Learn how one of Brafton's customers worked to remove spammy backlinks to recover from a Penguin penalty.

Remove bad links for SEO recovery: A Penguin penalty comeback story

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Industry: IT
Content: Weekly content
Highlights: Website traffic rebounds after a Google algorithm penalty

An algorithmic penalty is one of the worst fates a marketer can face, but one Brafton customer proves this can be a temporary setback when handled correctly. The company, a B2B IT solutions provider, demonstrated telltale signs of a Penguin penalty just after the refreshed algorithm was released in October 2013.

Whereas the customer’s website had previously seen healthy traffic, visits dropped dramatically (from thousands to a couple hundred a week) and stalled after the algorithm was released.

Step 1: Evaluate the problem

Before the client could fix the problem, it first needed to make sure the site’s devaluation was indeed the results of a Penguin penalty. After careful analysis, it compiled a list of backlinks that were to blame.

Step 2: Remove the bad links

Client is hit by Penguin and recovers by removing links.

This is where the hard work comes in. Penguin recovery requires that website owners go into the backends of their pages and remove any links that might set off a red flag with Google for being spammy, such as those purchased or acquired in another kind of link scheme.

Brafton’s content marketing strategists worked with the client to disavow the links identified as the references impacted by Penguin.

Step 3: Ask for forgiveness

After disavowing or no-following links, webmasters must submit a reconsideration request to Google. If the problem is not completely cleared, Google will send a denial message.

By March 2014, visits increased 10 percent and new visits had surged 16 percent year-over-year.

Fortunately, the company had taken care of the link issue because its traffic started to rebound after a few months. By January 2014, the site’s traffic was on the upswing, and a couple hundred weekly visitors steadily turned into several hundred and eventually climbed up to thousands.

A full recovery and more

By March, the customer was receiving more website visitors year over year than it did prior the Penguin hit. Visits increased 10 percent, comparing data for March 2014 with figures from March 2013, and new visits had surged 16 percent year-over-year. As further evidence of the recovery, the company also saw its on-site metrics improve – visit duration increased 12 percent, suggesting Google was again making it easy for qualified prospects to find the site and read its blog content.

This example goes to show that algorithmic penalties don’t have to be the end-all of a company’s search rankings, assuming they are willing to do the work to recover.

Lauren Kaye
Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.


  • http://www.seo.co.in/ Sudipto Chakraborty

    Thanks for sharing the timely content with us. More and more
    webmasters are acquiring Google penalty and it has become increasingly
    difficult for people to find the way to get out of it. I think they should more
    concentrate to build natural links rather than building back links for their

    • Lauren Kaye

      Hi Sudipto,

      Thanks for reading and offering your feedback! I agree that most webmasters have a hard time recovering from a penalty like this, which is why we were so excited to see this kind of success. We believe the best way to generate links naturally is to create something so interesting and original that other sites want to share it.

      Thanks again!

  • expertwebworld

    Very easily you can judge the traffic and health of website using Google Analytics and Webmaster tools . In the right time you can take action to improve the website and get status about the links. Mostly bad links from directory script which only used to get back link without any much important information for visitors. Back links are good from a useful and interesting website which automatically genrate the traffic as per visitor interest on website. expertwebworld dot com use this method and do some extra work on every website so that visitor will get existent on the website not he feel boring etc. hope you also follow it