How to Get Out of The Google Penalty Box


Penalized by Google? There’s no need to jump to conclusions and dump your website. There’s actually a way to fix it and get back in. Sure, it will take some hard work, but in the long run it’s better to fix your website than it is to start all over again with a brand new domain.

Before I get into how you can get your website out of the penalty box, I’m going to go over the most common situations that first got you into the penalty box.

Don’t worry, I won’t use animals like Panda to describe your penalization. Instead, I’ll go over what you did to get penalized and how to fix it.

Want to stay away from Google penalty box? Then download this 6 tactics you can follow to stay in a safe zone.

Here are the most common tactics that caused your site to get penalized, and here is how you fix it:

Tactic #1: Over-optimized anchor text

If you want to get ranked for a keyword like “dog food”, you should get sites to link to you with the anchor text “dog food”, right? And although that’s correct to some extent, if too many people link to you with that anchor text, it will actually decrease your rankings.

So what should you do? Remove the links?

Assuming you’ve built relevant links from authoritative sites and they weren’t paid for, you shouldn’t remove them. But if you built over-optimized anchor text links from irrelevant or spammy sites, try to get the webmasters to remove the links.

If you built good links, keep them even if your anchor text is over-optimized. Over time you need to continually build more and more non-rich anchor text links from authoritative sites. Here are some of the anchor text variations you should use:

  • yourdomain
  • The text of your title tag
  • Click here
  • Learn more

Don’t just stop with the anchor text examples from above…keep rotating them with other variations. Ideally, the keyword you are trying to rank for shouldn’t be more than 10% of your anchor text links.

Tactic #2: Spammy links

Building spammy links from irrelevant sites used to help boost your rankings, but they don’t anymore. If you have hundreds of these links pointing to your website, you need to remove them.

If you aren’t sure what a spammy link is, they are usually links from:

  1. Sites that are link farms
  2. Sites that don’t have high quality content or have duplicate content
  3. Sites that link out to gambling, Viagra or even adult sites.
  4. Sites that are penalized in Google (if you type a site name into Google and it doesn’t show up in number one spot, it is typically penalized)

If you have spammy links coming to your site, go out there and contact every one of those sites and ask them to remove the link. If they don’t remove them, try to send them a generic legal notice that a lawyer drafts for you. That should help motivate them to remove the link.

After you reach out to all of the sites multiple times, Disavow the remaining links through Google’s Webmaster Tools. Disavowing the links isn’t as good as removing them, which is why you want to do that first. Use this tool for the links you can’t get removed.

Tactic #3: Build too many links too fast

Have you noticed that when you build too many links too fast, you tend to lose most of your rankings…even if those links are high in authority and natural?

This happens with many startups that get a lot of buzz and links form hundreds of sites too quickly. So what do you do in this case? You wait it out and just keep operating your business as if nothing is wrong because over time your rankings will come back and be stronger than before.

On the other hand, if you artificially inflated your link count too fast you’ll have to adjust your link building strategy. If those inflated links where spammy, remove them just like how I described in Tactic #2.

If you built high quality links too fast that weren’t paid for, don’t remove the links. Just keep building more links from authority sites, and overtime your rankings will continue to go back to where they whereΒ if not even higher.

If you built high quality links too fast and the links are too rich anchor text, don’t remove the links. Just continue building more high quality links from relevant sites and rotate your anchor text as I described in Tactic #1.

Tactic #4: Junk or duplicate content

In the early days of SEO, you could throw up thousands of pages filled with junk or duplicate content and rank well, especially if you had authoritative links pointing to your domain.

Nowadays, throwing up thousands of pages filled with junk content will hurt you. It’s not about creating a large volume of content, it’s about creating high quality content.

It’s much better to have a hundred pages of high quality content with thousands of unique links and hundreds of social shares, versus having a million pieces of content that no one wants to read.

If you have junk content on your site, try transforming it into cornerstone content pieces that everyone wants to read, link to and share via the social web. If you can’t do that, you have two options:

  1. Remove the content from your website.
  2. Block those pieces of content from being indexed through your robots.txt file.

Tactic #5: User-generated content

Not always, but in many cases, sites with user-generated content have been hit hard over the years. It’s not because Google hates user generated content, it’s due to the fact that most user-generated content is low in quality.

The biggest reason I’ve seen user-generated sites being penalized is because people are slipping in content or links to Viagra, adult or gambling sites. When your user-generated site has millions of pages, these little things tend to slip through the cracks.

Do searches on your site and see if you have any spammy content. If so, remove it.

If you have low quality content pages, the easiest route for you to take is to block those pages from being indexed through your robots.txt file. Once users build up those low quality pages and turn them into high quality ones, you can then remove them from your robots.txt file, which will allow search engines to crawl those pages.

Tactic #6: Building all-page links

Have you ever had one website put a link to your website on every one of their web pages? That’s an all-page link. People try to build all-page links to boost their Google PageRank and rankings. In most cases, Google hates all-page links.

I’ve actually experienced this penalty on because I built all-page links to it from Quick Sprout. I noticed that a week after I built the links, the rankings tanked.

I could have removed the links, but I kept them because I never created them with the intention of gaming Google. The links were created to drive traffic over to my site.

After six months, the site return back to normal because other sites naturally linked to over time. But the quicker route of getting unpenalized would have been to remove the all-page links.

In most cases, if you built all-page links to your site, it’s because you were trying to game Google. If that’s the case, remove them. On the other hand, if you have all-page links due to adverting, you should consider no-following the links…which is what I should have done with my site.


Don’t take the easy route of just trashing your domain and starting a new one if you get penalized. Work through the motions to build your site back up and get in Google’s good graces.

If you apply the fixes after being penalized, typically you’ll get back within three or four months. If it takes you longer to fix the issues, it will take you longer to get back in. If you are extra fast to fix the issues, still assume that it will take three months before things go back to normal.

If you haven’t been penalized, do yourself a favor by avoiding tactics that provide short-term gains. For example, buying links may sound smart, but it will bite you in the butt in the long run.

