Why will google not remove a manual penalty against us?

19 replies
  • SEO
  • |
My URL is: Accident Claims & No Win No Fee Solicitors - Accidentsdirect.com

Our site was placed under a manual penalty last year in June 2012 after penguin rolled out. We were advised by Google that we had unnatural links pointing to our site. We fought for months, running backlink checks and contacting webmasters where Google's WMT was showing the sites which had links. We have submitted numerous reconsideration requests with proof of our efforts in the form of huge well labeled spreadsheets, emails, and screen shots of online forms requesting link removal.

When the disavow tool came out we thought it was a godsend and added all the sites who had either ignored us or refused to take down the links to the disavow.txt with the domain: tag. Then we submitted another reconsideration request, but to no avail.

We have since had email correspondence with a member of the Google Quality Search Team who after reviewing the evidence of all our previous reconsideration requests and disavow.txt still advised us to make a genuine effort and listed sites which had inorganic links pointing to our site which were already included in the disavow.txt.

Google has stated "In order for your site to have a successful reconsideration request, we will need to see a substantial, good-faith effort to remove the links, and this effort should result in a significant decrease in the number of bad links that we see."

We have truly done everything we can and proven it too! Especially with all the sites in the disavow.txt there must be a decrease in links pointing to our site. What more can we do?

Please help!
#google #manual #penalty #remove
  • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
    You haven't removed enough links yet - according to them.

    When you do, you won't be able to rank anyways.

    Is there some reason you can't just dump this domain and move on? I understand nostalgia and all, but there's nothing special about this particular domain that is worth saving.
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    • Profile picture of the author mediaben
      Thanks PerformanceMan but that simply isnt true.

      Firstly - we will rank when the manual is removed because we are being indexed and rank for certain KW.

      Secondly - This website is a brand that has been built up for the last 10 years and we cant 'just dump it' because of its value and history.

      They say we haven't removed enough links but they also say that they don't expect us to remove everything, just the ones we can actually get taken down whilst showing our effort.
      Not only have we showed them our effort but we have disavowed any and all sites which have inorganic links!
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      • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
        Originally Posted by mediaben View Post

        Thanks PerformanceMan but that simply isnt true.

        Firstly - we will rank when the manual is removed because we are being indexed and rank for certain KW.

        Secondly - This website is a brand that has been built up for the last 10 years and we cant 'just dump it' because of its value and history.

        They say we haven't removed enough links but they also say that they don't expect us to remove everything, just the ones we can actually get taken down whilst showing our effort.
        Not only have we showed them our effort but we have disavowed any and all sites which have inorganic links!
        I see you still rank for your domain name (brand name) and you still have sitelinks.

        How is this penalty manifesting?

        Generally with Google link penalties there's nothing sophisticated going on. The 'unnatural links' warning message seems to come from cases where there are too many occurrences of 'exact anchor matches.' When the "EMD update' went down I checked a bunch of sites that got penalties and almost all of them were at 80% exact match or over.
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        • Profile picture of the author mediaben
          Originally Posted by PerformanceMan View Post

          I see you still rank for your domain name (brand name) and you still have sitelinks.

          How is this penalty manifesting?

          Generally with Google link penalties there's nothing sophisticated going on. The 'unnatural links' warning message seems to come from cases where there are too many occurrences of 'exact anchor matches.' When the "EMD update' went down I checked a bunch of sites that got penalties and almost all of them were at 80% exact match or over.
          Yes after running back link checks and using WMT we have discovered seriously aggressive exact match anchor text such as 'personal injury claims' linking to us (presumably built by a company we hired over a year ago to do our SEO work).

          I believe many webmasters received the 'unnatural links' message so while it is possible that we were penalized because of this, it may just be coincidence.

          That aside, any suggestions on what can be done now?
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          • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
            Originally Posted by mediaben View Post

            Yes after running back link checks and using WMT we have discovered seriously aggressive exact match anchor text such as 'personal injury claims' linking to us (presumably built by a company we hired over a year ago to do our SEO work).

            I believe many webmasters received the 'unnatural links' message so while it is possible that we were penalized because of this, it may just be coincidence.

