Our 4-Step Recovery Process
This is the first step of our four step recovery process. Here we map your entire site, looking for on-page and site-wide issues that might cause over-optimization problems. Sometimes these issues alone are enough to cause either a filter penalty that suppresses your rankings below position five on page one or even pushing the site onto page two.
While this step alone can sometimes reveal the issues that need to be solved, it’s necessary groundwork to understand how inbound links are affecting the site. If the site is on the threshold of over optimization, and the inbound links are also aggressive with the same keywords, this can lead to penalties.
Side-by-Side Competitor SEO Analysis
The second step of the process involves competitor SEO analysis. Here we compare your site next to your top competitors.
By examining your top competitors, we create a Baseline Report for what your market’s top sites have in common and are able to draw safe boundaries. We then look at your site to see which parameters exceed those ‘safe-range’ boundaries. These parameters include ratios for elements such as variety of anchor text, link power to trust ratios, dofollow/nofollow link ratios, and other metrics within your market’s competitive landscape
We can now identify possible profile-wide imbalances that may be causing a penalty, causing a sensitive issue to escalate, or posing a significant risk to your site profile.
Additionally, the Baseline SEO Report is invaluable in maintaining safe link building and content creation practices moving forward.
Deep-Dive Backlink Analysis
The third stage of the process is an intense examination of all linking domains and their individual links for your website. We examine the page where the links are placed for spam quality and quantity of links. We don’t limit the investigation to the sites linking to your site, but we go back one level farther to examine the backlinks to your backlinks.
We then sort out high-risk links into a separate bucket that can be used to implement a complete penalty recovery solution.
Once the high-risk links have been identified, we create a disavow file and upload this to Google, going an extra step to force Google to reassess these links and remove the negative effect they pass to your site. The final stage of the recovery process, however, involves more than simply creating and submitting the disavow file to Google.
Any on-site over optimization issues determined by the Baseline Report must be adjusted. These changes are outlined in detail as to which changes need to be made, on a page-by-page basis.
Finally, there must be a replacement for any void left by high profile toxic links that were disavowed. Often times the high rankings your site originally experienced were due to the power from toxic links, and now that they have been disavowed that power must be replaced with high-quality backlinks that maintain the parameters outlined in the Baseline SEO Report.
People often use the terms penalties and filters interchangeably, but when we talk about penalties we are referring to official communication from Google that your site was manually reviewed and found to have problems, such as “unnatural links.”
Over the last few years, Google’s algorithms have improved and the need for manual actions have diminished. But this doesn’t mean that Google doesn’t still penalize your site for issues that it encounters or when it feels that quality guidelines have been exceeded or abused.
When certain factors are met or exceeded, it creates a suppression filter where your site won’t rank above a particular threshold. In the case of over optimization, the filters will suppress rankings for terms containing a particular keyword. Other conditions might impact the entire site, however we see this less frequently. More and more, Google is honing in on particular pages or particular keywords with its filters.
If you have experienced a penalty, Google let you know in the “Manual Actions” section in Google Search Console (new version).
Filters are a little more difficult to discern.
We’ve had many businesses approach us certain that they have had a penalty placed on their site, only to find that the problem is simply not enough inbound links that tell Google the page is worth ranking. This is often the case for new sites or sites that have never ranked or had much traffic. This doesn’t rule out over optimization suppression filters, though. We have even seen this happen when new sites were created with keyword stuffing techniques, so the suppression filters were triggered out of the gate.
But more often, filters are applied to established sites who are trying to increase their traffic. The traffic goes up for a few months and then falls off as thresholds are exceeded.
If you have experienced either a sudden drop in traffic over the course of a week, or a slower significant drop in traffic over the course of a few weeks, chances are good that you’ve experienced a panda/penguin type filter.
Fortunately, these filters are much faster and easier to recover from than a couple of years ago.
Most recoveries start to see effects within 30 days and a complete recovery in 2-3 months, depending on the actions that need to be taken.
You can reach out to us for an evaluation and we’ll check to see what your situation is and give you an estimate for how fast you can expect to be back in business.