in the SERPS

This is a tricky one, as it depends on the domain in question and the level of toxic links that were pointing at it.

Not Many Bad Links

If you had a really healthy link profile and got a small negative SEO attack or a smaller problem was found then, yes, you can expect to get back to where you were.

A LOT of Bad Links

If you had a lot of bad links, they were probably helping you rank before Google’s engineer and/or algorithm caught up with it. Whether you block them through a disavow file or delete them with backlink removal, you have been removing the false positive value that they were providing. This is why we recommend building natural links as soon as possible; we cover this in more detail in the last chapter of this document.

Consider it from Google’s view

If you could just buy a load of toxic links that make you to rank, get hit then recover a few weeks later, black hat SEO wins. What good would any of these updates do for Google’s results if people can cheat, lose traffic for a month then get the rewards of cheating back?

Unfortunately you should expect to be positioned back where you would rank with your natural backlinks, not your previous manipulation. Furthermore, you should be thankful to have the opportunity to start again – a lot of sites have been forced to close their doors so just play ball this time!

MYTH #18
Manual Action Recovery is Instant
Google recovery

The one question we get asked every single time is:

‘How long will it take to get my rankings back after my manual action is revoked?’

It’s a common assumption that you will get a recovery message through Google Webmaster Tools and instantly bounce back, regaining rankings the same day.

The truth is it can take several weeks for the rankings to improve for your website, even after a manual action revoked message appears in your Webmaster Tools.

MYTH #19
Removing the manual action will fix all my problems

When your sitewide or partial manual action is revoked by Google, over time you will see rankings improve. The unfortunate fact is that if you got hit by a manual action, you’ve probably been hit by a Penguin alforithm too or at the very least have on brewing.

If you have a manual action from Google on your site, make sure the auditor is reviewing all inbound link issues and not just the standard low quality backlinks.

Consider your on page factors: 

  • Google Hummingbird: This update changed the way you website appears in the rankings for topical keywords by reviewing your content quality. Typically, websites trying to rank a page per keyword suffered from this as much bigger topical posts had ranking improvements.
  • Google Panda: This is a usability and on page quality focused update you may not even realise is impacting your website. Google will review how your website is set up technically and how your users interact with your website. For example, you may have duplicate or templated content, hidden content, poor bounce rates and click through rates from the SERPS.

Site exampleHere is an example of a client website that has had a year of ZERO link building, ZERO social interaction and no traffic boosts from referring sites of pay per click.

They saw traffic double last year from simply having a technical Google Panda focused audit on the site.

Using Google Disavow the Right Way

MYTH #20
You Must Write Notes in Your Disavow File

Google gives examples of how you can add notes to your disavow file – an example of a valid file is seen below:

links removed example

Does this mean that anyone from Google will read it?

We can only imagine the possibility of this happening in a manual action, when someone reviews your site and you might attach the document. In general, these files are worked into their algorithms so you should just plan to use the notes section for your own company records.

MYTH #21
Disavowing Links Deletes Them

Over the years, we’ve had a few clients who’ve asked us to audit the links and submit a disavow file containing all the unnatural backlinks.

disavow links

In most cases this is a bad move – disavowing your backlinks simply tells Google to ignore that backlink or links from that domain (much like adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute). This may work well for algorithms like Penguin, but does not actually remove the backlink from pointing at your site.

You should always try your best to remove all unnatural backlinks pointing to your website before using the disavow tool. This is stated in the reconsideration request responses.

MYTH #22
Use the Disavow Tool as a Last Resort

True, in most cases you should only use the Disavow Tool as a last resort. As we’ve stated, Google is very clear on this in their documentation. This stops people from simply submitting a disavow file and not cleaning up their act – Google wants you take responsibility for your manipulative actions.

The only exception (in our opinion) is when you’ve been hit with negative SEO. Google does not state this anywhere in their documentation, but admitting that negative SEO is a real risk would be admitting a dangerous flaw in their algorithms.

Negative SEO is a real threat – it takes a lot of time to fix and most websites will suffer before they recover when operating normal audit and removal methods. We have first-hand experience with this working with clients in competitive niches like gambling, insurance and even some general ecommerce solutions.

Real Life Negative SEO Example:

We recently took on a client that had been removing links for over a year. During the process they contacted a directory owner who requested a small payment for removal; once the client had paid the webmaster, they noticed a huge spike in inbound links.

Yes, you guessed it, the webmaster had an automated tool release links to the clients’ website on almost 1000 domains in a directory link network they owned. Within days, over 800 new links had been found with bad keyword anchors from multiple URL’s on these directory sites. The fee was over $4000 to remove these links (a little more than the $5 the webmaster used to bait them in).

In this scenario, would you pay that? Or would you just wait for Google to blast you off search rankings? NO…you disavow fast, and that’s what we did. We have actioned this over the last few years with great success and zero negative repercussions.

MYTH #23
You Can’t Recover Only Using a Disavow Tool

You actually can recover using a disavow file for manual and algorithmic penalties, but please read the warning under our example below.

Example: One of our clients requested a full backlink audit and removal service from us. During the backlink audit we found some highly toxic negative SEO. So, upon delivering the final report of the audit, we included a disavow file which saw their search visibility double in a week of submitting it.

