How To Remove A Penguin Penalty? 74 SEO Experts Share Their Secrets!

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penguin update

Have you heard the news? Google Penguin 4 is coming. We don’t know when exactly, but one thing’s for sure – it will rock the entire SEO world once again hitting tons of sites with a Penguin penalty.

So now is the right time to start cleaning your link profile by removing and disavowing your unnatural, paid or low quality links. Oh, and to change your entire link building strategy too.

OK, but how exactly does Penguin penalty removal and prevention worksr?

In this expert roundup you will learn exactly how to prevent a Penguin penalty and how to remove one in case you got hit by Google Penguin.

And that’s not all. You will not get just one or two useful tips on how to revoke a Penguin penalty.

Instead, you will get 74 tips from some of the most reputable SEO experts in the world. And all these priceless pieces of advice will be served on a silver platter. You will also learn about some nifty SEO tools that can save you tons of time and increase your chances .

Awesome, right? Let’s dive right in.

I asked 74 well-respected SEO experts one simple question:

“Which is the best method (or strategy) you recommend in case of a Penguin related issue?”

This article is enormous, so I created quick links for your convenience. Want to jump right to the answer of your favorite SEO expert? No worries, just click on his/ her name.

Tim Soulo, Maria Johnsen, Dan Petrovic, Matthew Barby, David Leonhardt, Chuck Price, Joost de Valk, Colin Klinkert,  Zac Johnson, Justin Ham, Shari Thurow, Albert Mora, Alan Bleiweiss, Neil Patel, Warren Whitlock, Steve Wiideman, Scott Dennison, Chris Makara, Asher Elran, Adam Steele, Sean Si, Allan Pollett, Bill Sebald, Gabriella Sannino, Matthew Capala, Tripp Hamilton, AtiqUr Rehman, Matthew J. BradyBartosz Goralewicz, Dominic Wells, Dennis Seymour, Marcus Miller, James ReynoldsEvgeniy Garkaviy, Umair Akram, Floyd Buenavente, James Norquay, Nate Shivar, Marianne Sweeny, Jamie Spencer, Martin W. Smith, Jon Tromans, Jasmine Sandler, Ian Spencer, Felix Tarcomnicu, Tor Refsland, Melanie Nathan, Jan Koch, Sean Smith, Jennifer Horowitz, Russell Lobo, Aaron Jones, Hernan Vazquez, Louie Luc Correia, Heena Shah, Philip Lopez, Naveen Kumar, Tuhin Adhikary, Shounak Gupte, Patrick Hathaway, Jo Turnbull, Mi Muba, Niraj Ranjan Rout, Sherman Smith, Kulwant Nagi, Dave Schneider, Jan-Willem Bobbink, Moosa Hemani, Fervil Von Tripoli, Robin Khokhar, Muhammad Ahmad, Jon Lee, Atish Ranjan, Evan Derek

Tim Soulo //@timsouloTim Soulo

~ Tim is the head of marketing at Ahrefs  and you can get more great marketing tips from him on his personal blog called BloggerJet.

Recovering from a Penguin penalty is a 3-step process.

Step #1: Getting rid of “unnatural” links.

Most people who suffer from a Penguin penalty have a very clear understanding of the unnatural links pointing to their site and where they come from.

Usually these are links that were rented from link farms and blog networks.

So first thing that you should do is take down all these artificial links from whatever sources.

Step #2: Disavowing low quality links.

If you weren’t specifically renting backlinks somewhere, the chances are that you have paid some shady SEO guy to build links for you.

Well, now you’ll have to find all these low quality links that he has built for you and disavow them.

(actually it would be better to take them down, but that’s usually very time consuming, so disavowing is preferable)

How to find these links?

Just put your website into Ahrefs and you’ll see pretty much all the backlinks that point to your site.

It allows you to mark bad links (or entire domains) and then export this list in a format that can be then sent to Google.

Step #3: Building good backlinks

And actually the right word here would be “acquiring”, because the very term “building backlinks” is a little shady.

I won’t give you any tips on building (or acquiring) backlinks, because there are hundreds of tutorials and case studies on how to do that.

Good luck with your Penguin penalty recovery!

Maria JohnsenMaria Johnsen // @iMariaJohnsen

~ Maria is a hyperpolyglot entrepreneur, SEO, digital marketing trainer, public speaker, programmer and author

If business owners follow Google’s guidelines in regards to on page and off page SEO, they will be safe from any Google Algorithm update.

Keep doing the following:

Implement content marketing with social media optimization and promotion, write content for users not search engines, make sure your website’s usability and mobile friendliness are aligned with Google’s guidelines, keep an eye on your Google webmasters tool updates and your link building profile.

Monitor your competitors and interact with your users on social network or have someone to do it for you.

Every Google algorithm update points on a particular task and process. We can’t give any precise recommendation as we don’t know what will be in next Google penguin algorithm update.

Website owners must show to users and search engines that they offer quality and user friendly content, products and services. Content which is filed with fluff words won’t do any good for anybody.

Make sure your mobile websites are free from syntax errors and structure date is Google search engine friendly.

Today site speed is another algorithm factor; improve your website speed for desktop, mobile, tablet and other devices.

If you are an ecommerce owner, ask your clients to write reviews about your products and services, it helps with your ranking. Also don’t forget the power of press releases if you have a new product or anything new is going on with your business.

Clean up your back link profile and those which you have no control over, disavow them, then send a reconsideration request to Google, so a Googler check it out for you.

Don’t be afraid of interacting with a Google employee. They will reply but it takes time. If they don’t then you should keep trying until one of them let you know if you follow with their guidelines.

Another solution is to hire an SEO expert to help you with improving your back link profile and your website’s online performance.

Dan PetrovicDan Petrovic // @dejanseo

~Dan is the managing director of DEJAN, a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

Dealing with Penguin? No thanks. If my site was affected by Penguin I would throw it away and start a new one.

I’d take great care to reach out to webmasters and re-point any organic links but wouldn’t redirect any URL from the old site. I know this is not what you want to hear, but it is my honest opinion.

If I’m attempting to fix client’s site and they have no option to move to a new domain then I make sure that my team doesn’t fall into “oh that link is good enough” mindset.

For example if a link is on a guest post and is the only link in the content piece, it will stick out as being completely unnatural, no matter how good content piece may be. Google won’t care.

when facing links from fake sites and blog networks.

Matthew Barby MatthewBarby.comMatthew Barby // @matthewbarby

~ Matthew is the global head of growth and  SEO @HubSpot, award winning blogger, global speaker and lecturer.

Use a link analysis tool (preferably a few) to pull through all of the links pointing to your domain and then you’ll need to begin the process of combing through the links to identify potential bad links.

After spending a lot of time in the past to work with companies that have suffered from Penguin penalties, the most important thing to decide early on is whether it’s worth just starting a fresh or tackling the problem.

There are a lot of factors that come into play but I’ve seen starting a fresh can be a lot more cost effective in some situations.

David LeonhardtDavid Leonhardt //@amabaie

~ David is the chief SEO (search engine optimizer) and writer. He is also the chief marketing strategist on his blog Seo-Writer.

I have long believed that if you don’t try too hard, you shouldn’t trip any wires. Google’s penalties and algorithm corrections are meant to neutralize anything that is tipping the scales in the wrong direction (in an unnatural, inorganic direction).

This technique might seem benign and almost harmless, but it is deceivingly effective.

First, create a table of all your backlinks.

Second, open each page one-by-one. Third, look at your link on the page…not as an SEO specialist, not as a business person, but as somebody who really is clueless to SEO. Someone like my Aunt Bertha. Ask yourself, why is this link here? Why does it say a nonsense phrase like “Real Estate San Francisco”?

It might be hard to disassociate yourself from the business, so it can help to use a real Aunt Bertha. If you are one or two Aunt Berthas short, not to worry. I rent mine out for $1000 per diem.*

If the link does not make sense to her, then it probably does not make sense. Period. We in business can be very competitive, and that includes when we get to link-building. More links. More links. Even more links. And it is so easy to justify why that next great link opportunity makes sense. But does it really make sense? Aunt Bertha knows.

If you try too hard, you’ll probably trip some wires.

Aunt Bertha will see right through your contrived links. If they don’t make sense to her, get rid of them if you can, or add them to the disavow list if you can’t.

If at the end of the day you remove tons of backlinks that can’t get Aunt Bertha’s stamp of approval, and Google still won’t give you a break, it might be something else. Or something more, in addition to Penguin. It might even be time to start over.

* Just kidding. I don’t really have an Aunt Bertha.

Chuck PriceChuck Price // @ChuckPrice518

~ Chuck is the founder and CEO of Measurable SEO. He is an experienced business manager and internet entrepreneur who has been deeply involved in the world of internet marketing for over ten years.

An easy way for people to check to see if they have been hit by Penguin is to use our tool.

If so, it’s time to perform a link audit.

In the case of a manual penalty, Google wants to see some effort on your part to get the links removed, so email outreach and documentation of that outreach is required. If your site has been impacted by Penguin, there is no need to ask for link removals.

Having tried most, if not all, of the commercially available link auditing tools, I found each to be lacking in some respect.

The logic is based on a set of link characteristics.

The following classes of links are automatically disavowed:

  • DA 1 /PA 1 Moz metrics aren’t infallible, but a site with both a PA and DA of 1 has no value at best and in aggregate could send a poor quality signal to Google.
  • SPAM TLDs: If you are located in North America, having a large volume of links coming from Russia, China and Brazil (.ru, .cn, .br) it’s almost always unnatural. I see this particular combination frequently after someone has destroyed their website after buying links from Fiverr
  • Links not Found: One could argue that if the link isn’t there, what harm is done? I prefer taking a conservative approach by removing a potentially harmful link which could automagically reappear
  • Page Offline: Links reported on pages that are now 404. The rationale is the same as above.
  • Scrapers: The web is filled with scrapers that steal content. It’s unlikely that Google holds these against you, but, since these have no positive value, I prefer to disavow them.

The next class of links would be sent a link removal request, assuming a manual penalty was in play. If we are looking to fix an algorithmic penalty, email outreach is not necessary and the links would be disavowed.

  • Exact Match Anchor Text: EMAT links built for the sole purpose of manipulating search rankings often cause the biggest problems.
  • Penalized Domains: Links from another site that has been penalized algorithmically or manually sends a poor quality signal to Google
  • Link Network: Multiple links pointing to you from Private Blog Networks (PBNs) can draw you into a spammy or otherwise bad neighborhood
  • Partner Sites: If you own or partner with other websites we recommend adding a nofollow attribute to avoid the appearance of creating a doorway page. If a no follow attribute cannot be arranged, then disavow the link.

The final class of link types is generally Okay

  • Social Media links: Since most are no-follow, no problem
  • Other Nofollow Links: Because they pass no equity, no need to disavow
  • Natural, organic links: No explanation required J

Even after applying this criteria, a percentage of links will not cleanly fit into any of these categories, and will require a manual review.

We’ve used this system to recover both manual penalties (with a 100% success rate) and algorithmic penalties. Websites hit algorithmically by Penguin will require a post cleanup Penguin refresh to fully benefit from these efforts.

Joost de ValkJoost de Valk // @jdevalk

~ Joost is a web developer, SEO and online marketer. His company Yoast focuses on software, training and services for website optimization.

In my opinion, the best strategy in case of a penguin related issue consist of a couple of steps.

First you want to look at all your backlinks. You can use something like Majestic to get all these backlinks.

Once you have that list, you are going to want to filter out all the “bad” links. These are links from shady websites, links that are unrelated to you website/brand/niche, links with a low trust flow etc.

Ask website owners to remove the backlinks and use the Google Disavow tool. But I would always try to ask the website owners first!

Colin KlinkertColin Klinkert // @ColinKlinkert

~ Colin is a full-time internet marketer and entrepreneur. He provides consulting services in the area of internet marketing and business development.

The most important thing to do if you feel like you’ve been affected by Penguin is to confirm that it’s not all in your head; do an analysis on your site rankings.

