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This 534 message thread spans 18 pages: < < 534 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 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?

 

Planet13




msg:4452344
 6:26 pm on May 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes Planet, it seems to be like Panda:-


That leads to another important point. Penguin, like Panda, is a filter that gets refreshed from time-to-time.

I see that statement on the page you linked to, but I don't see any citations about this.

is the author of that article privy to something we are not?

Are there any statements from actual google employees about this somewhere?

Thanks in advance.

Philosopher




msg:4452385
 8:58 pm on May 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

That quote is actually from a searchengineland article where Matt Cutts states that it runs similar to Panda so I'm guessing he would be privy to that info. ;)

driller41




msg:4452394
 9:35 pm on May 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

The article was written by Danny Sullivan who is pretty close to google.

This is what he says when challenged to verify his claim.

I guess the evidence in the story above, where Google told me it operates that way. I mean, you donít have to believe that, I suppose. But thatís what they say.

It is as good as we are going to get regarding how Penguin is run I think.

atlrus




msg:4452550
 11:06 am on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some of my websites affected by Penguin have recovered in the past week or so - without doing anything. Go figure.

jemois




msg:4452553
 11:39 am on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

As far as i've seen lately, most of the sites that were hit are being hit because of having spammy links. Lets not talk about the sites having keyword stuffing, only a child would do that. G states that spammy link won't hurt you as long as you have quality content. Forget about the proportion of high quality link/spammy links. Everyone could generate spammy links to your site and I don't think G is that stupid to penalize you since your content is of acceptable/good quality. Rewriting the pages you have to include good quality content would be the best way to get rid of the penalty when the algorithm will be rerun IMO.

crobb305




msg:4452561
 12:16 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

jemois,

I don't think the phrase "keyword stuffing" takes on the same meaning as it used to. I'm not talking about repeating the words (example, example, example, example, example) a thousand times in a document. Google can program an algorithm to perform statistical analyses on documents to compute n-grams and other classifiers, create a frequency distribution of the phrases appear in the document, and compare that frequency distribution against what would be expected/predicted. If you're not familiar with document scoring using "n-grams" (relative entropy for language and fake content detection), do a search. You're right about rewriting content, IMHO. It may be the best way to eliminate redundancy, excessive use of penalized phrases, and fix other on-page factors that may be working in cahoots with the inbound link profile to trigger penalty. I think the penalties are excessive, but hopefully the next iteration will not be too much longer.

[edited by: crobb305 at 12:55 pm (utc) on May 12, 2012]

Rockyou




msg:4452565
 12:20 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google has lost Search Market Share, Now Bing controls 30% Market Share, If i was CEO i would fire Matt Cutts, Penguins means give a different kind of unuseful spam to users. In next 6 months Google will lose 10% more market share if they don't fix their own created problem, Better focus on Bing which is highly stable compared to daily dance in Google.

particleman




msg:4452573
 1:21 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I feel pretty strongly keyword stuffing was our penalty factor. We have a network of sites. Our oldest best ranked site was the one hit by penguin. The link profile we had is not too questionable but the link profile did signal a lot of so called money words. This in my opinion signals google to say "OK these links are legit but let's make sure they aren't over doing it on page with these words". There is where we fail, our content is over done with those inbound words and to no surprise that is what we got hit for.

Our content is very much like the example posted. Then combine the title tags using those phrases once or twice, h1 or h2 holding those keywords and possibly nested in alt tags it really adds up.

We are systematically stripping out text and writing more natural tags . Were going to post up the changes this week so I will report back if it helped.

Planet13




msg:4452579
 1:39 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

We have a network of sites.


Can you clarify what you mean by that?

How many sites? Are they on the same topic(s)? Are they interlinked?

The link profile we had is not too questionable...


Again, it would be more helpful if you could give more specifics. How many links? What types of sites were they on? Are they natural links - or did you do something to create those links?

...and possibly nested in alt tags it really adds up.


Yes, that is a good point that people might overlook.

Also I think it is important to look at internal links as well. Specifically, anchor text of internal links.

econman




msg:4452589
 2:07 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

As far as I've seen lately, most of the sites that were hit are being hit because of having spammy links.