What other ways can you get out of the Google penalty box?


  1. Make Money Online :

    Once Again You Have Proved That You Are a Great Leader @Neil


    • Yes. Neil always provide superb quality content (Why not he spend $2000+/m for this blog and just for reader like you and me). One of my sites was hit by Google Penguin update. That was actually for my spammy link. But I never tried to get that back and I create new one.


    • Thanks for the kind words πŸ™‚

      • Neil I am really excited that you replied my comments. This is why you rock and care your readers. BTW Neil I am using Anchor text in name filed. But I have no Intention to spam your blog.

        Have a nice day Neil.


    • Neil is a professional blogger. He has innovative ideas to write quality content. Therefore, his every content is uniqe and no. 1 ranking.

  2. Shanker Bakshi :

    Any suggestion about how to get out of Google AdSense Account ban..?

    • THAT is a good question. From what I understand, if you’re banned, it’s for life, with no chance for appeal. I knew a guy who was reinstated years after being banned, but there was not official ‘OK, you’re cool now’ from Google. He just signed up again, and they didn’t say anything.

    • Cloud Security Expert :

      Dear Shanker,

      If your adsense account is Banned by google, email which has come to you should have a link to report that you were innocent, just try to write your story & send them, if you are lucky your account will be back otherwise no one can help you across the world to get your account back, that’s the advise i am giving you based on my 10 years experience with adsense πŸ™‚

      • If Adsense account ban once. I swear Google will never gonna give that back to you. Only .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 % ban account might get regain. lol

        And Google’s customer support is world’s best. Hahaha they will get back to you within 24

        • @Nathaneill – he had to use a new email?

          What’s the best way to appeal it? Thx.

          • First rule of Google Adwords is read the policies and guidelines, second rule of Google adwords is re-read them and pick them apart. Once you are sure you understand then do the ads and make sure any ads are accurate to what you are promoting.

            The resolution depends on the ban, if you created a direct link to an affiliate offer in an add you can delete the add and they might re-instate but unlikely as this is a policy violation.

            I used some keword research in adwords for informational purposes and even though I had not enabled the add Google saw it as a policy violation and has kept it in place even though I clarified my position.

            The other thing you have to be careful with is the content you are advertising for it has to be within their policy guidelines. If in doubt don’t do it as your account is better alive than suspended. If unsure ask them, the response might take a while but it is safer than trying to restore a suspended account.

          • I don’t think he used a new email. The way he tells the story is that he just signed back into his old account. I didn’t know him very well and can’t remember who he was, so I definitely cannot verify the story or fact check, but for what it’s worth, that’s what he said.

            He also said that even though he was reinstated, it wasn’t worth it to build any kind of campaigns around it because there was always the possibility of getting banned again.

    • No πŸ™

      I haven’t dealt with AdSense much at all.

    • You can appeal against the Ban,If they find that they were wrong they will Reinstate the account otherwise i don’t think that their will be any problem in applying for a new adsense account.

  3. Another banger from Neil!

  4. Great information. Anchor text variation has been really important since the day Google launched their Penguin update.

    Additionally we have to also maintain a perfect dofollow and nofollow link density. These are really important to show a healthy and perfect link profile for any website.

  5. Great post, Neil.

    One thing I’d like to add to the list is getting too many links from unrelated sites.

    I’ve noticed that Google is paying more and more attention to Linking Domain Relevancy. If they don’t use it as a penalty factor yet, they definitely will when the next update rolls around.

    It’s important to make sure the majority of your links are at least somewhat niche-relevant. If you look at the link profiles of legit, authority sites you’ll notice that 75% of their links come from relevant sites.

    • Brian, you are correct. It is very important to keep the focus on your industry and niche.

      • But what about massive authority sites like Craigslist or Dailymotion which have links from all sorts of sites. They are not niche targeted. Can pure brute traffic trump niche relevancy when it comes to SEO?

  6. Good tips Neil. So many bad links out there from spammy tactics used. The old rule I’ve always followed is to ask yourself if a link is valuable today, and will it be in the future. Most times you can tell a spammy link right from the start so skip those.

  7. Hi Neil, I always read your blogs but today you made my day. My blog’s traffic just dropped to 30%. I thought that my blog may be got hit by Google’s Algorithms but thanks God, No Penalty was imposed on my blog.

    I was really worried and wanted to know the reason of sudden drop in my blog’s traffic. Now I came to know that the reason of drop in my blog’s traffic was “Sudden Increase in Backlinks”.

    Few weeks ago, I ran a Giveaway at my blog which was sponsored by a well known tech blog and he put a link to my blog on his sidebar and I got more than 5,000 Backlinks in one day.

    Neil Sir, I’m really worried. Please tell me what shall I do know. I’m 15 years old and I’ve done really hard work on my blog.

    Will be waiting for your reply!
    Raheemullah Khan.

  8. Shahbaz Khan :

    You are a legend sir!
    The Disallow tool vs removing links was a great point, but i did’t really understood point number 6. So if you could help pe, that would be great.

  9. Chirag Dodiya :

    Another amazing article… As myself also being in the SEO industry, most of the people ask the same question as why their website has been penalized. And that is one hell of a situation to get into.

    But now i am glad to read this post to find the perfect answers..

    Thanks Neil…

  10. Lakshay Goel :

    I suppose you have made a mistake in the last line of 2nd paragraph of tactic 6. It should be ‘were’ instead of ‘where’. Otherwise the article was really good.

  11. Your thoughts on content curation apps like storify..? We use storify for subjetc that ve already been covered in detail by other blogs… so.. instead of repeating the same thing.. we creat a story and include couple of well written posts.. then we embed that story on our blog..
    Is it a right thing to do.. ?

    And.. ya.. great post as always..
    Thanks for shariing.

    • I would suggest coming up with your own content while using some of the topics involved in this blog and other similar ones. It’s best to create original content.

  12. Hi,
    If I build 10-15 links per month is this too fast?

  13. To email do you have a solution to automate the email process? Say I have all the links that I want remove lined up I need to find email address and tart contacting the owners of these sites. Is there a way to get emails and end out a mass email campaign so I dont have to do them all individually?