If you are using a Rank Tracker that allows you to see an overlay of updated from Google, to see if you were affected by an update (such as the rank tracker inside to see if your rankings have indeed fallen around the time of a “Penguin attack”. This is the most vital step you should take before going any further.

If you have found that you’ve been affected by a Penguin update, the best thing to do is immediately go back to the drawing board on your link building strategy and clean up your anchor-text profile because that’s what the Penguin algorithm really uses to derank.

It compares your link profile to your on-site keywords to identify over optimizations. The first thing you should check for with your keywords is that you are not overusing “money keywords”; meaning your link profile should look as organic as possible.

How do you know if a backlink is bad for your site? It could have some of the most basic spammy traits like too many links from one source, one IP and and links coming from a source that has content unrelated to the anchor text.

You can use a good tool like Site Explorer (also part of to first analyze the domain, then remove the bad links and rebuild your way to the top.

Another good strategy which can be time consuming but rewarding, is pushing out high quality content.

Ensuring your content is: unique, written well, checked from grammatical errors and relevant to your website could be the difference between you being hit by Penguin, or earning from Penguin by helping those who were affected clean up their act.

As I wrote about in my post: ‘7 Ways to get Backlinks Google will Love’ – there are backlinks you can actively build that look organic…

At the end of the day, all Google wants to see is content that lives up to it’s mission statement, relevant and useful content from organic sources. Once you stay within these guidelines there will be no need to worry about their “pets” coming to get you.


Zac JohnsonZac Johnson Zac Johnson // @zacjohnson

~  Zac is an entrepreneur and a super affiliate, with nearly 20 years of experience in the online marketing space. 

When it comes to Google Penguin concerns,

. While I highly recommend guest blogging and getting other brands to link back to your site, you need to make sure the relevancy and link quality is there.

Getting a link or mention from a huge site like HuffingtonPost or Forbes can be worth 100-1,000 more valuable than getting backlinks from 50 random sites.

This will not only help the power and relevancy of links coming to your site, but it can also help in that Google will start seeing authoritative sites linking back to your site as a valuable reference.

Another option is to go back and remove or disavow all low-quality links pointing to your site.

This is a huge pain and a massive tasks, but if a penalty is already in place this is one of the best ways to get your site back on the good side of Google and getting the penalty lifted. (though may site owners and SEO experts have their own opinions on if this method works or not)

With the combination of new high-value links being built to your site and a bit of a clean up process of old and low-quality links, you should be able to stay clear of any future Google penguin updates.

Justin HamJustin Ham // @EcommerceChief

~ Justin is a serial web entrepreneur. He is the founder of EcommerceChief, an ecommerce development and marketing agency, and a partner in two other web start-ups.

Penguin’s premise is around evaluating how links increase or decrease the rankings of your site. If you’ve taken a hit, here are four basic steps to course correct.

The first step is to make sure it’s a Penguin update that caused the traffic drop. As you know, Penguin is just one of many SEO updates that can affect your traffic. It is always wise to see the data and facts behind what caused the drop in traffic.

There are tools out there like Fruition or JellyFish that can provide more data to your hypothesis. Check the data and see what caused the hit to your site.

Once you’ve confirmed that it was the Penguin update that caused a traffic drop, you need to start digging into the percentages and distributions of your anchor text. The key is to have anchor text distributions similar to that of a healthy site in your niche.

If your site is only receiving links with certain anchor text, you need to find out what a normal site’s anchor text distribution would like in your industry and try to match it.

Now that you’ve begun fixing your anchor text, your link profiles are going to be a major priority. Use ahref or MajesticSEO to dig deeper into the type of links that are linking to your site. Take out the ones that are unnatural and keep it clean.

The more good links you have the better off you’ll be. Again, you can use tools to check which sites would be beneficial to your site growth.

All this information is basic steps, it’ll be wise to dive into each step and even consult with an expert. Each situation will vary and some Penguin related issues will need more special attention than others. Also, the new Penguin 4.0 update can happen anytime and again change the way SEO is done.

I hope this helps make your links relevant again. Penguin essentially is a mechanism that evaluates a site’s backlink. Keep them healthy and you’ll be good to go.

Shari ThurowShari Thurow // @sharithurow

~ Shari has been designing and promoting websites since 1995. She is an information architect and an expert in  search, findability and website usability.

Since my and my company’s approach to SEO has never been (and never will be) to exploit web search engines via spam or any other means, clients who have been with me at any point in this series…

  1. Information architecture
  2. Navigation systems
  3. Design
  4. Technical architecture and development

…won’t be affected by Penguin or any other major algorithm change. Reason?

. A site that is (a) architected well in the first place, and (b) contains well-organized and well-labeled content usually doesn’t have web spam issues.

Not all my clients, unfortunately, come to me with a clean slate. Getting poor advice about architecture, navigation, digital content assets, link development, and so forth from other SEOs is quite common. Fixing an SEO mess is not always easy and straightforward.

An audit is usually required to ascertain many things, not only link development.

  • Does the website have linkworthy content, also known as digital content assets?
  • What are they?
  • How are they labeled?
  • Where are they placed within a website’s information architecture and site navigation?
  • Is the site architecture based on mental models of actual users? Or is it the technical team’s mental model?  The marketing team’s mental model? The CEO’s mental model? Someone’s personal opinion other than actual users?

Answers to these questions can be uncovered with a site audit.

Many SEO firms simply use software to ascertain possible issues with a site. I understand that software can help uncover issues. However, some SEO software can be the source of the problem. For example, content density (or thin content) can be an issue. Too many links per page is often a related issue.

Those issues are best addressed with a human, not software. A wayfinder site map or site index will contain many links. A category page might contain many links. These page types might be mislabeled as “thin content” in SEO software.

Additionally, a site search engine results page (sSERP) is often treated as a category page. This situation is often a poor decision by a technical team. Category pages and sSERP pages have different characteristics and should never be treated as the same page type.

A site audit can uncover these decisions. A thoroughly qualified SEO team with education and experience in information architecture, navigation systems, usability/UX, and technical skills should be giving these site audits with recommendations.

I understand very few SEO professionals have these skills. An information architect and SEO, for example, might not have technical skills. But that group should be able to work with a technical team to get desired results.

A Penguin issue can have straightforward solutions. It can also have complex solutions. Some solutions might be quick-and-easy to implement. In all likelihood, though, comprehensive Penguin solutions take time.

A negative Penguin effect means that someone or group(s) listened to poor optimization advice. Therefore, any proposed solution should be different than the poor advice. The better advice and solutions might not be easy to hear and do. But that advice and solutions are better for websites in the long run.

Albert MoraAlbert Mora // @albertmora

~ Albert is the CEO of Seolution, a SEO and content marketing agency, founded in 1997, with 1200+ clients from over 40 countries.

We’ve had several clients who came to us to solve this type of problem. This is a very complex issue. Therefore, it’s not easy to formulate a straightforward solution. Let me give an overview.

Frequent reasons to experience penalizations:

  • Poor/spammy backlinking profile
  • Anchor text overoptimization
  • On page overoptimization
  • Duplicate content…

Typical penalizations:

  • Whole site or just few pages
  • Keyword related penalizations
  • -x positions in serps vs site totally vanished from Google index
  • Manual vs automatic…


Solution will be based to the type of penalization you’re experiencing. The first that you have to take into account if it’s worth it or not to try to solve the penalization. Sometimes, it requires such an effort that it’s better to start with a new fresh domain (by the way forget about 301 redirections). Having said that, some tips:

-If you have a spammy backlink profile:

  • If possible delete poor backlinks
  • Use the disavow tool from Google (it can take months to see results)
  • Get new high quality links
  • After the above steps, ask Google for a reconsideration

If you overoptimizing your anchor text

  • Lower the anchor text density
  • Switch your approach from artificial links to deserved links

-If you have duplicate content:

  • Eliminate duplicate content
  • Use 301 redirections
  • Use canonical tags

Of course, my best advice is to

You can learn more about it in my SEO tutorial. It’s what I call SEO 2.0.

Alan Bleiweiss Alan Bleiweiss // @AlanBleiweiss

Alan is an SEO consultant, author, trainer and speaker. He is specialized in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Marketing (SEM), Internet marketing, SEO Audits, Competitive Analysis.

A good way to start addressing a prospective Penguin cleanup process is to see if there really is a problem specific to Penguin. Does the date of a major, obvious drop in Google organic traffic line up with a known Penguin update? Check the Panguin Tool to find out. Or the Moz Known Google algorithm change calendar.

If you can’t see a specific dramatic drop that way, or don’t have Google Analytics installed, another good way to at least begin to understand, is to have an inbound link review done by an expert. By looking at a sampling of inbound links, an expert can look for patterns that indicate whether a more complete link-specific audit is needed.

I offer such reviews, but only as part of a more complete on-site audit, because what I find often is where one issue exists in one aspect of SEO, there’s usually major problems in other areas. 

And by working on multiple paths to improvement, a site is more likely to see gains and long-term sustainability. So that’s another thing to consider – what else might be going on that needs to be dealt with?

Find out. Because if you wait until link cleanup has been done, (especially with the reality that Google hasn’t updated Penguin in forever), you could be leaving a lot of revenue behind.

At that point, however, the best way to address a situation where a site appears to have been harmed by Google’s Penguin algorithm is to hire a professional consultant or agency that has direct Penguin specific recovery experience to do a proper link audit

That’s vital. Unfortunately, many agencies claim to have this, except a number of them are actually not as properly skilled at the right level as they need to be. The end result can often be a site getting many links removed or disavowed, that are not harmful to the site’s link profile, and where that itself then harms the site.

The other flawed scenario is where not enough toxic links are cleaned up properly, or disavowed. Because of this, it’s critical to do proper research and “due diligence” reference checking on every prospective/potential Penguin clean-up solution provider.

People like Dr. Marie Haynes, Jenny Halasz, and Sha Menz are all excellent as just three examples of true link clean-up (manual penalty as well as Penguin) that come to mind. Again though, there are others – quite capable – just remember do your homework before hiring someone.

Neil PatelNeil Patel // @neilpatel

~ Neil is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, KISS metrics  and Hello Bar. He is an entrepreneur who likes to blog who started two SaaS analytics companies.

Just building more natural links.

Yes you should remove bad links, but if you create good content and you naturally gain organic links from content marketing, I’ve found it to help.

So the key is to not just remove bad links.

david-krauterDavid Krauter

~ David Krauter first a marketer first and a “techy SEO geek” second… he is the founder of Websites That Sell providing Website & SEO services with a focus on more traffic, leads, phone calls & sales – not just rankings…

We’ve had sites that have been “negative SEO’d” the hell out of – but the site still ranked….


Because there were ten times more GREAT links pointing at the site, they business had a great brand presence around the Internet and awesome content on the site.

Naturally, when seeing spam hit your site you’d be ready to throw it away and start over.

In our testing and case studies, we have found that this is no necessarily always the case anymore.

Especially after Google employee, Gary Illyes revealed that “for Penguin specifically there’s less need (for a disavow file), but if you see the crap, you can help us help you by using it (the disavow file).

This confirms that Google is getting VERY good at determining good links and bad links – and on top rather than penalising a site or a page they are now simply devaluing the actual links.

That’s great news for webmaster and dramatically removes a lot of headache penguin caused people.

Now this doesn’t mean to start spamming your site and thinking you’ll be safe from a penalty.

But rather, to get out of a penalty or stay well away from a penguin penalty do the following.

– worry less about bad links pointing to your site.

– build more awesome links

– GET YOUR ANCHOR TEXT RIGHT! off page and on…

Warren WhitlockWarren Whitlock Warren // @WarrenWhitlock

~ Warren is a keynote speaker, IBM futurist, influence engineer, radio host, author and an influencer.

The number one best way to stay free of penalties like Penguin is to not get the penalty in the first place.

A quick review of this article, or a Google search will give you steps to take if you do have the penalty, though I’d first make sure that is the case. Looking at those, you’ll see that it pretty much what good SEO has always been.

