How to escape from a Google penalty


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These slides have been presented at Supereweek conference in October 2012 in Siania, Romania.

They give an overview of what are the different Google penalties : manual penalty, automatic penalty and also the famous Google Panda and Google Penguin.

We present some advice to get out of penalties. If you want more information, don't hesitate to contact us at

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  • Google want links to be removed from sites that are not relevant to content on your site. For example, if you are a site about technology and you have harmful links from sites about casinos or pornography you can be penalized. There are companies out there that will advertise that they can remove the unwanted links and help you get back your PR, however most of them make promises they can't keep. Either they do not have the experience or know-how to remove the links or they don't have the right tools to do so.

    The Link Auditors, however, are a trusty company that will deliver on promises they make to remove all harmful links. They have over five years of experience in the industry and will get you back to your original page rank in Google.

    Where companies do not have the right tools to carry out removal of links, The Link Auditors have self-designed tools, specifically made to carry out different tasks in order to get rid of harmful links. One tool in particular, is their 'automated email tool'. This tool, once detected the harmful links on your site, will automatically email the sites hosting the links with removal requests. With what is a very lengthy process, if you have many links to removed, is now made quick and easy with one click of a button. Ordinarily, removing links can take a while too, however with The Link Auditor's email tool, it is done in no time at all, sometimes with over-night results!
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How to escape from a Google penalty

  2. 2. Who am I?• Since 2000 : freelance webmaster, researcher, teacher…• 2006 – 2009: Google Search Quality and Google Analytics teams (Dublin, Ireland)• Since 2009: SEO in France. Founder of the SEO Agency Woptimo• 2011 : Co-founder of Search Quality AllianceAND I AM NOT GOOGLE
  4. 4. Back to basics : Google MissionGoogle’s mission is to organize the world’sinformation and make it universally accessibleand useful. Let’s analyze this mission from a SEO point of view.
  5. 5. Useful information What is a useful information ?Google should judge it depending on:- User’s feedback ( is it useful ? )- What it brings to the table (is it a new information ?) Relationship between users and content is at the heart of Google’s approach.
  6. 6. Accessible Accessible : what do they really mean?Do not put any useless steps between actual information and GoogleIn other words: Kill the middle man !
  7. 7. Organization And now, let’s organize all that… Diversity = NO to SERP crowdingGoogle needs to know as much as possible about every domain.
  9. 9. Mafia wars Big spammers with high velocity. Big network with porn & malware Bad Javascript, Gibberish, strange spike of traffic…
  10. 10. Automated network Satellite sites, automatic comment, automatic link exchange Often created by X-Rummer, Sick Submitter, LFE… Quite easy to spot. Google spots one, and kill everything…
  11. 11. Protecting index integrity Every technique not considered as « useful » for the user can be impacted: Link buying, abusive crosslinking, abusive press release and directories, link exchange… Manual review needed to avoid collateral damage
  12. 12. Infrastructure protection Any type of penalty or anti-abuse process can cost millions in CPU costs Google’s velocity is crucial. Penalties should be applied at the right moment (indexing, ranking, display …) Since Google Caffeine, Google seems to have much more freedom
  13. 13. NEW: Communication Google is less and less secretive Every webmaster alert is true but not always accurate and actionable There is more good than evil out there !!!
  15. 15. Manual penalty Usually, Google prefers automation. But user experience can’t be accurately measured with an algorithm.  Local and manual Quality Review to penalize websites
  16. 16. What is Search Quality Team looking for?• Is there any hidden text or cloaking? Or is it a legitimate technique?• Is it pure affiliation? Or is there an added value?• Is this link legitimate? or has it a SEO/spammy intent? Has it been bought?  Some of these questions can be tricky. Any decision is reviewed by several persons before being pushed.  All the websites are under the radar.
  17. 17. Automatic Penalty Based on traffic quality, indexing speed, targeted keywords, code snippets, neighbourhood… May be really harsh or … quite harmless
  18. 18. Blacklist Nothing in site: Very rare nowadays. Used for parked domain or very very bad sites… As a warning for bad behaviour such as hidden text, cloaking…
  19. 19. Semi-blacklist You don’t rank for your « brand » name and domaintools sites are before you Or you rank only for your domain name but not with your home page title
  20. 20. Up and Down You suddenly lose 50% of traffic from one day to another Some recovery sometimes with no apparent reason
  21. 21. Ranking slowly decrease For a bunch of commercial keywords only For all you keywords slowly
  22. 22. WHY ME?
  23. 23. Traffic quality Do you have mostly syndicated content, ads or affiliation? Do you actually care about user’s experience?
  24. 24. Inbound links quality How did you create your links? An intern, an agency, a software, yourself? What techniques did you use ? (yes, even 5 years ago! )
  25. 25. Why not other websites? Are you sure you’re the only one? Are you sure you’re better than them? … Seriously? Anyway, their time will come… In the meantime, spam report, if you feel like it…
  26. 26. GOOGLE ZOO
  27. 27. Google Panda This is NOT:- Duplicate content filter- Overoptimization filter- Cloaking filter This is a way to promote websites with good user experience
  28. 28. Google PandaGoogle has a lot of user data from:• Internet Explorer toolbar?• Chrome?• Search history?• Internet Service Providers?• Search Quality Raters? Don’t try to hide, don’t try to guess how Google knows…. But he knows…
  29. 29. Google Panda Filter about user experiencePushing down websites that don’t reach a certain standard• Price comparison• Thin affiliate• News aggregation• Directories Websites that are between Google and the actual information.
  30. 30. Google Penguin Several Penguins, at least 2 algorithms in 1 push Could be automatic penalty, but better for communication
  31. 31. On-site Penguin Overoptimized pages:• Not in any menu• Too many times the same keywords• Same keywords in title, H1, content, url• All pages look the same• Competition has better pages… Quick Fix on pages can actually help really quickly.
  32. 32. Off-site Penguin After 5 years of linking review from Search Quality team Google has a good understanding of what is a good and a bad link If a website has many outbound links. Why keeping it in the PageRank process? If a website has always the same kind of spammy inbound links, why not deactivating all these links?  Penguin is mostly a big link clean-up pushed all at once.
  34. 34. Is it a penalty for real? • Better competition • Bugs in your tracking (now or before) • Indexing issues • 404 issues • Content changes…Make a quick SEO and Analytics check before panicking
  35. 35. Re-think your business model« If your main target is affiliation and yourmain source of traffic is SEO, you may be inserious trouble »
  36. 36. Redesign your strategy• Make him stay as much as possible on your website and make him leave to useful resources (NO, not ads)• Make your content likeable and shareable• Make your website popular (For real)
  37. 37. Link cleaning By order of priority:• Spam comments• Automatic Link Exchange• Satellite sites network• Abusive widget links• Off-topic footer and Blog Roll links• Obvious Bought linksThe worse it is for indexing, the hardest it is to catch, the strongest penalty will be.
  38. 38. Disavow links No reason why Google would not use this data No reason you would not clean your link profile if you want to move forward… Yes, use it …. Cleverly !!!
  39. 39. Reconsideration requestOnly when you have cleaned or disavowed every spammy techniques• Mention all you efforts• Show why you are worth your ranking (articles about you, super services…)• Mention that you have added value and content for the users Negative answer is not the end of the world… Positive or neutral answer is not always the end of trouble…
  41. 41. International SEO – International Linkbuilding – International PPC THANK YOU @woptimo @smonnier