You open up your email one day and receive an ominous email from Google about an unnatural link warning. But what does it mean? How did this happen? In an effort to reduce overall web spam and increase the quality of search results Google has been issuing manual web spam penalties to sites that they believe violate their quality guidelines. It’s very important to address this issue and resolve it, because a spam action can drastically affect the number of visitors who find your site and can negatively affect your business and your bottom line.
First review in webmaster tools the particular kind of manual spam action you’ve received. There are two types of manual actions, site-wide matches and partial matches. Site-wide matches are penalties that are applied to the entire site, where as partial matches are a penalty that only applies to certain inbound links. Site-wide matches are more severe and often times connected to a drastic drop in rankings and organic traffic. Partial matches still often times affect traffic, but not to the degree of a site wide match.
Now that you know you have links that are in violation of Google’s quality guidelines it’s time to research your entire link profile and decide which links are good and which ones are bad. Refer to Google’s quality guidelines to help determine whether it’s a quality link or not. You can find a list of links to your site in Google Webmaster Tools, or you can use a third party tool like ahrefs or Open Site Explorer.
Once you’ve identified the problem links removal is the next step. Contact the webmasters hosting the links and ask them to remove the offending links. Google realizes you may not be able to control all the links pointing to your site, so if you can’t remove a link you can disavow it using their disavow tool. Be careful here, disavowing positive links can hurt your site and you want to make sure you are blocking out only spam links.
After you’ve removed or disavow’d all the spam links it’s time to ask Google to reconsider your site with a reconsideration request. The more thorough the better, explain the actions you’ve taken to correct the measure (feel free to link to Google docs highlighting your work). Also, if you hired an outside SEO company who was responsible for the links include that information in the request as well.
The next step is to await news from Google. It may take a couple weeks, but Google will let you know if the action has been revoked or if the site still violates the guidelines. From there you can either repeat the steps and re-examine what you may of missed or feel free to contact Emarketed for a free consultation to see how we can help revoke the action and restore your site.