The past week has been heated with different debates on actions Google is taking regarding rankings and link placement. One of the things that have come to the spotlight is manual action for manipulative back-linking. At SMX, Juan Felipe discussed different aspects that are related to manual action and how they would impact webmasters. One of the areas he touched is something many experts are familiar with and an eye opener for website owners who are getting up after the application of manual actions and might not have an in-depth knowledge of SEO.
Many people still hold the belief that after a link penalty manual action is lifted the ranking of their site would suddenly bounce back to the initial position before the penalty was applied. While it is vital for sites to rank better after the manual action is lifted, it would not be expected the same will happen immediately after the penalty is lifted.
Regaining former rankings is unrealistic since many factors affect the outcome. For instance, each day different websites will continue fighting for a higher position, so by the time the penalty is lifted there will be many other websites ahead. The penalty brings to a halt your progress, which is measured against many other websites, so when it is lifted many competitors will have moved positions.
Those who are caught using low quality links are forced to first remove or disavow them before the penalty can be lifted. One is expected to submit a reconsideration request for the manual penalty to be lifted. When those low quality links are removed or disavowed, it means the PageRank value of the site in general will reduce. This then leads to a general drop in the rankings once the penalty is lifted.
Unnatural links will attract the attention of Google, triggering questions and analysis to verify whether the source is affiliated to your website. During this period, the penalty is applied until all unnatural links are cleared from the website. It is advisable to carry out backlink analysis regularly to avoid losing your ranking position.
If in any case you find some links attached without your permission, you should submit a first consideration request, detailing the efforts you have applied on the problem. This may force you to repeat the process several times, leaving few after each reconsideration request.