Q: My website received a Penguin penalty and we did work on it to get the penalty removed. However, even after the new Penguin roll-out, we have not recovered. Can you please help us in understanding why?
A: With a Panda or Penguin penalty, a website has no hope of relief until the next update or refresh comes. I am sure you must have waited long for Penguin to come to recover from the penalty.
But, to the sheer disappointment, even after doing what was required, the website has not recovered and there could be specific reasons behind this.
Your efforts weren’t enough
If the website had 1000 links and 800 of them were questionable & you worked only on 400 to remove or disavow – Google will not remove the penalty. My advise is, when you are looking at a penalty, don’t be biased. If possible, take help of an outsider who can look at the scenario and figure out where the missing blocks are.
Moreover, if you have received manual & algorithmic penalty, you have to get the links removed as disavowing them won’t work.
Removing a bunch of links
A website receives Penguin penalty for bad link practice. Let’s take an example. When you got hit, you removed or may be disavowed some of the links. Earlier, you had a score of 100 with all those devalued links and the websites below you had scores 95 or 92. With the penalty, you lost the trust as well as the rankings. In order to recover, you had to disavow a bunch of your links (which is ok because they are actually hurting you), but if half of your link strength was the result of these links, you may find yourself with the score of 50. What should be noted is that the competitors still have scores of 95 or 92.
What you may be missing out here is building quality links while waiting for the Penalty refresh/update.
Getting another hit
This is a rare scenario but the website may get second hit (not from the same source though). Firstly, your website got penalized and also recovered in the latest update. But, because of the bad quality links & strategies, many of the other link sources that did not draw penalty earlier have now been devalued.
Let me explain this step by step:
A site gets penalized by Penguin
Disavow file is submitted that has links of the most of worst offenders. However, a bunch of low quality but not guidelines violating links is ignored by you
When the next Penguin update comes and these linking websites get devalued, no penalty will be imposed to the initial site
What you need to understand is that, however your website did not get penalize because of these links, the rankings may not improve because of the bunch of links. While you may notice partial recovery but that won’t be enough to improve rankings.
What should you do now?
If you did not do enough after being hit, it’s time to be proactive. Decide a link building strategy, closely analyse all the links, and get back to work.
The author is a first generation entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of India’s most award winning SEO Agency, PageTraffic. He also works as an advisor and consultant with many large companies. He helps value-conscious businesses build site traffic increase the user base, and boost web sales and bolster customer satisfaction. He can be reached @navneetkaushal on Twitter