  14. To be clear, when you say all page links do you mean like a side bar link that shows on all pages, like a popular post link?

    • Glen, that is correct.

      • Thanks Neil! I have a number of links like these and I’ve been thinking about changing how they show. Now I’m definitely changing them.

      • Hi Niel I thanks for the great post. In # 6 do you suggest not to include popular post links in the sidebar? Can it hurt your site? What should I do about it? I notice you have those link on the side bar?

  15. Thanks Neil for such a nice post!

    I’ve had one of my sites penalized by Google but a little bit of work and it came out of the effect.

    One shouldn’t be concerned about penalties as long as one isnt’ involved in any gray/black hat SEO tactics.

    Thanks once again!

  16. Hudson Hornick :

    Another good post, Neil. Where do you get your information, if I may ask?

  17. Thank you neil for the real info.i figured it now one of my website named as blogspotinfo got penalty from google .actually i made multiple links through forums and yes that is why i found my traffic getting lower .but the things are now changed few of my good post got me back in the game.wellbut these are the great tips for me as i am working on a new blog and does not want to get penalised by google again.

  18. Husein Yuseinov :

    That’s when you have control over the links that comes to your website, but what should you do, when you haven’t hat control?!

    Because In my opinion after the Google Penguin Update, there is a new niche for unethical SEOs and I’ve already saw a few samples of that kind of work.

    Google has announced the Disavow tool, but from what I’ve seen there is no significant effect over the penalized websites.

    Maybe the only thing remains do is to contact the website owners where the links are paced, but if they get money to keep that links there it’s almost sure that they wont remove them easily :).

    So how we are gong to fight the negative SEO?

    • Husein, couldn’t have said it better myself. You should always do a link audit to make sure none of that junk is coming into your site.

  19. Hi Neal – when you say “all page links’ do you mean like a link in a footer or sidebar that appears on every page of that site?

    I ask because I do website work and usually put a link to my site in the footer of sites I work on to get referrals. I think this has hurt my rankings a bit, although the referrals make up for it.

  20. Hi Neil,
    Glad to see just another great post from yours.

    You said about Anchor Texts. Well, I have a doubt.
    Imagine that I’m Guest Blogging on your blog and my blog name is ! When I write my author bio or area where I get the back link, should I link to my blog with a related Keyword like “Blogging” , “Internet Marketing” or should I link it with the name of my blog like !
    Please tell me which is more appropriate.

    Thanks a lot in advance πŸ™‚

  21. You just taught me something…. Sites that link out to gamblingand Viagra aren’t good! Not that I’d ever do that but using link kings, and link farms ( which I’ve stopped using by the way ) may do some damage.

  22. andrew broadbent :

    I think you are missing a word “use” here before the panda “I wonÒ€ℒt animals like Panda to describe your penalization,”

  23. marriage registration :

    very sound advice, its a must read for all the webmasters whose websites are affected by the pandas and penguins.

  24. It would be great if you can do a post about ghost penalties by Google.

    I have a site for which I got a love note from Google on March 1st 2011 about unnatural links. My site got 90% of traffic from Google and I was outranking larger sites for generic keywords.

    The traffick started to tank at the end of 2011 and now I have lost most of my rankings for this site.

    The site still stands on top for some phrases, it gets cached regularly and index status is good too.

    I really don’t know which way to go because I have so many links pointing to it and its humanly impossible to remove those.


    • That’s a tough one… I wouldn’t know without analyzing your website. I would have to take a deep dive into it.

      Good idea on the post suggestion.

  25. Thanks Neil. I’ve always practiced White Hat SEO, and so have a happy traffic from Google…

  26. Prashant Gorule :

    Recently I did some research on my client websites. They were also penalized after Google panda and penguin update. After hard work and on page changes, I got success in finding a concrete solution to remove those websites from such penalties. As explained by Neil in the above post I also did similar kind of changes to those websites and made a strategy for it. After all the changes done both the website got there ranking back and now they are ranked in top 5 position for their targeted keywords.

    The Junk or duplicate content, Over optimized anchor text, User generated content are a few of them, but there are many other things which directly impact your search engine ranking. The only thing I can share with you is, your website must have good quality content for your visitors otherwise there will be no chance for improvement.

    • Prashant, you are correct. Content is very very important. I think content is becoming more integral to an overall strategy as all these updates are being made by Google.

  27. Clearsix Chris :

    A lot of people have been up in arms over these google updates but the truth of the matter is it’s really helped to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    Now, market leadership is more important than ever, building trust is more important than ever and creating products, services and posts that are truly great (which people will link to and talk about themselves) is more important than ever.

    There will always be a way to game the system but if the things you offer are not up to scratch then please stop cluttering up the internet. The obsession with SEO and building links to low-quality sites turns my stomach.

    Thanks Neil for showing how it should be done. Quality counts!

  28. Thank You Neil, You always help me for making a right strategy. Regards. Umar

  29. Hey Neil, really this Giant Google is getting scarier. They show us the way but never get straight enough to tell us where we re putting our foot wrong. But yet I feel that we blogger are trying to outdo Google with out witty tactics but at the end, we realize that there eyes are everywhere. Do I need to say it again “Great post like always”.

    Hey Do you feel that Google is always correct?

    Regards and keep blogging Neil. πŸ™‚

    • Koj, I don’t think anyone is always correct. Mistakes are always made from higher ups, it is our job to work around them and ensure we can survive.

  30. Let me tryout these tactics on my main blog that was hit some 6 months ago and still I’m not on the previous position and loosing a lot of money on the table too.

  31. I have been working on my blog to get it out of the penalty box but the hardest part is to remove those backlinks from spammy sites…still waiting for the result

  32. Do you have a quick way to collect email address from websites that link to you? I was hoping to not have to weed through each one myself.

  33. What I find so funny about this blog of yours is I have no idea how I got signed up!

    All I remember is getting connected with the site’s email list at some point… and then reading your posts with interest ever since. I think I’m going to go back in my history and see how it all started, lol.

