So you made a mistake. You cut the ground from under your own feet. You stirred up the hornet's nest. You barked up the wrong tree. Ok, that's the last idiom, I promise. But you did do something with your site that Google did not approve of, and now you are paying the consequences. You may feel like covering it up, pretending it never happened, or you may feel like you were simply trying to be as successful as possible, so you are not ashamed.
Guess what? In Google's eyes, the why doesn't matter.
They slapped your hand as it was in the cookie jar, and now your website is paying the price. There is a whole slew of reasons as to why Google may penalize your site. You can do a simple search to find out what some of them are. What we are talking about today, is how to recover.
This is a time-consuming process, but there are seemingly limitless spam sites that find links to websites just like yours and spam like there is no tomorrow. Put in some work, every link on your site is a possible victim, and can cause you to drop down the Google search page.
Keep in mind that after you find out who is attaching to your links, you have to ask them to stop. Yes, it's a pretty common thing too. Make an email, get the contact info for the site and send a request asking them to take the link down. If that doesn't work, that takes us to the next step.
This is a report that Google lets you submit when the links aren't in your control. Just like when the webmaster of a site ignores your email to take down the spam links. The disavowing process takes time and tools. You also need to have a good understanding of what Google's guidelines are. This is a good place for you to start; there is more to the process, which will be covered in another blog.