Negative SEO has been the focus of debate. It revolves around competitors and even shady SEO firms using bad SEO to apply penalties to other websites through the use of bad links, such as the kind you'd get from having a compromised site linking back to your own.
This topic of debate has become even more apparent ever since Google Penguin came into play. Websites have been knocked clear off the same results that they used to rank first or second for.
The good news is that there's a two useful tools that you can use to keep your website free from the ill effects of unnatural links: CognitiveSEO and the Google Disavow Tool.
Let's explore how these two invaluable tools by exploring the problems Google Penguin brought in detail and then elaborating on a generalized Penguin recovery strategy.
Penguin Recovery: The Negative Effects of Google Penguin
A handful of websites faired better after the Penguin update was implemented compared to the countless websites that saw everything from complete drops off Google to slow, gradual drops to ranks past page 100.
There are a total of 5 Penguin updates . . .
Understandably, many of these websites saw their traffic from Google for their primary keywords dry up like a puddle in the desert shortly after the Penguin updates mentioned above.
While this isn't anything new with Google updates, it does represent something troubling when you take into account that these webmasters had tried everything legitimate that Google had suggested that they do for SEO purposes.
That means they tried . . .
You can likely see where this is going. It seemed that no matter what these webmasters did, nothing worked. Their rankings continued to decrease and in some cases until their websites were pulled from Google entirely.
Doubts About the Google Disavow Tool
The major thing that was hurting webmasters after the Penguin update concerned malicious and unnatural links. It's what made it nearly impossible for websites to recover their previous rankings.
To remedy this, Google released the Google Disavow Tool. Its aim is to allow for webmasters to have a last resort measure for links that they couldn't have removed otherwise.
The problem is that the Google Disavow Tool comes with a very scary warning. If you use it incorrectly or fail to try every other avenue to remove links to your website, then Google may penalize your website manually.
This is where CognitiveSEO comes in. It enables you to spot unnatural links with a fair degree of certainty.
Detecting Unnatural Links
CognitiveSEO allows you to import links that you export from tools like the Google Webmaster Tool. You can then run the link analysis feature to see the links that are both helping and hurting your site.
CognitiveSEO classifies links into one of three categories: “OK Links”, “Suspect Links” and “Unnatural Links”. While it's not perfect, most webmasters will agree with a majority of the results CognitiveSEO gives them after analysis.
You can then export the analyzed links from CognitiveSEO into a plain text file.
Upon making a manual review of your findings, you can then submit that file using the Google Disavow Tool with a high degree of certainty that your URLs are actually unnatural.
The Results of Penguin Recovery
After going through this process, some webmasters saw that their websites were indexed and ranking once again. Properly optimized websites saw a proper Penguin recovery by regaining their first page rankings of the same keywords that they had once lost.
The most fortunate part of this process is that it wasn't just a simple fluctuation. These websites came back and stayed at those high ranks they once had.
Putting It All Together
While there were many factors influencing how the websites mentioned in this post ranked, it's a good bet that it was the unnatural links pulling these websites down in the SERPs.
Is CognitiveSEO required for you to repeat this same process? The answer is that it's not. You can sit there an manually check every URL reported by the Webmaster Tool on your own before submitting a list of URLs to the Disavow Tool.
The part where CognitiveSEO is useful concerns the amount of time it can save you. When you have hundreds and thousands of URLs pointing back to your website, it becomes a considerable task to check them all by hand.
Add this in with the fact that Penguin recovery is stressful enough and you can see why it's a tool worth recommending.
For the record, Cognitive isn't paying me to write this. I just felt that you'd appreciate knowing one way to help you fix one of the biggest algorithmic penalties to hit websites during the Penguin updates without having to spend days or weeks sifting through all the links pointing to your website.
If all of this sounds too painstaking or time consuming for you, CinchLocal.com has proven to be a trusted leader in search engine optimization. By purchasing one our affordable SEO packages we will check all your back links and you can be confident that your exposure in Google can be taken to the next level.
The founder of CinchLocal, is a seasoned entrepreneur that has over 18 years of experience in search engine optimization and online marketing.