How to fix a Google SEO penalty

Search engine traffic is critical for almost every online business. Increasing levels of competition mean that securing high search engine ranking positions is difficult, with many marketers and SEO experts treading a fine line with link-building tactics to out-perform their competition.

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As Google has clamped down on disreputable tactics, many websites have been penalised for violating guidelines. Understanding how to recover is crucial to reinstating your most important digital asset.

Understanding why a penalty has been incurred

If your traffic levels drop suddenly, understanding why is the first step to addressing the issue. If you have received a manual penalty, you are likely to find a notification detailing the problem on your Google Webmaster Tools page.

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Alternatively, your website might have incurred an algorithmic penalty, which will require some methodical research to address. Your first step should be to accurately identify when your website began experiencing a loss of traffic; next, you can check these times with known algorithm updates.

Recovering from a penalty

Understanding which backlinks have caused a drop in the rankings should be your first step to recovering from any kind of Google penalty. If you do not feel confident undertaking this process yourself, working with a reputable London SEO agency such as https://www.elevateuk.com is advisable.

You should begin by downloading every backlink recognised by Google from your Webmaster Tools page before importing them into your SEO management tool of choice. This will provide you with a more detailed breakdown of metrics and insights.

Concentrating on ‘dofollow’ links, you must then manually verify those coming from poor-quality sources. If a website is not relevant to your industry, has weak content and has no inherent value, it is likely to be posing a problem for your business.

Removing or disavowing links

Once you have identified the poor-quality links that are negatively impacting your website’s rankings, the removal process can begin. Your first step should be to draft an email to each webmaster requesting your link to be removed.

If your email is ignored, or you receive a reply asking for money for link removal, disavowing the domain should be your next step. This process will typically take between two and four weeks to complete, at which point you should begin to see a positive impact on your rankings.

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