Manual Penalty Removals: What to Expect

So you have a manual penalty

The first step is: don't freak out! We remove a lot of manual penalties, so there are options for fixing it. With that said, you do need to act quickly because these things take time to remove and then even more time to recover from. First, let's explain what a manual penalty is.

Manual Penalties are assessed by actual employees at Google when they are alerted by their automated system, nicknamed 'Googlebot', of an offense against their rules. You can be penalized for a number of things including, but not limited to:

  • Buying Links
  • Stealing Content
  • Showing illegal content
  • Malware
  • Content Injections
  • A site breach

Most penalties involve either buying links or Malware. Malware penalties are very easy to get removed and take very little time or recovery. Since link penalties are by far the most common source of headaches, we'll use them as an example throughout this post.

A glimpse into how bad it can be

The largest penalty we've removed was assessed on a link profile of over 1.2 million bought links. It took 55 hours of work, 14 reconsideration requests and 8 months to remove. Though the client paid thousands of dollars, they lost hundreds of thousands in revenue during that time span. Many link penalties are removed within a month and recovery is much faster, but everything depends on severity.

The banner for this post is the keyword profile for the client I'm referring to. They came after the penalty had already been around for months and then paid for 8 months of work to remove it. After it was removed, it still took almost 1.5 years for Google to recover their keywords.

So what about my business?

Sorry to scare you! Don't worry, 99% of removals aren't a big deal assuming you haven't done anything too bad. Most clients can expect it to be removed in 1-3 months and the recovery to start kicking in within 4-6 months at most. If you have an ongoing SEO campaign, that will be likely happen much faster.

Walking Through a Penalty Removal

The first thing we'll do is discuss severity and do a little prying to see how bad it is. The price of penalty removals can vary from pocket change to a fairly hefty amount depending on how bad the penalty is. Once price is decided, we'll outline everything you'll need to help us with (some of these require a bit of collaboration).

All penalty removals require a reconsideration request, which is a formal letter to Google apologizing and saying "we fixed it, here's proof." We'll attach the proof as well. A physical Google employee will review the request and decide if it's good enough.

If it isn't, we try again. If it is, we simply wait for the site to spring back. It may never be quite in the shape it once was, but manual penalty recoveries can be quite dramatic.

And of course: if you have a running SEO campaign with an experienced professional then it makes recovery shorter and more potent.

If you have a manual penalty that you're looking to remove then drop us a message. We currently boast a 100% removal rate and I doubt there's a penalty out there worse than the monstrosity I mentioned earlier. Or I hope there isn't at any rate.