ULC Party Bus - Google Penguin Recovery Case Study

"The company’s website was hit with a manual penalty due to unnatural inbound links."

The Client:

Established in 2004, United Limousine and Charter Inc. or ULC Party Bus as it is known today, was begun in Southern California, with an aim to make high quality ground transportation accessible to all. It soon grew to become one of the leading names in ground transportation for leisure and partying purposes, offering high quality service at affordable rates.

ULC Party Bus is owned by present and former US Armed Forces reserve officers and has a fleet of luxury transport vehicles including Limousines, Sedans, Land Cruisers, Hummers, Land Yachts and many other exotic cars.

The company’s cars are completely customized and the entire process of designing the limos to delivery is all overseen by the ULC staff.

The Target Market:

The company targets the general public of Southern California, for private and corporate parties and leisure outings.

The Requirement:

The company’s website was hit with a manual penalty due to unnatural inbound links.

Requirement

The Challenge:

Prior to being hit by the penalty, the website was ranking within the top 10 results on the Google SERPs for over 50 keywords. However, it lost its ranking drastically when it was hit, so much so that it was not even visible within the top 100 search results.

ULCPartyBus.com was a 7 year old site and had previously used at least 2 SEO agencies to build back links. We were faced with two major challenges:

  • The SEO agencies had indulged in low quality link building practices. It had been linked from low quality directory sites, article marketing sites with heavily optimized anchor texts, forums, and low quality blogs.
  • It even had some links from gambling and porn sites. Maybe an outcome of Negative SEO tactics used by competitors.

The Solution:

We used Majestic SEO and Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) to extract, consolidate and compile the back link data. We were left with 4477 links that were subjected to the following process:

  • Used Link Detox Tool from Cemper to identify all toxic and suspicious links.
  • In addition, all links were manually audited to identify the low quality, unnatural links
  • Editing and Deleting the unwanted links for which login information was available.
  • Sending requests to webmasters to remove the remaining unwanted, unnatural links.
  • Populating the Disavow File with all unwanted links which were still not removed.
  • Uploading the Disavow file to GWT along with a reconsideration request

"Google replied back on 26th December 2013, confirming the lifting of penalty form the website."

The Results

It was a long process and took us three iterations to get Google to lift the penalty. The last reconsideration request was submitted on 29th November 2013:

Snapshot of Google’s acknowledgement of receipt of reconsideration request

Google replied back on 26th December 2013, confirming the lifting of penalty form the website.

Message received from Google confirming the lifting of Penguin Penalty

"SEO has evolved and the old link building tactics don’t work anymore. Even if you’re using a reliable SEO agency it is prudent to have your back link profile audited every 3 months."

Since the recovery, the website saw a consistent rise in its traffic and rankings.

Message received from Google confirming the lifting of Penguin Penalty

Since the recovery, the website saw a consistent rise in its traffic and rankings.

  • Used Link Detox Tool from Cemper to identify all toxic and suspicious links.
  • In addition, all links were manually audited to identify the low quality, unnatural links
  • Editing and Deleting the unwanted links for which login information was available.

The Lesson:

SEO has evolved and the old link building tactics don’t work anymore. Even if you’re using a reliable SEO agency it is prudent to have your back link profile audited every 3 months.

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