Okay so there is probably no “quick way” to recover from a Google penalty despite what the title of this article implies. Finding an overnight fix to recovery will not happen but there are some steps you can take to help accelerate the process. These steps do not have to be overly complicated or technical like some SEO experts would have you believe.
It’s very important when dealing with a penalty to deal with your simplest options first. Simple means it will not take you forever to complete and will also give you the best chance of quicker recovery time. How quick that is depends on the situation as every SEO penalty situation is unique.
With that being said here is a simple question and answer session giving you solutions to the quickest ways to recover from a Google penalty:
Do all your backlinks point to your home page or a single page on your website?
If the majority or your backlinks point to only a single page of your website you may be subject to a penalty. Google will likely see this as an unnatural link pattern as quality websites will normally have links pointing to many pages. Touch up some of the other areas of your website where you feel the quality is best and start directing your links to several of these pages as well. Make sure any links in your anchor text make sense however as it relates to the content of that particular page. Spreading out your link profile may help with the over-optimization of your site and will also force you to improve the content on some other parts of your website as well. It will be a win-win in Google’s eyes and won’t take too long to implement.
Do you have the same exact match anchor text for most of your backlinks?
By exact match we mean does every anchor text link you have contain the same keyword terms and phrases throughout? For example if you are selling cars in Calgary and every anchor text link you have is “calgary cars” or too closely similar this may also result in a penalty. Try and mix up your anchor text as much as possible while scattering in your keywords in places that are appropriate. Also keep in mind not all of your links should contain keywords either as a normal human being will not likely link to you this way. Google may see this as you trying to manipulate the SERP so variety is key in order to make your link profile look as natural as possible.
Do you have an exact match keyword domain name?
The keywords you are looking to rank for are ‘New York Accountants” and your domain name is “www.newyorkaccountants.com”. These can be some of the trickiest penalties to troubleshoot because you are always walking a thin line with the over-optimization penalty. If you have an exact match domain name try and minimize the overuse of keywords anywhere else in your site. This means in the body of your text, page titles, URL extensions and more. Having your main keywords in your domain name already will boost the keyword density of the entire website by default so you need to be careful here. Try and reduce the keyword count of any phrases that are in your domain already and your ranking will likely respond.
Should you switch domains entirely with an exact match keyword domain?
As much as you want to hang on to your current keyword match domain sometimes just letting go can heal ll wounds. Once a domain name develops a bad history pinpointing the root cause of a penalty can be frustrating and is just not worth it. Switch to a new domain name that is less spammy and point all the backlinks you have control over to the new destination. Don’t worry you won’t have to start from scratch again in regards to building your Google ranking. In most cases you’ll retain your current search engine ranking with a new domain name and in certain instances it may actually improve. Also keep in mind switching domains is a quick way to get rid of some of the bad links that were pointing you your old website anyway. The most harmful links to your site are sometimes ones you can no longer control where a removal request falls on deaf ears and using the disavow tool is necessary. Don’t ever get attached to any one domain do what’s best for business.
Have you tried to remove any bad backlinks and submit a reconsideration request to Google?
You would be surprised at how often people ignore the obvious because they are too lazy to do the work. There are also others who are paranoid about removing any links because they are not sure what a good one or a bad link is. In this situation don’t over-think and try to just take your best educated guess. There are simple resources online to help you identify bad links but don’t worry about making a mistake that will ruin your site or make it even worse. Create a simple documentation (often an Excel sheet works best) of every link your website has which you can grab for free using Google Webmaster Tools or Moz if you are a paying customer. Send a removal request to ever website you no longer want a link from and give them a few days for a response. If the webmaster removes the link on the other end great if not use the Google diavow tool to remove it instead. Make sure all your activity is recorded and once complete submit a reconsideration request to Google. Truth be your work doesn’t have to be perfect if Google sees the effort they are likely to cut you a break and reward you for at least making an attempt. Don’t stress about making a mistake just make an effort.
Are You Updating Your Website & Creating New Quality Content?
Even if your links are a mess at the moment you can still start the road to recovery by updating you website regularly and adding new quality content. Google is always looking for content that is fresh and interesting to it’s users and this will never changes. By doing this in many cases you will see you ranking go up slowly but surely as long as you are consistent in your effort. Improving the content of the site will not do all of the work for you but it will at least start moving the ball in the right direction while you attend to other issues. Don’t start to try and add new links to any new content you create just focus on making the content worthwhile and the rest will handle itself. Trying to build new links while old problems have not yet been resolved may make the problem worse even if you have quality content to link to. Forget about linking and SEO here all together, make your website better and it will rank better.
Should i forget about my penalty altogether and start from scratch with a new domain or website?
If you truthfully believe your current situation just isn’t worth fixing this of course is an option you should consider. Only you know how much hot water you got yourself into with past SEO techniques and how ethical you chose to be. If you feel you for the most part created a good website with only a few mistakes along the way there is no need to give up. If you know however you ignored many ethical SEO techniques in favour of taking short cuts then a new start may not be a bad idea. It will be an uphill battle either way but decide if you are trying to climb back up a steep hill or a giant mountain. If you answered mountain maybe creating a new hill is your best bet.
So how quickly can you recover from a Google penalty in all honestly? There is no set timeframe unfortunately though using good recovery methods will see positive results within a month or two if done correctly. In many cases for complete recovery you are looking at 3 to 6 months at best but if you do the simple stuff first you could get lucky along the way. The less guilty offenders probably don’t have to do a lot to improve their fortunes so just stay patient and stay persistent. Once you start to see improvements you’ll know the direction you need to go to moving forward. Don’t give up and you’ll have your ranking back!