How to Recover from a Google Manual Action Penalty
If your site’s traffic is highly dependent on search engine searches, one of the worst messages you can get is that you’ve received a manual strike from Google. Google penalties can be disastrous to businesses and many are never able to recover from them. You should know, however, that they are not irreversible. Once you know why you received a penalty, you can adjust your practices and have a chance at getting your rankings to where they once were. Let’s take a look at some of the most common penalties and how you can recover from them.
Unnatural links are one of the most common reasons for manual strikes. Backlinks have always been at the top of ranking factors for Google, and just as good backlinks can elevate your site rankings, bad backlinks can sink them.
The good news, in this case, is that fixing your link profile is pretty straightforward. The first thing you have to do is know who is linking to you. This can easily be done using Google’s Webmaster Tools.
You will then need to identify which links could be considered unnatural or manipulative. Once you’ve identified those, you can use Google’s disavow tool so that they will get ignored. You could also go a step further and remove the pages the links point to, or 404 them. Once this is done, you can file a reconsideration request and show Google that you’ve done everything in your power to remove the bad links.
Keyword Stuffing/Hidden Text
Trying to stuff as many iterations as possible of a keyword on your website in an attempt to manipulate search engines is one of the worst things you can do. Not only is it largely ineffective, but it’s also one of the fastest ways to get a penalty from Google. The same goes with trying to use keyword cloaking techniques like hiding keywords behind images, setting the font to 0, or making them the same colour as the background.
If you’re doing this right now, you will need to remove these cloaked keywords and find natural ways to add keywords to a page. You should have a list of core keywords you want to target, but these should only form a theme around which you will create content. You should then let your keywords fall naturally into the text. This is what will score you points with both visitors and Google.
Thin content is one of the most common causes for manual penalties, and also one of the toughest to solve. In short, Google will penalize you if they deem your content to be thin and of poor value. The only way to correct this is to remove the thin content and replace it with valuable content.
Assessing the value of content can be very difficult, but it all starts with hiring a good content creation team if you’re handling most of the work yourself. Also know that content from pages you are linking to you can also get you a thin content strike. So, before you link to an affiliate site, for instance, make sure that it serves high-quality content to its users.
These are only some of the common reasons for penalty strikes. If you want to avoid them in the future, your best bet is to learn Google’s best practices and focus on providing valuable and relevant content instead of trying to manipulate search engines.