    You know someone’s good at marketing when the people they market to don’t even know how you did it!

    • Ah… This is what got me signed up, apparently:

      “Hey Stephen,

      As promised, here are the marketing secrets of highly profitable online small business.

      To learn how to go from making $32 an hour to $115,000 an hour, click here


      Stay tuned… I’ll have a secret bonus for you in the next few days. ;-)”

      Nice work, Neil. πŸ™‚

    • Stephen, that’s very true. Glad you enjoy the points.

  34. Great post. I remember a few years ago, doing SEO, I never even thought about the “natural way” of ranking websites. Just funny to think that the stuff that works great now probably worked then too, it was just faster to go the spam route.

    As a side comment, how do you come up with so many awesome topics for your blogs?

  35. Neil, what about a lot of links from Pinterest and/or other social sites, can those hurt too?
    And if a site has been penalized do you mean they received warning in webmaster tools or just lost a lot of traffic?
    Thanks for clarifying.

  36. Thanks Neil, I just can’t imagine my situation if my site gets penalised by Google. But before that situation arises you have given me a lot of safety steps.

  37. Hi Neil I really loved to read this article. And I would like to ask you a question about over optimization penalty due to keyword density:

    For example: Let’s say I want to target a primary keyword “Food for Dogs” and secondary keyword “Dog Food”. Now I have write a post of over 1500+ words keeping the keyword density of these phrases less than 2.0.
    But then in my article I notice the keyword density of the word “Food” is more than 8. And this is a keyword I am not trying to rank for. This just came naturally.
    So, would Google penalize my site for over optimization or for having a high keyword density?

    • Nope…. you shouldn’t worry about keyword density. You’ll naturally use the word or phrase within your content.

  38. Google is getting smarter, no doubt about that πŸ˜‰
    great post, thanks Neil!

  39. cosmetice online :

    So far so good, I do not have been penalized. Anyway, it is better to know in advance what I will have to do in that case. Great article again!

  40. nice post Neil, but i have a question for you. What do you do if you have user-generated content website and you want to rank high without spamming or submitting your domain links to dodgy web directories, cause to be honest with it kinda challenging not to.

  41. Alan-Los Angeles Web Designer :

    My site had been penalized by Google update but help of Disavow tool and Google webmaster guidelines, videos etc. I have recovered my site. Thanks for great post πŸ™‚

  42. Shopping Coupons :

    Hello Neil,

    Is there anyway to know for what google has penialised a particular website?. Because there may be many reasons that google could penalize a site like mine ( as am a beginner in seo)

    • You should check your rankings and see your domain and page authority, sometimes these are great indicators.

  43. Navneet Singh :

    Thanks Neil for sharing this info. This proves that ” There Is No Shortcut To Suceess” πŸ™‚

  44. Read more at irctc login :

    I do agree with most points but have one reservation and that is too much varying anchor text can also get a red flag since it may mean that we are linking to what is not intended.

  45. Neil, from your experience, is there any difference in putting exclusion URLs (or patterns) in Robots.txt versus the noindex tags on the pages you want to omit? If so, which do you recommend or prefer?

  46. Jay Samolowicz :

    Some awesome points here Neil, thank you. I also learned some great stuff from the comments, such as building no more than 15-20 links per month and mixing up your dofollow and nofollow links. These were things, especially the nofollow links, that I haven’t really considered.

  47. Just be nice to your readers and dont do anything which you wouldn’t like to see on a site which you loyally follow.

  48. Another question about all page links – what if you have a blog on a sub-domain (not a good setup, I know) for a product/service site and cross link the 2 via navigation (“Our Blog” on site and “Back to “SiteName” on the blog)? From page rank POV, sub-domain is a separate site, so would cross linking the 2 result in a penalty and should nofollow be added to remedy? Thank in advance for an advice!

  49. Great article, Neil! I had over 10 000 spammy links pointing to my site from various resources associated with Viagra. And of course my blog lost all the traffic and rankings. I contacted the site owners but they never replied. So, the only chance was disavow, which didn’t really work. I contacted Google with reconsideration request, but they said that there is no manual penalty for my site. Does it mean that the algorithm just blocking my blog? Should I wait longer? It’s already been over 5 months.

  50. Connor Harley :

    These are wonderful ideas. It is a lot better to revive a site rather than start all over again by scratch.

  51. Michael Gocia :

    Great Neil , what you said is absolutely right I do agree with you i totally believe in quality content which makes more popular and attracts visitors . we should maintain good and fresh content to rank top in google’s serp

  52. Wow, this is a very helpful article on something that I hope never happens to me. It’s amazing to think how much we are at the whim of big companies like google. Not that I entirely blame them for filtering out problematic content and sites, but sometimes it seems a bit harsh.

    • Ashley, they control the landscape and we need to play by their rules to succeed. For better or worse πŸ™‚

  53. Jignesh Rathod (TechForWorld) :

    I just found Neil’s one of the best interviews on a blog: (Sharing this for Quick Sprout fans)

    Neil, we got to see another side of yours, your thinking is great, beyond success. And it is interesting to read comments below to know how the entire blogging world respects you.

  54. Mike Munter from Portland :

    Hey Neil,

    First, thanks for returning my “Penguin” call last week.

    Despite your advice to remove my client’s spammy links, we’ve opted instead to improve content and start building quality links.

    I personally tried removing LOTS of crappy article directory and fiverr links from my previous business site ( and man, it takes a LONG time. Some webmasters want money and most don’t respond. Since I created a bunch of links using Article Marketing Robot, I can login and remove links but its a mind-numbing process that takes about 30 sec per link. Doing that for thousands of links – forget it. In my case, I decided to start over.

    For my client, 99% of links point to the home page, so we hope by creating a fresh home page and then perhaps promoting it with PRWeb using, we can sort of “even” things out. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    Thanks again! Mike

    • Mike, Glad I could help. Sounds like you are on the right track. Feel free to reach out whenever you need in the future πŸ™‚

  55. Hi Neil. Is there any threshold for plagiarized content for not to get penalty in Google? Like for example, 30% plagiarized content is OK for Google or something like this?

