Unnatural Link Penalty Finally Revoked

As you know I got the unnatural link penalty early last year. My traffic from Google dropped by at least 70% since then. I tried multiple times to get it revoked but no matter what my reconsideration request always got denied.

But couple of days ago I got a nice surprise. When I logged in late at night to check my stats etc. I saw a new message in my account. At first I thought it was another one of those automated messages that says they still see links that violate their guidelines but not this time.

Here is what I saw:

Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.dospost.com/,
We received a request from a site owner to reconsider http://www.dospost.com/ for compliance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Previously the webspam team had taken manual action on your site because we believed it violated our quality guidelines. After reviewing your reconsideration request, we have revoked this manual action. It may take some time before our indexing and ranking systems are updated to reflect the new status of your site.
Of course, there may be other issues with your site that could affect its ranking without a manual action by the webspam team. Google’s computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users. If your site continues to have trouble in our search results, please see this article for help with diagnosing the issue.
Thank you for helping us to maintain the quality of our search results.
Sincerely,
Google Search Quality Team

Well, what can I say? Thank you Google for finally acknowledging all the effort I’ve put in to remove the links you saw as unnatural.

It seemed like an impossible task to get the penalty lifted especially for a blog like mine that talks about making money and stuff.

You probably wonder if my rankings came back? Well, I didn’t notice any increase in traffic yet but maybe it takes some time before they update your new status. Getting the penalty lifted is one thing…actually recovering is another.

I am going to watch how things progress over the next few days for sure.

How did I get the penalty removed?

I removed thousands of links, and disavowed a lot of links I couldn’t remove. It was a real pain in the a** to do all that, but I guess you could say it was worth it.

Last time I got denied it was on February 8th 2013 and to be honest I wasn’t going to bother anymore after that, but Google did send me a message with another sample of links that according to them were outside of their guidelines.

The thing is that couple of them were from decent ranking sites and 1 from a forum profile. I figured that maybe I need to go back and contact all the publishers I submitted guest posts to and change anchor text of my links.

I managed to change some of them and replied with another request. This time they answered quicker than they normally do with a positive result.

Now I don’t want you to think that guest posting is black hat, but I wouldn’t use anchor text links in your author bio to be honest.  From now on if I ever decide to guest post on some other blog again I will just link through “Affhelper.com” instead of phrases I am trying to rank for.

It seems like anchor text links if done in volume can really hurt you and trigger the unnatural link penalty.

I also will not accept guest posts on this blog that use anchor text links in their author bio.

Anyway, it took me almost exactly a year to get the penalty lifted.  I am really interested in what the effect is going to be on my search traffic.  So far nothing has changed, but I hope that I’ll see at least some improvement in the next couple of weeks.

Now it’s clear that indeed there was manual action against my domain name. Some people told me that I dropped from rankings because Google discounted all the links not because of penalty, but obviously that’s not true.

When they take manual action against your site it will get filtered out no matter what you do or what kind of content you have.

If you still got the penalty one piece of advice I can give you is this: Don’t stop publishing quality content and start removing as many links as possible. Good luck! 😉

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12 thoughts on “Unnatural Link Penalty Finally Revoked

  1. Well, as soon as the penalty hit I lost over 70% of my search traffic. I would assume those links didn’t count anymore anyway and Google just wanted me to do the extra work to remove them. I did gain a lot of quality natural links though since then, so I hope that I’ll see at least some improvement soon.

  2. Good to know they have finally realized your efforts. There is so much confusion going around about the new link building strategy that will work in the year 2013. I still believe that all the link building strategies work, however they have to be used properly and not abused in anyways.

  3. Thanks Ajeet for leaving a comment. I try to stay away from link building now. I just feel like links can be acquired easily by just focusing on traffic first.

  4. Not really (at least not yet). When the penalty was revoked my search traffic actually dropped, so maybe I got hit by Panda too. Read this post to see what else I did recently. It is slowly going up but not by much.

  5. To be honest with you my traffic has not recovered after the penalty got revoked. It’s been over 5 months now, so I stopped counting on it. No point even trying and I am busy now with other projects that do not involve SEO at all.

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