It is always a good feeling seeing one’s creations prosper. Website owners can attest to this, seeing increases in their email subscriber account activity, and blogs raking in more and more visitors every other month. However, there is a downside to it. Such success in many cases often ends up diluted by the traffic drops that come due to Google penalties. It could either be that one bought links in the past which have now come back to haunt them, or that competitors are fighting them with spammy backlinks which are intended to hurt the reputation of the website. Whatever the case, there is need for action to prevent such cases from happening.
According to Google statistics, the company initiates as much as 400,000 manual actions against websites every month, in turn receiving up to 20,000 requests every month for reconsideration. Away from the daunting task of applying for reconsideration, the reality is that website traffic reductions like these often result in reduction in revenue. The reconsideration process is along and brutal one. The ratio of requests reconsidered stands at about 1 in 20 applications, and even after that, it takes up to 4 weeks for one to hear from Google about their case.
Before looking into the tools to help in recovery from spammy backlinks, it is important to understand the types of penalties that are caused by bad backlinks. The penguin penalty started after Google released the penguin in 2012 that further discounted such link building strategies as blog comments, article directories and link networks. Penguin has only gotten smarter over time, and deals with the following link patterns, the quality, velocity and the diversity. However, penguin will only affect those pages on the website that have bad backlinks. It is difficult to know whether one is suffering this kind of penalty because Google never gives a clear message.
The best bet is to match the date of the website decrease with the date when Google announced the algorithm release. The second type of penalty is the manual penalty, which although just as ruthless, are easy to detect. The most common reasons for manual links include the site being hacked, spammy free shots, user generated spam and unnatural links to the site. The three most common messages from Google regarding manual penalties often specify whether there are unnatural links to one’s website, unnatural impact links to the site or unnatural links from the site.
It is important to remember the following before embarking on a recovery path: should one recover from the website, they should not expect things to be the same. Typically, the website will be at between 60 to 70 per cent after the recovery process. Do not expect to recover as much traffic as the website initially had, especially without building high quality backlinks. Secondly, it is not enough to simply do a clean-up job. In order to regain authority in the eyes of Google, it is important to build strong and quality backlinks. It is important to launch a fresh campaign building links in order to replace the spammy links with new, authoritative backlinks.
Here are some of the most useful tools for recovery from backlinks.
When thinking about the fight against spammy backlinks, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is the Google disavow tool. One of the most long awaited tools after the Penguin release, Google disavow is an attempt by Google to give power to webmasters, allowing them to fight against negative SEO. According to the Google website, those webmasters that have done as much as they can to remove spammy backlinks from their sites can make use of the disavow tool if they are unable to make much progress. Google notices spam sites by default, and with every penguin upgrade, the number of sites that are affected increases exponentially. With the Google disavow tool, one can ask Google not to take reported links into account when they assess one’s website.
The Google disavow tool is not for everyone, though, and is especially ideal for those affected by penguin updates. The hardest part about using this tool is the actual list of links to disavow. One can either use the Google webmaster tool or other third party tools to download lists of backlinks pointing to the site. Create a text file and add a link per line for all the links one wishes to disavow, if one wishes to disavow a whole domain name then they should simply write the domain on a line. After compiling the list, go to the disavow links page and upload the text file, then click upload and submit.
There are many other tools that can help in recovery from spammy backlinks. Majestic SEO is perhaps the most popular of the third party tools, performing link analysis and regular audits on one’s website. Ahrefs, another link analysis tool has a huge and regularly updated link database, and gives regular link reports and ranking, as well as sorting out by anchor texts.
The Google webmaster tool is a free tool that connects the webmaster with Google. After verification, one will be able to see important information about their website when they sign up. Other Google based tools include the Google analytics, and the Moz’s Google algorithm change history. Most of the time, one will get an automated message when they receive a manual penalty. However, it is unlikely that they will receive a message if an automated algorithm hits their site. This is where the Moz algorithm resource comes in handy. It helps the webmaster diagnose algorithm issues.
It however only includes those algorithms that are announced officially, and does not handle any speculated unreleased algorithms. The WebMeUp backlink checker is another tool free and with an easy to use UI. Although it has a comprehensive index, the database is much smaller than that of Ahref or majestic SEO. They however provide good looking links that have both dofollow and nofollow links from various IP sets. Other tools include the cognitive SEO, Buzzstream, link detox and Rmoov. Remove’em, another useful tool, however, collates links from such tools as Moz, Ahrefs and Majestic SEO, and uses them in link auditing. After flagging the bad backlinks, it sends emails with link removal requests automatically.