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Our SEO Audit & Google Penalty Removal Service

Many old and commonplace SEO techniques have now become an outlawed by Google and other search engines. Luckily, Opace is here to make sure your site doesn’t suffer the same way!

If your rankings have dropped or you have seen a loss of traffic, one common cause could be a Google algorithm update. It may be that your site has simply lost favour with Google for one reason or another, or potentially because you have been penalised. 

Either way don’t give up! With the help of Opace you can get on the right side of Google and improve your search rankings moving forward.

What is meant by an SEO penalty?

Over the past decade and more, Google (and other search engines too) update their algorithms (formulas) for ranking content – Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Mobile, RankBrain, Medic are just some of the codenames given to these algorithms.

The ultimate goal is to improve the relevance of search result and the end-user experience. This is all positive, but some websites have sadly suffered as a result of being devalued or penalised as a result.

Manual actions from Google

Manual actions and unnatural links warning in Google Webmaster Tools

Loss in traffic due to a Google penalty

Google Analytics showing loss in traffic due to a Google penalty

What are the most common causes of an SEO penalty?

Poor quality content (thin, duplicate or spun content), spammy or automated link building and black hat web design and SEO techniques are some common reasons for getting a penalty. Below outlines some of the most common causes and indications that you may have an SEO penalty


Changes to Google's algorithm

Over the last decade and more, Google has made a number of changes to its search algorithms that have turned SEO on its head. Tactics that were acceptable in the past could now lead to a penalty.


Unnatural inbound links

Most clients come to Opace after realising that they’re in a spot of bother. One sign of trouble comes in the form of an Unnatural Inbound Links message. If one of these appears in your Google Webmaster Tools, it’s a sign you need to take action.


Creating poor quality backlinks

One of the worst culprits of all is backlinks (links that point to your site). If they’re paid for, low quality or from an irrelevant source, they could end up doing your site more harm than good!


Manual Actions Penalty

Other clients come to Opace after noticing a Manual Actions Penalty from Google. Again this message will appear in your Google Webmaster Tools and explain that there are unnatural links pointing to your site but will also state that Google is taking action.


Knowingly breaking the rules

Get on the wrong side of Google by knowingly breaking the rules or trying to game the system (black hat SEO) and you could face penalties, poor rankings, a loss of traffic and even a loss of sales.


Large drop in traffic (often quite sudden)

A final way to spot you’re in trouble is if you have experienced a large and sudden loss of traffic, enquiries or online sales. If your site turns into a derelict wasteland, it’s a sign that Google Panda or Penguin has come to get you and these may not come with a warning.

How our SEO penalty audit and removal service can help

Here’s how our SEO content and link audit service can help:
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Evaluate your traffic against algorithms

We start by understanding the issues and map your Google Analytics and traffic data to our algorithm history timeline. If the issues are deemed to be backlink related, we will go through each URL in your backlink profile and flag any that may be negatively affecting your website’s search rankings. 

To do this, we will obtain your backlinks from a number of sources including Google Webmaster Tools, Majestic and Open Site Explorer. Unlike some of the automated software out there that claim to audit your site, we’ll actually go through each individual link and visit them manually to examine site quality and relevancy to your content.

If the issues are content related, we will then audit your site content on a page-by-page basis using various tools including SEO Spider, Copyscape and Siteliner to help identify issues such as thin or duplicate content. We will also investigate other areas such as hidden content; keyword densities; use of headings; image ALT tags; metadata and much more. The results of the audit will clearly show which pages on your website or sections of text need re-writing or further work. For many clients, we will follow through on this provide an SEO copywriting service to correct any issues.

All of our findings are documented in a spreadsheet and uploaded to Google Drive or similar for you to share with Google. 

Overused anchor text

Something we often find when carrying out a penalty audit is that anchor text has been overused both in terms of internal and external linking. This doesn’t always create a manual penalty or warning in Google Webmaster Tools, but it is often the reason behind website owners noticing a drop off in their traffic if search engines believe they are trying to manipulate rankings using anchor text.

If your keywords are no longer performing well and historically you used them to create most of your backlinks, this could be the reason and it's something we pay close attention to in our penalty audits.

Black hat SEO  

If you’ve created low quality, spam links or paid links pointing to your website, it’s only a matter of time before Google catches up with you. If you’ve copied content, spun content, duplicated pages across your site or elsewhere on the web, again Google will notice. For this reason, our Google penalty check and removal service can be hugely beneficial, even if you haven’t yet received a Google penalty. Penalties can take several months to get rid of, so it’s better to take the necessary measures to prevent getting one. 

Link audit and removal 

Once we've gone through the links pointing to your site and evaluated them, we will then discuss the best approach for improving your website’s SEO. This will usually involve manual link removal in the case of backlink penalties. Manual link removal is the process of contacting other webmasters to politely ask them to remove your link from their websites.

Some webmasters will be happy to do this, whereas others may attempt to impose a charge. Some webmasters may not reply or will ignore your requests, in which case we’ll have to try another approach.

Typically we attempt three rounds of requests before we move to Disavowing the links, each date and response is recorded for you to share with Google and show that you’ve made adequate efforts to remove poor quality links. 


If a webmaster doesn’t remove the link manually after a number of polite requests, we will have to use the Google Disavow tool. This really is a last resort, as Google much prefers it when webmasters manually remove links themselves. Having said this, sometimes disavowing is the only option. If it gets to this point, we will create a spreadsheet detailing all of the unsuccessful attempts to reach webmasters and have your links manually removed and send it along with the disavow request.

Removing your penalty

Getting a Google penalty is like catching the common cold. It can be a right pain to get rid of but it goes eventually! The good news is that Opace is here to help you get Google back onside. We’ll draft a custom reconsideration letter for you to send to Google, which will outline the work that has been carried out on your backlink profile, along with our findings, all of which will be uploaded to Google Drive. Providing Google is happy, they will lift the penalty, though sometimes it does take a few attempts.

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Need more info?

Here is a list of answers to our most frequently asked questions regarding our SEO audits and Google penalty removal service. If your question hasn’t been answered here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Opace team.

1. Do you use auditing software?

Although many SEO agencies use auditing software to assess backlinks, here at Opace we choose to do things manually and only use tools where they add to our process. The problem with auditing software is that they can make mistakes, which is why we evaluate everything ourselves manually before reporting back to you. 

2. How long does it take to get a Google penalty lifted?

It’s hard to say really. We have found that some manual penalties are removed within weeks of submitting a reconsideration request, whereas others have taken several months. Google doesn’t always provide a clear indication of why your site has been penalised, which is why our SEO audit service is necessary to help uncover the issues. 

3. Do I still need an audit if I haven’t had a formal penalty?

If you are aware of potential SEO issues but haven't been penalised, we recommend that you get a Google penalty check and audit ASAP! If on the other hand, you've only ever done natural marketing and you’re website is well-written and unique, you should be absolutely fine.