            That aside, any suggestions on what can be done now?
            Google wants you to 'narc' on the SEO company. Throw them under the bus in your next reinclusion request and tell them that you had no idea this was going on.

            Of course if there are new links with the same anchor text, they might not believe your story
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            • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
              OP you might have one more option if Google will not remove them

              Your link builder (doubt he was a real SEO) built alot of your links with the .aspx extension for your windows I presume website. If through programming your website developer changes this the links will go dead and show 404s. Normally its a last ditch option to 404 pages just for incoming links but in your case you wouldn't be doing much more than removing the aspx extension.

              IF you have to and it works then you owe me a few hundred dollars.

              Even if it does you need to get less obvious links. Downside is that it will axe all the links coming to the page with that extension.
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  • Profile picture of the author Entrecon
    So, to work on decreasing the number of links to your site, you go to a forum about marketing where "black hat" linking and discussions might occur and create another link to your site?
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    • Profile picture of the author mediaben
      Originally Posted by Entrecon View Post

      So, to work on decreasing the number of links to your site, you go to a forum about marketing where "black hat" linking and discussions might occur and create another link to your site?
      Actually - as i am sure you are aware this forum is for paid members only. Therefore drastically reducing the likelihood of spam on this thread. And to be honest i don't think one more forum link will do much hurt.

      Anyway i don't see why anyone would purposefully spam us like that.

      We have worked incredibly hard at removing links and i would appreciate it if you did not reply with unhelpful comments like that.
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      • Profile picture of the author pasik
        Originally Posted by mediaben View Post

        Actually - as i am sure you are aware this forum is for paid members only.
        Where did you get the idea that this is for paid members only? I'm not paid member.:rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author Backlinko
    I think the issue is that you're assuming the disavow tool makes a difference in a reconsideration request.

    It doesn't.

    Google wants to see that you've made an effort to actually remove the inorganic links. Disavowing them (unfortunately) doesn't count for much.

    Here's what you need to do:

    1. Tell them that you hired an SEO firm and you didn't know what they were doing (which is the truth in this case).

    2. Show them spreadsheets and email documentation as proof that you've reached out to hundreds of site owners to ask them to get rid of the links. Also show them any links that you've had successfully taken down. Obviously, you need to actually do that.

    Unless you've done those two things they're not going to lift the penalty.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by Backlinko View Post


      Unless you've done those two things they're not going to lift the penalty.
      Plus people completely misunderstand the use of that tool. You can disavow all you want but if Google sees clear evidence that you have been manipulating results and nothing else they can choose to not disavow them.

      Links i saw should be removable - on web 2.0 accounts, blogger comments and some directories. As you said simply disavowing them is no guarantee of anything.
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      • Profile picture of the author paulgl
        Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

        Plus people completely misunderstand the use of that tool. You can disavow all you want but if Google sees clear evidence that you have been manipulating results and nothing else they can choose to not disavow them.
        Translation: The disavow tool is useless but gives webmasters a good
        feeling.

        Paul
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        • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
          Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

          Translation: The disavow tool is useless but gives webmasters a good
          feeling.

          Paul
          Of course it's useless. Google won't ever give belligerent and unrepentant webmasters a 'get out jail free' card.

          It's too much power
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    From the few links I saw (didn't have the time for a full audit) my guess would be that Google thinks that you are buying links. I do. add that to the directory links, web 2.0, and blog comments that all look pretty obvious and unnatural and you are not going to be given the benefit of the doubt.

    Do you even have a SEO working on your site? IF you do then he needs to learn a bit more.
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  • Profile picture of the author online only
    Google discovers "private" networks, paid links n more stuff with disallow tools. Nothing else. #illuminati

    In fact, I have never heard that anyone has recovered from any sort of penalty using disallow tool.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Why will google not remove a manual penalty against us?
    Your indexed, what's the problem?

    site:www.accidentsdirect.com

    Build better quality links to replace the links you've already deleted.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hansons
    Of course, the best way is finding links using backlink checker, know your unnatural links, if it is possible you can remove manually, if not possible then build more links with other keywords so that it would neutralize the effect.
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