One of the largest community websites in the “Watch” industry, with ~85000 organic visitors daliy was hit by google manual actions.
The first note we got was at the beginning of March; afterward, the organic traffic on this site dropped to 25%. The letter from Google had some sample URLs, and we quickly figured out the problem (outgoing spam links to adult content). Taken a few hours to investigate and a few more hours for devs to fix it. At the end of March, we sent an appeal, which was approved.
In 2 months (in May), we got the same manual action again, but there were no sample URLs in the letter. So we did colossal work to save the website, cleaned up all wrong outgoing links, found and cleaned spam topics, blocked hundreds of users, and implemented anti-spam technologies backed by Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence for natural language processing.
We crawled more than 5 million URLs to complete this work. After cleaning up everything, we sent an appeal again (end of May). This time it took about 2 months for Google to reply, and we only got a successful message in July.
Some challenges we had:
All these actions led to a successful recovery from google’s penalty and recovery in traffic. On average, we recovered lost 25% of traffic and generated even more (28% total increase), which led us to 18000 new organic traffic sessions per day.
As the site monetizes using ads, selling premium subscriptions, being affiliated with some watch shops and some additional on-site services, the approximate ARPU (average revenue per user) is $0.059
Where 18000 organic sessions * $0.059 = $1062 in daily revenue.
After deducting our hourly and developer costs, it led to approx ROI for the first month of 386%, and after the first month, no more work was needed, and the site got its revenue of $31860/monthly recovered.