Recover From Google Penguin Update: How to Remove Link Spam

Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Ecommerce, Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization

A lot of website owners have been hit (quite hardly) from the recent Google Penguin update, one of the site which we previously own went from top of Google for a very competitive keyword to no where to be found. (scary… huh?)

For those suffering under Penguin’s iron wing, here’s a plan of action for you to identify and remedy the causes of penalties and devaluations:

1. How do I know if I were really hit by Penguin?

Penguin went live on April 24th 2012, review your site’s search traffic immediately after that day - if your search traffic dropped, you are probably hit by Penguin =S

2. Find out which sites are linking to you!

Use Google Webmaster Tools backlink report to identify the sites that are linking to you, use the export function and export it as an excel spreadsheet.

3. Investigate which sites linking to you are of “low quality”:

Go down the list of backlinks to find the poor quality ones. Usually if I see links coming from spam blogs or directories, I’d mark it as “to remove” on the spreadsheet

4. Send requests to get your links removed

Create a template email requesting link removal that you’ll send to the webmasters in charge of the links identified as low quality. The template should candidly explain that you are a site owner trying to recover from Google penguin update and ask if they can please remove the following links. List the URLs where the links can be found, the URL on your site they point to, and the anchor text ─ all the info needed to easily find the link you’re requesting removed.

Sometimes you may be able to find the contact info on the site, but in case where the contact info is not available, you may need to do a whois search, in order to get the names and email addresses.

5. Wait to hear back from webmasters

After you’re done, you can expect to receive four types of responses to your requests:
● Remove link and tell you.
● Remove link and not tell you.
● Not reply or do anything.
● Will remove the link if you pay them.

In the case of the first, verify by going to the page where the link was and if the link was removed, then check it off your list. If you haven’t gotten any response back from a contact in 2 weeks, check to see if the link has been removed. It may or may not. If it’s been removed, again remove it from the list. If it hasn’t been removed, send a follow-up request. Depending on the sites linking to you and your luck, you may have to follow up several times. If you run across a webmaster requesting payment for link removal, you can threaten them that you’re going to report it to Google.

Throughout this process you must keep detailed records of your actions. A spreadsheet with columns for the linking URL, the contact name, the contact email, the date a request was sent, and responses or actions taken by the linking site.

If you went through this process, now its time to get your fingers crossed, let’s hope you get some love back from the Big G!

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