If you are the recipient of a Google manual penalty, think you have been victim to the Google Penguin algorithm or are concerned about your site being in possible danger of having any of these things happen, you should start to put in efforts to give your link profile a spring cleaning.

Here’s how to avoid a Google penalty for your site:

  1. Compile a list of links to your website. Though you will be able to obtain a list from Google Search Console it won’t be a complete list. For this reason, you need to use Open Site Explorer,Majestic SEO, and ahrefs for complete information on the links to your site. Make sure to use all three sources for a complete picture as each will list sites that the others won’t.
  2. Ensure that your final list is free of any repetitive links as each tool will also contain the same links as the others.
  3. Start combing through your link list. You don’t need to pay much attention to more than two to three links originating from the same domain.
  4. Make note of any links that you find problematic and will get you a Google penalty as they will need to be addressed.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have gone through all the links from every domain linking back to you.
  6. Contact the webmasters of sites where you would not like your links to be present, and request a removal.
  7. Repeat the outreach procedure if you don’t hear back from the webmaster, just to rule out the possibility of them having missed your first email.
  8. UseGoogle’s disavow tool to ask Google to discount you from a Google manual penalty for those links for which you can’t get through to the webmaster.

The Google disavow tool will allow you to claim no affiliation to links arising from certain sites, so you are spared the Google Penguin penalty.

So if you want to know why it is that you can’t simply use the tool instead of manually picking the links, the answer is that Google will appreciate your efforts. It indicates that you are a sincere webmaster who does not intentionally spam the search engine for black hat/grey hat SEO. This is particularly helpful for a Google manual penalty.

If you have cleaned up your links, you can file a reconsideration request.

Recovering from a Google Penguin penalty is also about playing the waiting game. Unlike a manual penalty, a Google algorithm penalty means that you clean up your links and wait till the algorithm is updated so your site can be reconsidered for ranking.

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