Like a flash, it happened: Your site was hit with a penalty from Google. So you sought professional help and systematically fixed your bad links and discontinued any prohibited search-engine-optimization tactics. You went through the sometimes-grueling reconsideration process and finally got that penalty lifted.
Although you can breathe a sigh of relief, the work isn’t over. In fact, the next phase of “life after penalty” has only just begun. Think of getting a Google penalty as like filing for bankruptcy. Once it happens, you can certainly start to rebuild your credit score. However, it’s a long path, and nothing will happen instantly.
This stage may well be titled “Rebuilding”, because you’re now in a mode to rebuild your site’s personal credit after being penalized. It’s a time when you can expect to slowly improve organic rankings and traffic. Even though Google is no longer stopping you from ranking well, there is not likely to be an immediate jump back to your site’s previous ranking levels. You’ve lost momentum, and the only way to get it back is with a solid plan.
Putting Together Your “Life After Penalty” Plan of Action
As you prepare for the steady climb back to pre-penalty ranking levels, you’ll want to consider taking some of the following actions:
On-site & Outreach:
- Create quality content frequently to encourage users to visit your site and engage/share your content. Make it easy for the content to be found, and don’t overdo keyword optimization. Steer clear of keyword stuffing or any other “black hat” SEO methods. A conversational piece with 1-2 percent keyword optimization for up to two keywords is optimal.
- Monitor the keywords that once drove the most organic traffic to your site before you were penalized by Google. If the keywords are very slow to recover rankings, consider optimizing the pages that rank for the keyword phrases you are targeting. Alternatively, you can create new pages focused on those keywords.
- Submit XML sitemaps with new URLs to encourage Google to crawl your site frequently and index new pages. Make this a systematic priority. The more often Google visits your webpages, the better your organic reach will be. One caveat: Have new content every time you request a Google crawl.
- Reach out to quality bloggers and publishers and introduce them to any of your new content that would be valuable to their readers. Write content for readability and interest so that you earn higher rankings through shares and natural in-bound links.
- Monitor your Google Webmaster Tools account for any new messages about manual actions or sitemap errors. Don’t put off this critical part of your post-penalty strategic plan.
- Monitor your backlinks for new sites similar to those that you disavowed during your reconsideration efforts. This will take time, but it is well worth the effort to maintain a clean link profile.
- If you allow comments on your blog posts, monitor them carefully. Remove any with bad or low-quality links. .
Take Heart: There IS Life After a Google Penalty!
Although getting penalized by Google is disheartening, take comfort in knowing that many sites have survived. Recovery will take both work and time. However, the work that you do to recover will make your website stronger in the long run.
After you have recovered, you will be more sensitive to the value of organic traffic and better equipped with Google-compliant techniques to help improve your rankings and traffic. If you find that your team is spread too thin to do the work needed to get your organic traffic mojo back, consider hiring an elite team of Google penalty killers. Be Found Online has helped clients recover from Google penalties through a variety of proven techniques like monitoring, content creation and blogger outreach.
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Author: Lindsey Blessman is an SEO Account Manager with Be Found Online. She combines more than 10 years of online marketing experience with her MBA in Marketing to achieve success for clients. Reach out to Lindsey on Google +, visit BeFoundOnline.com or call 877.55.FOUND.