Sometimes you get a client complaining of a ranking drop, check everything on the Places side of the house and find no problems. Then that loud ding starts going off in your head that says "Warning, warning, this might be an organic penalty."

In my training I explain and show you how to diagnose a rank drop when it's not obvious which side of the house the penalty is on, to determine which side of the house did the no-no. But that's beyond the scope of this post.

In the post below, you've already determined it's an organic ranking penalty and Daniel Threlfall explains how to recover from it.

I admit I barely skimmed and you guys also know I don't deal with backlinks at all, much less cleaning up bad ones, so I can't vouch for the methods in this article but it seems to be on track from my limited experience on the subject.

The Definitive Guide to Recovering From a Manual Search Penalty

A search penalty is a fearsome thing. It’s the grown-up equivalent of “come to the principal’s office,” but the consequences are far worse. Once you’ve been hit with a manual penalty from Google, what do you do? Here is your answer — the definitive guide to recovering from a manual search penalty. This is the give-it-to-me-like-it-is approach to doing one of the toughest tasks in the business — recovering from a penalty.

The Tools You Need to Recover from a Manual Penalty

The tools are simple and free.

15 minutes to read this article
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Drive, Spreadsheets
A lot of time (Sorry, the truth hurts!)
If you have a client that's in a pickle and don't want to deal with it or know how, I have a friend that specializes in this type of recovery.

Have you guys ever had to dig a client out of this particular hole???

Have any tips to add???