So, you got yourself penalized by Google and you need to get out of your rut? We are here to help. This is a step by step guide on how you can release your website from the shackles of the dreaded Google manual penalty.

Manual vs. Algorithmic Penalty

First of all, let’s get something straight. Are you sure you got a manual penalty? Manual penalty happens when Google’s bots automatically detect something amiss in a website’s backlink system and a real person actually looks at the site and penalizes it. You will receive a notification through your Google webmaster tools. If you do not receive any such message and your site has gone down in rankings, then you have an automated algorithmic penalty.

Steps For Fixing Your Manual Penalty

Manual penalties can be a bit harder to deal with. And we warn you, it is going to be a time consuming process. But you have no choice. Remember that you will have to submit your case to Google so keep your process well documented.

  1. Stop the SEO campaigns or onsite changes that you suspect, caused the penalty.
  2. De-clutter your site of SEO detriments such as error links to pages that do not load, plagiarized texts, and other black hat or spammy activity.
  3. Get the list of your backlinks from Webmaster tools. You need this to see which links pointing to your site are what caused the penalty.
  4. Find the low quality or bad links that point back to your site. Find a tool online that checks which links have low DA. Identify all the dubious links that have DA that is 24 and lower and separate them. Don’t forget to keep notes and documents of everything you do by this juncture since you will need to show this to Google.
  5. Then, check the rest of the links in the links that are not low DA. Visit them one at a time to see which ones are from dubious sites (adult or gambling sites, black hat optimized sites, trash sites, directories, sites totally unrelated to you etc.). Remember; let go of as much dubious sites as possible. If you don’t, you may never recover. Set those links aside in your excel columns.
  6. Look at those with “exact match” anchor texts as well and set those aside.
  7. After all these bad backlinks are identified, contact each and every one of those sites to have the links removed. Take the time to do this step and check back which links were removed; otherwise, Google will not trust you. Going directly to the disavow tool (to be explained below) is not a good option and Google will not trust you.
  8. After some time has passed, probably just ten to fifteen percent of your bad links will be removed. Use the disavow tool on the rest of the links. This can be found in the Webmaster tool and this will break the bond of your website from the bad links.
  9. Submit a request to Google to have your penalty lifted through your Webmaster tool. You might get denied the first few times. If so, a once over from the first to the last steps here to see what you’ve missed. Then try again.

There you go. Once you receive a notification from Google saying that the penalty is lifted, then you can pop that champagne and celebrate. Good luck!