  56. hi, Niel.
    recently one of my blog deindexed from Google webmaster tools. Is it because of penalty?
    all the posts are deimdexed and categories and tags are still attracting visitors from Google. It means they are not only indexed but well ranked too.

    • I’m not sure… I would need to know the history and if you did anything wrong.

      Maybe it could be something wrong with your robots.txt file…

  57. Hi Neil ! Thank you for exploring the concise way to overcome from Google Penalization. It is common phenomenon but your ideas helps to fix it.

  58. Website Buddha :

    Being blocked out of AdSense? No that’s not an SEO penalty.

  59. Hi Neil,
    I have one question that I tried to ask John Muller from Google but didn’t get answer. Maybe you can help.
    I have a blog in Spanish with lots of comments from the readers (sometimes +200). My posts are unique content and well writen, but most comments (user generated content) have pretty bad gramatic. Although they are very relevant with my posts and not spammy, the gramatic is BAD!

    My blog is considered by many as the best spanish blog in the topic.
    Can those comments affect my rankings? My site was affected by penguin, although I never did backlinking nor black hat SEO.

    Of course, I don’t want to edit the comments myself and correct their gramatical errors, nor delete those comments, because those are real people, with real problems that want to learn and solve via commenting.

    What could I do?


    • Leave them be. You should be fine… I haven’t seen this affect sites negatively assuming the comments are relevant and not spammy.

  60. Bryant Jaquez :

    Not to mention, don’t do anything stupid (like I did) and accidentally let your domain expire. Even doing this for a few days will drop all of your rankings. I’m still trying to get rankings back up on one of my sites :/

  61. Thanks for sharing really an helpful guidelines for getting rid of google algorithms …the best way to get inlinks as u mention… do not follow any cheap,over attention, over ambitious approach for indexing

  62. Great Tips you have given for white head work for link building.

  63. VishSoft Solutions :

    Really great post Neil, also very briefly explained all the things in just one blog post which other people can’t express in videos. Thanks for sharing valuable tricks with us…..

  64. Building links to inner pages is really important. I try not to build links to my homepage anymoreÒ€¦ linking to inner pages is working well for me.

  65. My tech blog got sandboxed twice in the first 6 months it came live. I started it as a simple site about building custom computers but it quickly ranked high on many long tail keywords due to the lenthy articles that i put up every week (almost always over 3,000).

    Now that could be the honeymoon period, or really because link juice from some of the major tech site that kept on sending hundreds of visitors daily.

    On the first penalty, I learned that one of the major sites applied nofollow or removed url from all posts of anyone who has not been member for a month. Consequently, my blog dropped from the search result, even for the title keyword. That lasted a whole month and traffic tanked. It was really disappointing to see 500-600 a day to a mere 30-50.

    It came back to the same position it was in the exact following month as I continued to build quality links. Some of the noise keywords that I thought they had nothing to do with my blog, are no longer there. However, traffic now is more refined and the target audience seem to stay much longer on the site. Sales came right back on the second day (I use Amazon Aff).

    A month and a half later, I got up in the morning and Site Stats showed only 20 visitors the day before. This time there was no hint or any sight of what caused it. Some changes were made recently such as moving widgets around and activated cloudflare a week ago, but they were not the problem. I was frustrated and tried to tweak everything I know of with hope that it’ll bring back the traffic.

    The lesson learned here is, it was just google testing my blog. I spent a week doing research to see if there was any major issue with SEO on the site, as well as following any tricks under the sleeves but it didn’t get anywhere until I wrote another 3 long articles in about another week later. The sandbox was shorter this time, lasted about 2.5 weeks. Traffic exploded after that, the site came top in many different keywords that I would lose track of. Visits are doubled from what it used to be and conversion rate is safely in between 5-22%.

    I guess writing great (not just good) content will rank your young blog much higher than an over-optimized seo site in a long term period. I’m glad I didn’t give in when this shit happened twice πŸ˜€

    • Slovei,
      Sounds like you identified the problem and were able to quickly maneuver your way through the issues. Looks like you made the right changes! Content should be great to get you that qualified traffic you need.

  66. User generated content is OK when each article is manually approved and its not like an article directory where you have tens of thousands of user generated articles.

    We get ownership reviews on our motorcycle blog and it is really getting high quality readers from search and social media.

  67. Some good tips here, whether your are “sandboxed” or want to know how to avoid being. Another good blog. I have recently lost my position on the SERPS but still on page 1 although at the bottom. I guess this is because, being a site under a year old I created links quickly at the beginning and then slowed down a lot over the last few months.

  68. Raheel @ Brandsynario :

    Checking up on old links can be a hard task if you have done too much linking but it’s worth the time if you can get back on top rankings..!!! I am mostly in support of social networks these days it is easiar to rank if you have good Social Profiles and community building

    • Raheel, that is very true. It is definitely worth the time if you are interested in traffic, as we all are.

  69. Kettenradgarnitur Fahrrad :

    hello NEIL PATEL, your post is very interesting and also full of information. I agree with you that all the above stated points are the main points which can Penalized any person by Google at any time.
    You share very simple and technical points regarding the Penalized by Google.

  70. raman bathina :

    Yes neil patel there is a limit for every one.Like too much eating of food causes digestion problem and it is applied to too much spammy links and other irrelevant links.All are good and we need some more explanation with videos.

  71. Neil,

    I’m in quite the predicament. One of the site I work on did a sneaky thing back a few years back. They created a WordPress theme and had a link back to their page in the footer. Everything was fine until last year when that WordPress theme got picked up by some medical company. It got duplicated and duplicates. Every time they post on their sites, it’s looking back to ours. Links are coming in so quickly. Each time they post.

    We’ve no followed thousands of them and done a ton of work. 4 google reconsideration and nothing.


