Over the past year, we’ve worked with a number of clients in order to ensure they comply with Google’s webmaster guidelines if they’ve received penalties. The most common type of penalty we come across is for unnatural links pointing to a clients website. This results in a significant drop in the clients search engine rankings which in turn means less traffic coming to the clients sites.

We’ve been working to refine our method over the years for documenting work and have created the following template to help you to keep track of your progress – Google Penalty Link Removal Template

How to use the above file:

Firstly, you will notice that the above file is protected. In order to use the file, you will need to make a copy in your own Google Docs account. To do this, simply to go ‘File > Make a Copy’.

Make a Copy

This will save a copy into your own Google Docs account and remove all the protection so that you can edit the spreadsheet as you wish.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll have the template completely editable. You will notice there are multiple sheets along the bottom of this spreadsheet:

Multiple sheets

– Google Webmaster Tools
– Open Site Explorer
– Majestic SEO
– Ahrefs
– Misc Links
– Screenshots

Column A and Column B should never be edited in the ‘MASTER DATA’ sheet. You will notice that in cell A2, there is a formula. This formula pulls data in from columns A and B of all the other sheets and combines them into sheet A.

To use this spreadsheet, simply visit each of the different websites, export your links and fill in the data on the relevant sheet. As an example, download your list of latest links from Google webmaster tools and copy all the links into the sheet named ‘Google Webmaster Tools’. If you then go back to the *MASTER DATA* sheet, you will notice all these links have been pulled in from the Webmaster Tools sheet.

The Master Data sheet will automatically remove duplicates from each of the sheets, allowing you to have a clean set of data to work from. You can then populate each of the additional bits of data such as link status, contact name, email, twitter URL etc on the master data sheet and use this is as your main focus.

Only Columns A and B are pulled into the Master Data sheet, we have purposefully left in the additional columns in some of the other sheets as this may help you when you come to link removal. That being said, pulling all this data into the one sheet does make it hard to read so we have separated this.

The ‘screenshots’ sheet at the end of this document can be used to upload images in showing your link removal attempts and email examples

If you’re looking for an in-depth guide on how to remove a penalty from Google, we’ve written a penalty removal guide for Moz. Alternatively, if you’re interested in our Google penalty recovery services, please get in touch for a quotation.

If you find the above spreadsheet or guide useful, please share this page for others to use.