Being penalized by Google is one of the worst things that could happen to a website. If it is an e-business, the penalty could spell doom for the continuity of the business.

A Google penalty means that Google has blacklisted the website. The result is a noticeable drop in traffic and loss of search engine rankings. Once this happens, revenues start to fall and the business eventually slowly stops.

What is a toxic backlink?

The standard of search engine popularity of any website has long been the number of inbound links from their website. These links are known as backlinks. Previous versions of Google algorithms gave this factor more weight that anything else.

However, this system was abused to the extent that Google has to implement a complete update to their algorithm to combat the situation. In this context, a toxic backlink is a link from a website that has acquired a bad reputation in Google search rankings. This reputation is passed on to all the websites that link to this particular website.

Is it possible to recover from this penalty?

The answer is yes. However, it is important to understand that once a penalty has been revoked, the threat of reinstatement is very much there unless steps are taken to remove the root causes of the issue.

Google manual penalty is often the result of toxic backlinks that devalue the search engine ranking of the website. There could be other factors such as improper anchor texts involved but toxic backlinks remain the number one reason of the imposition of the manual penalty.

A roadmap for recovery

The first step is to verify that the drop in traffic and revenue is due to a manual penalty. To check this, log in to the Google Webmaster Tool account. In the Search, Traffic drop down menu on the left, select Manual Actions.

If Google has imposed a manual penalty, a notice to that effect will appear. Read it through to find out any specifics that might be included in the notice.

The second step is to create a comprehensive backlink profile of the affected website. Google Webmaster Tool provides a list of these links in a separate tab, Links to Website. This tab shows all the links that point to the website. It is best to import this data into worksheet so that the details could be sorted easily.

Once the data has been collected, it is time to identify the toxic links. This is a very important step and any mistake could undo all the hard work of sourcing a link from a reputed website.

Some toxic links are easy to spot. They come from domains that could be identified instantly as spam. Others, however, are not so obvious and thus every link must be carefully studied before it is classified as toxic.

At the end of the third step, a list of toxic links is in its final form. Now it is time to remove these links.

A simple WHOIS search will reveal contact information for the desire domain. Send an email request for the removal of the backlink. Make sure that all relevant information is included in the email so that the webmaster could take instant action rather than shelving the request.

In many cases, the email works. In some rare cases, where the webmaster does not respond, it is time to use the Google disavow tool. This tool tells Google that you have been unable to remove the backlink.

Recovering from a manual penalty could be a hectic task. However, it is not a lost cause and with effort, it is easy to bounce back from the ban.

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