The link profile we had is not too questionable but the link profile did signal a lot of so called money words. This in my opinion signals google to say "OK these links are legit but let's make sure they aren't over doing it on page with these words".


I've seen some evidence that strongly suggests that a Penguin downgrading is NOT triggered exclusively or primarily by on-site factors. Rather, this evidence suggests the problem is related to the inbound link profile. And, given Google's predilection for sophisticated statistical analyses and machine learning, I would speculate it also considers on-site factors.

For example, it might look for "too many" inbound links containing a money term, or "too many" inbound links containing specific anchor text PLUS some on-site patterns (based on an analysis of the H1 tags, Page Titles and anchor text used within the site's own internal link structure) which suggests the owner of the site is attempting to optimize the site to highly rank for the money term or anchor text.

In other words, my guess is that they are trying to identify sites that appear to be targeting specific keywords, and also have (until now) benefited from links of questionable quality or origin (e.g. Google suspects they were purchased), that have those keywords in their anchor text.

particleman




msg:4452603
 3:09 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Can you clarify what you mean by that?

How many sites? Are they on the same topic(s)? Are they interlinked?

Basically our sites (8) are standalone ecommerce sites not interlinked but in various topically related niches. So there is some overlap to keywords we optimize for. All of our sites performed well before penguin, one specifically was affected by penguin. So I sort of have a litmus to say what is different on my 1 site that got hit.

Again, it would be more helpful if you could give more specifics. How many links? What types of sites were they on? Are they natural links - or did you do something to create those links?

Over a three year span is it hard to say. We have a lot of links but vastly more legit links (those that are 100% natural) than not. We don't do things such as comment spam, link farms, etc (obvious stuff). Anchors do vary but still pretty focused.

Yes, that is a good point that people might overlook.

Also I think it is important to look at internal links as well. Specifically, anchor text of internal links.


Matt Cutts linked directly to the webmaster tools keyword stuffing article which specifically outlines title tags and alt attributes count towards keyword stuffing. We are 100% guilty of that if true.

[support.google.com...]

Play_Bach




msg:4452611
 4:03 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Rockyou
> Google has lost Search Market Share, Now Bing controls 30% Market Share

Not in my stats it's not. Not even close.

Google 84.3%
Bing 5.7%
Yahoo 4.3%

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4452635
 5:25 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I find that stripping a site to its bare bones minimum helps. Examples: no keywords meta tag, no title tags on links, no multiple links to same page(e.g. image+text or text+more link), remove all whitespace, remove unused features(e.g. comments option if rarely used, g+ buttons, even redundant tracking). Then remove widgets and anything gimmicky, hardcode things like tweet buttons instead of using the twitter served javascript version and remove all repeating text other than the word copyright in the footer. That's just a good start, reduce the total amount of code served by 50% or more if possible, merge javascript and css etc.etc.etc.

Less used to be more, now less is everything.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4452640
 5:37 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Also: watch your incoming links. After Penguin my total number of reported links in GWT fell about 10%. Other sites being affected lose the ability to pass me rank, replace them as/where possible.

decaff




msg:4452652
 6:39 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

"What I should have been doing is writing the content for the end user in mind."

=> The only "real" way to create content now and, from my perspective, for the last 16+ years.

This as been my approach through the years ... I've never been negatively hit by any of Google's updates and my sites rank very well consistently... but more importantly... engage well with the targeted market/users and convert very well..

Because of this approach, I've become very adept at sussing out markets and respective user demographics and what people are really looking for..

I know there's plenty of pain out there right now with the latest PENGUIN update.. so I don't mean to be too arrogant here.. just trying to make a point...

Write for the targeted user. It does take extra work and effort .. but it's worth it for the health of your respective online business ;-)

crobb305




msg:4452678
 8:14 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)


Also: watch your incoming links. After Penguin my total number of reported links in GWT fell about 10%.


I definitely wish I had been paying attention along the way. I'm in one of those industries where someone out there has a vested interest in spam-linking sites like mine. There's nothing I can do about it. Thousands and thousands of them. Alas, Google issues penalties rather than discounting the links (and yes, it's a penalty since I can't even rank for snippets of my own content -- even new content, the scrapers get first dibs).