Any shortcut that uses low quality links or repetitive content is bad for users and what Google doesn’t want. That trick you are thinking gets by Google is going to be tomorrow’s nightmare.

Think about readers, over years and serve them.

Steve WiidemanSteve Wiideman // @seosteve

~ Steve is a SEO expert and consultant, president and CEO of Wiideman Consulting Group.

We always refer to Lewis Sellers’ Ultimate Guide to Penalty Removal

The basics:

  1. Run a baseline (ranking and traffic)
  2. Identify if it’s Penguin or a manual action (via Google Search Console)
  3. Dedupe your lists
  4. Remove nofollow’d links
  5. Segment your remaining list into “Optimized Anchors” and “Low Relevancy Links” tabs in your workbook
  6. Remove all the good and relevant links from both tabs
  7. Upload to Buzzstream or Pitchbox
  8. Assign to a team member to start making contact to remove or replace links (based on traffic potential and revenue)
  9. Disavow any URLs that you could not get removed or replaced
  10. Wait patiently for a week or so and then run a delta report from the baseline

Scott DennisonScott Dennison // @scottdennison

~ Scott is an internet marketing expert, best-selling author and founder of

 Perhaps it’s better to say I’ve crossed paths with it three times now. One win, one loss and one incomplete.

My primary site in 2010-2012 was and business was good, at least in part from being ranked in the top 5 for 15-20 Florida SEO related keywords. Of course, like almost everyone else we had a high-volume approach to building backlinks and our primary strategy was to generate high PR links using a PBN.

Of course, the one I was using was the 2nd one nuked by Google and that killed the site. I left that one sit for almost a year while learning how to remove the penalty we had received.

It was a relatively straightforward process — for some keywords we were able to get the links removed by asking the site owners who we got the links from and some others disappeared when the PBN site was de-indexed.

Finally, after months of hesitation and anxiety about what would happen if we used the “Disavow” tool – we ended up submitting our report and 45 days later finding our penalty was gone. Of course, because so many of our links were removed or discounted our rankings were poor, but we’re out of Google jail.

Another site didn’t fare so well. is a roofing contractor in Baltimore who’s site we managed in 2014-2015 that performed as if it were penalized, but we had no evidence of it in WMT.

Eventually, we came to learn that a long gone webmaster had used a different Google account which we could not access and that was where notifications had been sent. The client refused to invest in Penguin penalty removal services so we withdrew from the project.

This third project, who’s domain I won’t reveal because it’s a long-standing client who’s under a negative SEO attack as we speak. Someone, using private registration has purchased domains and 301 redirected those URL’s toward my client’s site.

This serves as a portal for all manner of poor quality links and already we’ve had 2 rounds of link disavow to do to keep them at bay. Since we don’t know who did this — the client has engaged a lawyer to help us resolve it.

I’d like some suggestions from your readers  on what they would do in this third situation…

Chris MakaraChris Makara // @ChrisMakara

~ Chris is a digital strategist. He is specialised in SEO, social media and interactive marketing.

If you have confirmed that your site has been dinged as a result of Penguin, you’ll need to work to correct the issues that triggered it.

You need to look at the diversity of your anchor texts pointing back to your site. If you see that a large percentage are exact match phrases, you’ll need to work on creating new links using a variation of anchor texts like your brand or site name, “read more”, “click here”, etc.

Basically, you’ll need to bring down the high percentage of exact match anchor texts.

Additionally, you will need to see where on your site the links are pointing. If a large number of them are linking just to the homepage, you’ll want to look for ways to build link to your internal pages to build a more natural link profile.

Another thing is that you will need to look at the actual sites linking to you. If you see a lot of shady sites that aren’t related to the topic of your site, you might want to contact the website and see if they can remove the link.

It’s not a fun process by any means. If you you don’t have any luck getting the link removed, you can submit them to be ignored by Google with their disavow tool.

Asher ElranAsher Elran // @DynamicSearch

~ Asher is a practical software engineer and a marketing specialist. He is the CEO and founder at Ignitur and Dynamic Search™. 

Penguin is vicious and hard to recover from.

Since Penguin is not part of the core algorithm, it is hard to estimate recovery time.

Google runs Penguin periodically, and everybody needs to wait for that to happen. I know business owners that have been waiting for over a year for the next update in order for their work to take effect.

The way to deal with Penguin is by cleaning your link profile and at the same time invest in natural link earning methods to strengthen your authority and trust signals.

This is something many overlook, and therefore get disappointed from the results after the penalty has been lifted.

The tools I use include excel to manage all this process, ScrapeBox to complete the link research, ahrefs + majesticsem+ Google WMt for backlinks database, and lastly Ignitur which helps collaborate with others running this tedious and time consuming process.

Adam SteeleAdam Steele // @AdamGSteele

~ Adam is a serial entrepreneur, local SEO and the CEO and founder of Magistrateinc.

It was some time ago now, but it was a battle I won’t soon forget.

A project came my way that has both Panda and Penguin issues. 1000s of duplicate pages, 1000s of spammy links. It was an absolute slog. 18 months from the time we begun, to the time we saw some relief. The business was entirely crippled.


1) Pulled a link profile via Ahrefs, MJ, and GWT.

Basically the worse it was, the higher on our hit list it was.

2) Begun our first round of link outreach, using a legal@ email address associated with the domain, and some sternly worded legalese.

3) Submitted a disavow file. This is a last resort in my opinion, but the situation was dire. The types of sites we were reaching out to, would never reply to us.

4) Reached out to Google (reconsideration request), explaining our situation, our actions and our intentions.

5) Repeated steps 2, 3 and 4 approximately 5-7 times all while hammering away at our Panda issues.

6) After about 9 months, we begun dialogue with representatives such at John Mueller via various Google Hangouts. He was able to give us some input, and provide some things to try.

7) Repeated steps 2, 3, 4 and 6 many more times. Kept extremely detailed accounts of everything we did, and updated Google along the way via each reconsideration request.

8) …and eventually relief came.

This was my last battle with Penguin.

Sean SiSean Si  // Qeryz // @SEO_Hacker

~ Sean is the CEO and Founder of SEO Hacker and Qeryz. A start-up, data analysis and urgency junkie who spends his time inspiring young entrepreneurs through talks and seminars.

By ‘Penguin related issue’ I assume that it’s a penalty. Otherwise, Penguin is a non-issue.

First thing we need to do is to establish an on-going linkbuilding effort that is all-white, and then execute it so that it goes on daily. Low quantity, high quality.

Second, we will have to do a clean-up. Run through the site using Cognitive SEO. 

Allan PollettAllan Pollett // @allanp73

~ Allan is a SEO guru, internet marketing specialist and web business developer.

The Google Penguin update looked at the quality of links.Despite my best efforts to prevent my clients from doing the very things that would incur the wraith of Google, they of course get enticed by the offers of cheap links that flood their email boxes.

Resolving a Penguin related penalty is a painful process, but there is at least a process to deal with it First, I made a list of all the links using Google Console, Majestic, Ahrefs, and any other backlink tool to get the largest list possible. Next step involves running the list through LinkDetox.

From the successes I compile a list of all the removed or no follow links. After all of this is done I disavow all the links which were deemed to be negative and do a review request with Google.

Even with best efforts, sometimes links get missed and the process needs to be repeated. Google knows of many more links than any other tool and they aren’t very open about showing what they know, so the process isn’t perfect. However, with the effort described the usual outcome is positive.

Overall, the process is tedious and time consuming one. Often clients don’t appreciate the effort that goes into it, so the best advice I can provide is teach your clients not to make the mistakes that will get them in trouble with Google and just hope they listen.

Bill SebaldBill Sebald // @billsebald

~ Bill is a SEO consultant,  web-designer, blogger. He has been into SEO for almost two decades, starting more as a technical SEO and eventually getting into the marketing side.

We’ve helped several clients out of Penguin. It’s typically the same stages of work:

1) assess the issue

2) build the plan

3) meticulous execution

4) follow up plan.

Assessing is key because you don’t want to go in and disavow just any link – you want to be cognizant of the unnatural links, many of which need a careful eye.

We do Penguin penalty removal with a lot of manual effort. A lot of work up front, but almost always leads to the desired result the first time. I’ve found shortcuts and tools fail if you rely on them solely. For us, they’re a great headstart.

The human element is still required. The fourth stage is important too – you need to have a plan to replace those lost links.

Google has told us that good links can outweigh the unnatural links, so build good links as part of the big picture. It works for us!

Gabriella SanninoGabriella Sannino // @SEOcopy 

~ Gabriella is a international marketing consultant and SEO strategist.

Although Penguin looked at other things, linking is its main target. With that in mind, if you believe you have a Penguin issue, reviewing your back links should be the first step.

It can be time consuming, but extremely useful. Use a link crawler link MajesticSEO or Monitor Backlinks. You can also get a list of the backlinks listed in Google Search Console.

Here’s the time consuming part. Visit each site manually. Review the page that your link is on. Compare them to this awesome article on Moz outlining what an unnatural link is. It’s like a “who’s who” on unnatural link types.

Make a list of those links that should be removed. If you can take them down yourself, that’s great.

If not, try contacting the site owners and asking them to take the link down. You can use Sidekick to track who has opened your emails and not answered you. Give them a week to respond or remove the link.

I’d be extremely careful with this tool, however. As Google warns, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could do a lot more harm than good!

Matthew CapalaMatthew Capala // @SearchDecoder

~ Matthew is the founder and managing director at Alphametic, a boutique SEO agency, Internet entrepreneur, speaker, professor at NYU and author.

Getting the kind of high-authority editorial links that Google wants to see in 2016 is more difficult today than ever. Content marketing has exploded since 2014, increasing competition for high-quality links.

With the recent Penguin updates, Google has also cracked down heavily on paid link schemes, making it less possible for SEOs to buy, trade, or barter their way into organic results pages.

Building a diverse portfolio of high-authority backlinks in 2016 takes a methodical approach that’s akin to the process used in a PR agency. 

Penguin updates haven’t changed ‘link building’ best practices, they upended them so that it’s harder and harder to place anchor-text links on sites at scale.

With that said, your best bet to recover from Google penalties or to jumpstart your backlink strategy is to build real-world relationship with bloggers, and create win-win situations so that they talk about you and your business, without getting paid to do it.

For Fortune 500 companies, it means connecting PR and SEO. It also means blogger-centric, news-oriented content strategy. For small businesses and startup, personal branding, public speaking, self publishing, and guest blogging plays a huge part in your ability to get blogger attention.

Tripp HamiltonTripp Hamilton Angular.Marketing // // @Tripp_Hamilton

~ Tripp is the Director of angular’s link removal department and product manager for Remove’em.

A tried-and-true method for discerning a Penguin-related issue would be to manually analyze your back-links. Be sure you gather data from multiple sources such as AHREFS, Majestic, Moz (Open Site Explorer), and Google Search Console’s “Latest Links” export.

Utilizing a multitude of data sets will ensure that you have identified all the links to your site, and will help you determine which ones are natural and unnatural.

Use pattern analysis to determine which anchor text has been manipulated and which methods were used to obtain links (such as directories, article sites, etc.).

Once you have identified the unnatural links, then you will want to get those bad links removed. The disavow tool can take time to have any effect, especially in the case of a non-manual penalty against your site (algorithmic issue).

Remove’em will help find contact data, track each link for no-follows, removal, 404s/301s/302s, etc., and it also has a variety of templates to use to contact the webmasters.

Atiq Ur-RehmanAtiqUr Rehman // @atiqi36

~ AtiqUr is a programmer, web developer, internet marketing professional (seo, ppc expert) and tech writer.

Penguin actually have different level of penalties. The highest is manual penalty and the lowest is probably loss of ranking for a given keyword. I have experienced a manual penalty with a website because of excessive guest posting on unrelated websites.

Although no link buying or black hat methods were used but a bad use of anchor text distribution on unrelated websites by their SEO team caused this.

Unfortunately for manual penalties the only way to fix is by contacting people to get the backlinks to your website removed and disavowing the rest.

