Google has turned the screws on spammers and its new updates have become quite aggressive in punishing anyone that violates Google Webmaster Guidelines. If you are one of the unlucky ones to receive a Webmaster email declaring that your site has been awarded a “manual spam penalty”, then you need to firstly understand the precise reason. You then need to take appropriate action to recover from such a penalty.
There are different types of messages issued by Google depending on the violations done intentionally or inadvertently by your website. You or your SEO team needs to comprehend the penalty message and take appropriate action to recover as soon as possible. After engaging in all the required action based on the below-mentioned messages, you will need to apply for a reconsideration request and wait for Google’s response to the same.
If you have engaged in pure sacrilege as per Google standards such as engaging in cloaking, spreading spam, generating automated junk, or repeated violations of Webmaster Guidelines then your penalty message will clearly indicate that you have engaged in “pure spam”.
The above message indicates that your days of spamming through that site are over and you need to stop your spamming strategy. If you have intentionally engaged in the above activities then you have rightly felt the wrath of Google. If, however, the message is a result of unintentional bad SEO or ignoring earlier warnings then you still have some chance of recovery. You need to engage in a site audit and take steps to get back into Google’s good books before it is too late.
On the other hand, your website may have been partly hacked by hackers and may display unrelated or spam content as well as bad links on a few pages. In such a case, you need to upgrade your security and get a shot of your hacked pages from Google Webmaster Tools to solve this tricky issue. In case you use WordPress then you will need to painfully re-install all your folders along with in-depth scanning to remove the hidden malware.
In case you have engaged in cloaking activities that display different content to search engines and visitors or are implementing devious redirects then a corresponding message will be displayed once you are caught by Google.
In such a case, you need to stop such Black Hat SEO techniques and need to abandon the website in favor of a new one created with White Hat techniques. You can alternatively try to recover from the penalty in case of an unintentional redirect that may have been perceived as cloaking. You can use the 301 redirect wisely to keep away from such a message in the future.
If your website possesses hidden text or in case you have engaged in keywords stuffing then a matching penalty message should shake you out of this strategy. You need to take appropriate action by spreading out your keywords and avoid hiding content on your pages that use CSS since Google now knows and acts on those tricks.
After implementation of Google’s new updates including Penguin and Panda, content is once-again King, and if your site has low-quality content that provides no value to users then beware! Your website may possess automated content, thin affiliate pages, copy/pasted content, and doorway pages, which will certainly result in a penalty with a matching message.
You quickly need to include content that provides value and is relevant to user queries. You must make sure that each webpage contains around 700 to 900 words of high-quality and relevant content wherever possible.
Often, it could be your dynamic DNS service provider or web hosting service provider that may have been used to spread spam content by other sites using the same service. If you receive a penalty message stating that your host or DNS providers are up to mischief then you need to pay a little more to get a dedicated service provider with good credentials. You must avoid free web hosting and dynamic DNS hosting services since your website will get the blame for their activities.
If you have unnatural links from your website and receive a penalty message stating the same then you need to look at all your links and remove the bad ones. You can do so by disavowing them or other manual action. You must avoid the temptation to use the disavow all option. You will need to prove to Google that you have made all efforts to remove bad links from your site before it will approve a reconsideration request.
The same goes in case you have bad links pointing to your website where Google may presume that you sell links or are passing link juice to other websites. You need to use the no-follow option to recover from this mistake after identifying such links while clearly showing ads as ads.
Another action taken not by you or your SEO team, but users and visitors at your site, could result in a penalty message. In case your users or visitors are leaving spam comments on your forum or blog or content with links that lead to unrelated shopping sites or other spam sites then Google will punish your website.
In case of a penalty message that indicates user-generated spam, you need to quickly remove such messages and put up appropriate filters to ensure that such activity is not repeated in the future.
Once you have taken the required action on a manual penalty message then you need to file a reconsideration request to Google to remove the penalty. You should create a detailed-yet-precise document in Google docs along with links and send it to the Google Webspam team. You must indicate to Google that such a mistake will not happen again and in case you need to remove bad links or even fire your SEO team that has clearly engaged in Black Hat techniques then you must do so.
Once you convince Google that you have made all possible efforts to fix the issue and that such a problem will not crop up again then you can expect Google to act within 2 to 6 weeks on your reconsideration request.
If your request is declined then you need to get back to the drawing board, or better still, hire experts for the penalized portion and resubmit after eliminating all possible errors. The above tips should help you recover quickly from Google’s manual penalty and remain safe in the future.