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3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories


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The key to Google Recovery

Google Penalty Recovery Stories

It has been a while since Google released Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014. The rollout seems to be ongoing for a couple of months as we reported in October already.

But what happened since then? Well, we looked into it and found a couple of great Google Recovery Stories on the Web.

Read the summaries here and learn

  • how to recover from Google Penguin
  • how to recover from a Manual Penalty
  • how to recover from a Manual Penalty AND a Google Penguin Penalty

See for yourself and read summaries of three exciting success stories below!

Enjoy & Learn
Christoph C. Cemper


Table of Contents

Case Study 1: Penguin 3.0 Recovery Story

KickStart Search recovered their client’s site following the Penguin 3.0. update.

KickStart Search was faced with a client who suffered a traffic drop of approx. 95%.

Huge traffic drop of approx. 95%

This loss in rankings was due to:

  1. unnatural link warnings received through Google Webmaster Tools and
  2. several Penguin updates.

At that time, the page no longer ranked nr 1 for any keyword, but their own brand name!

Strategic approach

The company hired KickStart Search to clean-up their backlink profile.

Between October 2013 and September 2014, they used several tools to get rid of the links that could be deemed unnatural by Google.

Using Link Detox they

  • identified over 1000 risky domains in the link audit
  • removed links from roughly 300 domains
  • disavowed another 747 domains
  • struggled thru 4 reconsideration requests

until they finally recovered.

In their process, they also used additional data sources, as recommended in our manual.


Kickstart October 2014 Penguin 3.0 Recovery

If you’re done your due diligence to clean up your links mess, a Penguin update can be a happy day instead of a sad one
KickStart Search

After KickStart Search cleaned up the backlink profile for their clients and after the Google Penguin Update 3.0 was rolled out in October 2014, the site’s rankings went up again with a “steady upward progression in visibility”.

Case Study 2: Manual Penalty Revoked

Rosalin from Seohunk International recovers from a Manual Penalty

Even content-rich website can suffer a Penalty

We’ve seen this picture before: a content-rich website publishing meaningful, interesting content allegedly unlikely to be penalized, suffers a Google penalty although doing everything on their onpage SEO agenda.

How is that possible?
The answer is simple: bad backlinks!

Because of bad links the site dropped over 60% to 70% of its traffic, losing all SERP and thus, suffering considerable losses in revenue.

Rosalin’s SEO agency quickly found out that their client suffered due to spammy links that were built in the past by SEO companies that hired previously.

Initial strategy without tools

At first, Rosalin started getting rid of backlinks that actually hurt their link profile without any tools.

They submitted their first Reconsideration Request,
but Google rejected them.
Google replied that some of their backlinks are still violating their quality guidelines.

At this point they realized Google wants them to do more.

Seohunk Reconsideration Request

[notification style="warning" font_size="13px" closeable="true"]If you want to learn more about Google quality guidelines, check out our white paper on Google Spam Examples with detailed explanations and useful information as to Google quality requirements.


The right strategy

The team realized the list of poor backlinks seemed to be endless...

So they needed to get a professional tool. They decided to get “the best tools in the industry” to gather their backlinks.
They got LinkResearchTools and Link Detox and integrated a lot of other data sources like Google Webmaster Tools and others to create a list of links that needed to be checked and possibly removed.

Pro Tip: Connecting Google Webmaster Tools to our product is especially beneficial and highly recommended for everyone.

It’s really important to get the right doctor for consultation when you have two choices such as get it recover or let it die (shut the website down).
Rosalin, Seohunk International

They were looking for the following links:

  • Followed links from advertorials, sponsored posts and press releases
  • Backlinks from low quality or irrelevant sites
  • Backlinks with low link influence score
  • Unnatural overuse of followed exact-match keyword anchor text
  • A large number of backlinks from the same domain, Site wide links
  • A large number of referring domains from the same IP address

Rosalin and her team went through the entire process of collecting backlinks, reviewing them, partly manually, and contacting webmasters for removal. However, many of these webmasters did not reply or asked for money, so they had to take the next step: disavowing the backlinks that could not be removed.

