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Three months ago I got a penalty, but its difficult to say which one exactly. It looks to be -30 or -50, for certain keywords my site is on 3rd page, for others is on 4th, 5th etc. Can anyone tell me how to get rid of this penalty ? I know there used to be a lot of such topics on this forum, but I woud like to know the current situation.
The essential situation with any penalty - and this does sound like a penalty and not just an algo change - is to discover what you are doing that Google has penalized. Then fix that and submit a reconsideration request through your Wembaster Tools account.
There's nothing completely new in the penalty area that we've heard of, although the exact "number" of the penalty continues to shift around. The common areas for penalties are backlink shcemes (including paid links that pass PR), hidden content, deceptive redirects, over-optimization -- and all the areas that Google mentions in their Webmaster Guidelines [google.com].
Many of our key discussions about penalties and other ranking challenges are available in the Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page.
You must know what's put you in the position, work backwards if you don't, and work along side the Google guidelines. Once you've cleaned up your site, file a reconsideration request.
A few months ago, my site was hit with this -50 "penalty". It went through all my links, removed paid, requested NOFOLLOW's on those sites that were giving me "site-wide" links. Once that was completed, I went through the Guidelines to double check and then request re-inclusion. I never heard back from Google about anything, but I set up Google Alerts for my Domain Name. Around 90 days from my penalty date,(which was eerie) I received a Google Alert about my Domain Name. A majority of my rankings were back in place, except for some of the positions I had gained due to Paid Links.
Google likes freely given links that are unsolicited by the beneficiary. Anything that may imply the opposite carries risk.
Also, if you can do either anyway, adding more links is clearly the best way to go.
Others get dropped in great swathes, as happened last weekend (and oftern just before or after a big update)
A reconsideration just speeds up the process so you don't have to wait for automation.
Other filters seem to be set dynamically. That is, just by moving to the right side of the threshold, you get de-filtered. These dynamics also seem to become semi-permanant after a short period (i.e. you get a grace period to sort out the problem, then you get penalised for it)