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Recovering From Google Algorithm Penalties

Google search no longer relies on old, less accurate factors. Now, it depends on your location, your search history, and social signals. Hence, keyword stuffing or doorway pages no longer work for SEO.

Collecting Your SERP Data After Penguin Update

Analyzing the search position of your website is very important. Periodically you have to gather traffic data from Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. In order to find penalties on your site, you can also check the “Manual Actions” page of Google Webmaster Tools. As the first step of analyzing your SERP position after the Penguin update, pull the traffic data from your analytics program between March 2012 and June 9, 2012. This data will tell you whether your site had a significant, long-term traffic change due to the Penguin update. 

Collect the traffic data between 29 April 2012 and 12 May 2012 and compare it with the corresponding data from two weeks before; this analysis will tell you if your site was affected by the initial release of Penguin. In order to analyze the effect of Penguin version 1.1, which is a minor data refresh affecting 0.1 percent of English search queries, gather traffic data between May 27, 2012 and June 9, 2012. Penguin update penalized sites for paid links, anchor text over-optimization, comment spamming, links from bad neighborhoods, article marketing, and guest posting on bad-neighborhood sites.

As part of your penalty analysis, you need to identify the keywords that were affected. The data can be obtained from your analytics program. You can also use Google Webmaster Tools to identify the keywords that went down in impressions, queries, or positions. The reason why your site ranks down for these keywords could be keyword stuffing in anchor texts.

In order to gather information about anchor text over-optimization, use tools such as Moz Open Site Explorer or Rank Signals. Open Site Explorer will give a clear proof of any penalty on your site: it will tell you exactly which keywords were used in the links coming to your site.

Issue Resolution

Now that you have gathered all the data, you can combine them within a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel to get a clearer view on your site’s bounce rates, affected keywords, anchors, etc. In order to recover fast from the penalty, follow these steps:

Add a Meta-Revisit tag to your web pages allowing maximum time for any modifications. Meta-Revisit is a special tag that tells the search bot to revisit and index the web page after a specified number of days. Google bot does follow this meta tag. The structure of the tag is as follows.

<meta name=”revisit after” content=”1 month”/>

You have to rewrite any keyword-stuffed articles to minimize the keyword density. Search engines use synonyms to identify the topic of a page. Hence, try to limit the focus keyword between 1.5 and 2 percent in density and use some synonyms in your content. Moreover, you may have to redo the meta tags (mainly the description tag) on your articles. Even though this is important, you should neither alter the page content too much nor focus on a different keyword.

The reconsideration request is an important part of issue resolution. Google provides you a way to submit your site for reconsideration. This option is available in Google Webmaster Tools; if manual action has been done on your site, Google will take you to the Manual Actions page on Webmaster Tools before reconsideration can be initiated. Another way you can get Google to lift the penalty is by disavowing the malicious links to your site. This process tells Google that you, as part of your SEO efforts, have not created the bad-neighborhood links to your site.


For a long time, many people used black-hat techniques to rank spam sites on top of search engine results. Some years back, you could not do a web search without finding some web pages that stuffed a list of keywords under titles like “keywords used to find this page.” You could also find so many sites that simply presented a keyword-stuffed doorway page before taking you to the actual information you searched for. Now, the efforts of Google have made the web cleaner with faster, more improved search results.