My Google Traffic After My Linking Penalty Was Lifted

Apr 18, 2013 • 9:15 am | comments (46) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

analyticsAs promised, I wanted to share my traffic changes after I've nofollowed my paid links. I already shared with you the interesting reconsideration request submission, response and analysis. Now, did the penalty change my traffic from Google?

Let me just share some key dates, so you can understand why I did comparisons as I charted below.

  • March 20, 2013 - My site's manual penalty expired temporarily
  • April 4, 2013 - I nofollowed the paid links and submitted a reconsideration request
  • April 9, 2013 - Google responded to my reconsideration request that I had no manual penalty

Again, I have more details on this over here, but now for the traffic.

Here is my chart of the Google traffic to my site over time, as you can see, I added annotations to mark the dates above:

My Google Organic Traffic Pre-Post Link Penalty Lift

As you can see, it seems pretty level? That chart was using Google Analytics and plotting traffic sources > search > organic search > Google only.

So I decided to do a comparison from the day the penalty was lifted, compared to the same time period beforehand - to see if there was a traffic change. Using the same traffic sources > search > organic search > Google only report:

Google Traffic Change After Penalty Lifted

Google is telling me my traffic is only update 5.41% since the manual penalty expired. The stats do not look great.

So I decided to use the Google Analytics Search Engine Optimization report with the same dates:

Google SEO Report

As you can see, this report shows I have 78% more impressions, 47% more clicks on my site, an average increase in ranking of 44% but my click through rate declined 18%.

Obviously, the reports don't seem to match up a 100% despite them both being in Google Analytics.

Also, it may be too early - ranking may improve over time or not. Maybe it is just too early to tell.

Anyway, love to hear your thoughts on what you expect to happen or expected to happen to my traffic after the link penalty expired?

Forum discussion continued at Google+.

My Site's Penalty: Three/Four Part Series Post:

Previous story: Google: Pushing Hundreds Of Thousands Of Pages Can Raise A Red Flag


Martin Oxby

04/18/2013 01:46 pm

I'm pretty sure Matt Cutts has said before that the increase in traffic and ranks etc will improve over time, you're not often suddenly reinstated where you were prior to the penalty so I assume this is likely to happen in your case. Did you track ranks pre and post penalty and see if that links to your traffic change? I always find it strange when Google Data doesn't agree with Google Data.


04/18/2013 01:52 pm

Oh well it's a start. Hope you get some good searches after all this.


04/18/2013 02:18 pm

And what's the point ? Let's assume your traffic will increase - good for you ... Let's assume your traffic will be the same ... Does it mean that you shouldn't nofollow links ? This question is not about the traffic, but about your relations with Google. Do you consider Google as a partner ? Do you want to get additional traffic for free from their SERP ? Then you should respect and follow Google's terms. Feel free to do whatever you want, if you don't consider Google as your business partner.

Martin Oxby

04/18/2013 02:23 pm

The main point, whatever your opinion about Google or working with or against them, it is important to know what happens to your stats when you are no longer penalised by Google. I don't think you need to be quite so negative. This post is the result of him bringing his ads into line with Google's guidelines. It is therefore interesting regardless of your stance on Google...

Daniel (Butz) Sherf

04/18/2013 02:31 pm

Obviously it's to early Barry to draw any conclusions.

Jim Christian

04/18/2013 02:46 pm

Well Surprise, Surprise, Surprise............... Inconclusive and conflicting data from the Goog's. I'm on a horse


04/18/2013 02:47 pm

How is this important ? Assume traffic remains the same. What would be your conclusions ?

Martin Oxby

04/18/2013 02:59 pm

Well depends on the other data surrounding, which as an outsider, I am not privvy to, but presumably either a) Traffic wasn't that harmed by the penalty or b) if traffic WAS hit by the penalty then the 'recovery' process hadn't really started yet. This is only a snapshot of global data so for us, it is not actionable, but for the webmaster it is important to know the result of a penalty and indeed its lifting.


04/18/2013 04:27 pm

a) Traffic can't be not harmed by the penalty, because this is what penalty about - to harm traffic. You don't need to remove penalty to know the reason of the traffic decrease. Be sure Penalty = Traffic decrease. b) Because of the data surrounding you can't be sure anyway, why traffic volume changes. To be sure you must do nothing 3-4 months before penalty removal, then 3-4 months after. And even then you can't be sure why traffic volume changes because Google will change something in algo, that can affect your traffic. For webmaster it is important not to get penalty. And if somehow website was penalized (because of the SEO service for ex.), then just remove everything, that can violate Google's terms. EVERYTHING. Not like : "I'll remove this and will see what happens." Webmaster must work on the website each and every minute. And even then the chance of building noteworthy website is not high.


04/18/2013 04:35 pm

Google as a business partner? More like backstabbing partner.


04/18/2013 05:07 pm

I never said Google is reliable partner. But market doesn't provide a lot of options. Personally I don't see other options at all. Unfortunately.

Alex Becker

04/18/2013 05:20 pm

Barry, You are absolutely right in the manner in which you handled this. The problem for most people is that unless you are a big brand, there is a high probability you straight up don't hear back from Google upon submission of your reconsideration request. Most of the people who read how you handled this situation will do the exact same thing you did, however, will not hear back after their reconsideration request is submitted. The thing that's most frustrating about this to me, is that you actually heard back from Google in 5 (five) days and they took the necessary action (or in this case, necessary no-action), but 95% of websites won't hear back


04/18/2013 05:47 pm

I appreciate your sharing this with everyone, Barry. I would say, and I mean no butt kissing, that your website is so very authoritative that the results (or lack of) you see are not going to be the norm. I doubt you will see much difference, if any, while some hotel website or limo service website might see huge improvement from having a manual penalty lifted. Just my two cents.