The joy of success

After all this work, Rosalin and her team actually made it and recovered from the Google Penalty and finally received the relieving message from Google:

Manual spam action revoked

Manual spam action revoked

Case Study 3: Recovery from Manual Penalty AND Penguin Penalty

This Case Study by Marcela De Vivo shows how she managed to recover a site from both, a Manual Penalty and several Google Penguin updates.

Marcela De Vivo worked for a client who came to her with a serious issue: her client suffered a Manual Penalty that took away about 90% of their organic traffic. This was due to thousands of low-quality backlinks, including blog networks, article marketing and directory submissions.

Deep dive into backlink profile

When Marcela De Vivo started her work, the domain-wide DTOXRISK was in the red sector, meaning an above average Domain Link Detox Risk:

Above average Link Detox Risk

Looking into it in more detail, she analyzed which Link Detox Rules were actually triggered. She found that thousands of backlinks triggered various Link Detox Rules.

Holy moly - just look all those different Link Detox rules that fired off on the backlink profile.

Link Detox Rules triggered

The above chart clearly highlights that there are so many different link networks involved, no wonder they got in trouble.

Furthermore, Marcela found that at least 25% were money keywords in anchor text:

Keywords in anchor text

Concluding, Marcela realized that the Penalty was due to negative SEO techniques from the past, meaning buying massive amounts of low-quality backlinks.

Finally, the shift

Marcela and her team started cleaning up the backlink profile by removing links and uploading disavow files to Google.

The tools used helped us identify patterns that we wouldn’t have seen with a manual audit.

Marcela de Vivo

They started disavowing most of bad backlinks and finally the Manual Penalty was lifted. However, they were not able to return to their previous peak in traffic and rankings.

Manual Penalty was lifted, but traffic did not return

But then Google Penguin 3.0 rolled out! Ranking and traffic went up considerably, the Penguin Penalty “suppressing so many keywords was removed, allowing the site to regain some old positions”:

Traffic increase after Penguin 3.0

Congrats to all

Congratulations to all of these SEOs mentioned above! Their results prove that they do a fantastic job and that their work really paid off!

Thank you guys for sharing these great Case Studies!

It's just another example that hard work does pay off in the end.

Their key to success

We saw different stories from different people with different problems, but they all ended successfully. Why? Because they had one thing in common, the right approach. There is no shortcut in the mission called “How to recover from a Google penalty”. If you want to get rid of a penalty, you must collect all the backlinks you can, analyze them properly and disavow them.

„Shortcuts in life (and in SEO) are typically “Fool’s gold”. Short-term gain can lead to long-term pain.”

Andrew Armstrong,

All these SEOs and agencies knew that they needed the best tools.
So all of them used LinkResearchTools and Link Detox as their main resource in their road to recovery.

Always remember

When you are looking for the best way to fight a Google Penalty, make sure that you keep the following facts in mind:

1. The first step to recovery is collecting as many links as possible.
There is no source which will provide ALL backlinks!
LinkResearchTools combines 24 different sources, most complete solution on the market.

2. Even, IF you collect all backlinks possible, do you want to collect data for ten-thousands of links by hand?
Link Detox Genesis is the most precise and the only self-learning algorithm on the market.

3. Finally, after you create the perfect disavow file, do you want to wait for months for Google to re-crawl your backlinks?
Up to 9 months as explained in this article?
Using Link Detox Boost you can do it as fast as in 3 days.

What do you think?

What's your story?

Please let us know your thoughts here in the comments or by sending a message to our helpdesk.

superhero smallWith the Superhero Plans you can perform link audits, link cleanup, link disavow boost, competitive research, professional SEO and backlink analysis for your own or your competitor's sites.