Google is very picky on this.

Matt BradyMatthew J. Brady / / @WarrenPeace

~ Matt is a Content Specialist at WSOL, a digital agency that specializes in web design, development, and marketing. He regularly blogs about SEO and inbound marketing at

Since Penguin 4.0 will operate in real time, it’s important to quickly resolve any issues that might cause penalties, such as links coming from spam sites or linking networks.

and take action to remove any of these bad links.

You can use Google Webmaster Tools or other sites like Ahrefs or Screaming Frog to find any bad links and then disavow them through Google. If possible, you should try to get these links removed altogether by contacting the owners of the site and asking them to take the link down.

Aside from managing your link profile, I always encourage people to ensure that their site provides quality content, good user experience, and accessibility across all devices and screen sizes. Providing people with the kind of relevant, shareable content that answers their questions is the best overall SEO strategy, and it’s what Google is trying to encourage with every change they make to their algorithms.

Bartosz GoralewiczBartosz Goralewicz // @bart_goralewicz

~ Bartosz is CEO of Elephate, a Polish/US SEO and content marketing agency.

Yeah we work with Google Penguin all the time.

Most important factors are:

1) get ALL the links you can. Not only Majestic, Ahrefs & Link Research Tools. Go as wide as possible. We usually get 40 – 50% more than only Majestic or only Ahrefs.

2) de-duplicate and run alive check (with e.g. hrefer or Scrapebox)


No tool will solve this problem for you, but tools like LRT will really help to asses the problem correctly and to speed up the whole process.

Dom WellsDominic Wells // @Human_Proof

~ Dom is the founder of Human Proof Designs. He teaches people how to succeed with niche marketing websites and offer his own websites for sale.

The first thing you want to do is confirm it’s penguin penalty. At the moment, penguin hasn’t updated since late 2014, so if your site lost traffic or rankings since then, it’s probably not penguin.

However, assuming you know it is penguin (and soon penguin will be part of the normal algorithm, like panda), then you want to do the following.


The easiest way to do this is pay someone on fiverr or source market. There are a few good sellers offering this service. As always, check reviews first.

2.) Submit the disavow file to Google via webmaster tools. This will basically tell Google that you don’t want them to consider all the bad links that probably got you the penalty in the first place.

3.) Build some brand and naked anchor links to counter the over-optimisation that got you into trouble.

4.) If there are any links you control and can remove easily, do so, but the disavow file should take care of that.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll recover, but the steps above will give you a solid chance.

Dennis SeymourDennis Seymour // @denseymour

~ Dennis is an online entrepreneur, author, podcaster and blogger. He writes about SEO, business and startups. He is also co-founder of Leap Froggr, a digital marketing company.

Penguin is nasty. It has different levels based on what things you did. Today, I still have some sites that have not fully recovered. I’ve been observing them and doing tests on them. Mostly, I’ve seen those that partially recover and some that recover fully.

I’m sure it will come in handy to many people that are still in the middle of a penguin issue.

You might login to your Google Search Console and see that you are actually still ranking for all your keywords except for 3-5 main ones.

These are usually the ones that bring in the most money, which is why you went crazy optimizing/backlinking for them.

That shows that you have a partial penalty. Sometimes you can recover, sometimes, you just don’t.

Start investigating the issues. Clean it up and have it reviewed if you had a notification from Google.

Even if they say that the penalty has been revoked, it’s still 50-50 that you will recover those keywords. It’s just the way it is.

Marcus MillerMarcus Miller // @marcusbowlerhat

~ Marcus has been building websites since 1997 and tinkering with SEO since 2000. He is a consultant specialising in technical SEO.

We have been looking into and helping folks with Penguin related issues since the Penguin 1.0 so we have seen a really diverse set of sites with algorithmic penalties. From this we have two main strategies when it comes to looking into these issues:

1.Analysis – we really have to do some careful analysis here. We want to know what keywords and what pages of the site are effected. Is this a sitewide drop. Is it just a few keywords? Is it a certain set of pages? Then we need to carefully review the link profile. We need to look at webmaster tools and all of the common link indexes to build a master list.

Often in this world where a business may have had several SEO companies over the years we need to look at links that have been built by all agencies over time as some unscrupulous SEO’s hide links from the link indexes (which says it all about the quality of the links).

This list then needs to be manually reviewed. There are tools that can help but as is often the case we have found the best way to do this is the manual review.

2. Clean Up – in the early days we conducted some heavy clean up jobs. However, it is tough going and given enough time bad links tend to just fall away as these sites are no longer maintained.

We will still clean up overly aggressive links in content or on well maintained sites (often just changing the anchors if they are otherwise good links) but we primarily just disavow the majority.

Penguin issues are just so complicated. We have this negative equity to deal with but in many cases there is not a lot left. The whole concept of Penguin penalty recovery has to be clearly explained before this kind of job is taken on as in most cases you will not bounce back to where you were previously.

Many companies are just burned by dodgy SEO practices but some folks really need a complete shift in their mindset – not something that is always easy to do.

When it comes down to it a link analysis and comprehensive disavow is the best strategy in 90% of cases and hopefully, with the promised move to a real time algorithm we will see businesses with the right mindset recover from lingering penguin issues once and for all.

James ReynoldsJames Reynolds // @FollowJames

~ James is the Founder and Managing Director of SEO Sherpa, which along with our sister Google Adwords management agency called Click Jam make up the company Veravo.

The way to deal with Penguin issues is to;

(a) Remove any unnatural links.
(b) Build natural (organic) links.

Penguin is an algorithmic filter which means if your link profile “appears” artificial then you are in danger of being hit.

It’s important to monitor your link profile to ensure it looks natural.

Use tools like Majestic or Ahrefs and look out for the following:
– A high percentage of links using the same anchor term.
– Many links from the same site.
– Links from low-quality sites.
etc etc

If you find any of the above, contact the webmaster of the linking sites and request the links are removed.

At the same time build natural and organic links to your site. You want links from high authority, on theme websites using a varied mix of anchor terms.

This process of caring for your link profile is somewhat like a farmer attending to his crop. Every now and then he should pull out the weeds and plant new seeds in their place.

Do the same with your link profile and you’ll build a very strong website that is resistant to updates.


Evgeniy GarkaviyEvgeniy Garkaviy // // @MrGarkaviy

~ Evgeniy is editor and SEO consultant for Marches Hour Directory.  He is also Hope Spring’s volunteer Internet Marketing guru and webmaster.

A few of my sites that used to bring very good traffic in the past were penalized by Google Penguin update. Main reason is that I used directory submission as one of the main method in the middle of 2000-s.

And, of course, most directories linked to my sites with targeted anchor text. That is why there were affected by Penguin.

I can just share a technique that everyone is probably know – fix your backlink profile.

But I think that this method will work only for the websites that were not penalized by Google Penguin, to protect them in future.

A year ago I also did a similar roundup where asked SEO gurus if they are using anchor text & keywords in their link building.

The main conclusion is that even TOP SEO specialists do not have very clear position on link building with anchor text.

According to this poll by Barry Schwartz only 9% sites fully recovered from Penguin:


What I can say exactly is that Google Penguin changed my link building strategy completely.

Umair AkramUmair Akram // iclicknetworks

~ Umair is the founder of My Tech Mag. He is a web developer, SEO consultant and digital marketer.

I will answer from the prescriptive of Penguin 3.0 Penalty because It was the recent version of Penguin (If I am right)

So if you are facing a penguin related issue, first of all you have to check the backlinks which you are getting from websites.

For this purpose I personally use MonitorBacklinks (Honestly, I am not promoting them).

Once, you have found the websites whom backlinks are not good for your website. Probably they are from Porn or Gambling websites or from a website which contain more than 100 external links, you have to create a list of those websites. (Thanks to the filter feature provided by MonitorBacklinks)

Mostly experts advise to first send an email to the webmaster for removal and If they don’t listen from you then you should contact their hosting providers. But, in my case I haven’t found it effective because I was only able to get 20% success rate.

So the method I’ve used and find effect was the Google Disavow tool and I recommend others using the same method to get rid of all the low-quality backlinks that might affecting your rankings in SERP’s.

Floyd BuenaventeFloyd Buenavente // @SEOphilippiness

~ Floyd is working as a SEO specialist for more than 10 years. He also teaches martial arts such as Chinese Kung Fu and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

There are a lot of ways to fix penguin issues, some would disavow their links after getting all of their backlinks and paying thousands of dollars in the process.

First thing I do is determine the level of severity. I go to my analytics and my webmaster tools and use this tool  to see how soon my traffic went down.

Then I check my rankings and my competitors rankings to see if they also got hit by the penalty (or why they weren’t)

This process is easy but what is tedious is when you decide to disavow the links to your site on the root level.

A number of Paid tools come to mind.

1. Link research tools

2. Ahrefs

3. Majestic

Now keep this in mind removal can be guaranteed, but Penguin penalty recovery is another matter. The point being is that you’ve amassed a lot of bad links to your site and the only way to recover is to create really good backlinks.

I have interviewed in my website one of the best penalty cleaners in the web for further input just in case you want to go deeper.

James NorquayJames Norquay // @connections8

~ James has over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing and SEO in highly competitive verticals in the USA/ Australia.

If your website has been hit by a penguin algorithm update you should:

1. Complete deep analysis of all links in your profile using numerous sources such as Ahrefs, Majestic, Search Console.

If you have the chance then reach out to sites to change links or remove them first.

3. Once the analysis/change occurs you need to build branded high quality links in your link profile, in 2016 you really only would want to focus on QUALITY.

4. Wait for Google to implement an algorithm re-fresh and hopefully regain visibility in the index.

Sure sites probably have more complex legacy issues which would involve more analysis and work on a cases by case basis.

Nate ShivarNate Shivar Shivar Web // @nshivar

~ Nate works as a digital marketing consultant in addition to building, owning, and operating digital publishing brands – including Shivar Web where he is the primary author and sole editor/publisher. 

Penguin is a complicated issue – and every strategy has to be customized for each individual website.

That said, there is one strategy that plays an enormous part in recovering from a Penguin-related issue – getting more high quality links.

Imagine if someone placed some arsenic in a bucket of water and you had to figure out a way to drink it. You could pour it out and end up with no water. You could also focus on building an elaborate filtration system for that one bucket of water. Or, you could also just keep adding gallons of clean water until the arsenic was so diluted that it did not matter.

Penguin is the same way. It works as a ratio.

But ultimately, you are going to have to find a way to get lots of high quality links to not only dilute the toxic links, but also prove that you have a useful, legitimate, traffic-worthy website.

Marianne SweenyMarianne Sweeny // @msweeny

~ Marianne is a information architect, SEO consultant and user experience advocate.

I believe in a proactive approach and recommend doing a link profile review of your site every 3 months.

This involves using Google Webmaster tools or SEO products that have the capacity to produce a comprehensive list of links to the site, e.g. SEMrush, Majestic, AHREFs or BrightEdge (on the enterprise level).

I sort the list by domain and scroll through to see  URL or anchor text aligns semantically with the subject/product of the site I am evaluating.

I highlight the ones that do not, add these to my proactive Disavow list and upload the REVISED list to my Google Webmaster account.

I emphasize “revised” as there can only be a single disavow list. If you upload a file with only the newly found spammy domains, you will overwrite all of the ones that you found previously.

If you have received a Penguin manual action from Google, you have have to go through the links with much more discrimination. I would recommend subscribing to your favorite SEO product for this.

You will go through many iterations of disavow requests before Google finally lifts the penalty.

It has been my experience that sites who have been penalized, sorted out their links and reinclude din the index do not recover their previous rankings in search results. So, I would recommend setting client expectations on this before moving forward.

Jamie SpencerJamie Spencer // @setupablogtoday

~ Jamie helps people get started with building a blog or website so they can help fund their lifestyle.

My biggest tip for dealing with a Penguin penalty would be to

Having links removed can often be a long and arduous process and if you have limited time/budget it often doesn’t make sense to carry out link removals.

