A Google Penalty Removal Leads To Less Google Traffic?

Feb 19, 2013 • 8:59 am | comments (21) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Penalty CardsA WebmasterWorld thread has an interesting case I've never seen before.

A webmaster, who is a "senior member" at WebmasterWorld, claims he received a notification that Google revoked a manual penalty they had on his site for a while. Three days after the penalty revocation the traffic from Google "completely" stopped coming in.

It is like he was better off with the manual penalty versus not having the penalty at all.

We know Google does manually revoke partial penalties but this doesn't seem like a partial revocation.

One theory given in the thread is that now the manual penalty was revoked, an automated algorithmic penalty kicked in and made things worse. I am not sure I believe that 100%. I don't think it works that way, but who knows - I don't have that type of knowledge. It just doesn't seem right based on the knowledge I do have.

Netmeg explained his theory in the thread:

Is it possible that once the manual action was revoked, one of the algorithmic changes finally kicked in?

Or maybe it is just a temporary glitch and things will fix itself in a few more days?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Scott McKirahan

02/19/2013 02:45 pm

The same thing happened to one of my websites. A couple days after the manual penalty was removed, the site disappeared from Google SERP results and has never returned, 6 months later. There is, supposedly, a "penalty box" period and who knows how long that is for? Could be their "trust" factor kicking in, too. Maybe the site is no longer "trusted," whatever that means. The one saving grace for that website is that the majority of traffic has always come from sources other than Google. If there's one thing I learned from last year, it's that you need to forget about Google and figure out other ways of driving traffic. Their algorithm is screwed up beyond repair right now with the worst search results I've ever seen. It's a waste of time searching for anything via Google now.

Barry Schwartz

02/19/2013 04:39 pm

So I am told that Ex-Googler Pedro Dias said this is common and said so in around slide 31 at http://www.slideshare.net/pedro-dias/diagnstico-seo-13935274 via https://twitter.com/fabioricotta/status/303875487443337216

josh bachynski (SEO)

02/19/2013 04:52 pm

it's in spanish! do you have an English version? or a french one ;p any spanish fluent SEOs want to translate it?

Barry Schwartz

02/19/2013 04:54 pm

No. :(


02/19/2013 05:03 pm

The concept of a manual penalty effectively inoculating a site against the algos is an intriguing one...


02/19/2013 05:38 pm

See the 43rd slide ...


02/19/2013 05:49 pm

So, first you spam/trick Google and then blame it, that you can't find anything ? You'd better learn not to spam/trick Google. You could still get traffic from it and search wouldn't be a waste of time.

Le Béret Gascon

02/19/2013 07:23 pm

How do you know if your site has a manual penalty? How do they inform you? Do they inform you?


02/19/2013 07:37 pm

Mr Google employee showed up again. No more results to rig ? It's almost all ads now, isn't it? Have you got no shame at all?

Dario Petkovic

02/19/2013 09:36 pm

I tend to agree. I reckon if we concentrated less on Google rankings and more on other sources of traffic the rank would build up - 'naturally' anyway!! Basically - don't spend too much time on SEO, find cheap sources of paid traffic


02/20/2013 04:16 am

If you get an email to your google web analytic account, that's the start of the end or the beginning of a "great adventure"


02/20/2013 06:53 am

Moral of the story? Don't listen to what Google says!

Michael Charalambous

02/20/2013 01:56 pm

Another appauling mistake by Google. Yet, where is the compensation for people's businesses who rely on such traffic. They're literally playing with peoples sites like puppets. A backlash will occur soon enough...

Marie Haynes

02/20/2013 02:42 pm

Isn't it possible that the site also filed a disavow.txt at the same time as reconsideration? If they disavowed links that they probably should have kept then this would account for the traffic drop.

Bill Sebald

02/20/2013 03:19 pm

I'm convinced that it's possible to get a manual penalty revoked, but still not be fully revoked. I have a client I started helping, who got the full "manual penalty has been revoked" pardon from Google, and still with a natural link profile, he can't get past rank 30-50 for certain keywords. We tried resubmitting to ask if there was still a partial penalty, and Google responded saying there was no manual penalty. The keywords that this client can't earn are like Coca Cola not ranking well for cola, or Toys R' Us not ranking for Toys. (yes, it is a bigger brand, so this one actually has conspiracy theorists stumped). I just don't think their handful of response letters answers everything that's going on behind the scenes with these penalties.

Jimmy Maddox

02/20/2013 03:56 pm

exactly. Ive never received a manual penalty before but have had my fair share of algorithym penalties and even if you correct what you think the problem is, the algo penalty stick for 6 months. And it could be something so minor too. Such as you had to much BOLDED text . Or you used a certain word too many times seprated by 100 words or less. Just nit pick. And the penalties are costly. yeah Id like some compensation too. Black hat behavior is one thing but innocent mistakes are another. Especially when Google doesnt tell you what it didnt like. They just keep poiting us to the Google Guidlines. OK we get it.

Scott McKirahan

02/20/2013 09:57 pm

Actually, it was one of the so-called "respected" SEO firms who "spam/tricked" Google and me in the process as they collected over $1,000/month for their services. Yeah, I know, none of the SEO firms ever did anything like putting links on their own networks, bought links or plastered exact match anchor text all over the place, did they?

Gabriel Sita

02/21/2013 12:12 pm

Another mistake by Google.


02/21/2013 05:07 pm

(netmeg is a her)


12/16/2013 12:23 am

I just had this happen to me as well but it did not completely stop. Rankings dropped significantly for all the main keywords for one of my client for two months. Now it's starting to get back up but they nearly quit over this. I still can't sufficiently explain them -because I don't even understand it to begin with- what happened. Why did rankings drop the same day the penalty was lifted.

Spook SEO

01/09/2014 06:35 pm

Does this means Google is not providing the right answer or information whenever they have something cooking up? With regards to disavow tool Matt says not unless you were emailed or informed by Google that you have this penalty issue better not use disavow tool as it might affect your ranking. Even not informed by Google we still ought to identify bad links that we are linking in for precaution, checking them manually is the only way!

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