Decmember 16, 2013
Being penalized by Google can be a major setback for website owners, with revamping your entire website and SEO strategy seeming to the only situation. However, this is not always the case, as is evident from the infamous Interflora example, where the website was back in Google’s good books just 11 days after being penalized. In the recent video by Google’s distinguished engineer, Matt Cutts, Google explains how this works, and how Google has a stronger penalty for repeat offenders than for a one-time spammer.
The bottom line is that if you receive a spam warning from Google once, you need to be extra cautious from that point on, ensuring that you do not tread close to the black hat SEO territory again. It is also important to keep a close check on other details of your SEO strategy, which could lead to your blacklisting. Once you decide to disavow links that are getting you into trouble, there are two approaches that you can follow. The first and more aggressive one is to disavow all links basically scratch from scratch, leaving only those that are obviously harmless. The other approach is more subtle, tackling one link at a time, eliminating only the ones that are definitely dirty, and going on until the penalty is lifted.
According to Matt Cutts, the first approach is the better one for those who want to bring their website back into the index immediately. This approach works well to resurrect a site that despite having a good domain name or great content has been killed by spam. Even though going the route of every single link the website got over the past year or year and a half may seem as too large scale an endeavor, that is the kind of impact Google is looking for when reassessing a penalized website.
Thus, if you are willing to recover from a bad backlink penalty, the best approach to follow is to simply disavow all the links that you got to your website during that particular frame of time. If you feel that disavowing all the links is too radical an approach, you must at least remove every link that seems suspicious. This could be your gateway to get back to into the index quicker- if you are lucky enough, within 11 days, just like Interflora managed to.