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Recover Website Rankings after Your Penalty Is Lifted

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Google lifting a manual penalty is often a cause for excitement but don’t let a false hope of a rapid traffic rise set in. An instant increase in traffic is a rare event. If you’ve read other articles on this issue you may have realized that you’ve got your work cut out for you by now. Use the following information as your road-map to get your traffic back. The information within this guide is based on the assumption that you have access to the Google Analytics data of the website in question as well as access to Google Webmaster Tools.

articleimage252 Lower Your Bounce Rate

Lower Your Bounce Rate

High bounce rates impact search engine ranking adversely so this is the first issue you want to take a look at. It’s an important element in ranking because the bounce rate is a key indicator of relevancy. Make sure that all the pages on the affected website are relevant to the keywords associated with the high bounce rate. If they’re not related, you need to delete the entire page and create a more relevant webpage that will deliver the content searchers are using that keyword to discover content with.

articleimage252 Disavow Bad And Spammy URLs

Disavow Bad And Spammy URLs

Disavow all links associated with the entire spammy domain you suspect may be harming your place in Google Search. There is an easy way to find the links that need to go. Get rid of URLs that have absolutely no relevancy to the content on the afflicted website. For example, if 90% of the affected website’s content covers the topic of “dogs” and you see off topic URLs linking to websites that have nothing to do with the subject of dogs, disavow them.

Reform Your Link Building Standards

Getting links with authority to your website is just half of the battle now. Sufferers of manual penalties must focus on relevancy, which means you don’t only want authoritative websites linking to your website, you want relevant and authoritative links associated with your website. If your rankings were based on spammy tactics, and you’ve disavowed these links, recovering after the penalty will require legitimate links to take you back to the position where you were before. There’s no other way around this issue. It needs to be addressed.

Identify if You Have The Resources to Remove Links You Did Not Create

As for disavowing the spammy links you did not create, experts conclude attempting to remove these will now help you recover. Why? Because depending on the size of your website, you might not have the staff hours to carry out this task — this is especially true of websites with more than 30 pages of content. You’re going to have to decide if the added work is worth the effort or not. Before you completely abandon a once profitable website, investing the time to clean up links you didn’t create might be worthwhile.

Steer Clear of Sponsored Link Sources

Note that Google is well aware of link building through paid post opportunities. Be safe and just steer clear of these as you try to recover. Avoid sponsoring posts on websites that include the word “sponsor” at all costs. You’ll just waste your money on content production and hurt your efforts to recover at the same time.

articleimage252 ncrease Your Website's Speed

Increase Your Website’s Speed

Perform a website speed test on your website. A good test to use can be found at Pingdom because it will give you tips on what you should do to increase your website’s speed. Caching your website’s pages will help reduce your server’s strain. Use a flexible caching mechanism if your website’s content changes a lot to control how often the site’s content is cached.

Check Which Pages Are Indexed

Check the title of your pages for those that are ranking well. Consider lightening your site’s duplicate content, especially if these are appearing on pages 3 or 4. Experiment and watch for positive results. Some of your deeper pages may be causing you more harm than good. The ideal solution will be visible when you start ranking for the specific search queries your pages are targeting. This is a strategy you’ll need to test as you go for optimal results.

Consider Consolidating Content

Ideally, all content associated with your domain should not be presented to users as tiny isolated islands. You will gain better ranking by having all of the content under one domain in sub-folders. It isn’t a leap in logic to believe that Google frowns on islands of content. This method of getting content on the web may create an impression that you’re spamming the Internet with content, even if that is not your intention.

Migrate to Responsive Website Design Migration

After a penalty is lifted, a good opportunity presents itself to consider how you are displaying content to users. Google cares about your website’s information structure and accessibility. Is your website mobile friendly yet? It should be.

Use Page Sculpting With Care

Page sculpting is dangerous. Google can see your footer, header, and content areas of your website. So consider where your links are going and if it will make sense to Google. Is your link structure logical, or was it designed to just get traffic? Now is the time to review how you present content and look for opportunities to enhance the user’s experience.

Visit The Google Webmaster Forums

Reach out to other professionals who can easily show you what you’ve done wrong. No man is an island, as they say, so collaboration with others can help speed up your website’s ranking recovery time.

Update Your Post and Page Content

Real websites feature content that can naturally change. Consider communicating these changes to users to increase transparency and add credibility to your website’s content.For example, include words such as “Updated on” x, y, or z date when you update page and post content. If pages have expired, don’t hesitate to incorporate the word, “Expired” on the page.

Don’t Be a Spin Doctor

Boiler room content won’t help you recover after a penalty is lifted. Hire writers who understand your website’s content, purpose, and subject matter. Make sure that your writers write in their own voice, too.

Delay Your RSS Feed

Make sure that you’re website’s content is the first on the web before you syndicate. Give your original content time to age before releasing it to the public. You don’t want to look like you’re pretending to be an original writer. Take any steps you can to avoid putting yourself in a situation where your content’s originality is called into question.

How Long Will Recovery Take?

There’s no concrete way to know how long it will take for you to recover after a manual penalty is lifted. Enterprise level sites can able to recover faster than smaller websites, simply because of the sheer volume of positive signals that come from larger websites. The amount of time it will take to recover will ultimately depend on the number of positive signals your site is sending to Google.

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James Parsons

I'm an avid blogger on SEO, social media, and design. When I'm not working with the awesome guys at AudienceBloom, I'm writing for my personal blog at or working on my next big project.

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