I would start by looking for links with exact match anchors, partial match anchors and then move on to look at links from low quality sites to – if you need any help with uploading and formatting a disavow file correctly then read some of the great articles on

Sadly Penguin hasn’t rolled out for a long time now so it could be several more weeks/months before your work has any affect.

It may also be worthwhile looking at the costs of building a new website and carrying out work to get that site ranking should Penguin not update any time soon.

Want to know how to make a website that is Penguin friendly? Just follow all the tips in this Penguin expert roundup and you should be fine.

Martin SmithMartin W. Smith // @ScentTrail

~ Martin is an entrepreneur creates apps and provides consulting in web strategy, content marketing, web design.

Penguin is about links and the value of links coming in and flowing through a site. If a client had a Penguin problem, and we would know by using the Panguin overlay tool, we would suggest these actions:

  1. Disavow any “spammy” links (helps right away)
  2. Increase PPC spend while you do #3 (keeps wolf at bay while you build a long term fix)
  3. Use the penalty to clean internal links
  4. Create An App
  5. Strengthen and Use Your Email List
  6. Build Community

Community can be as little as adding reviews or as much as’s Community In A Box (user profiles, wikis, forums, knowledge base, contests, and gamification). Link quality is hard to fix fast. Dumping more links on a site with a link problem worsens the problem. Fixing a link problem requires organic build over time.

Suffering and Penguin pain starts NOW. We work with clients to clean links with the disavow tool. Many Curagmai clients don’t realize their content, website, and SEO may be hurt by link actions of others. I learned this lesson the hard way when an unidentified competitor paid proxy spammers to flood our site with “bad links” one October to remove us from the SERPs by Christmas.

This “attack” happened before Google’s disavow tool. We used other means to let Google know the sudden “link attack” was from sites we didn’t know. Google created the disavow tool to make it easy to eliminate such a nasty black hat tactic.

#2 Increase PPC Spend

If Penguin reduced links and traffic is down then BUY TRAFFIC to keep your website alive while working on a fix. Traffic given up is always twice as hard to buy back, so and this recommendation applies to Panda hits too, keeping blood flowing to a website’s heart while we do a bypass is a CSF (Critical Success Factor).

#3 Clean Internal Links

I’m a believer in Bruce Clay’s silo content structure. Clay believes careful with inbound links can help show Google what you value. Hopefully, what you value is what others value too, and they demonstrate their worth with inbound links from “good neighborhoods”. Organic links from “good neighborhoods” is how you recover from a Penguin hit.

#4 Create An App

Apps provide an alternative navigation structure one not dependent on Google. Apps need to engage, excite and reward. That last sentence is another way of saying an app that sucks doesn’t help anything.

An app that doesn’t suck and creates a new reason and way to “login” goes around Google. There are successful mobile startups that have NO organic Google listings. If Penguin punished your site think about building an app so, the big G can’t do that again.

#5 Strengthen Email List
This may seem a strange Penguin penalty recovery tactic especially in a mobile; smartphone enable time. Your subscriber list is and will remain one of the least expensive best ways to drive converting traffic to your site.

Make no mistake.When recovering from a Penguin or Panda penalty you need LONG time on site numbers and visitors willing to look at many pages. For most websites the “recovery group” of visitors I just described lives in their email list.

We advise our clients to up their email frequency when their sites are in the Google penalty box. Can you burn down your email list by sending too often? Yes, but we’ve found most lists are more loving and forgiving than many marketers realize.

Your list has more elasticity than you know AND a Penguin penalty with traffic reduction (from links tossed out by Google) is a house on fire NOW. Always put out your fires THEN fight the next fire. Throw your list in a bucket and toss it on your fire more frequently than you typically mail and you may stay alive long enough to fully recover.

#5 Create Community

Community is the best strategy we know to develop a sustainable engine, an engine capable of sustaining itself with an ever-increasing number of inbound links from “high value” neighborhoods. Give pieces of your site to your customers and they tend to repay that favor with links.

Don’t stop with your customers. Create pages about industry gurus and influential thinkers in your space. Higher up the “guru ladder” you climb the less likely a link back, but you never know, AND your content about the expert is relevant.

If you drive a link out to the guru, you increase chances of a link back. Make sure that link out is a “nofollow” our your PR3 site may be sending juice to a PR6 or PR7 site, and that is dumb.’s main mission is helping e-commerce clients build community precisely because Google’s shift of priorities has left many commerce sites hurting. More than Google’s requirements creating collaboration, platforms, and community is a winning strategy with a future.

Google is now, has always been, and will always be about sharing content the mob wants, loves and shares. Google’s genius was simple – the inbound links is a VOTE now we need an engine to count votes.

Google became that engine capable of faithfully counting inbound links and life a we knew it changed. Google’s algorithm changes are efforts to keep the faith. If link juice  or votes  can be bought Google’s ability to faithfully share what searchers love goes away along with billions in revenue.

Jon TromansJon Tromans // @JonTromans

~ Jon is a former broadcaster and new media expert that offers a range of SEO and Digital marketing training.

The only real way to get over penguin issues is to do some research and spend time looking at what’s already in place.

Use Google Search Console and Open Site Explorer to figure out where your inbound links are coming from and then spend some time manually checking for links that could be spam.

Don’t be too harsh though. A worthless link is most probably ignored by Google. Just spend time looking for genuine spam.

If you have used an SEO company to build links in the past then communicate with them to find out where they placed the links. If they tell you it will help speed up the research process.

Into the future make sure any link building is done as part of an holistic marketing campaign that will bring in sales, brand awareness and lots of genuine back links.

Jasmine SandlerJasmine Sandler // @Jasmine_Sandler

~ Jasmine is a digital marketing strategist, speaker and author. She is also social sales trainer and SEO instructor.

For sites that have been penalized , the best approach for reversing the affects is to first determine all the reasons for the Penguin penalty.

Sometimes Webmasters have built content practices by aggregating site content from other sites that appears as unrelated duplicate content.

Sometimes the fault is from Web Developers who do not understand and are not trained in proper SEO strategy and tactics.

But sometimes, site SEO is the result of poor tactics. A proper analysis with related details of where the penalties have occurred is a critical first step

Ian SpencerIan Spencer // @IanSpencerSEO

~ Ian has worked in SEO for well over 12 years and now acts as a search marketing consultant for firms based in the UK and is Google Adwords Certified.

Having dealt with a few Penguin related penalties with clients that have come to me with issues, the steps you need to take in terms of recovery are always based on three factors in my experience:

· Time – Recovering from a manual penalty or even an algorithm penalty is not instant in terms of deleting a few links and hoping for the best.

Depending on the size of the site, the amount of links and the severity of the reason that led to the penalty, it can takes months of work to even get to the stage where you are ready to get that reconsideration request in or know if your actions have worked.

Quick and scattergun approach tactics will not work and will just lead to more problems, so you need to allocate a lot of time to start Penguin penalty recovery.

· Knowledge – Although there are some pretty good link analysis and Penguin penalty removal tools out there, in my opinion, you need a manual approach as you do not want to remove any good links or any links that are actually ok.

If you go for a blanket removal then yes, you will get the penalty lifted, but you will not rank for much, so you need the experience to tell a good link from a bad link and then look at the best way of dealing with it.

· Patience – Following on from my time point, this is not an overnight job. Firstly, you need to make sure your issues are due to Penguin and not other factors.

But, the biggest aspect is at the moment, Penguin is not a real time algorithm, you need to wait for the refresh to see if the efforts really worked. Of course, this might change when the new penguin heads our way as its rumoured to be real time, but we will see.

So, in summary, make sure you have a penguin issue and not something else and if you do not have the experience, time or knowledge to start the clean-up, employ someone that has.

Felix TarcomnicuFelix Tarcomnicu Pro Optimization // Felixtarcomnicu

~ Felix is an entrepreneur and inbound marketer. He is specialized in SEO, social media, conversion rate optimization, email marketing and traffic growth.

If your site gets filtered by the Google Penguin algorithm, you have to conduct a full analysis of your backlinks. The first Penguin algorithm was mostly about unnatural links with a poor anchor text distribution.

With that being said, analyze all your links and try to remove the bad ones and fix your anchor text distribution, if you have such issues.

With the bad backlinks you can’t remove, create a disavow report and submit it to the Google Disavow Tool. After getting rid of the bad links and disavowing the ones you couldn’t remove, it’s also important to create some quality links from relevant sites.

I wrote a step by step guide showing how to find your site’s bad links and I recommend anyone having Penguin related issues to read it.

Tor RefslandTor Refsland // @TorRefsland

~ Tor has left his six-figure job in order to follow his passion – helping online entrepreneurs free up more time, so they can focus on what they really love. 

If you are suffering from penalty from Penguin related issues, you should follow Scott Langdon´s article on Entrepreneur, “How to Recover from a Google Penguin Penalty”.

He basically says that you should:

1. Create a list of all your backlinks
2. Analyze all of your links for quality

3. Keep track of the links you want to remove.

4. Start talking with webmasters and disavowing links.
That being said, you will save a lot of frustration, time and money if you create a strategy and focus on… How to avoid Penguin related issues

Before I started blogging I read about so many people sharing their frustrating stories about how their SEO ranking was suffering every time Google an algorithm change.

And I thought to myself “There is no way that I am going to predict what Google is going to do next, and I don´t want to sleep bad a night wondering about when they are going to make the next algorithm change.”

That is why I chose a white hat SEO strategy.

My first roundup post, included 80 Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy Experts, and it generated:

  • 20,231 page views in 6 days
  • 1500+ social shares
  • 185 new email subscribers

This post is ranked as #3 on Google for the keyword “productivity tips”.

Even though I have only been blogging for about 14 months with my first blog, I have several posts that are on the first page of Google, and several on page 2 and 3 (they are still climbing).

My recipe for getting a post ranked on Google is simple (but not easy):
1. Write an epic post
2. Promote it like crazy
3. Link to your posts in your guest posts and in your roundup posts contributions (where it´s naturally to include it).

Blogger outreach helped me to get featured on 158 blogs in my first 14 months of blogging.

And what did I do when I got featured on the 158 blogs?

Yes, you guessed correct. I naturally linked to my own blog posts.

It does take a lot of time, but it´s well worth it in the long run.

Melanie NathanMelanie Nathan // @melanienathan

~ Melanie is the Founder of PositionDIGITAL and a veteran SEO. She is  best know for being a link building expert, having 13 years of hands on experience providing SEO and a wide range of specialized Internet marketing services for websites.

Depends on what the penguin’s issue is 😉

But seriously, since a “Penguin related issue” would involve some sort of link penalty, the best course of action would be to do a comprehensive link audit and then systematically disavow all low value/spammy links (through Google Search Console).

If you don’t know what to look for or how to identify a low value link, then hire a professional (because the future of your website may depend on it). As for the best strategy I would recommend? That’s easy.

Jan KochJan Koch // @iamjankoch

Jan writes about WordPress on his blog and he teaches new bloggers how to build scalable businesses online.

First of all, reading the Google Webmaster Guidelines or following their blogs is a good idea and should be the first start when metrics tank and I’m not sure what caused the decrease in traffic.

Then I would head over to my Google Webmaster Tools console and check the backlinks I have on my website. If I bought links in the past or discover any spammy links to my website, I’d remove them using the Google Disavow Tool.

I’m not completely sure about the recommended percentage for exact matches and relevant anchors tags, but if I see an imbalance between exact keyword matches and related keyword phrases, I’d reach out to the respective website owners and ask them to update the anchor texts.

Sending them suggestions on which phrases to use makes things easier for them and thus makes it more likely that they update their link to my site.

Sean SmithSean Smith // @snsmth

~ Sean is the co-founder and content director of SimpleTiger where he is a leads the social strategy and content marketing team.

 I would investigate the backlink profile of the site, find if there are any scalable means at which negative links have been acquired, then create a disavow strategy to have as many dealt with as fast as possible, then shut down any link building efforts that are contributing to this penalty.