Garya




msg:4452688
 8:51 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have noticed that sites in my area that are ranking high after penguin have the least content on the home page. I did cut my content in half after the up date. and have now moved back to the middle of the 1st page.

I also noticed on another site which has rentals on it got hit for certain keywords. As I name the condos on the home page and have repeated the name of different condo names over again. I know if I remove all the condos on the home page my ranking will go back up, but the user
will have to find the rentals so the user's experience will go down.

I have 1 competitor who has 0 text on his home page just a map with links and he shot up to #1. Again no content has helped if you have good old links.

conclusion is google is giving the user a harder time to find good info.

crobb305




msg:4452708
 9:43 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have noticed that sites in my area that are ranking high after penguin have the least content on the home page. I did cut my content in half after the up date. and have now moved back to the middle of the 1st page.

I also noticed on another site which has rentals on it got hit for certain keywords. As I name the condos on the home page and have repeated the name of different condo names over again. I know if I remove all the condos on the home page my ranking will go back up, but the user
will have to find the rentals so the user's experience will go down.

I have 1 competitor who has 0 text on his home page just a map with links and he shot up to #1. Again no content has helped if you have good old links.

conclusion is google is giving the user a harder time to find good info.


Garya,

Those are interesting observations. I wonder if this is evidence that you can distance yourself from the backlink profile by removing the phrases from your page (rather than fighting webmasters to remove links to your site). I have personally noticed that for my site, I am getting occasional traffic for longtail phrases containing words that appear in the backlink profile but never appear on my site. I fear, though, that by removing content and creating very small content pages, you open yourself up to a Panda slap on the next Panda iteration.

jdancing




msg:4452720
 10:49 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I threw some web2.0 backlinks and social bookamrks at the site that sells the small product but never got around to doing the same thing with the large product on the other site.

And of course the site selling the small product has been zapped, the larger product on the other site is untouched.

If this was the cause then negative SEO tactics would be flourishing now. Anyone do any negative SEO tests?

Lot's of niche sites out there still ranking that don't know a Penguin from a Panda. I am not really in a space where a test would work well (bigger established sites). I would hate to test against some random well ranking niche website. :/

tedster




msg:4452729
 11:37 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wonder if this is evidence that you can distance yourself from the backlink profile by removing the phrases from your page

A very good thought - especially if the targeted phrase can be picked up elsewhere on your site, or handled by synonyms. Too much "match-y match-y" is clearly trouble.

aristotle




msg:4452754
 1:21 am on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

A very good thought - especially if the targeted phrase can be picked up elsewhere on your site, or handled by synonyms. Too much "match-y match-y" is clearly trouble.


This makes some sense. But traditionally the relevance factor has always been important, so I don't think you want to go too far in the other direction. Also, I'm not sure this would help much in the case of a large number of backlimks with exactly the same anchor text.

Planet13




msg:4452755
 1:28 am on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ decaff:

Write for the targeted user. It does take extra work and effort .. but it's worth it for the health of your respective online business ;-)


good reminder.

I just think in this world of ehow and other schlock we might feel that by writing for search engines we are entitled to good ranking.


@ crobb305


I wonder if this is evidence that you can distance yourself from the backlink profile by removing the phrases from your page (rather than fighting webmasters to remove links to your site).


There is more to this than that.

for the one page on my site that seems to be a Penguin victim, I only had a SINGLE external link with the exact match anchor text.

I had lots of INTERNAL links with the exact keyword term and that might have been what got me - thank you Maile Ohye (sp?) of google for suggesting in that video that we link early and often to our most important pages.

SirTox




msg:4452779
 3:32 am on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think that backlinks hurt the most. Or maybe older links don't matter so much. I had an htaccess file loaded with hundreds of 301 redirects. I did this because I changed from PHPNuke to Wordpress and the link structure was different. Recently, I accidentally replaced this htaccess file with an old htaccess file that didn't have any 301 redirects. Almost immediately my traffic returned to pre-penguin levels. I'm leaving it this way to see how it turns out.

gouri




msg:4452793
 4:41 am on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

On one of my inner pages, I have a few images.

