Breaking News: “Remove Bad Links, Remove Your Penalty,” Says Google

Today, Google confirmed what SEO Inc. had suspected all along.

In a Google+ hangout with Gary Illyes, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google is going on the record to state that if you remove wrong links from your website, you will see your efforts quicker. If you take the necessary steps to remove wrong links and leave only good links, your Google penalty will be removed using an algorithmic update. There will be no need to write up and submit a re-inclusion request.

But how?

Remove Bad Links, Recover Your Site

Google explains that a Google penalty recovery requires a clean website. This means no wrong links and no penalization. If you have a bad connection, your site will be penalized to some %.

So the burning question is, “How does Google remove these penalties?” The answer, according to Gary Illyes, is algorithmic updates. The basic idea is that Google’s algorithms will regularly check to see if your site is following their rules, and once they know that yours is, boom—no more Google penalty.

If you fix your site, the algorithms will handle the rest.

We knew this was the case three years ago, which is why we’ve been pushing hard for our clients to have clean back-link profiles. Your recovery time is based on your on-page scoring, off-page scoring, and miscellaneous other factors. We’ve also said how important it is to use a Google penalty removal service like link detox to remove your Google manual penalty. But having it confirmed with Google is big news for the SEO world. And since the algorithms that check stuff like this operate regularly, you could see immediate results in recreating your site and re-indexing.

Skull and Crossbones for Toxic Links

“Follow the Guidelines, and You Will Do Good”

We all know there are other ways your website can suffer. A manual penalty is distributed when you have a bunch of wrong links. However, a guideline penalty is distributed when Google finds your site content thin or useless.

Gary Illyes had lots to say on that too. His number-one advice for keeping your site in good standing with Google is to follow the Webmaster Guidelines. “There’s nothing more you want to focus on,” he said. “If it’s in the Webmaster guidelines, then you follow them and will do good.”

The only caveat with this news is that updates (that we know of) are fewer and farther between than the general algorithms that crawl your site. So if you get hit with a guideline penalty, you could have to wait five to six months—even a year—to recover. So the best thing you can do is follow the Webmaster guidelines.

Significant Updates on the Way

The Hangout revealed further information about how Google rolls out their dreaded Panda and Penguin updates. Illyes drove home the idea that Panda is not a penalty but a general ranking update used to connect users to relevant information. They’re more like “adjustments” but can’t be implemented as fast as algorithmic updates.

Illyes confirmed that the next Penguin update is “really far away… we’re talking about months.”

Other changes were discussed. Currently, there are 60 trillion indexed pages in Google’s database. Google alluded to an enormous restructuring coming—as soon as this October. We’ll have to wait and see what it will look like.

To sum:

  • Remove wrong links from your site, and your site will recover from Google penalty (If you have a linking liability only. You could have several sentences affecting your site). If you have just one bad link, you are getting a penalty. This means you must monitor your links constantly and know the exact criteria for removing harmful or toxic links.
  • Follow the Google Guidelines for quality content; your site will remain in good standing.
  • Your site will recover only as fast as Google recrawls your site
  • Significant changes to Google’s database are on the way, maybe in October

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