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Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper is the CEO and Founder of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox. A well-known and distinguished expert in SEO who started link building for clients in 2003, building the Link Research Tools since 2006 and marketing it as SaaS product since 2009. When the famous Google Penguin update changed the rules of SEO in 2012, Christoph started Link Detox, software for finding links that pose a risk in a website’s backlink profile. He introduced ongoing link audits and risk management to the market in early 2011. In 2015, Christoph introduced Impactana, a new technology platform and SaaS product to measure the success of content beyond "social buzz", to find content, videos and people that make an impact.
Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper

Latest posts by Christoph C. Cemper (see all)


  1. @lnkresearchtool on November 27, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories

  2. @conoseotweet on November 27, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Just read and downloaded 3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories by @lnkresearchtool

  3. @lnkresearchtool on November 27, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Use Link Detox to get your rankings back asap #Penguin

  4. @WorldSEOInfo on November 27, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    RT @cemper: RT @conoseotweet: Just read and downloaded 3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories by @lnkresearchtool

  5. @lnkresearchtool on November 27, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    if you want to recover from a Google Penalty, here is how

  6. @bloodpressurezz on November 27, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Just read and downloaded 3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories by @lnkresearchtool

  7. ~e~ on November 27, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    So the takeaway is these:

    1. Recovering from manual penalty does not return traffic.

    2. Recovering from Penguin does.

    3. Obviously if you have both, and fix both, then the Penguin recovery still applies.

  8. @SocialMTips on November 27, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    RT@RossDunn : Just read and downloaded 3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories by @linkresearchtool

  9. @VistaComputerRe on November 28, 2014 at 12:37 am

    Just read and downloaded 3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories by @lnkresearchtool

  10. @OMDigitalDesign on November 28, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Just read and downloaded 3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories by @lnkresearchtool

  11. @CharulathaN on November 28, 2014 at 7:42 am

    3 Great #Google Penalty Recovery Stories via @lnkresearchtool

  12. @rabanser on November 28, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Just read and downloaded 3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories by @lnkresearchtool

  13. @seosuvendu on November 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Case Study 2: Manual Penalty Revoked done by SEO Hunk International via @lnkresearchtool #manualpenalty

  14. @JimWatson9 on November 28, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories via @lnkresearchtool

  15. @PeterNikolow on November 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Just read and downloaded 3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories by @lnkresearchtool

  16. @conoseotweet on November 28, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Google Penguin/Manual Penalty?You CAN get your website back on first page! Some SEOs did it!” @lnkresearchtool #seo

  17. @cemper_com on December 1, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Find out how to recover from a Penguin penalty

  18. @JoseSEO305 on December 1, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    3 Great Google Penalty Recovery Stories via @lnkresearchtool #SEO #linkbuilding

  19. @lnkresearchtool on December 2, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Learn how to recover from a google Penguin penalty from these people #Penguin3

  20. @cemper_com on December 2, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Learn how to recover from a google Penguin penalty from these people #Penguin3

  21. @cemper_com on December 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Start your speedy recovery from a Penguin penalty today and get your traffic back

  22. @lnkresearchtool on December 2, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Start your speedy recovery from a Penguin penalty today and get your traffic back

  23. @LinkDetox on December 2, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Start your speedy recovery from a Penguin penalty today and get your traffic back

  24. @cemper on March 11, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Find out how to recover from a Penguin penalty #SEO #PenguinPenalty

  25. Michael Smith on April 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I dont think your tool can help in getting recovery because i tried it. Especially link detox. It indicates Some good link as a Bad link. So it would be good if you work on it as well.

    • Daniela Zuckerhut on April 15, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Hello Michael,
      I am sorry that it did not work for you, but this can have several reasons. When was the last time when you have used the Link Detox? The Link Detox Genesis algorithm gets updated all the time, so it increased the accuracy while we are writing now. Do you have a manual penalty or an algorithmic penalty? Do you have enough good backlinks in comparison to your competition?

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