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, https://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/
c) There is the Google Webmaster Forum: httpss://productforums.google.com/forum/#!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 https://www.mayura4ever.com/ – more about this Google Jail Bondsman in my final post about this.