How to Regain Traffic Once a Google Penalty is Lifted

Mattan Danino
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Removing a Google penalty provides webmasters with much needed relief, but regaining the traffic is a major hurdle that most SEO analysts fail to leap. There have been instances where sites that faced partial action have seen a fall in their rankings as well as traffic even after a Google penalty was lifted. Sites that face these problems usually fall into three categories:-

Sites with minimal chances of recovery

Until a few years back, you could ensure that your site had a good ranking simply by obtaining sufficient links. If you are still using this strategy, and your prior ranking was based mostly on link spamming, there is a high chance that you won’t be able to recover once Google lifts its penalty. Google’s algorithms have changed remarkably over the last few years and webmasters attempting to come back from page two rankings, or higher, are likely to fail in to win back their traffic once the penalty is removed unless major efforts are made to reverse the damage done by link spamming.

Sites that require more efforts or time to recover

Sites that received a penalty for a manual unnatural links are most likely being penalized due to Google’s Penguin algorithm. To lift the manual penalty caused by Penguin, you must submit a disavow file to Google for the unnatural link. You then need to wait for Google to re-crawl the links in the disavow file. This can take a number of months. The Penguin algorithm will have to be rerun before you can do away with the filter that has been hurting your websites traffic. Even then, your site is left with only a handful of natural links once you do away with all of the unnatural ones, and returning to higher rankings can be a challenge. You also need to be careful with disavowing as you may end up disavowing sites with good, legitimate citations.

Sites that fall victim to a defective Google algorithm

Some SEO experts believe there is an issue with the Penguin algorithm as sites that have attempted to recover from manual penalties are still not getting good ranking. These sites may have recovered from a manual penalty, but fail to recover from a Penguin update. As a result, they fail to improve their ranking despite doing everything they possibly can.

Webmasters may have performed quality audits, reviewed and disavowed links, created superb content and attracted good links, yet your site may not rank well. Penguin calculates the level of trust that Google has on your website when it comes to web spam. This may be the major reason why some parts of the Penguin algorithm still cause Google to mistrust a site even if unnatural links are removed.

So what can you possibly do to regain the traffic? You will need to ensure that the proper files are disavowed. making sure that good links don’t get disavowed. Perform on site quality audits often to help detect the areas of the site that require improvement. You may have to wait many months, or even a year, until Google comes out with a new Penguin update, to see a substantial difference in your page ranking. If this is the case, for some businesses, it may make sense to simply start fresh.

Cleaning up bad links