It was great news at equimedia this week to have achieved another Google Penguin recovery through a successful reconsideration request and disavow – that's two in two weeks on behalf of two inherited penalised websites. Our team at both Client and equimedia were particularly pleased that the effort has been achieved ahead of the busy autumn period for their businesses.
For those of you that have not yet successfully corrected a "unnatural link" penalty I can assure you that it is seriously hard work that requires an honest appraisal of the situation which can only be made possible with a team having the best combination of technology, skills (a surgeons precision that can "un pick" the mess) and client that trusts and believes in the team and the strategy.
We thought we would share the process (we have maintained our Clients anonymity but it could be any site)
Equimedia performed a link analysis to identify and classify all links to site using 3 different link discovery tools and manual techniques to discover possible PR article duplication and links.
Link analysis discovered thousands of links associated with over a thousand domains. We classified the links as either 'toxic', 'suspicious' or natural by a number of automated and manual techniques, and defined each link type (anchor text, URL, brand, generic, etc.) to assess the pro/wp-content/uploads/file of the link mix.
All suspicious links were investigated manually against criteria developed by our team to define the type and risk level for each link. This was the most time consuming element of the work and a more in-depth idea of our approach can be found in Jonathan's blog here.
Links from the following sources were found which violated Google's guidelines were:
Directories: Low quality directories, paid and free submissions, network of related directory sites.
Anchor text links: Heavy use of generic anchor text terms which were designed to manipulate rankings for specific terms in the search results.
Paid images: These were paid for image based advertisement which did not have the "no follow" attribute applied to the links pointing back to the site.
Spam blogs: Hundreds of links that were found on spam blogs that resulted from the use of a Zemanta WordPress plugin.
All contact details were discovered for all links needing to be removed, webmasters contacted to request link removal and a disavow /wp-content/uploads/file compiled for those not found or not cooperating.
A disavow submission was followed after the correct period of time with a re-consideration request communicated via webmaster tools.
The Result and a happy client!