This blog post of mine follows my earlier blog article titled: How I recovered from Google Spam penalty –Part-I
, which introduces you to what is a Google web-spam penalty and how my site got penalized because of it. I had told you about the intent of making these blog articles – yes, it is to help the site-owners correct their web-sites so that they can recover/avoid from the penal action fast and easy.
1.0 Read and re-read what are the Google Quality Guidelines: what are these things for not following which my blog was penalized?
As you had found in that blog post, I got the response from Google within 20 days of submission of reconsideration request
that my site violated Google Quality Guidelines. Now what should I do about it? What things on my blog violated the quality policies? Although I was searching on net for answers, none could satisfy me in totality. So I had a hard look at two places:
2.0 Analyzed my blog thoroughly (both what visitors see as well as what is not visible i.e. the HTML codes in my blog template): to find which part might have violated the quality guidelines.And I was stunned to find the outcome. Yes, my blog was a fit case for penalty and it might have been so for a long time.
There were two obvious places which were spamming:
1.0 Invisible part:
In the template codes, I had put too many keywords in meta tag “Keywords” - 1031 words, 5611 characters! Just imagine that.. (click to enlarge)
2.0 Visible part:
At the bottom of every blog post, I had put empty tags as shown below (click to enlarge):
So do not you think that my blog was spamming?
But actually I was not aware of it. I had used the Google Adword keyword tool
to find which keywords matches my blog and inserted as many of those keywords as possible in the template “keywords” meta tag! Secondly, it was also a poor decision on my part to follow some other sites in which I show empty tag insertion.
So after finding these two ugly truths, I began exploring more of my blog. And I found there are other places where correction was needed. So it took me 45 days of time (from 11th August till 26th September, 2011) to find out what were those mistakes and correct them. At the end of it, after I was convinced that I could correct maximum thing possible, I again submitted reconsideration request on 26th September, 2011 (click to enlarge).
I am re-producing below the content of the reconsideration request so that you can take lessons out of it – notice not only the technical issues but also see how the request is structured into statements and actions.
My blog was penalized on 11th August, 2011 and I was intimated on 30th August that the blog violates Google's quality guidelines. After going through the guidelines, on close scrutiny and work of more than 45 days, I found that my blog had following problems. I have since taken corrective action which is given alongside the problems and I think the blog deserves now to be reconsidered. No SEO help was taken to either diagnose the problems or correct them.
1.0 Problem: Duplicate contents - There were too many duplicate pages with obsolete content as no blog cleanup was done since from inception in October 2007.
Action: More than half of the blog content has been deleted – out of 716 pages, deleted 368 pages. Only 348 pages now remains which I consider to be unique.
2.0 Problem: Multiple domain duplicate contents - Another of my blog: http://XXX.blogspot.com, had substantially similar contents. Action: The whole blog has now been deleted.
Problem: Google CSE Widget was installed in one of the pages in separate domain (www.xxx.zzz) as I did not know how to install the same in the blogger template.
Action: I have now installed the Google CSE Widget within my own blog.
3.0 Problem: External Links – Too many links from my site were obsolete, resulting into 404 errors.
Action: Corrected/deleted the links with 404 errors.
Problem: Internal Links – I had placed label (i.e. tag) list in my home page, which resulted in large number of internal links, which might have appeared as a “doorway” page to spiders. Action: Moved the “label list index page” out of the home page.
4.0 Problem: Participation in link schemes - Mutual link sharing was done with “X” & “Y”.
Action: Deleted those mutual links on my blog and also have mailed admin of these two sites to remove links to my blog.
5.0 Problem: Irrelevant keywords – I had placed too many keywords in META tag “Keyword” in the template, which might have appeared as keyword spamming. Also there were empty tags in the bottom of blog posts.Action: I have reduced the number of meta tag keywords, limiting to only 147 now. Also removed the empty tags in the blog post bottoms.
6.0 Problem: Affiliate links– The “X” affiliate links were “Do Follow” links previously, which might have appeared as again link sharing.
Action: I have now used the rel="nofollow" attribute for these links. But I think this Affiliate program adds value to the blog and therefore have not deleted the affiliate links. I have proof to support my claim.
7.0 Problem: Use of revolvermaps.com Widget – This used to take a lot of time to load, making the page slower.
Action: I have removed the revolvermaps.com Widget.
Besides above actions taken, I also ran Google Page Speed tool to improve upon the page load time and implemented the suggestions. The pages now load faster – its score is 90/100. Besides the above issues, if there are anything more required to be done, I would be grateful if you point it out.
After submission of the re-consideration, I had to wait and wait till 13th October from when I could see gradual improvements in the blog traffic. And the response from Google regarding revocation of penalty came finally on 15th October (i.e. just within 20 days) (click to enlarge):
So at the end of these two articles, I would like to suggest following guidelines to penalized webmasters:
1.0 If your site has been penalized, do not worry. If you take proper corrective actions, the same will be revoked in about three weeks of time.
2.0 Also, do not worry about whether the penalty is due to say “Panda” effect or due to “spam penalty”: In both the cases you have to amend your site. So act, act and act!
3.0 Go through the guidelines minutely and compare your site for each guideline - try to find the problem yourself. No one would do that for you!
4.0 Submit your second reconsideration request only after you are convinced you got rid of all those problems: Chances are, if you post the request with still unsolved problems, your site will not be regarded for the third time.
I am listing below some websites which were tremendously useful in solving my problem:
: A good site from where you can learn from a person whose site was also penalized. It has got a few good tool to find what may be wrong.
: You can check the meta tags in your template, keyword density etc. through tools in this webpage.
3.0 Xenu's Link Sleuth
: The broken links on your site may makes it less trustworthy to Googlebot. Also if you link to bad neighborhood, your site ranking goes down. So get rid of the broken links. I had as many as 7500+ broken links because the site was not maintained for 4 years since from inception.
My Blog Traffic has again picked up! So yours can too!Hope above tips helps you in your pursuit to come out of Google penalty. Yes, that would take some real efforts, but at the end of it, you will have a great satisfaction of solving a cryptic puzzle!
Best wishes, buddy!