The images are not linked to larger versions of the image so each image is linked to the homepage.

Someone once told me years ago that generally it is good to link images to something because generally web surfers think of images as something that can be clicked, and many times that something is a larger version of the image. If you are not going to do that, then it maybe good to link the images to the homepage, that way the images are linked to something.

The images linking to the homepage (http://www.buildmetalwidgets.tld) are not using popular phrases as alt text but some key terms do appear in all of them.

I have had these links for a couple of years.

tedster




msg:4452797
 5:16 am on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

gouri, that sounds like a usability nightmare to me. There's no way I would expect a link on an image to take me to the Home Page. Seriously, I'd reverse that idea, no matter how many years it's been in place.

fathom




msg:4452821
 8:57 am on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google Sitemaps

The single most important step when dealing with PENGUIN is re-tooling your Google sitemap after any change and re-submit it.

I would temporarily set your priorities at 10 for homepage, 0.9 for everything else (effected) and daily crawls until you have recovered.

Obviously if you have to edit links on other domains to rel="nofollow" or delete links you MUST try to get them to do the above as well. A devalued page offers limited value to Google so it won't to make your changes without some major coaxing.

If you cannot get a linking party to edit/resubmit their sitemap temporarily link the page you need re-crawled.

backdraft7




msg:4452891
 2:44 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

My advice for Penguin / Panda / Caffeine / May Day / etc, etc, etc recovery? Switch to Bing!

Let's face it, if you're lucky enough to recover from Google's endless tinkering, it's just gonna happen again, and again.
They've lost my trust and my "user love".

Jez123




msg:4452892
 2:59 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

FWIW backdraft, me too.

It seems that they can easily discount what they want to discount. So why the punishment? I still believe it's to get us to use adwords. The results in my SERPs are so poor that it also drives the browser to the ads as well. Everyone, and I mean Everyone, that I know (and I am not talking webmasters, just normal users) avoids clicking the ads because the do not get relevant results. I think google want to change this by swapping the organic links for the paid.

Just like the directories and some of the sites that were affected by Panda, they know that supplying good results in effect costs them money. No one clicks the ads if they supply the right results.

Really though, what else can we expect? Remember the old switcharoo they did on webmasters with google checkout? This is a bit like that but a longer term plan as far as I am concerned.

[edited by: Jez123 at 3:14 pm (utc) on May 13, 2012]

Rockyou




msg:4452893
 3:11 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

@backdraft Exactly, relax and switch to bing. Google is no longer a benchmark. These days Google results dance so much if you are page 9 today, tommorow you may end up being among top 3. Without doing anything. GOOGLE = BUSINESS? or GAMBLING

Planet13




msg:4452908
 4:46 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I accidentally replaced this htaccess file with an old htaccess file that didn't have any 301 redirects. Almost immediately my traffic returned to pre-penguin levels.


That is very interesting...

I wonder if there is some sort of an internal 301 threshold that google considers?

It might be a good idea to remove any 301 redirects from pages that DON'T have any external links pointing to them.

(There is, of course, always the possibility that you might have messed up your 301 redirects just enough that they would redirect correctly but might prevent accurate indexing of the redirected pages - I did that with one of my pages.)

backdraft7




msg:4452927
 6:06 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I still believe it's to get us to use adwords.


Hi Jez!
In a way I agree, but I also say that Google's conversion rate through even Adwords has dropped off dramatically. I used to think it gave me an edge in my niche, now it seems to do nothing to improve conversions. My ad targeting is spot on too.

What I have noticed is that my Adsense revenue from the one right side bar tower ad I use on all my pages is now cut in half while my costs for Adwords remains pretty much the same. Whatever they did seems to be an effort to reduce the amount they pay out. (and it's working!)

My traffic is pretty much the same, and in some cases higher than other years, but my Adsense revenue (which is just ancillary to my product income) is much lower.

I think I'll just quit Adwords and Adsense altogether to see if that helps me recover.

If all this tweaking is a way to get us to use Adwords...it's gonna backfire.

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