SEO Audit & Google Penalty Removal

Seen a loss in traffic or ranking? From Penguin to Panda penalties, unnatural link warnings and more, we’ve seen it all & helped many clients to recover!

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Sadly some previous “SEO practices” have now become an outlawed practice by Google and other search engines. Luckily, Opace is here to make sure your site doesn’t suffer the same way!

We provide an SEO audit and penalty removal service to ensure your site is clean, SEO-friendly and not getting pulled down by low quality content or links.

If your rankings have dropped it’s hardly surprising with all of the changes Google have been making. But 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’s been going on?

Over the past few years Google (and other search engines too) have implemented a series of algorithms – Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, etc. all aimed at improving the end-user experience. This has caused tensions to arise with previous SEO and web design practices which in some cases can lead to a penalty being applied.

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

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Why do you need an SEO audit

Signs and common causes of a 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. There are of course many other causes and various signs that you’ve been given one. Below outlines some of these:

Changes to the Google algorithm

Over the last few years, Google has made a number of changes to its search algorithms that have turned SEO on its head. Tactics that were acceptable a year or two ago could now lead to a penalty.

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!

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.

Unnatural Inbound Links messages

Most clients come to Opace after realising that they’re in a spot of bother. One sign of SEO 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.

Manual Actions Penalty from Google

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.

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.

We are a SEO audit agent

Here’s how our SEO audit service can help:

We start by understanding the issues and map your Google Analytics 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.

All of our findings are documented in a spreadhseet and uploaded to Google Drive or similar for you to share with Google. Keep in mind that poor quality backlinks pointing to your site may not always be your fault. In the past, some of our clients have worked with unethical SEO companies that have used software or created fake sites in order to generate hundreds of backlinks to their site. Whilst they may have been able to get away with this in the past, now Google Penguin puts a stop to it. So if you have received a warning or penalty, it might not be your fault but it’s still important to get in touch with Opace and get it sorted!

Using a similar method to above, if we deem that your issues are content related or a mixture of poor quality content and backlinks we will then audit your site content on a page-by-page level and assess a wide variety of factors, including: duplicate content; thin content; length; poor quality or spun content; hidden content; keyword densities and stuffing; use of media and image ALT tags; use of headings; 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.

Something we often find when auditing SEO and link profiles is that anchor text has been over used. 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 your keywords are no longer performing well and historically you used them to create most of your backlinks, you’re bound to notice a difference in your search rankings and traffic. This is something we pay close attention to in our backlink and Penguin penalty audits.

Once we’ve gone through your entire backlink profile and/or website, flagging the poor quality backlinks and content, we’ll send you a spreadsheet featuring all of the details. The spreadsheet will include our recommendations for link removal, content updates, etc. as well as the reasons why certain links might be harming your site.

When you’ve had the chance to look through the spreadsheet we have sent you, we can then go on to discuss the best approach for improving your website’s SEO. This will usually involve manual link removal in the case of baclink 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. By using our backlink and penalty removal service, you can benefit from having our experts contact webmasters on your behalf, in accordance with Google’s requirements.

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.

Disavowing basically involves telling Google that you wish for them to ignore a link pointing to your website and not consider it when ranking your website. We’ll follow Google’s best practice tips for disavowing links, to make sure it’s done the right way.

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.

You can use our backlink and penalty removal service, without paying any monthly fees. Instead you’ll simply pay two charges; one for the audit, which will be based on the total quantity of backlinks and/or content and another for the link removal service, which will be based on the total quantity of links requiring removal.

  • Prices for our backlink audits start from £350 for websites with less than 1,000 backlinks
  • We charge £5 per link removal, which includes outreach, follow-ups, detailed report and if necessary, the Disavow file. If your website has over 4,000 backlinks, you will need to contact Opace for a custom SEO quote.

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How we work

How we work: it’s as easy as A…I….E….

When it comes to improving your website’s on-page SEO, we follow a simple process of: Audit, Implementation and Evaluation or AIE (because that’s easy to remember…)

step 1


We’ll kick things off by auditing your website and marketing. We’ll look at what you’re doing right and reveal all the not-so-great areas that need improvement.

step 2


After a discussion with your team, we’ll get to work on implementing a new on-page SEO strategy that integrates with your other digital marketing efforts.

step 3


We’ll evaluate the results of our work, make necessary changes and continue to monitor and improve your website’s SEO.


SEO penalty audits and backlink removal FAQs

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

1. Do I have to purchase the audit and backlink removal?

Although we recommend that clients take both services to ensure we do a complete job and follow Google’s recommended guidelines, it is not compulsory. If you would just like to use our SEO audit service and have us send you the spreadsheet to work on, we’re more than happy to do so! The reason that the majority of clients end up using both of our services is that manual link removal and producing the Disavow file correctly can take a considerable amount of time. If you would prefer to be working on other important business tasks, our SEO experts will handle it for you.

2. Do you use auditing software?

Although many SEO agencies use auditing software to assess backlinks, here at Opace we choose to do things manually. The problem with auditing software is that they can make mistakes and assume links are of a good quality when they’re actually poor. The opposite situation can also be true and high value/quality links can end up being removed by accident, when usually a small change can be made to rectify the situation. We visit every link ourselves so we can evaluate the quality of the link and decide whether it could be harming your websites search rankings. Manual link auditing may take longer but in our opinion, it’s absolutely essential.

3. How long does it take to get a 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. It’s important to realise that Disavow files aren’t processed by Google instantly and this only tends to happen when a major algorithm update occurs e.g. Penguin 3.0, which happened in November 2014. For a full list of Google updates and dates you can see the timeline here: Also, seeing as Google doesn’t always provide a clear indication of why your site has been penalised, it can be difficult to determine whether poor backlinks are the only problem. Having said this, in the majority of cases, our clients have experienced positive results from our work following major algorithmic updates.

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

If you’ve got low quality, spam links or paid links pointing to your website, it’s only a matter of time before Google catches you. If you’ve copied content, spun content, duplicated pages across your site or elsewhere on the web, again Google will catch up. For this reason, we highly recommend having your website and/or backlink profile audited, even if you haven’t yet received a Google penalty. As we mentioned above, penalties can take several months to get rid of, so it’s better to take the necessary measures to prevent getting one. Let us go through your website and/or backlink profile and identify any issues that could potentially harm your website’s SEO and lead to a Google penalty.

Its then up to you if you risk leaving the issues there or take the safer option and have them addressed. Obviously we recommend that you get rid of them ASAP! If on the other hand your backlink profile only contains natural, high quality links and you’re website is well-written and unique, you should be absolutely fine! Continue doing what you’re doing, ensuring you’re populating your site with great content and participating in social media marketing and you’ll be just fine.

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