    • Yea, you sadly can’t do much at this point other than ask people to remove the link or disavow them. πŸ™

      • Hi Neil,

        First of all, thank you for the great article and for responding to all of the comments!

        I develop websites for some of my SEO clients and include a link back to the home page of my website in the footer of their websites (with their permission). I want to avoid getting penalized by Google in future. In reference to point 6, am I okay in doing this or should I limit the link back to my website to a certain page on my clients’ websites?

        • Alexander, great question. I think you should be good with your current linking strategy. You don’t want to overdo it. However, right now it seems as though you are only linking from one specific spot on each client’s website. Thanks for your feedback and for reading πŸ™‚

  72. As always very well written, thanks for sharing your kind knowledge with us.

  73. awsome post..thanks

  74. trouwfotograaf :

    I have been reading this, not to get out of the penalty box, but more to prevent to ever get in it, and knowing what the cause could be IF I ever get in it.

    Great blog, I will remember this πŸ™‚

    Thnx Neil

  75. Margaux Allen @ capping machines :

    Hey Neil count me now as one of your fan! I adore your blogs, they just contain very useful information. Thanks for this post Neil, with this, I learn how to avoid being penalized by Google and what to do if my website will be penalized. Keep posting Neil. Will surely read more of you.

  76. Abhishek Shukla :

    Wonderful , I have been building links using same kind of anchor text. I will be more careful from next time

  77. pushpa sharma :

    Neil, thanks for sharing a nicely written article, especially Tactic #6: Building all page links. I also experienced this penalty with my website. Can you please let me know if we have all page links what will be the next step, should I use Google disavow tool.

  78. I have recently started link building and all these points have opened my eyes . Thanks Niel

  79. Buy Protein Powder Dispenser :

    To keep your website secure from Google penalty we need to keep in touch with Google updates and follow them as well.

  80. shane watson :

    Neil again a must read and to follow writeup…. i agree too much link placing will effect seo in a negative aspect …links deployment should be in equal proportion from varied resources for making successful SEO campaign

  81. Already dumped a few sites of mine that were penalized hard by G, but I have a few problems with a very old one due to recent updates.
    Your article is very useful, keep helping us better understanding how to rank well in G these days.

  82. Mike Fields :

    1. Does keyword stuffing, for example, negatively impact an entire domain or just the pages it applies too?

    2. Assuming all things are corrected, how long does it take to recover? Does google hold a grudge?

    3. How badly does having over a thousand server errors in webmaster tools for over a month (now fixed) affect a domains trust in google’s eyes and how long would it take to recover that trust?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Neil Patel :

      1. Usually it just applies to specific web pages.
      2. I’ve seen it happen within a few months and as slow as 6 months.
      3. It depends on the errors. But those things really add up, especially if you have a small site with 1000s of errors.

  83. I love to read your blogs because of it’s always informative and i found lots of solutions from it. Some really awesome tips and solutions. Keep it up.

  84. Are you saying that you can tell if Google penalized your website by typing it into Google and seeing if it is #1 in the list?

    I feel like my home page is being penalized for specific keyword combinations. Last week I was on Page 3 for a given keyword combo. Today I’m not in the top 20 pages. How do you fix that?

    What is the recommended number of times to use a keyword combo in image alt text, in the h1 and h2 tags and in the body of the page?

    I am really struggling (and have been for a year) because my site’s home page doesn’t come up on the first 20 pages of any but 2 of the keyword combos that should apply to my site (Ther are maybe 10-15 two-word combos that make sense for it). My Alexa rank is <350k and other landing pages are #1 or #2 for their keywords.

    It seems the more I work at getting the home page to come up at least in the top 5 pages for these phrases the worse it gets, and a lot of times other landing pages lose their rank too…

    Any advice is greatly appreciated – or point me to a page on your site!


    • Not always, but in many cases yes. Assuming your site has some authority and is old, you should be number 1 for your name… unless it is a common name like “hotels”.

      I wouldn’t worry about the bouncing around if you didn’t change anything drastic. If you did, then you should try revert back the changes.

      Don’t worry about optimizing alt tags and heading tags to become perfect. Instead try to create great content.

  85. but the question is how many links should be made daily? Like 5 or 10? This remains a mystery to be honest.

  86. All the advice from webmaster forums is a total joke, they are all volunteers and cannot say for certain that the advice they are giving is even correct!

    The only way I have managed to get correct information is from JohnMu and the Google Office Hours Hangouts.

    You can see answers to questions on there that you might be desperate to know.

  87. I agree with you, that’s why you must look at my last post (just one above), all the questions are answered by actual Google Employees.

  88. Hi Neil,
    This is a great post like all of your content on the web.
    I’d like to say that from my experience this post is intended to help websites who have received a manual warning of unnatural links in their webmaster tools console. I also recommend to disavow the entire domain which you removed your links from in order to avoid a case which more pages from this domain will get indexed and spam your website again in the future.
    One last thing, you wrote that website which links to gambling websites are spamy. CNN, ESPN, Pokernews etc are linking to and etc, I guess it doesn’t matters to which website you link to, its all about how Google perceives the website you’re linking to and what is the user’s satisfaction and interaction from that website.
    Once again, it was a pleasure to read you post, it is rare to find a blog like your which every word in it worth as much as gold and even more!

    • Ben, great points. Disavow is great because it does a lot of the leg work for you. Glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for reading!

  89. Neil, I think, we should focus on improving website content, UX and visitor engagement quality. As people like our website, search engines will also liking the same.

    All tips are very helpful. But what you say about disavow tool? Does it help to remove penalty??

  90. Deals For India :

    Thanks for the tips Neil. I will try them and see if I could recover my website.

  91. Jennifer richard :

    My site is penalize by penguin and google panda . the keyword ranking goes down, what should i do . i am working more on those keyword but not getting expected result.

    • Jennifer, I think you should start focusing a lot more on content. Quality content really goes a long way.

  92. Hi Neil,

    Thanks a lot for sharing us these useful info. And i agree with you all your ideas. Building backlinks is not an easy task but as long as you spent energy and time to do it well, this will take you lots wealth. “When you build too many links too fast, you tend to lose most of your rankings… even if those links are high in authority and natural” this is quite true!