Jennifer HorowitzJennifer Horowitz // @EcomBuffet

~ Jennifer has 15+ years of experience in digital marketing, including conversion optimization, copy writing and Social SEO.

The best method has always been to look at the big picture.

Yes a link audit and link removal is a good idea but making sure the site is high quality and there is a strong social presence is important too.

Start with a link audit, determine what links can be removed, carefully consider a disavow and then quickly look to the quality of the site and on-going content addition and social media.

Focus on the big picture and on the details – at the same time!

Russell LoboRussell Lobo // @taurusknight

~ Russell is a serial online entrepreneur with 6 years of experience in the field of finance blogging. He also heads Strategy at Taurus Knight, a digital marketing agency.

1. Check your anchor text diversity and remove any links which have “keyword stuffed” anchor text from any page which has a PA of less than 20. You can remove those links by using the Google Disavow tool.

2. Check DA and PA of all links coming to the website and remove spammy links.

3. Improve content of the website and ensure that each article is relevant to the overall theme.

Aaron JonesAaron Jones // @nextbigniche

~ Aaron is an expert in affiliate marketing. He teaches his readers how to find a niche, start a site and to how to grow trafic.

Preparing yourself for Google’s never ending Penguin updates will drive you CRAZY, especially if you are following Black Hat linking practices. Google releases anywhere between 400-600 algorithm updates a year.

The release of these algorithm updates is for the sole purpose of analyzing and evaluating backlinks and if you are not following White Hat linking practices you could risk the possibility of losing rank or your website entirely. So how can one be compliant to avoid being penalized?

If you know you have done spammy link building using low quality backlinks and are continuing to follow those Black Hat linking practices then it is time to STOP. Continuing to do so will lead to your site being penalized by Google.

You will want to focus on White Hat link building practices to help offset the spammy links if possible. This is not always guaranteed, but you will want to analysis your links for quality.

You can use such services like SEMrush, MOZ, Ahrefs or even Google Webmaster Tool to analysis your links.

There is always the Disavow Tool Google has to help remove those spammy links but it is like dropping your pants and telling Google you have already tried to manipulate the search engine and sometimes can do more harm than good. Keeping tabs on your backlinks is the best thing to do in order to avoid being penalized by Google.

If you know your website is in the GREEN and you are not afraid of these never ending algorithm updates then continue to follow those White Hat backlinking practices.

While other websites are being penalized you could possibly start to see your Google rankings go up. If you give Google what it wants you will be rewarded.

Hernan VazquezHernan Vazquez // @HernanV07

~ Hernan is an entrepreneur and digital marketer that helps business owners, professionals, freelancers and entrepeneurs to get more leads and sell more stuff using the power of the Internet.

1. Write and distribute a Press Release. That helps you equalize your link profile and anchor text ratio with highly relevant and powerful backlinks.

You need to be careful as to use your brand and/or URL as a main anchor text on your press release though, and if you want to send some exact match anchors, do so to a web 2.0 profile (like your website’s Twitter page, for example). Which takes me to step 2.

This has proven to be a really effective technique to both help with Penguin related issues, enhance the link profile, get authority and social signals and protect the main money site when building backlinks.

One of the training I help developed is called IFTTT SEO Academy and we use more than 25 properties that are updated on Autopilot using IFTTT. If you want to implement this strategy, simply go to, open a free account and add your social profiles.

Then use your RSS Feed as a trigger to post to these social networks. Remember to have some sort of attribution link (installing WordPress SEO by Yoast for example), to get all of that linkjuice back to your website. It’s pretty simple, automated and super powerful.

Louie LucLouie Luc Correia // @BuzzNitrous

~ Louie teaches his blog’s readers how to become wealthy affiliates and live the dream of making money on the Internet.

Are you wondering if it’s possible to recover from a Google Penguin penalty? Yes, it is. Just follow these simple steps.

  • There are two kinds of possibilities: manual intervention or algorithm penalty.
    In the first case, go and check your Google Webmaster Tools for any messages informing you of the Google penalty.In the second case, check your Google Analytics for a sudden search traffic drop and compare the date it occurred with the dates in which the updates were released.
  • Now that you’ve confirmed that you got penalized by Google due to a degraded link profile, you need to start your Penguin penalty recovery process.Analyze your link profile using free and paid tools to understand what kind of links there are. You should pay attention to negative, poor, low-quality and spammy links. Don’t mind nofollow links; only dofollow links matter to Google.

Google Webmaster Tools is a free option you can use if you don’t have too many backlinks to your site.

Ahrefs, Majestic and Moz’s OSE are some paid options that can help you do things faster if there are a lot of links pointing back to you. Link Risk and Link Detox may also get handy for a deeper analysis of your links.

  • After compiling your list of negative links, you need to start removing them as soon as possible.Manually remove all the low-quality backlinks you possibly can. How?Contact the owners of the sites that are linking to you and politely ask them to remove the links that are ruining your site. If you can’t find their email addresses, check their domain name’s whois data and look for theircontact details.
    If they ignore you or ask you for money, move on to the next step.
  • It’s now time to make use of the Disavow Tool to disavow all the URLs and root domains that you were unable remove manually. (Follow Google’s guide on how to construct your disavow file (.)Before doing it, re-confirm that the links you’re submitting are actually bad. You don’t want to throw away any good ones.
  • Finally, you either need to wait for Google to update its backend data related to your link profile or ask them to do it.In the case of a manual intervention, go back to your Webmaster Tools and submit a reconsideration request. In the case of the algorithm penalty, you will need to wait.It may take up to one month or a bit more for you to start seeing search traffic going back to normal and your rankings restored. If it doesn’t seem to happen, you need to start the whole process again. You might be missing some bad backlinks that are still negatively affecting your site.

Heena ShahHeena Shah // @clickenjoin

~ Heena loves to write and read about trending methods in online marketing. Her expertise is in designing creative website and Facebook Marketing

Whether you are working for long term or short term site, if you want to build an authoritative site you need to follow important steps to safeguard your website from any type of Google penalty that might be rolling in.

Get ready with your pen and paper as we unveil you some important insights on the penguin issues which are preached for our clients by our team.

1. Publishing Quality Content – Google gives a lot of credibility to quality content and if you can write well, you can rank without even actually making any Backlinks. Well, backlinks are not dead yet, but then, yes meaning of it has changed after updates. Recently we published post about serp ranking factors which got ranking above all authority sites without making even singles link. It was all possible because of content quality.

2. Quality links- When Backlinks are at your rescue, irrespective of you working on Micro or Macro niche project, ensure every link you receive is a Quality link. Keep monitoring your webmaster to see what kind of links are coming to your blog. Disavow bad links by either requesting webmaster or by submitting the request. If you have blog comment option activated make sure you use Disqus or no follow to all comment links.

3. Stop focusing on quantity of links –Before updates were rolled out all that was important was number of links pointing to your site, but now things are changed, it’s more about quality than quantity. Try and get links from High authority sites.

4. Don’t over optimize your keyword- As we all know we write to rank for the keyword, but extensive usage of keyword all over article will surely be an invitation to Google penalty. Always write for the user, don’t misguide your user with different body text than your headline.

Measure your content readability with Heat maps and make the best your of your content. Moderate use of keywords is always safe than over optimization backfiring you with greater damage

5. Social marketing: More than focusing on getting links from many places focus on building a brand / community wherein people would like to read about your offerings. Make sure your blog has a social presence and you give optimum experience to your followers by sharing valuable information for their business.

Phillip LopezPhilip Lopez // @nichesbecrazy82

~ Philip helps people earn money thorough internet marketing. You can find more about him on his Facebook group.

I think there are a few simple methods to steer free of any Penguin-related issues.

Email Marketing Focus everything on building an email list (I’d say it’s best to have a funnel in place beforehand) and ACTUALLY connect with them, OFTEN.

It doesn’t mean you have to pitch an offer to them every single time, although conditioning your subscribers to interact with a call to action like asking them to do surveys, answer a questions or click on the links to something relevant is very important.

Social Media. Be active on social media. It doesn’t have to be everywhere, in fact being on too many platforms at once could be overwhelming so that might be something that is detrimental to your success.

I don’t see Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn going away any time soon so pick one or two and start building up a community that’s even more personal than just email. I do this with a Facebook group myself and I’ve made some fantastic friends and a few customers this way.

I am not SEO expert by any means and I don’t recommend writing just for the search engines because I sure as hell don’t want to read a robotic post like that.

I’d rather read something that sounds like an ACTUAL conversation, maybe an email you would send to a business partner or friend.

ALSO, adding humor to your posts can also be a great way of differentiating yourself from other BORING blog posts that are super monotonous.

I recommend you just find something you want to write about (make sure it’s something profitable if making money from your content is your intent) and focus on a just a few keywords when writing any content and post it on a CONSISTENT basis so Google has something to index, don’t spend forever making graphics for your epic post that nets 1 or 2 comments.

In conclusion, I implore you to write consistent conversational blog posts and add an email and social media marketing strategy so you can really help prevent from your income stream to be affected by any smackdown Google lays down in the future.

~ Naveen has an  Internet Marketing blog. He writes on various topic like SEO, Social Media tricks and strategies.

I might be rude by answering this question, but it is true that if you ever penalized by any Google Algorithm, you surely did anything wrong which violate the Guidelines of Google Webmaster.

So it’s not the fault of Google algorithm, it’s your mistake. But nobody wants to make a rod for their own back. You did mistake because you don’t know the results.

So before finding a solution, you need to know why Google Penguin will hit your website. There is a proverb, “prevention is better than cure.”

Why will Google Penguin hit your site?

Before Google Penguin update, website owners and SEO experts were busy with aggressive link building campaigns. And they were getting good results. But do you know, when you build tons of links then these can’t be relevant to your niche, and they look unnatural.

If you are using below-mentioned practices to build backlinks for your website, there are 100% chances of getting Penguin penalty…

• Buying backing

• Asking for backlinks

• Links Exchange

• Using Automotive SEO link building tools

• Spammy blog roll links

• Building backlinks with PBN

• Comment Spam

• Classified Spam

• Signature spam on Forums and article directories

• Building links only exact keyword anchor text

And there are many more practices that can raise the penalty chances. So hope it clear to you that why Penguin update will hit your website and through your primary keyword or group of keywords from out of the web.

So the further strategy is simple. Avoid these practices and focus on earning quality backlinks not building backlinks.

In any case, if Google Penguin penalizes you, you should follow the following strategy.

• First of all, find out that is it a manual action of Algorithm penalty. If it is manual action, you will get a message in your Google Webmaster account or if it is algorithm penalty, your keywords will be outranked from the SERP, and there will be a heavy fall in your traffic. (I am asking to detect the penalty because if it is a manual action, you can regain ranking in few days, but if it is an algorithm action, you have to wait for next Penguin update)

• Once, it is identified, now time to audit your backlinks. Download all the backlinks that are pointing to your website. You can use Google Webmaster tool to download your backlink. There are many other tools like, ahrefs, etc.

• Now, find out the bad or spammy backlinks or over linked exact keywords. You can use, Majestic SEO,, etc. tools to find out the spammy backlinks or over-optimized anchor text.

• Once you find out the bad backlinks, now time to remove your website links from that website where you are linked. Contact with the webmaster and ask him to remove your site from their website. In this process, you will get 8% to 10% to clean up your backlinks. So now submit a Disavow file.

• Now, if you received a manual action message, then use reconsideration request in webmaster tool. And if it is an algorithm action, you need to wait for next Penguin update to regain your ranking.

At last, just want to repeat my words that prevention is better than cure.

Focus on earning backlinks not building backlinks if you want to avoid Google algo penalty.

Tuhin AdhikaryTuhin Adhikary // @serpdaddy

~ Tuhin expert in Internet Marketing campaigns, specialising in Organic SEO Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Marketing.

But, there are certain perfectly carved out blueprints to counter the rage of it. So, the first step to start with, if you’re hit by a Penguin is Link Audit, period.