EXAMPLE

This client had a manual action; we had not started removing links yet and not submitted a reconsideration request. Results stemmed solely from a disavow file with ONLY negative SEO in it.

Warning: Google have stated:

Keep in mind that simply disavowing links will not be enough to make a reconsideration request successful; we will also need to see good-faith efforts to remove a large portion of inorganic links from the web wherever possible.

As you can see from the above example, it does work, but the Google algorithms are continuously evolving. Removing links will help protect you from any further damage in future updates. Furthermore, we still had a manual action on the example website that needed to be removed too. The motto is: be thorough!

MYTH #24
Don’t Use the Disavow Tool

Madness! Google made a tool that will let you choose website-destroying individual links or whole domains to be ignored.

You can literally tell Google (a giant business that you can’t phone up, email or talk to) that you’ve tried to remove bad links and can’t, so please ignore them with a disavow file. Hundreds of thousands of people rejoiced when this tool was released, because they had a way out of a dark hole they got themselves into.

SEOs, in particular black hat SEOs, have a conspiracy theory that by submitting a disavow file you’re letting Google know you’re violating their guidelines. This is understandable; if your website backlink profile is a house of cards, then you would want to hide it as long as possible.

The fact is you can’t rely on Google’s algorithms to fix your website. Burying your head in the sand is no way to run a business. Emailing people to remove links and using this tool on links you can’t remove is the option they’ve given you, so use it!

Building Links Pre & Post Recovery

MYTH #25
Link Building Will Fix the Google Penalty!

Common reactions from panic stricken website owners and SEOs alike are to attempt the following tactics to recover their business:

  • Build brand anchor text links
  • Build generic anchor text links
  • Build authority links (the bad kind e.g. private blog networks)

The above theory comes from initial investigations into the Penguin algorithm when bloggers made some semi-accurate, but wild assumptions based on initial data. The idea was that the Penguin update hit your website because XX% of your links are keyword anchors etc.

The Result: Webmasters panicked and, rather than cleaning up the act, went and found more low quality services and automated tools to create more backlinks – resulting in a bigger, more expensive mess to sort out.

This doesn’t mean you should stop building links though. When asked if building good natural links would help the recovery of your website, John Mueller from Google recently confirmed:

“Yeah. That’s something that our algorithms would take into account – where if they look at the site overall and they see that this is essentially improving, if it looks like things are headed in the right way and the important links are really good links that are recommendations by other people, then they’ll be able to take that into account and modify whatever adjustment there was made with that change there on that website.”

Lesson learnt: Stop taking shortcuts and clean up your act as Google clearly tells you to in their documentation and correspondence. Focus on employing natural, organic link building methods.

MYTH #26
I Should Stop Link Building

Sometimes penalties can destroy your confidence in the ability of the person or agency you used to do your SEO, even if it was yourself. The “oh, why bother if I keep building links and getting in trouble”,  “white hat link building is too hard” or “I don’t know who to trust so I won’t bother” mentality sets in.

The fact of the matter is, once you’ve removed a satisfactory percentage of backlinks and your penalty is lifted you won’t be ranking where you were before.

If you stop building links, every website around you in the SERPs will continue to grow and you’ll soon find that your site will drop, place by place, until you’re nowhere to be seen.

You have to get your head out of the sand and start building links again – but do it the right way this time. It will take longer, but in time you’ll be a solid brand in your industry while everyone else is stuck in the same negative cycle.

How to Start Building Links the Right Way

Get a grip of the current situation by following these basic steps:

  1. Stop all backlink creation or SEO services unless your chosen link auditor says they’re OK.
  2. Get your current profile audited and begin the removal process.
  3. While this takes place, find new partners or get training for whoever is in charge internally.
    1. Get quotations – start searching for new link building partners. A general rule of thumb is to stay off the forums, Fiverr and pay-monthly websites for ‘exact amounts of backlinks’. What you need is a partner who can perform strong content marketing, outreach and knows how to build natural backlinks – try to get examples, or better yet example reports, then you can run your findings past your auditor.
    2. Training – look for material on content marketing, digital PR (not press releases) and white hat SEO courses that do not raise any eyebrows when cross referencing them against Googles Link Schemes.

Maximise Your Recovery Opportunity With Brave

Harness the full potential of your website’s recovery by choosing to work with BRAVE:

  • Experience: No outsourcing, only certificate holding LinkResearchTools auditors
  • Superior Discovery: We will find more toxic links than any other partner by using over 150+ backlink sources (costing us £1000’s a month in subscriptions)
  • Meticulous Auditing: No automated guessing, get a full 33 point metric check against your backlinks by an experienced Auditor.
  • Speed & Results Driven Removal: Eradicate enormous volumes of links 10x faster than our competition.
  • Intelligence: Avoid losing your good links, falling into negative SEO traps and other pitfalls inferior services allow
  • Customer Service: FREE advice through contact with your dedicated auditor at all times including regular emails, calls and full reporting provided.

Schedule a FREE call with us to see if we can help… What’s there to lose from a chat?

Prices for our recovery services start from £400 depending on the volume of backlinks and type of service required. Payments can be staggered over the project as well.

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