Google Penalty: No get out of Jail Free card – Part 2

The Google penalty is like any unexpected life situation – it comes out of nowhere. In Google Penalty: No get out of Jail Free card, which was part one, you learned about what kind of penalty my website and blog was hit with.

There was also some initial research needed to figure out what it all meant in which I shared a valuable resource.

After my negative emotions settled down, it was necessary to decide on a general direction to go to correct things, and for actual work to begin. So in part one you have steps 1, 2, and 3.

Now we’re into my next steps 4, 5 and 6.

In a couple of blog posts around this topic, included at the bottom of this post if you are interested, there were helpful suggestions for corrective actions.

The main information of the behavior Google saw to deindex my site, and zero out my page rank, was all in one place in a link in the notification email. Google calls them “schemes.” Here is what Google says specifically”

“The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results:

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
  • Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site”

Yikes. I was most confident, since this is not my style, that none of these actions applied to me.

Further, the email pointed me to a video by Matt Cutts, all about manual actions:

This scared me until I realized again, this was NOT referring to anything I had done.

4 – Go beyond what you believe necessary hit with a Google penalty

What I meant by Google’s “trying” to be transparent is that, their darn warning email is a template. It hardly refers you to all the information you need. For me, the hunt was on and I found it:

You just have to get in the swamp. And once you know what you have done, you can clean up. Even though I know I was not guilty of buying/selling links, I realized that Google looks at many kinds of link exchanges as – you guessed it – paid “unnatural” links.

Link coding:  I started by changing the code of all outbound links to, a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag. Next step, disabling an affiliate program. There was no flexibility with coding the links so Google may have seen it as an outbound link automated program. Finally, the comment plug-in default setting for outbound links in commenter’s posts needed to be changed to nofollow.

Documentation: Between the conversations on Google Webmaster tools, and personal findings in searching for others who navigated this maze, it was apparent documentation would serve two purposes.

I noted the nofollow coding, my deactivating an affiliate program, as well as disabling the comment plug-in default setting for outbound links in commenters posts. Effectively every outbound link I originally could think of, was nofollow.

Second, knowing that there is a real person looking at what you did in the next step, documented steps in the reconsideration request are helpful. I decided to include both the content in the request, as well as with a Google document link. If you are interested in seeing my documented notes, things all started with a March 20, Google email.

5 – Google Reconsideration request

Once actions were completed and documented, the Reconsideration Request takes under a minute – it’s simply open the penalty notice, and click on the link for reconsideration request.

6 – Wait, and be rejected

With about 12 or more hours into my personal process to this point, the first reconsideration request was rejected. Not all “I’s” were dotted.

It was a difficult lesson but my first request was rejected –more action was needed.

About this time I once again talked with my webmaster because as luck would have it, a teleseminar I was attending featured a “Google penalty pro!” Now how lucky is that?

Well, not $5,000 worth lucky.

My blog is not my livelihood. Blogging is just one medium which lets me share what I hope are business and life insights which can help most of my introvert and baby boomer friends and followers, as well as my highly valued blogging connections – like you!

But the end is just another ten days away for me. Ten days of more time, energy and in the end, money.

Are you interested in some of my research resource links?


a) Being a LinkedIn lover, I started with a post on 3 blogger groups there and in Bloggers Helping Bloggers, I got immediate help from Sherryl Perry who directed me to her post,

How Do You Know Which Bad Links Caused Your Google Penalty?

It referred to the worst kind of Google penalty help – those inbound links. Virtually can takes months to correct.

b) But it did help me understand that broken links can also be a problem. If you don’t have a plug-in for it, use,

c) There is the Google Webmaster Forum: httpss://!forum/webmasters with many good advisors about this issue.

d) And the person who I quickly hired to help me out of the muck: Mayrura De Silva at – more about this Google Jail Bondsman in my final post about this.

Come on back to the final episode with a surprise happy ending.

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  1. Patricia, Mayura is the first person I contacted. He is truly amazing! I haven’t received a response yet to my Google reconsideration request. I’m anxiously awaiting to see how it goes. I think Matt is like a poltician, he never answers a question with a straight answer. It’s all around about answers. All gray, no black and white. It surely makes it difficult for us to know what Google really wants!
    Thank you for sharing your other resources too Patricia. Have a good week and good luck with this.

    • Lisa your testimonial to Mayura is wonderful to hear! I’m certain that if Mayura helped with the Google penalty, you will see the reconsideration request accepted.

      It’s so sad that we now have politics in our blogging efforts. Too sad to even contemplate further.

      Thanks Lisa and – best wishes for successful Google results.