  93. sanjeev yadav :

    hello neil,
    my site have 100 keywords on top Google position. but now my site penalize by google. i lost all keywords ranking …plz sir help me ..what should i do ???

  94. Amrik Virdi :

    Hello Neil,

    My blog url is

    I was getting a handsome traffic till last week. And the Analytic for yesterday show nothing unusual.
    All of a sudden, as I checked my Analytic a few minutes back, I see ZERO Real time traffic.
    Which is really strange because it is usually more than 10 at any given instant.
    And as I checked my keyword position with the most reliable KW position checker tools, I do not see any of my keywords which were at No. 1-10 in the Top 100 as well.

    That really has me worried.
    Can you tell me what the cause could be?
    And what I need to do to rectify it?

    • Amrik,
      You should check out your webmaster tools to see if there is anything going on that could be affecting your rankings. There was also a recent algorithm update that could be the issue. There could be a number of reasons you are experiencing less traffic, I would suggest doing a full investigation.

  95. Hi Neil, in regard to blogroll links, I have a site that gets them naturally, Ive contacted a few now that is just way too many,think 30k pages and a few others but ive noticed i also get a lot from blogger, wordpress type sites. these are regular people just linking bc they like the site or an article that fits what their site is on.

    should i let these stay, most are in the 50 to 400 pages or contact them and ask to be removed bc it could be hurting me?



    PS – WOW! on the fact that you actually take the time to reply back to everyone

    • If they are natural and from related blogs, let them stay. It can drive you traffic.

      If you manually built them, remove them.

      If someone naturally added you to their blogroll, you should be happy because it means they like your blog. πŸ™‚

  96. Many people get confused and disappointed with the falling of ranks… if they follow the above tips than definitely they will overcome from this penalty. Thanks for such an informative article!!

  97. I was too worried that my site has disappeared from google search. It is still 4 months old. I was about to start a new domain as most advise. But when I started to search for penalized website, I stumbled on this post. I will try your method and give it a shot for 4 months before I raise the white flag.

    • Matthew, that sounds like a solid strategy. You should also really focus on producing quality content.

  98. Well, my new blog was doing good until the recent algorithm update that hit me on Tuesday. There are no spammy contents but some posts were below 300 words and some duplicate content issues as well.

    Now, i updated and optimized all my posts and removed low quality posts and my query is should i completely unindex my blog and submit it for re-indexing or just update my posts?

    • No need to unindex it. They will crawl your whole site again… it can easily take 3 months before you see the results.

  99. Hello Neil,

    I am not sure but I think my website has been hit by recent algorithm update by Google. Yesterday it received around 4000 page views and today its around 600 only.

    One question that I need to ask is my website is still on page-1 for few keywords. How would I make sure that my website is victim of recent update (if it still on page-1).


    • Look at it from a 30 day perspective. If it went from 4000 a day over 30 days to 600 a day, something is off. Not sure exactly, but from there you can start digging in.

  100. Very useful article. Thank you for sharing

  101. Action Figures and Toys :

    Hi Neil,
    I think I’ve gone through something too as my site was building up gradually and then a sharp dip. I wish Google would just say “Listen, here’s what you’re doing wrong…” instead of the guessing game but going to keep keeping on the natural way and hopefully build back up.
    Thank you for the tips!

    • It’s a tough balancing act. I have told people time and again though that content is the biggest determinate for long term success. By providing quality unique content you can really push the needle and achieve great success.

  102. Samantha Luxton :

    mine is PR1 but still get deindexed πŸ™ after read your article i realized that quality beat the quantity links… need some hard work to implied all the tactics above but i guess it’s worth. thank you

  103. Michael Vallez :


    As I try to recover from a manual penalty from 2 years ago I came across this article. According to tactic#6 if website A is linking to website B (my website) and they are linking 6,000 pages to my home page, just 1 page then this is very bad?

    I have about 7 instances of this, mostly from competitors.

    Also, is there a page amount to focus on. Is 100 or less linking to 1 page bad?

    And finally, if I reach out to the webmaster for the offending parties and they do not comply I suppose the only thing to do is to disavow the links?

    thank you


    • It’s not bad if you have thousands of other links to internal pages as well. You just want your links spread out as it is more natural.

      There is no real β€œrule” of thumb when it comes to how many links you should have per page or even percentage.

      Yep, you disavow what you can’t get removed.

  104. Michael Vallez :

    thank you Neil.

  105. Hey neil, i have a question.. how to get out of Google news penalty???

    • I wish I could tell you the answer, but I haven’t ever been in a news penalty. Didn’t know there was such a thing…

  106. Bill Burniece :

    Good stuff Neil – thanks. My site disappeared from the top 100 in Google after being on page 1 for over five years. I’m still trying to figure out what I did wrong. This helps. Sometimes Google = Brootal.

  107. Best Affiliate Guide :

    Neil: I just wanted to tell you how cool it is of you to reply to all of these comments. It shows a real commitment on your part to not only post excellent content but help your readers succeed. Cheers!

  108. After receiving a Google Penalty, the best thing to do is to get a link audit. This is the best way to find out exactly which links are harming your site’s position in Google’s SERPs and which have got you penalized. At The Link Auditors, their diagnostics give very detailed data, not just a list of links; but they separate the links into categories of toxic and non toxic, and with a percentage of how harmful each link is to your site. They have different tools for different problems, detecting issues with duplicate IPs, key word density, site wide links and others.

    They also run a link removal service; one that is totally unique to anything else on the internet. Like all their other tools, the removal tool is fully automatic and fast and easy to use; and with an average 75% success removal rate, it is the best option out there!

    When I had an audit with The Link Auditors, their phone support was always really good. Whenever I had a problem, one of their team was more than happy to listen and help me with my questions.

