Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, January 28, 2008

Google Penalization: Matt Cutts' Updated Recipe To Get Your PageRank Back

Sponsored Links

The Google penalization on Master New Media has just been lifted has been returned a PageRank of 6. The merit for this goes first of all to DazzlinDonna of SEO Scoop who opened a uniquely valuable conversation with Google's Matt Cutts by expressing in a short but passionate article her disappointment for Google's ongoing penalization of her site.


Entitled "Matt Cutts, Why Am I Still Being Punished?", Donna's fairly short post ensued a passionate conversation in the comments section of the post, with Google's Matt Cutts himself intervening and providing direct help.

Sites have healed immediately and however hard to believe there is now a somewhat official recipe, straight from Google's own Matt Cutts, on what to do if your web site or blog has been penalized by Google via a lowered PageRank.

Comic strip credit: Fitz & Pirillo


The Story

Readers of Master New Media will recall that in 2007 this site was first wiped out of Google search results for about ten days, with disastrous consequences, and then in September its PageRank was lowered from 7 to 4 where it remained until a few hours ago.

Nonetheless the Google Pagerank value a site is assigned does not really matter anymore, many a web site owner have kept looking at it as a mark of excellence and quality and I must admit it still regarded today as an indicator of online success.

But, let me not get ahead of myself.

Here is the passionate post Donna originally published:

"I dumped text link ads. I nofollowed paid links. I javascripted links that might be mistaken for paid links. I canceled my sponsored review accounts. I switched to a different method of monetization (Scratchback) that serves Google-friendly, nofollowed links. (And btw, Google, that put a huge dent in my revenue, just so you know). Finally, after I cleaned up everything that might possibly make you hate me, I filed a reconsideration request about 5 weeks ago.

And I did all that for...what?

Did you give me my PR back? No, you did not.

Did you even communicate with me to tell me that you still think I'm naughty for some unknown reason? No, you did not. You simply did nothing. Others knelt down to you and you promptly rewarded them by giving them their PR back. Why have I not been awarded the same mercy? Did I miss something? Did I fail to nofollow something that you felt should be nofollowed? Or do you just dislike SEO Scoop and want me to forever grovel in my pitiful PR-ness?

In all fairness, it really doesn't matter what PR SEO Scoop has. It is meaningless and valueless. Still, I can't help but feel as though I've been slighted or overlooked, whilst all the other poor souls who have begged forgiveness have been noticed and forgiven? Why not me? Just curious, Matt..."

(Source: SEO Scoop)

And guess what happened?

Google's Matt Cutts himself came out to comment under Donna's post and provided specific feedback to where to look into to fix her site issues once and for all. Donna listened, condomized with "no-follow" a specific web page and the PageRank suddenly came back.

I read in awe.

Red in envy, I was at first enraged by feeling unfairly treated. I said to myself: "If Matt, is helping Donna, and these others inside this discussion, what about all those others who didn't have the luck to find this post yet?".

I commented, a bit harshly on my own feelings and got Matt Cutts to reply to my specific Master New Media penalization.

And this is what Matt Cutts commented back to me:

"...Robin Good, there were two main reasons I wanted to participate in this thread.

First, it's important for people to know that we take reconsideration requests seriously; reading Donna's post, you might come away with the impression that the requests are ignored or just fall on the floor, and that's not the case at all.

Second, the information that I gave to Donna can be helpful for other people who are considering submitting a reconsideration request.

For example, now Wendy from the first comment has a lot more information about how Google views a reconsideration request for paid posts/links. She can go back and ask "Do I want to change that eBay arbitrage post for Salehoo, or the Babychums post, or the one for the home-based magazine so that the paid posts don't flow PageRank?" She can ask herself that without me explaining why her reconsideration request wasn't successful, and based on this comment thread she'll have more information to make her choice.

In your case, your reconsideration requests look like they came in August at a point when your site had no penalties.

It was only a couple weeks later (in an unrelated matter) that we were checking on a particular signature that we looked at your site.

So I can give the general advice of "If you've removed any/all paid links from your site and it's been 4-5 months since the last reconsideration request you did, it doesn't hurt to do another one."

That would apply to your site, but also as general advice to other people's sites as well.

Hope that helps,


While enormously happy of having finally gotten Matt to pay attention to my issue, I was initially too emotionally involved to even read objectively through his lines.

I was too frustrated by a long standing the situation I had already given up on as I felt that Google could and should have long made my life (and the one of many others) easier. If reconsideration requests are taken seriously why Google didn't offer me any hint as to what to look at in greater depth? My desire to fix things was there from the beginning, why not help me fix things right away?

Only later I realized that Matt's approach really allowed for some down-to-the-ground exemplification of what kind of issues need to be cleared and how important it is to go after each one of them. I re-read his comment many times and finally realized he really wanted to showcase-by-doing rather than lecturing, some real-world situations in which the "miracle" could be done.

And the miracle has indeed happened.

The Recipe to Recover from Google Penalization


So without further dues, here are the specific steps Matt Cutts recommends you take to fast recover from this situation.

1) If you have text links - wipe them out of sight. Better yet to kill them completely.

2) If you have ever been paid to post (Pay Per Post, Marqui, Reviewme, etc.) or to add specific content to your site, go to that content and "condomize it" by applying the "no-follow" tag to all outgoing links from it.

3) Look beyond the evident and site-wide issues. It may be just one page and one link that really creates the whole problem. That's why sometime it is so hard to find. But don't get discouraged: look specifically for paid text links and paid content. If you have been paid for it you should know where that is better than Google does.

4) If it has been a while (a few months) since you have been cleared all the above and you have seen yet no results, consider seriously resubmitting a reconsideration request while being as specifically as possible in listing the issues that you have identified and fixed on your site. But, as Donna rightly suggests, keep this in mind:

a. Don't expect to get a reply of any sort.

b. Don't wait forever. If nothing happens within a few weeks, assume that you missed something. Go back and find whatever you missed and fix it.

c. Resubmit the request.

And this is what I have done myself specifically.

1) I have no-followed all links going out to Marqui, a company from which I received a payment in the past (2005) for writing a series of independent articles.

2) I have resubmitted a Reconsideration Request, mentioning Matt Cutts specific comment feedback to me in Donna's post.

Within 48-72 hours my PageRank has returned up again from 4 to 6.

Let's share the lessons learned and let's see how many of you can get some further benefit.

Recent related resources:

Readers' Comments    
blog comments powered by Disqus
posted by Robin Good on Monday, January 28 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Search this site for more with 








    Curated by

    New media explorer
    Communication designer


    POP Newsletter

    Robin Good's Newsletter for Professional Online Publishers  



    Real Time Web Analytics