So first, perform a thorough link audit, on what kind of “unwanted” links your site has got. Chances are, there will be many. Before you can “identify” the unwanted links, you need to know what you should look for, right? Well here’s what you should be looking for:

And no, you don’t need an advanced tool to identify those links, a bit of commonsense and a good view on your link profile would tell you which link are worth keeping, and which aren’t.

  • Links from Spun blogs- Blogs with no original content, but with Spun articles.
  • Automated Spam comment links- Never, just never use any kind of automation, or if you had, or your competition did for you, look out.
  • Forum spam- Creating lot’s of forum profiles and linking from there, either yourself or by someone else for your blog.
  • Links from adult sites.
  • Fiverr links- A common victim for many, “I’ll create xxxxx number of backlinks in 24hours for $5” is the worst kind of links you’ll ever get, remove them.
  • Foreign language Sites.
  • Totally Irrelevant sites.

You can use:

  • Webmaster Tools
  • LinkResearchTools
  • MajesticSEO
  • Ahrefs
  • Bing
  • WebmasterTools
  • Moz
  • Scrapebox
  • ScreamingFrog

For this process, these tools will give you a thorough insight into all the links that your site has got, and then it would be a piece of cake to identify the ones you don’t need.

Once you’ve got the links, create a new Excel Spreadsheet, and make two columns. Name the first one: – Link, and the second one:- Contact info.

Now, paste all the unwanted links you want removed, to the links columns. Once you’ve done that, take the first site in the list, and find its contact information.

That you can find from:

  • The website. (Most site’s have a contact us page).
  • Whois directory.
  • Social media accounts (They probably have a Facebook fan page, or any other social media link that you can use to contact.)

Now, pitch them an E-mail, or a message via social media, asking them to remove the links from their root domains. (This step is a must, without asking to get it removed, you can’t directly disavow, and it’ll just make the case worse.)

And then, wait. Wait 48-72hours before sending in a second request, if the first isn’t answered. If the second request too, isn’t answered in the next 72 hours, you should move to disavowing the links manually.

So now, create a text file, which should look something like:-

#Contacted Webmaster of of 12/02/2016.

#Contacted via: – Email

#Response: – No reply. Waited 7 days.

And now save this this in the text file. You’re pretty much done, just upload this file to your WebMasters disavows links option, and you should see the results take place.

Shounak GupteShounak Gupte // @ShounakGupte

~A well rounded Digital Media expert with 6+ years experience in Web Development and SEO. 

Penguin is a backlink related issue. So the main thing to do in case your site is hit by a Penguin penalty is analyse the backlinks pointing to your site.

The first step will be to download a list of backlinks pointing to your website through the Google Search Console(Links to Your Site) or using backlink tools like Ahrefs and Majestic SEO.

The second step will be to identify the links which are having negative effect on your website. These links are usually coming from low-quality websites, sites which are down, sites which are irrelevant or not related to your websites niche.

The next step will be to get the these links removed by contacting the webmasters or deleting them manually.

In case you or the webmasters don’t have access to remove the links or if they don’t respond, add the links to a disavow file and submit it to Google.

It is recommended that you remove the low quality backlinks periodically to avoid your site getting pinched by Google’s algorithm. Low-quality backlinks can be a result of negative SEO and can affect the overall rankings of your website and hence it is essential to check the backlinks frequently.

Use of multiple backlink analysis tools is also recommended since not all tools will show you the same backlink related data.

Patrick HathawayPatrick Hathaway // @HathawayP

~ Patrick is director, marketing and editor-in-chief for URL Profiler. He has been working in SEO for 4 years, both in-house and agency side.

If you’ve been negatively affected by the Penguin algorithm then you’ve been doing something wrong. Specifically, you’ve been building manipulative links.

Maybe it was years ago, maybe you subcontracted it out to an SEO firm and knew nothing of it, or maybe you were doing it yourself. The algorithm doesn’t care either way – if spammy links have been built to your site, you need to put a stop to it right away.

The next step you need to carry out is to figure out which of your links are manipulative, and disavow them all. I’ve written on the subject many times, and there are lots of comprehensive guides out there to help you with this process.

The important thing to remember is that you have essentially been caught ‘cheating’, so don’t try and pretend that some links are actually ok when they aren’t. Disavow ANYTHING even remotely manipulative.

Now that you have (a) Stopped building spammy links, and (b) Disavow all of those links, you’ll come to a point where you want to move forward. But everything you’ve done in the past is out, you simply can’t go down that route any longer.

This can be quite a difficult pill to swallow, since everything you did to help your site in the past is now hindering your site. But you need to, so take your medicine and get on with it.

Moving forward you need to totally shift your strategy.

What sites can you write for where you can naturally reference this content?

If you live in a niche where content doesn’t fly, what links can you buy that look natural? Can you create your own private blog network? Do you have any brand ambassadors out there who could blow your trumpet for you?

The specific strategy will depend on your specific situation, but these are the types of questions you will need to ask yourself when you plan your link building strategy going forward.

Jo TurnbullJo Turnbull // @SEOJoBlogs

~ Jo has worked in SEO for many years and runs Search London, a meetup group for those in PPC, SEO and Social Media.”

Some companies may just allocate the task to one or two people and be unsatisfied when it takes a long time to see the desired results.

Depending on the size of the site I would allocate a whole team and also potentially hire an external company. This way you can really plan how to tackle the issue and see how you progress over time.

I would also speak to others who have encountered similar problems if you are having difficulties getting additional resource. You can invite them to your company or a networking event where upper management or senior members of the company may be so that will help push get additional resource to help solve the issue

Mi MubaMi Muba // @BAMoneyBlogger

~ Mi is the founder of Be A Money Blogger. He teaches people how to become rich through blogging.

Penguin issue means an issue related to having bad quality links from sites of low page ranks or of poor quality sites. The best way to avoiding Penguin issue is by following the rule of quality instead of quantity for your backlink strategy.

Never run after quantity that means getting as much backlinks as possible by just dropping comments wherever you see any chance to get a dofollow backlink from there.

Every dofollow link does not support to lift the PR of your blog and many of them could even lower it if they are of bad quality.

Likewise do appreciate the work of beginners but never encourage them if they put a backlink to your blog post in their blogs. Not all blogs of beginners have low quality but it is unlikely they all would touch the basic benchmark of quality.

Secondly never get paid link or link barter or work with another blog just for link-for-a-link type of deal. Simply keep sharing high quality contents and those who believe in quality would give you a back link even if you don’t ask them.

Still if you see so many low quality back links to your blog you can disavow them with Google Webmaster by following its instruction here.

And before submitting your disavow report try to remove all the bad links to your blog by directly requesting the admin of such blogs through their contact us pages and specify where your link is on their blog post. Mostly admin of a blog entertains such request by removing the given link.

Niraj Ranjan RoutNiraj Ranjan Rout // @nirajr

~ Niraj works on programming, customer support and sales, and also contributes to Hiver’s design and UI. He has a B.Tech in Electronics Engineering.

With the new Penguin update just around the corner, it is time to put all the shady SEO practices away.

The number of searches per month may be small, but it does bring quality traffic and more lead generations at lower costs per click.

At the same time, you have to be very careful about how you incorporate these keywords in your blog – it should appear natural. And try to focus more on long-form content – it will fetch you more long tail traffic.

A user who has landed on your website through a long tail search is more likely to spend more time with you, and that’s exactly what will get you better search rankings.

Basically, with the new update – No keyword stuffing, no artificial link backs, longer content form, and long keywords to target.

Sherman SmithSherman Smith // @sks_success75

~ Sherman writes on his blog about network marketing, blogging, social media, personal development, online marketing and internet marketing.

But this update for me was eye-opener to make some necessary changes as far as being more cognizant on who I network with and what’s going on within my blog.

1. I started focusing more on who I network with within my niche

2. I installed the Commentluv Premium plugin and created a policy for my commenters

3. I installed the backlink checker to find bogus or nonexistent links to unlinked from

4. I focused more on reading, sharing and writing quality content vs. generic

5. I turned my attention to blogs that have useful, beneficial comments more so than shares and alexa rankings

6. I stopped with the keyword stuffing which was ever so popular before the update

With just these simple changes, I started to attract better quality links as well as consistent commenters who always have value to leave on my blog posts.

Kulwant NagiKulwant Nagi // @kulwantnagi

Kulwant is an internet entrepreneur, blogger, writer and a digital marketer.

If you website is caught by Google penguin update, the very first thing you can do is identify low quality backlinks.

The quality of the backlink can be identified by checking the age, DA, PA of the website from where you are getting backlinks. You can filter low DA, PA websites after doing a deep study of your website.

If you have made backlinks by commenting on other sites, study other backlinks on the same page and try to identify the quality of other linking sites.

I would recommend to use Website Auditor tool which is a great software to find the bad backlinks. Once you identify those backlinks, you should submit your links file to Google Disavow tool to let search engines know about those culprits.

In the second iteration, you can check al the blog posts on your blog and identify which are having low word count (less than 1000) and have bad on-page SEO.

Identifying and rectifying these might take few days, but once Google crawl your blog again with the better content and link profiles, you are going to get your ranking back and kick-off penguin.

Dave SchneiderDave Schneider // @SelfMadeBM

~ Dave is co-founder of blogger outreach software Ninja Outreach. He loves business, marketing, and travel.

Firstly you should try to confirm if you actually have a Penguin penalty, which you can do by using the fruition Google penalty tool.

You should look at your link profile using a tool like Moz or Ahrefs and then try to identify if there are spammy links.

If you can find them, reach out to the webmaster to see if they will consider removing them, otherwise you can disavow them. Finally, work to build more natural links to improve your link profile/ratio.

Jan-Willem BobbinkJan-Willem Bobbink // @jbobbink

~ Jan is Owner of Notprovided, a freelance international SEO consultant and an affiliate marketeer in multiple niches.

After that, Google will remove those pages and not count’s them in their algorithms any more. Quickiest way to clean up and really effective if you don’t have full control over your link profile.

Moosa HermaniMoosa Hemani // @mmhemani

~ Moosa is a SEO Consultant, a search blogger and a link builder. He writes about blogging,  content marketing and SEO.

For my own websites and clients who are with me, I audit there link profile by the end of every month so that I can have a clear idea of what links are come to their website, what links we have to keep and what links we should update in the link disavow file.

The best method I recommend is the one I use on my website and my client’s website. I will explain this idea step by step:

1.       Before you build links always, check the domain against open site explorer and Link Research Tool’s Domain Compare to see if domain is worth getting a link from.

2.       Before you build a link make sure where are you getting a link from. Link from within the content is always safe and powerful as compare to links from footer, sidebar, badges and more.

3.       Audit your link profile on monthly basis using tools like Link Detox. Once you have the final list of bad links, check them manually as they sometime contain wrong URL’s within it.

4.       If toxic links are under your control or you can someone remove them, do that as your first choice.

5.       If toxic links cannot be removed, add them in the link disavow file and update in Google webmaster tool accordingly.

Also, check the detailed post I wrote on how to avoid Real-time penguin Penalty that pretty much works for all kind of penguin

Fervil Von TripoliFervil Von Tripoli // @FervilVon

~ Fervil is a 20-ish Filipino search engine optimization specialist who has 4 years of mixed experience in SEO, internet marketing and blogging.

I firmly believe that any type of links that are hard to replicate and links that delivers relevant referral traffic are considered as future-proof links even when Penguin and Panda updates keep on rolling.

Although there are a lot of effective ways on how to build links, the ones that I would recommend would be Brian Dean’s skyscraper technique and Glen Allsopp’s strategies in building backlinks.

In a nutshell, the skyscraper technique would eventually look like this:

  1. Recreate – Create a better version of that high trafficked content. Put the “wow factor” on this piece you are creating, giving it great visual impact and more comprehensive/juicy content.
  2. Outreach – Reach out to the possible linkers to that masterpiece you have made.

While Glen/Viperchill’s idea of link building is focusing on being useful in the web by creating the best resource in your website.

Some ideas of how to create best content pieces in the web would be interviewing important people, doing round-up posts or collaborating with your influencers or a mixture of all of these but the thrill doesn’t stop at creating the actual content.

