What is the worst nightmare on the eye of a digital marketer – you ask.
It’s not waking up next day and finding that your most treasured client has left you an email that says – I don’t want your service.
It’s when you see a message like this popping out in your Search console manual action section.
Yes it’s a manual action taken over my site for User-Generated Spam.
If you are seeing the same message, then understand this scene:
You have been hit hard by the grandest daddy of all – “Google.”
Before getting into the step-by-step method on diagnosing the penalty, you need to understand what User-generated spam is.
As the name suggests, user generated spam is the spam that is primarily detected on sites that lets the user post something on their site.
It can be anything from forum pages, guest book pages, spammy blog comments where users can post something.
Only happy news you can take from this spam is that it doesn’t affect your whole site. That means the only page that is spammed is taken action.
Here is the step-by-step guide that will help your site recover from this kind of spam.
Step #1: Stalk for footprints in Google Analytics
If you see an unusual increase in your daily traffic, you should know something is fishy.
So here is a screenshot of daily traffic of a spammed site before spam actually occurred.
And this is another screenshot of daily traffic of the same site after spam attack had started.
Also see the language of traffic. And if you notice that the language is more from RU and RU-RU, there is your spam signal.
I know you don’t want to hang around with Google Analytics every day. So here is what you can do:
Go to the Audience Overview section and hit the email tab right there.
A small form will pop up in your screen. And fill out form accordingly.
Now, every time you see sudden activity in your daily traffic, you will immediately notice in your email.
Step #2: Finding the Spammy Content
Use Search Console
To find the section you have been spammed, log in to your search console account. Under search traffic click on the manual actions. In the right corner, you will get a list of pages of your site that Google has found guilty of spams. It looks something like this:
If you see a high boost in your organic traffic, you will not find better solution to your question than the Big G itself.
Here is how you can stalk Google command for spam detection
Use these easy search strings on the G’s search box:
Site:xyz.com + выживший (or any Russian word)
Site:xyz.com + Viagra
Site:xyz.com + porn
Site:xyz.com + casino
Note: Russian word is used because most of the fake traffic comes from Russia.
It looks something like this. I’m pretty sure this site has nothing to do with Russian language.
Step #3: Remove the Spam
If you have found the spam, then removing it shouldn’t be a giant pain in the a**. Log into your back-end, and just remove every comment, post, or page you find to be spammed.
Step #4: Adding a shield in your site
User generated spams are generally created by spam bots that crawls through your site and publish the content automatically.
So you have to create a shield to stop them from messing your site.
… Because, even if you delete them, they will come back again and again… And you also need to show Google what you did to avoid spam from happening again.
So to avoid the spam bots from ruining your site, you can use a Captcha.
For WordPress, you can use a captcha like math captcha
Trust me, it is simple but it does the trick.
Step #5: Requesting Google for Reconsideration
Requesting Google for reconsideration is the final but most important step.
…Because if Google doesn’t lift the penalty that they have levied on your site, your ranking will never improve at all.
Follow these easy steps for reconsideration request:
#1. Open Google Docs. (Google wants everything on Google docs or Google sheet because they think they will be attacked by malicious spam if they have to open other links)
#2. Grab all the spammy links you have removed from search console and Google’s SERPs & paste it in Google Docs.
#3. Also mention all the things you have done to avoid the spam from affecting your site. For example: If you have used a math captcha mention it. You need to offer them any evidence you have to convince them to lift the penalty.
#4. When you are done, make sure you make the Google Docs public. Here is how you can do that. Click the blue share button in the top right corner of your doc sheet. Then change the view tab to public. And get the shareable link.
#5. Now you have everything set. The only thing left is sending Google a reconsideration request. So log in to your search console account. Go to search traffic –> Manual Action –> Expand the Spam Penalty . And scroll till you find a tiny red button that says request a review.
#6. You will see a plain white box. Now here you mention the web spam team about how you feel like you have got the spam and what you have done to remove it. You will have to add the link to Google Docs for proof too. Here is a sample you can use.
Approximately Google web spam team takes 2 weeks to get back at you. Hopefully you have got your answer by now.
So if you have been attacked by spam team, don’t panic you are not alone.
Follow the above steps and you are set to be on the right track.