While I’ve compiled my research over the past year into the Google’s Penguin Algorithm debacle, most webmasters’ answers focus on how to deal with manual Google penalties, not automatic algorithm ones. But which one is scarier? Getting penalized manually by a person working at Google, or their dreaded algorithm?
With the manual Google Penguin penalty, your website is given a warning through Google Webmaster by a Google representative, telling you that your website has been flagged for having spammy/low quality quantity links pointing to your site.
Why is this easier to deal with?
Well, as long as you make an effort, Google will reward you by removing the penalty and getting you back in Google’s good graces with high rankings. This requires tedious work as you compile your link profile by seeing which links point to your website using sites such as www.ahrefs.com, and majesticseo.com to name a few. If you can’t use paid link aggregator websites, you can also go into your Google Webmaster back-end and download the latest link table from Google Webmaster to see which links they’re crediting toward your website (make sure to focus on all FOLLOW links – remove the NOFOLLOW links from the list as they’re irrelevant).
On the other hand, an automated penalty is given no warning, your rankings and traffic simply plummet and disappear, and you’re left in the dark on how to deal with it.
Disavowing does not help on an individual level, as it only feeds Google’s database of which websites to ignore across the board for all websites (the more webmasters report the same website – the higher the likelihood that site is blacklisted), not only for your website.
There has been little proof to show on before and after results that Disavow has helped individual websites recover their rankings, the recovery came as a result of manually contacting webmasters and asking them to remove your link from their website.
So how do you know which links pointing to your website are low quality?
The way to find out which links pointing to your website are poor is by using majesticseo. Majesticseo tells you the whether the “trust” ratio of the link you suspect is low quality or not through the trustflow and citationflow of a particular website. When you go to majesticseo, type the URL/website address of each link pointing to your website, and wait for the ranking to come up.
If the Citationflow is far higher than the trustflow, it means that the linking website is extremely low quality and likely weighing down your website (especially if you have many links that have a higher Citationflow than a trustflow). Having a high citation flow means that the website you’re linked to also has hundreds if not thousands of other links pointing to it.
Once you compile your links that you deem low quality, you contact the webmasters of these sites asking them to remove your website by visiting their contact page, if no contact is available, you go to network-tools.com and search the whois of the website and find the email contact of the website owner and reach out, this is a great way to start reducing the bad links pointing to your website. You follow this up by formatting all the bad links (remember, higher citationflow than trustflow) into a txt file according to Google’s guidelines of the Google Webmaster disavow tool link removal request, and put it into Google through your Google Webmaster login associated with your website (hopefully by the next algorithm refresh, your website’s rankings begin to show signs of recovery). Moreover, in some cases link webmasters will ask you to pay a small fee for removal, if you have the budget, strongly consider doing this as your website will quickly recover its rankings with the removal of poor links.
If all else fails, do not try a 301 redirect by purchasing a new domain and pointing your penalized domain to the new domain; simply buy a completely brand new website and use the latest and best SEO techniques and linking strategies, instead of wasting money trying to recover a website with thousands of poor links pointing to it, a fruitless effort.