Of course, you will need to put more stress on promotion (although you won’t have a hard time promoting it since the content itself is already share-worthy).

If my goal would be ranking keywords in Google and other search engines, I kind of like the idea of assessing the backlinks of the top ranking competitors in my targeted search terms and find out the backlinks that have been helping them rank well in the SERPs, figure out if it’s possible to mimic or simply put my links into their backlink pages.

Robin KhokharRobin Khokhar // @Jacoblucky3

~ Robin blogs about internet marketing and web development. He helps people to get on google and grow their business.

Penguin strikes when we create spammy links, or hundreds or thousands of links overnight.  Even the unnatural links are considered as spam.

  Here are some the tips which can help you to recover quickly from penguin penalty.

1.       Automate updates from Google Webmaster:

Getting automated updates from Google webmasters tools will notify you about any penalty your website will get. So, make changes in your webmaster tools preferences. Enable email notifications. Just after doing this, if you will be notified whether your site is hacked or have a malware issue. You may also be notified about negative linking to your site.

2.     Use OpenLinkProfiler.

It is a free tool and very handy. Using this you can you check all the links pointing to your site. You can track both the Dofollow and Nofollow links for your website. After getting those links pointing to your site, you can send the request for removal of the link  from your site which is not good and has no reputation. Mainly request link removal from those sites where you site has an unnatural link.

3.     Monitoring all the back links:

When I make links to my site, I make sure that I have the links where I have pointed a link to my site. The reason I do that because if the links are considered spam or look unnatural to Google then I send the Penguin penalty removal request. There are many tools which can help to detect the links pointing to our site like Ahrefs,

4.     Disavow the bad links

If manual removal doesn’t work then you can use the disavow tools from the webmasters. You can disavow the bad links pointing to your site. But this must be done perfectly because it may hurt google ranking also.

Muhammad AhmadMuhammad Ahmad // @TecheismCEO

~ Muhammad is a young addicted teenaged blogger, SEO Expert, Content Geek, and a YouTuber.

Before I share how to recover from Penguin, let me share what I do to avoid penguin to take action for me!

Once I learn to which sites penguin is going to affect, I start doing my best! The way I resolve penguin related issues is simple:

I remove the low-quality links. You can find them via webmasters, and some tools that exist like ahrefs, etc. Once you find them, kill them before they kill you.

And I follow the rule: Don’t deceive users and penguin will not deceive you.

Jon LeeJon Lee // @imjonathanlee

~ Jon is CEO, founder and UX designer who codes at Rabbut.  Co-author of OTraction.

Google is smart enough to know when you’re using spinning articles for content – if you publish spinned content on other sites, they’ll know and this can lead to Penguin penalties.

Instead of spinned content, I’d recommend adding unique content for on any site that links back to you – the more you do to make your content unique for that site, the better.

If you can link to other resources on the same site, add a quote, embed a youTube video, etc., that’s a huge plus.

It’s a lot of extra work but it’ll give you peace of mind knowing that you won’t be penalized in the future from spam-like content that links back to your site. If you need to hire someone to make your content unique, it’s worth spending the money.

Atish RanjanAtish Ranjan // @atishranjan

~Atish is specilized in the field of SEO, SEM, SMO and wordpress. He is also the co-founder of

Being into blogging and online marketing, we need to promote our sites for better search ranking, and while doing this many times we do face Penguin penalty.

So, Yes, I did face Penguin related issues on a few of my sites as I had built backlinks using rich anchor text in plenty. But, when the traffic went down after the update, I was sure that Penguin has hit my site.

What I did to fix the problem?

  1. I have used one anchor text to build more than 200 links. So, I edited the anchor texts by going to those sites and used different anchor texts so that the usage of anchor texts were diluted.
  2. I made a few links nofollow as they looked suspicious to me.

These three steps I had taken to fix the issue. And, it worked like charm.

You just need to spend quality time analyzing the backlinks and work on them as I mentioned above.

Evan DerekEvan Derek // @theevanderek

~ Evan ist the founder of VebbLabbs. He writes about SEO, Affiliate Marketing and Content marketing strategies.

The best strategy definitely, without a doubt is to disavow links, although it doesn’t take place immediately, but it’s the most effective one.

We’ve got to contact the sites which have got a link to our site, unwanted links to be specific. And ask them to take them off. Wait couple days.

Well there are a certain “type” of links that need to be taken off, for example the links from :-

1. Irrelevant sits.

2. Sites in foreign languages on other topics.

3. Porn kind of links.

If there’s the “contact” page not available on the site, then you can try using the Whois tool to find admin information. If even that’s protected then you can proceed directly to disavowing them.

I wrote a fully detailed guide on this last year on my blog.

If you managed to read the whole roundup – congratulations! You deserve a tap on the shoulder. Now you’re prepared for the next Penguin update and you shouldn’t worry about getting hit by a Penguin penalty. You’re Penguin proof now. Congrats on it!

Last but not least, a big thanks to all the colleagues that agreed to take part in this awesome roundup! I wouldn’t have dome it without you, guys. Keep rolling 🙂

Now, I’d like to hear your own experience with Penguin penalty removal. Have you ever been affected by this algorithm? How did you manage to revoke your penalty? Please, leave your answer in the comments below. Please, share this Penguin roundup on your favorite social channel. It will be a HUGE help 🙂

I’d also like to say big thanks to Minuca Elena for this awesome roundup post on Penguin Penalty!

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70 Comments on "How To Remove A Penguin Penalty? 74 SEO Experts Share Their Secrets!"

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Atish Ranjan
Hello Minuca and Nikolay, Great work! When Google updated Penguin algo for the first time, it made many link builders jobless. I have been into SEO industry and worked for a few companies, and I could see how desperate the bosses and clients were to get ranking asap which surely not in the hand of anyone. All an expert can do is to try! There are best practices of link building which if you do, you probably be safe from penguin, but if you face issues of it, this blog post is the great place to solve all the queries.… Read more »
Nikolay Stoyanov

Thanks for the kind words and for taking part once again, Atish! Keep rolling 🙂


Thanks a ton for the pleasure of being featured here! A lot of great information to share from experts all around the world. I’m glad to be part of it. Keep up the good work Minuca!

robin khokhar

Hi Minuca,
Thanks for sharing my thoughts on your blog. And secondly thanks for sharing this huge list, Its looks to me new connections.

Chris Makara

Wow! Epic post Minuca. This is a goldmine of knowledge and really enjoyed reading everyone’s insight and I appreciate you including me.

Louie Luc

Great post, really helpful with tons of great insight!
Definitely a must-read for everyone in the SEO world!

Thank you so much for including my tip. 🙂


Saurabh tiwari

Thanks a lot for conducting this expert roundup.. A very helpful article. Links are important but sometimes links are poisonous.

Philip Verghese Ariel
Hi Minuca, It’s indeed a great joy to see yet another roundup post. Thank you so much for the kind invite for this roundup post. Since the subject was not related to me and I haven’t come across any such situation, I couldn’t participate in this amazing post. I am glad to see my suggested friends are in. Thank you again for the kind mention about me in your comment. As the intro says, “… all these priceless pieces of advices are served on a silver platter.” indeed those are worth following and preserving. Very valuable tips to make note… Read more »
Muhammad Ahmad

Hi Minuca,
Very happy to see myself with the Beasts. 😉
Thanks for including me in this post!
~ Ahmad
P.S. Shared it everywhere.

Swaraj Nandedkar

Hello Minuca,

Thanks for sharing this Wonderful Roundup Post! The opinions of such great SEO masters are really helpful for those who got hit by Manual Penalty. I experienced a Manual Penalty once by Google Because of Spammy Backlinks (Someone did Negative SEO). I recovered the blog by disavowing the backlinks.

Thanks again for this post! Bookmarked it!

Happy Blogging!

Tauseef Alam

I must say this is the most useful article I have read so far about removing penguin penalty.
Everyone is taking about removing toxic links but in reality finding them is very difficult. I have experience recovering two of my sites from Penguin and I know how painful the complete task is. You’ve to work upon the list of your website’s links and find out those possible toxic links and after disavowing them you’ve to wait long to see if Google has considered your request or not.

Nikolay Stoyanov

Hey Tauseef, glad you liked the piece. This was our main goal when we started this roundup – to create something valuable that consists of real tips, easy to follow and to the point that can help everyone that struggles to remove their Penguin penalties. Kudos for being able to revoke yours 🙂

Mi Muba
Hi Minuca Very timely post as it is widely feared (yes feared) that Penguin 4 is about to come and what would happen then could be nightmarish for those who don’t bother to check the quality of back links to their blog. If someone reads a few selected replies of this roundup post he would be in a better position to stay safe from the wrath of next update and one of the above experts has gone to the extent by saying that instead of recovering from Penguin penalty it is better to start a new website. That shows how… Read more »

That is a superb article I must Say ! I am lucky to come across this one. Its a tough time when you get penguin penalty but getting over it, is call real SEO Practice. Thanks for this & Looking forward for more like this.

Umair Akram

Hi Minuca,
It’s a pleasure for me to be included in your second roundup. Thanks for including me 🙂 The most awesome fact is that so many friends of mine from the blogosphere were also included with me. All the answers were really useful but, the answer i liked the most was the Justin Ham’s answer.

Thanks a lot!

Fantastic roundup, Minuca and Nikolay! I was a black hatter, I know how it feels when the penguin hits you. I mean, one day you have thousands of visitors, the next day only a hundred. Literally, every morning I’d be super anxious when I opened my Analytics dashboard. The funniest thing is that I used to hate Matt Cutts, like any other black hatter. I felt like he’s the villain who’s trying to kill my business when I’m not doing anything wrong. But, in reality, I was the one ruining the web. Anyway, great roundup. I agree with most experts… Read more »
Nikolay Stoyanov

Darmavan, thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. I’ve been in the blackhat field myself, but decided against devoting my SEO efforts to this because this is not real SEO. Let’s face it. The future of SEO will be all about quality of both content and links and providing value to the users. After all, without them a site cannot function 😉


Guys and girls, one thing that some of the experts above seem to not realise is that getting slapped by Penguin is NOT a “penalty”! It is a change in the way the algo sees your site, which often has the same effects as many types of manual penalties but it is NOT a penalty itself! Understanding this will help you understand what needs to be done as well..

Nikolay Stoyanov

Googler, interesting point of view. So you’re implying that it’s the rules that actually change. And not following them leads to Google penalties. Makes total sense 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Cheers!

Muhammad Imran

What a nice roundup, a bunch of helpful information at one place. Thank you for sharing and keep sharing.

Todd Worley

Great post Minuca. SEO is very important to and everyone should learn the basics of SEO. Panda and Penguin should be studied so your website does not get into trouble. It is hard to come back when you get nailed by one of these algorithms. Thanks for sharing all these valuable insights from some of the top bloggers out there. Great work here!


Thanks for this great reply Todd. I am totally agree with you . One should learn all SEO basics before starting a blog online

Jon Lee

Hey Minuca and Nick, thanks for the opportunity! This is an awesome roundup!

Nikolay Stoyanov

Hey, Jon! We were happy to have you, thanks for being part of this awesome piece on Penguin penalties. 🙂


@Atish Ranjan, after reading your experience, I am sure that Google should change its Disavow, Penguin, Policy now. Till now I have been reading that you need to remove backlinks when you get a Penguin Penalty. But in your case I can see that you have edited the BackLinks Anchors and NoFollowed some of them, Amazing workout and Google is so Dumb who accepted your changes and lifted the Penalty. You amused me a lot.

Nikolay Stoyanov
Mahveen, the answer of Atish actually makes sense. Even if you don’t remove any backlinks you can still get rid of your Penguin penalty. By diversifying your link profile you’re actually changing your link building strategy. The rule of the thumb says that a naturally looking link profile should have mostly branded and naked anchors mixed with some nofollow links while the percentage of exact match anchors should be kept as low as possible. Of course it all depends on the top 10 players in your niche and their link building strategies. If they are more aggressive and they still… Read more »