Fortunately, there are steps you can take to recover from penalties. Although it can sometimes take a few weeks (even months, in some cases) to see any type of improvement, the sooner that you get started the sooner you can get back to where you used to be—hopefully in the good graces of Google.
Background on Google Penguin penalties
There are two primary types of algorithmic Google penalties: Panda and Penguin. These penalties occur because Google makes a change to its algorithm. This means that everyone on the web has the potential to be affected by the penalty (as opposed to just your site) because the algorithm has altered what Google views as important for ranking on the web. There are also non-algorithmic manual penalties, but this type of penalty is specific to your website and something a Google employee has determined you have done wrong.
For the purpose of this article I am going to dive deeper into Penguin penalties.
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Penguin is all about link spam. This includes low quality backlinks, text advertisements passing PageRank, having too many links with optimized anchor text and other link schemes like excessive link exchanges. You can visit this link to see all of the Penguin penalties rolled out by Google, but below are three of the most recent:
- Penguin 2.1: October 4, 2013. This had a moderate impact on sites and was primarily a data update as opposed to a major change to the algorithm.
- Penguin 2.0: May 22, 2013. People suspect that this update was targeted toward the page level. It was also a moderate change that hit a smaller number of sites.
- Penguin 1.3: October 5, 2012. This was incredibly minor, affecting only 0.3 percent of queries, but it’s interesting to note how long it took for Google to hit us with 2.0.
Tips to recover from a Penguin penalty
Your very first step is always going to be diagnosing the type of penalty. You should first check your Webmaster Tools to see if there is a manual penalty notification. If not, check online to see what Google algorithm updates may have occurred. This will usually be much publicized.
Once you have identified that it was a Penguin penalty that hit you, consider the several different steps you can take to recover: