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This 534 message thread spans 18 pages: < < 534 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 [11] 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 > >     
Penguin Recovery Tips - a think tank thread
bostonyear




msg:4451493
 7:35 pm on May 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Since the main Penguin Update thread has 700 posts and counting, I'm hoping to start a new thread solely focused on Penguin recovery tips. I have a site that was hit by Penguin and I am trying to work my way out of it.

I think reason I was penalized was my content. I was inadvertently keyword stuffing. This is just the way I have been writing content for years. I have updated the content on my main pages where I have fixed the blatant keyword stuffing. My density levels are much more in line. My main question is:

I have over 80 blog posts that have some instances of keyword stuffing. Do I need to go back and fix all of these pages? Some of the posts are over 3 years old? I also have some really old pages that are buried in my site that may have poor content. Should fixing these old pages be a priority?

 

Wilburforce




msg:4458400
 4:01 pm on May 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm trying to think outside the link box


I'm not sure if that will help. A friend who has been helping me with the problem put it like this:

"But the question is: why does Penguin run intermittently if Google are convinced it yields better results? Presumably it must be because it is expensive or protracted to run. If this is so it should give us a strong clue as to its operation. I think this strongly points to Penguin performing a recursive algorithm on linking structures rather than on content. This may explain the strange disconnect between content and ranking."

Any comments?

Hissingsid




msg:4458405
 4:26 pm on May 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Are we sure that this is a site based thing? I'm completely unaffected on some pages for some terms but have been affected on my index page for the top $ 2 word term.

crobb305




msg:4458406
 4:31 pm on May 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

"But the question is: why does Penguin run intermittently if Google are convinced it yields better results? Presumably it must be because it is expensive or protracted to run. If this is so it should give us a strong clue as to its operation. I think this strongly points to Penguin performing a recursive algorithm on linking structures rather than on content. This may explain the strange disconnect between content and ranking."

Any comments?


I see what you're saying. I just don't think we can read anything into the iterative nature of Penguin. Most mathematical algorithms run iteratively, as functions, parameterizations, and available data change. It doesn't make sense to feed old data into the algorithm, and it takes time for Googlebot to spider the web collecting new data. I'm finding that it's taking a month or more for sitewide link removals to get discovered (still cached, still showing in WMT). Until those data are updated, the Penguin output can't change, unless they modify the code/parameters. That's probably the biggest reason for long lulls between iterations: the arduous data-collection process itself.

Wilburforce




msg:4458445
 7:02 pm on May 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm finding that it's taking a month or more for sitewide link removals to get discovered


I removed _all_ external links very early on (all pages now spidered and cached). Removing them restored a few pages that had clearly been penalised, in one instance to the extent that an exact phrase in inverted commas that yielded only three results - my page and two scrapers - put my page behind the scrapers, and put it nowhere in the top 100 for any relevant search. It is now back on first page for normal search terms. External links therefore obviously have an effect.

However, backlinks are a more tricky issue. I have a mass of backlinks from a suspect site (all using the main money term as anchor text, and linking only to the money term section of the site), which I think are the reason my home page has gone from top of page 1 to bottom of page 4 for the money term. I didn't place the links, and it looks strongly like negative SEO that has paid off.

I have registered with the offending site and blocked my pages (and all the backlinks have now gone), but WMT has only refreshed the backlink data a couple of times in several weeks, bringing a count of several thousand down by a hundred or so each time. If I am being penalised (for what, in fairness ARE unnatural links), the penalty won't lift until Google has revisited thousands of pages it has already classed as junk.

Note I have not received any warnings in WMT, probably because it isn't bad enough for exclusion, merely enough to drop a few pages (which is much the same in terms of new clients).

crobb305




msg:4458452
 8:11 pm on May 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I removed _all_ external links very early on (all pages now spidered and cached). Removing them restored a few pages that had clearly been penalised,


You removed links to other websites? Did you do this after Penguin?

I have registered with the offending site and blocked my pages (and all the backlinks have now gone)


Good idea. I am still wondering if a 403 will discount the links. I am using it, mainly to get the attention of the webmasters who weren't replying to my emails. It has worked in 80% of the cases, and I've had over 100k links removed (that were sitewide/margin links). Still, other pages link to me and I wonder if 403 will tell G it's not a valid link and I don't authorize it.

Hissingsid




msg:4458456
 8:47 pm on May 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is it worth doing a re-inclusion request in these circumstances? ie where you have been penalised through negative seo or links that are out of your control and nothing to do with you that are unnatural.

Wilburforce




msg:4458458
 9:42 pm on May 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

You removed links to other websites? Did you do this after Penguin?


Yes. It affected results for some search terms and pages.

Is it worth doing a re-inclusion request in these circumstances?


Neither the site not the page is excluded. I can complain, but I'm not sure how much it would help. While it looks I have been affected in this way, I can't be sure of it until WMT shows the links have gone.

diberry




msg:4458484
 12:40 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Okay, big shift for me today: I'm up 38% on google.com traffic. I'm ranking higher on a number of mildly popular phrases and a lot of long tail phrases. But I'm also down on a lot of other phrases, so I'm guessing this is still just Penguin shifting around.

I did delete a huge number of pages last night - about 1/3 of my content. These were pages that no longer seem relevant because the perception of my niche has shifted over the years. I should have deleted them ages ago, but I just had trouble letting all that hard work go, LOL. I seriously doubt this is why my traffic is up, though - I made this change for visitors, not SEO. From what I've heard, even if a change like this does help with SEO, it should take weeks or months to see the change in the SERPs, not overnight.

crobb305




msg:4458486
 1:03 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I finally got a deep crawl in the past day. First time in 5 weeks. We'll see if I see any improvements.

diberry




msg:4458522
 6:03 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Nope, nevermind. The big shift slowed down later today so that once again, I'm getting almost exactly the same number of visitors from Google that I got three days out of the past 5. (And on the days it varied, it was only by about 20 searches in either direction.) Just. So. Weird.

Jez123




msg:4458541
 8:00 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

My SERP's dropped even further. I have probably gone too far removing links and getting anchors changed. I'm sure this is what google wants, no one linking or scared to link. Will this link hurt me? will that link hurt me? Best to change robots.txt to exclude google bots in case they find out I got scraped...

Wilburforce




msg:4458547
 8:27 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

My SERP's dropped even further.


That seems to happen to me at about the same time a Penguin update runs, which makes me suspect that Penguin is recursive: although I have dealt with a suspect backlink issue, Google hasn't refreshed the data, so the downward lurches might continue for some time.

themaninthejar




msg:4458548
 8:55 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google hasn't refreshed the data


I find it really annoying that Google can suddenly trash your site overnight for hitherto "acceptable" levels of SEO, and then get coy about reindexing your cleaned up pages for weeks and weeks on end. And then they seem to focus on US sites leaving dot.co.uk sites further behind the game.

A home improvements professional I know traditionally picks up the majority of her work in the spring, that being March, April and May. All that time her daily traffic has been less than she got on Christmas day (always previously the site's quietest day). Her company goes into liquidation in June. A hard-working, talented lady with a web-site packed full of inspiring and helpful information has been destroyed.

On Friday I removed a swathe of redirects left over from a site redesign in 2010. The very next day a number of them that had external links popped up in WMT Crawl Errors. Why then does it take so long for backlink and content keyword changes to be appear in WMT?

Hissingsid




msg:4458549
 8:59 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm slipping but very slowly, down to #7 for our main target keyword. For other terms there is absolutely no movement as if they are below the radar or too small to bother a Penguin.

What is most confusing is the kind of sites that are moving up (bobbing to the surface from way back). They are all of an identifiable type. It looks a bit like an unplanned side effect in the same way as directories climbed out of their pit at the Florida update. Now, in my niche it is review and comparison sites, almost as though Google has decided if people are searching for "search term" they are shopping around and we should give them sites that help them do this quicker. Thereby cutting out the specialist micro sites.

This could possibly not be Penguin or it is just a coincidence that this type of site offers what the sites that have suffered under penguin don't have.

Jez123




msg:4458553
 9:10 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Her company goes into liquidation in June. A hard-working, talented lady with a web-site packed full of inspiring and helpful information has been destroyed.


That's a shame. I too am worried that this will be the case for me as well. What is worst about this is that the site that is now dominating ALL the SERPs that I was or would like to have been has pretty much copied my business model and I would imagine that people that can no longer find my site will assume that this site is me. How he didn't get hit by Penguin is anyone's guess. Spammy sitewides and so on...

themaninthejar




msg:4458557
 9:26 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

That's a shame


There's no business plan for surviving 90 consecutive Christmas days, especially in the teeth of recession. Pointless and painful result for someone who was only trying to put her service in front of her potential customers.

Shaddows




msg:4458575
 10:32 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

There's no business plan for surviving 90 consecutive Christmas days


The conclusion being that its not her fault?

Not that I'm not sympathetic to her situation in general, but your statement has an implied assumption that should be exposed as the myth that it is. Her "business plan" very much is the problem.

The sooner that everyone realises that, the better. It's a poor business plan that means a third party can, on a whim, destroy your revenue stream.

I'm not going to pretend that Organic isn't the cash cow of our business. But we have used that free cash to develop other streams that quite literally pays the bills. Losing Google would see a big revenue crash, but enough would still be coming in to regroup and rebuild without any unplanned restructuring.

Negative SEO may or may not be efficacious in harming others, but even in theory it takes more than a mere whim, mistake or oversight to work.

themaninthejar




msg:4458579
 11:05 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

The conclusion being that its not her fault?


Most people search for her service online. We did what we could to keep up with the competition in the serps, never using any tactic that could be considered subversive. In fact the site still flies very high in Bing, unfortunately no-one in the UK uses Bing.

My complaint is not with algo changes, I accept I live the jungle. My complaint is with the slowness that any alterations in the site are acknowledged by Google. And, come to think of it, the fact that top serp positions are now occupied by sites containing hidden text and that use H1 tags on alt-text (tactics which, even now, we would not employ).

Of course it's our fault the business has collapsed as ultimately we made the decisions that led us to this spot. But it feels like someone's turned the electricity off because we didn't pay a bill, and then refused to turn it back for a couple of months after we'd settled up.

It's just unnecessary, and sad because of that.

The site will stay up. Maybe once I've worked out how to rank top quality content against the empty sites that are now dominating, she can pick up the pieces and start again.

Jez123




msg:4458580
 11:25 am on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Losing Google would see a big revenue crash, but enough would still be coming in to regroup and rebuild without any unplanned restructuring.


In my case, as it is with a lot of others is that I was, through google, able to obtain enough work. To explore other avenues would have meant potentiually more work and I was sometimes struggling with what I was getting. I was at that cusp in my business, either to grow with the work and take on more staff or just continue with it as it was. I do have other avenues open to me but they are very narrow at the moment. I wrongly thought that if I ploughed all that I could back into my website and made it better and better that google would reward. Not the case. What they like is crappy copycat link spamming sites. Google likes spam. They help produce it and promote it with adwords and adsense and by rewarding spam in the organic SERPS.

santapaws




msg:4458617
 1:45 pm on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

i think more of a case that they have redefined what spam is. It seems they now produce a serps to mirror their own vision of what sites they want to be returned on the first page. When they started they worked on an algorithm that they let decide what a strong site was. So the serps were the result of the algorithm, now it seems the algorithm is led by the serps. The goal seems to be an algorithm that automates what they would do if they were left to hand edit the serps.

themaninthejar




msg:4458634
 2:46 pm on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Checking all outgoing links now - it's surprising how many redirect from com to co.uk or from www to non-www. Not sure if linking to too many redirects could be seen as suspicious.

Also removed a whole bunch of internal redirects left over from redesign. The plan is to check daily and reinstate any that show up as crawl errors in WMT.

diberry




msg:4458638
 3:05 pm on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

The sooner that everyone realises that, the better. It's a poor business plan that means a third party can, on a whim, destroy your revenue stream.


That's just the thing. Only online it is considered a legitimate business model to rely on one of your competitors to publicize your business. We here should all know better.

That said, a LOT of people in business don't know much about Google. I've talked to successful site owners who have never heard that their sites could disappear overnight from Google someday. Fortunately, the ones I've met only get 30-40% of their traffic from Google. But the natural assumption is that the SERPs are more stable than they are, and most people think this forum sounds like a bunch of conspiracy theorists being ridiculous.

When they started they worked on an algorithm that they let decide what a strong site was. So the serps were the result of the algorithm, now it seems the algorithm is led by the serps. The goal seems to be an algorithm that automates what they would do if they were left to hand edit the serps.


This is a great point, and it's reinforced by the fact that the webmaster guidelines and Matt Cutts' advice keeps getting more specific. In another thread, I described how in a video Cutts said you shouldn't create a site that does a lot of ranting because that's just an SEO tactic. This left my jaw on the floor, because no one can tell a linkbait rant from a genuine rant. This is stupider than the idea that Google can always tell a paid link from an organic one with perfect accuracy.

They started with helpful advice about coding. Then they invented codes they wanted us to use, which was annoying (really? we have to put nofollow on links just for Google's half-ass algorithm?), but whatever. But now I feel like Google is pushing hard to make us rewrite the web in the image they have of it. Their point of view, their idea of polite expression, their idea of what's an important topic. I have a bad feeling they see themselves as a benevolent dictator.

My_Media




msg:4458656
 4:36 pm on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I see a 20% drop traffics today.
I have found 200+ pages that are less then 400 words:
What would you do delete or bulk and combine them?

Thanks

Planet13




msg:4458712
 6:42 pm on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have found 200+ pages that are less then 400 words:
What would you do delete or bulk and combine them?


Whatever is best for the end user. Whatever is going to make your site "better" than your competitor's for your user.

Hope this helps.

crobb305




msg:4458713
 6:49 pm on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I see a 20% drop traffics today.
I have found 200+ pages that are less then 400 words:
What would you do delete or bulk and combine them?

Thanks


My stats reveal a 20% to 30% drop every year on Memorial Day (U.S.). Unless you're sure that's not the cause (another country, etc), then I wouldn't make drastic changes based on today's numbers.

peego




msg:4458717
 7:04 pm on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm also seeing 20-30% drop today (monday, US). I'm assuming it's due to the memorial day holiday.

diberry




msg:4458780
 11:05 pm on May 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm becoming convinced that Google is testing different search profiles on my site. Most days, my main search terms are X, Y and Z. But other days, suddenly a bunch of other terms will show up, and I'll be ranking high for them. And each time the "other terms" show up, they're all to do with pages from my most popular category - one Google has always ignored in favor of my third most popular category, but the one visitors click, explore and respond to the most.

@My_Media, what Planet13 said. I do think Panda has been favoring longer pages, but more to the point, I think readers are coming to expect them.

That said, Ehow is usually painfully short and useless, and they rank... but most people I know ignore them in the SERPs. And I don't mean techie people.

crobb305




msg:4458814
 1:18 am on May 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had nice surges of longtail a few times today, rolling pattern. One hour on, one off.

AussieWebmaster




msg:4458838
 3:26 am on May 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Most people search for her service online. We did what we could to keep up with the competition in the serps, never using any tactic that could be considered subversive. In fact the site still flies very high in Bing, unfortunately no-one in the UK uses Bing.

My complaint is not with algo changes, I accept I live the jungle. My complaint is with the slowness that any alterations in the site are acknowledged by Google. And, come to think of it, the fact that top serp positions are now occupied by sites containing hidden text and that use H1 tags on alt-text (tactics which, even now, we would not employ).

Of course it's our fault the business has collapsed as ultimately we made the decisions that led us to this spot. But it feels like someone's turned the electricity off because we didn't pay a bill, and then refused to turn it back for a couple of months after we'd settled up.

It's just unnecessary, and sad because of that.

The site will stay up. Maybe once I've worked out how to rank top quality content against the empty sites that are now dominating, she can pick up the pieces and start again.


Some of the money spent on link building etc could be used in PPC and be very local etc and build the terms etc that are profitable - maybe not as much as organic but keep doors open until an organic plan can be worked

AussieWebmaster




msg:4458841
 3:37 am on May 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

seems like most touching of site is causing lowering for main terms and slight rises with long tail - am waiting for the suggestions to be at top - even before the Pack or other boxed options - hey why not just show top 50 organic results and tell site owners where they rank for terms but not know more than just the seen results

driller41




msg:4458912
 9:03 am on May 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Has anyone any thoughts if directory links using optimised anchor text have caused any demotions - that is a theme in my demotions.

I used a directory submission tool to submit to loads (500 ish) of directories using optiised anchor text, it seems a silly thing to demote a site for in my opinion built the evidence is there.

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