04/18/2013 07:09 pm

Have your checked organic results with your brand(s) filtered out?

Joe Youngblood

04/18/2013 07:30 pm

That report uses webmaster tools data, it's not very reliable.

Oleg Korneitchouk

04/18/2013 08:26 pm

This really is key.

Alan Smith

04/19/2013 05:44 am

Hope you will get your regular traffic soon with more new clicks. How much referral traffic you are getting now after this Penalty Was Lifted?

Soni Sharma

04/19/2013 05:52 am


Soni Sharma

04/19/2013 05:53 am

yes It is obvious...Great.


04/19/2013 07:22 am

Barry I think you should start looking at removing some of this spam that I have seen in the comments lately.Maybe doing this will improve your rankings even more :)

Ved Tiwari

04/19/2013 08:28 am

Well according to above graphs its really confusing why a single Google analytic account showing different reports for one website. Can you share report graph from February 2013 to get better Idea?

Khalid Irfan

04/19/2013 11:47 am

lolllll ...

Jeff Fagan

04/19/2013 12:38 pm

Still a little early I think. But now that you posted the graphs, maybe you will see a "manual lift"

anti-SEO´s-anti SEO

04/19/2013 12:41 pm

So if google analytics is presenting only what google wants you to see and adds a load of FUD in their too, what is the point of using google analytics at all? Why not use a different analytics program that is not designed to hide stuff and cheat?


04/19/2013 12:51 pm

Has your landing page mix changed? Perhaps penalty was just applied on specific pages where the paid links were. Removing the penalty might then affect your internal link juice distribution and bring up pages that were deep down in the index before the penalty removal.


04/19/2013 01:06 pm

I dont think the penalties effected your rankings.Google either deindex a site completely or lower the page rank of sites which are selling links.They dont bring down the ranking.This is what i have noticed from my experience.


04/19/2013 03:03 pm

Traffic aside; you've capitulated to Google (NB: I'm not having a pop at you for doing so) and Google has reaffirmed publicly it's position as lawmaker, judge and jury on the web. Google may feel pleased with itself but I'm not impressed - it's not healthy for the web to be owned by Google; and it's not healthy for Google to think it's the rightful owner of the web. As an SEO, I'm conflicted - it makes life easier when everybody uses one search engine; but Google isn't the cleverest and it's not the best - morally or intellectually... when will the masses wake up, smell the coffee and use another search engine?

John Doherty

04/19/2013 03:09 pm

Agreed. Would be good to see traffic with both News and branded filtered out.

John Britsios

04/19/2013 05:23 pm

If I am not wrong, you should wait for several weeks ( I guess up to six weeks or so) to see real recovery signs after a Google's manual action have been declined.


04/19/2013 06:01 pm

Barry how can i contact with you

Casey Markee, MBA

04/19/2013 06:04 pm

What Joe said.

Barry Schwartz

04/19/2013 09:50 pm

People asked, that is the point.

Barry Schwartz

04/19/2013 09:59 pm

The comments are checked for spam. If I miss anything please let me know. I remove a ton all the time.


04/20/2013 01:38 pm

Ok ) And I asked people, what is their point )

Jose Capelo

04/20/2013 06:57 pm

I dont believe this! It defeats the purpose of a link penalty.


04/20/2013 06:58 pm

lol ;)

chaudhary amir

04/20/2013 06:58 pm

lolllll ... :)

chaudhary amir

04/20/2013 07:01 pm

You happen to be unquestionably suitable in the manner where a person taken care of that.The issue when we take out is that unless you are a massive brand.Certainly charges appeared to be only put on particular pages where the paid out hyperlinks were being. Eliminating that charges may then impact your own central website fruit juice submitter in addition to ask about pages that had been strong along in the catalog before the charges treatment.

Chic Furniture

04/22/2013 12:06 pm

Interesting piece of information here on your website. Keep up the good work and continue providing us more quality information from time to time.

Martin Oxby

04/24/2013 11:58 am

Tried another analytics program, still couldn't get some of the keyword data I was hoping for.

Uri Lederman

04/25/2013 03:17 pm

the biggest issues that I see with analysis of this kind is that Google has changed drastically over the past year or so as the SERPS are allot more IP based than any other time of history. and this will continue as technology gets better and more precise. That being said; comparing data year to year is a problem.. comparing data month to month is also a problem.. and comparing generic webmaster tool AVERAGES data is also a problem.. :-) so what can you do... keep on truckin... What are you trying to do??? and if the answer is try to figure out if you are back in google good graces... you need to do all this analysis based on a static IP address (city) Good Luck with that... :-)

Barry Schwartz

04/25/2013 03:18 pm

I didn't compare year to year. I compared weeks to weeks.


05/28/2013 05:56 am

my site also effect the same as Barry and i dont know how to recover thing any idea how i work on this thing guys i really need help. and tell where i contact you

Ali Munandar

06/01/2013 03:33 am

If that's true, then google can be subjective, not really objective in judging any website.


10/31/2013 05:43 pm

In my case, after penalty my website is invisible from google. Website ranking has down.


02/25/2014 03:59 pm

Hi Barry. let me start by thanking you for you honesty and "will" to help others by sharing your experiences and mistakes. I have been reading along your site for about an hour and only have found useful information. thanks! I have 2 doubts that I think might be useful to share: 1. I use the creative commons to search for images. As you know they require attribution and for that I use: to generate the attribution html code and link. Should I add the nofollow to the html attribution code generated? 2. I am searching for an ad manager for a WordPress site I have. I was considering OIOpublisher until I read this post: It seems to tell between lines to avoid using that plugin: any thoughts? thanks once again

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