    • Tim, thanks for the insightful comment. It will definitely help supplement the material already written on the blog post πŸ™‚

  109. Great read, thank Neil! My website has been a bit of nightmare. It was doing really well in Google, then the company who built the site and hosted it went bust. Everything was deleted and I had no backups (my fault I know). For two weeks I had no site and Google was still crawling the site. Eventually got my new site but definitely been hit by Google for the down time. The only thing I find weird is that some of the pages are back to where they were, but other pages are struggling to get past page 4, where they use to be on page one, or two before the site was down… Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • You have to give it time as it takes a while to go back to where you where when you have downtime like that. If you build a few links to internal pages it should be too long till you bounce back.

  110. Thanks for the reply Neil, really appreciated! Yes agreed, I am also writing some quality content as well so hopefully that will help. Will just have to stop being impatient.

    Thanks again.

    Kind regards, Will

  111. Alexander Hemedinger :

    I was originally given a Google penalty to my backlinks. I fixed the issue. Now the message came again 6 months later. Can old backlinks now become penalized again? Or are these new links affecting this decision by Google?

    If you can provide documentation including from Matt Cutts, that would be great! We feel this SEO company is hurting us and giving us this run around!

    • I am not 100% sure. What is probably happening is that they found old links that they didn’t penalize before and now they are penalizing them.

      Or it could be new clients that they are penalizing.

      Usually this is caused by someone doing something.

  112. Michael Lerner :

    We have stopped “building” links and focus on putting content on site like free downloads and guides we hope users will link or bookmark to. Not sure there is any other way to get links now

  113. I read your post and after that I planned to change the anchor author text as it also becomes repetitive.

  114. I am Agree with you. Yes You Right These are the Main Reason for Penalize By Google:-

    Over-optimized anchor text
    Spammy links
    Build too many links too fast
    Junk or duplicate content
    User-generated content

  115. if you use black hat or grey hat you should penalized try not to spam search engine and make natural and relevant link.

  116. I got got The Google Penalty because I bought new domain and no check it’s backlink. Remove The Google Penalty is very difficult to me, Can you give method remove G Penalty to old site.

    • Do a reinclusion request. You shouldn’t have this issue with a new domain name.

      It could be that you just need to give it some time.

  117. At Google it’s 50 to 50. Could harm the link might not hurt. Can help, may not help.

  118. Arnav Arora :

    If your website is under Google Penalty Box then you to do :

    1) Update Content
    2) Delete Bad Links
    3) Create Social Profiles
    4) Create High Page Rank Backlinks

  119. HI ,

    Well you have described negative SEO points quite nicely. Letting me know that how Google webmaster will detect that we can contact to the website owners for link removing? Because we have to mention into file before submitting into Google webmaster tool. Where we can tell webmaster to remove low quality links pointing to my website.

  120. Thanks for this article. I think I got penalized for using my anchor text the same to much for my keyword and hurt my ranking worse =\

    Going to try to start building more from high authoritative sites using different keywords.

    Thanks for the information,


  121. Hi Neil,

    I’m at a loss at the moment. About a month ago I was hit with a Google penalty for what it deemed “unnatural links” from my site.

    I have applied the “no follow” plugin extensively on my site. I’ve now even made all links from my “links” page (blogroll) no follow. I even made numerous authority links such as to .gov and bbc news etc no follow.

    Any historic sponsored posts have been marked as no follow.

    I have now twice appealed the penalty with explanations as to the steps I’ve taken since the penalty was imposed.

    On Wednesday I completed my most recent review of every single page on my site. I resubmitted my feed and sitemap to Webmaster Tools. I then appealed explaining all the steps I’d taken since the last appeal. I explained that the overwhelming majority of links are no follow. The small number of do follow links are not paid for and editorially appropriate and highly relevant.

    I appealed Wednesday night and had a response this morning that they still see unnatural links coming from my site. (I strongly dispute this.)

    You said it can take maybe 3 months before they remove the penalty, yet if they reply to my appeal in just over 24 hours does this mean I will not see an improvement in about 3 months?

    I’m extremely frustrated by this. I’m trying to comply by their rules and they don’t give any specifics as to why they think I’m not.

    Are there any tools to find out what could be the cause of their penalty?

    Thanks in advance for any guidance you can give.

    • Sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, I really don’t have any answers as I don’t have control over any of these factors. I would do a full site inventory while waiting for their response. You can make some tweaks and share the information with them. Again, sorry.

      • Okay many thanks.

        I’m beginning my 3rd fully site audit of ~ 400 posts. Very time consuming and frustrating. It also delays my work on other projects. Hopefully no one else will fall foul of this. I feel as though my site is currently compliant but clearly the big G don’t and will not give me any direct guidance why.

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  125. Hi Neil,

    Great article. I have a problem I hope you can help me with.

    I’m not the most clued up on SEO, unfortunately, as my website is just a side project/hobby. My traffic sky-rocketed just a few weeks ago, and in order to boost it further I made the mistake of submitting my site to free web directories, thinking it would give me a bit more reach, which I’ve just read is a big mistake.

    My traffic has now taken a dive. Is there anyway I can revert being penalised? Or will it only go away with more content and backlinks?

    Any help or advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

  126. If a site is in general penalised state then then only thing we can do is give it time and some good Quality Content to reset and no try for any backlinks until google itself took the site up in better ranking but if your site is containing all of similar contents like of a Event blog of any content then these sites are more likely to be permanently penelised, one of my friend has recently lost almost 5K $ only for this reason. so be careful and don’t try these.
    Give your site some time and genuin Quality content which is good for all viewers and within a month or two the site will be ranked in google automatically. Believe

  127. Just Follow These Steps:-

    1) Change Your Content and Upload the Fresh and Unique Content.
    2) Use the Content Related Submissions For Website.

  128. Unfortunatelly i coudn’t remove penalty of my website for some keywords, i can’t understand what i must do.

  129. Thanks for the tips Neil. I bought an old domain name several months ago because it had some interesting metrics, but I soon noticed that it had been penalized. I gave up and abandoned the project had started, but from the look of things or at least from what you and other guys here think, I still can recover the domain name from the penalty

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