  2. Cheryl Therrien

    I am paying very close attention to this series. Google has penalized me but I have yet to receive an email notice. I guess I should be thankful for that. However, I do know that my site has issues because it has been downgraded in Page Rank.
    Cheryl Therrien recently posted…American #Ginseng: Panax quinquefoliusMy Profile

  3. Jeannette Paladino

    Pat — I can’t believe all the work you’re doing to get on Google’s good side again. When i first started using Broken Link Checker, I found hundred of broken links that had to be removed. Now, I’ll receive an email every couple of weeks advising me of any broken links. It’s usually just two or three which I address promptly. It’s terrible to live in fear that Google will penalize your site even if you feel you’ve done nothing wrong. Fingers crossed that Google reinstates you into its good graces.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…LinkedIn Reaches 300 Million Users Making Business ConnectionsMy Profile

  4. Leora Wenger

    I’m looking forward to the surprise happy ending! You did much research – great job of navigating to find ways to solve the problem(s).
    Leora Wenger recently posted…Update WordPress: How To and Scare TacticsMy Profile

  5. Thanks for this post, Pat, and for sharing your experiences. How very dreadful that you’ve had to go thru all of this! I will immediately follow Sherryl’s suggestion to check for broken links on my sites as I have never done this.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…book review: Eat Chocolate, Lose WeightMy Profile

  6. Paul Graham

    Pat thanks for these further insights into the confusing world of the Google Penalty. I will certainly make use of the info on checking broken links. One would think there should be some mechanism to periodically check Google’s assessment of a site and have the opportunity to take corrective action prior to them even considering punitive action. Perhaps they feel they are too big to worry about public relations. That is an outlook that seldom stands the test of time
    Paul Graham recently posted…Profiling and PrejudiceMy Profile

  7. Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)

    Oh my word…this sounds terrifying to me! What great insight/advice you’ve shared! I was able to check broken links, only found one and corrected it right away! This was very enlightening…though I am so sorry you put so much time into this.Sorry for you that is…have a great vacation! You certainly deserve it!
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…Where’s The Justice… Virtual HonestyMy Profile

  8. First off Patricia have a great vacation. Second, thank you so much for all this insight. Being relatively new to this I had no idea about google and its penalties. I am going to keep your series of posts in a folder for future reference and keep my fingers crossed that I do not have this same issue. Much appreciated. Tim
    Tim recently posted…The Yosemite ValleyMy Profile

  9. Good Grief. This gives me a very creepy feeling. I can just imagine how many blogger or even small websites who would just give up and shut it all down. Maybe that is what Google really wants… sigh!
    Susan Cooper recently posted…MacRostie Chardonnay 2011: WineMy Profile

  10. Like I mentioned in part one I sure could have used this information a few months ago. Is it possible to get reinstated after google has denied your request months ago.
    Jay recently posted…Would You Stay With Someone Like YouMy Profile

  11. Patricia – what a nightmare! You are going to great lengths to fight a behemoth! I admire your tenacity and am glad you reached out and found some true givers to assist you. Can’t wait to read how it all played out! Good on you for hanging in there.
    Laurie Hurley recently posted…Powerful Positive Affirmations And Why They WorkMy Profile

  12. Glad you are on the right track Pat, and eventually will have sorted it all out. Personally use broken link checker and constantly delete spam and track backs from my sites. When someone not using CommentLuv leaves a URL to their latest post I always delete it since some of them have produced broken links. Delete generic comments without failure. Don’t want Google to assume they are spam.
    Catarina recently posted…Shifting wealth of nations – what is overlookedMy Profile

  13. William Butler

    Hi Patricia,
    Wow! You’ve had to do a lot of digging to find out why the penalty. I’m glad to learn of the broken link checker, as someone in my circles has announced her departure from blogging.

    I’ll be watching for the happy story. That there is one coming means you’ve got that rare commodity called resiliency. 🙂
    William Butler recently posted…Near Death Experience: You Might Be Having One Right NowMy Profile

  14. hey Patrica,
    Just now I have tried the broken links tool as mentioned by you and the result is – 4 broken links!! Shall I remove these now??
    Tuhin recently posted…How to start small scale food banks in your localityMy Profile

  15. Patricia – with my limited knowledge of how things work and yet the great appeal blogging has, I find all this information very scary. I’m pretty sure that most bloggers really mean no harm. Like Paul said, it would be good if they notified you before taking punitive action.

  16. Thanks for the resource links. I will be checking those out today.
    Jason B recently posted…4 Ways To Make More Money To Pay Off DebtMy Profile

  17. Wow, I’m totally overwhelmed now. It makes me wonder how all those spammy sites I keep seeing out there are getting away with it? Anyway, I think I’ll start with the broken link plug in. One thing at a time. Thanks again for sharing your experiences with us, along with the hope that it may be fixable, if something like that were to happen to me. I’m looking forward to hearing about your happy ending.
    Meredith Wouters recently posted…Click and Chat Social Media Linkup #5My Profile

  18. Beth Niebuhr

    I really appreciate your sharing your story. If it happens to me, I’ll come back to your articles. I’m eager to read the third part.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Just Say No or…My Profile

  19. By sharing, you are giving me a lot to think about. My page rank has been stuck at a 2 forever. Maybe this will be the year I finally see it raise by attending to a couple of issues. Had to hire someone, but it’s worth it.
    Jeri recently posted…Do you Prefer Print Books to eBooks? What about Audiobooks?My Profile

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