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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?

 

gouri




msg:4453458
 7:10 pm on May 14, 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.


@Tedster,

Thanks for the response.

I hear what you are saying.

I also wanted to ask if you think that something like this could be impacting rankings in some way (e.g. keywords that the home page is trying to rank for, keywords that the page I am linking from are trying to rank for, some kind of overall effect)?

driller41




msg:4453477
 7:40 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

@martinacastro

Hi, yes that is what i am thinking - I have built too many money phrase links and I want to test wether diluting these phrases with other nonrelated phrases will work - there is no downside trying this on a few sites that have tanked off the first page - I cant make things any worse.

Off topic it is a real shame that Yahoo site explorer has been killed as that was just the tool for this type of work, I do use Majestic but find it second rate at best.

The onpage experiment I outlined above was better than I expected, I have other tests going on with my other sites to try different things - for example reducing onpage SEO whilst keeping the content v leaving on page SEO alone and doubling the written content.

I am not too worried about Penguin as I was about Panda, to me this problem seems fixable - although it is costing me money at the moment.

crobb305




msg:4453481
 7:49 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

It looks like my 3rd-party analytics service inserts an invisible link to their site via a <div> in the javascript, with alt text. I have to wonder if this could be a spam indicator, or if Google ignores it? I have used some link tools and it does look like these links are being seen as backlinks to the tracking service. I'm just not sure if Google views them as such, and could be punishing. I have removed the <div> and things appear to be tracking normally.

tedster




msg:4453516
 8:51 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

@gouri - yes, it could be impacting your rankings. But even if it isn't, it's impacting your visitors. In good SEO, you've got to keep your eye focused on the end user.

backdraft7




msg:4453565
 11:59 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well, I found one thing that seems to have worked...
A few months ago, after being duped into the whole "social networking" craze, and based on the indication that social interaction was to become an important Google ranking factor, like a Lemming I added a few Facebook "like" and "share" buttons to select pages.

Strangely enough it's many of those same pages that lost traction in the wake of Penguin. Today I simply removed the Facebook code and faster than you can say "anti-competitive behavior" those pages popped right back to above the fold on page 1.

Silly me, thinking that Google meant 'Facebook' social interaction when they really meant 'G+' social interaction.

[edited by: backdraft7 at 12:18 am (utc) on May 15, 2012]

Gemini23




msg:4453570
 12:12 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

backdraft... how far did your pages drop with Penguin...

backdraft7




msg:4453572
 12:22 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some had dropped off the face of the Earth...-100
I only conducted this test on a few pages so far...but I just removed about 30 more occurrences (oh joy! a sale is coming in just now) to see if it's repeatable. It does seem to be improving sales ever since I started. It'll be cryin' shame if this turns out to be true. I so trusted Google to not be evil.

Gemini23




msg:4453573
 12:25 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I use ADDthis sitewide for social networking and that includes G+ on pages that have dropped.... I also have a few pages that are showing and still trying to clarify why by testing...

dougwilson




msg:4453575
 12:39 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

SirTox "htaccess file loaded with hundreds of 301 redirects"

I did the same thing. Got tired of the eternal 404's. I just changed them to back to [G,L]

Worth a try, I'll be watching for changes in SE referrer, thanks

backdraft7




msg:4453578
 12:48 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Gemini - I have also used ADDthis and those pages have been unaffected, but if I place a custom graphic with a link to my business Facebook page or facebook's own "share" or "like" code, it seems to have a detrimental effect on my listings. Not sure if it's happening to anyone else. I'm usually the only one who hallucinates these issues.

Jez123




msg:4453642
 8:37 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

How many people have recovered so far from this? No sign of my affected site making a recovery. I know a couple have but for the most part we are still affected?

Martin Ice Web




msg:4453663
 9:50 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Jez123,

I wait for the next run. Reports about recovered site seems like they had another issue and not Peguin.
But revoering is not all, better there would be some conversions.

For google employee readers: congratulations: Since Peguin conversions are pretty close to ZERO. Penguin worked the way it was intend to work. Adwords click charge has gone to roof.

gouri




msg:4453767
 2:56 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@gouri - yes, it could be impacting your rankings. But even if it isn't, it's impacting your visitors. In good SEO, you've got to keep your eye focused on the end user.


I did some further analysis and this is what I found:

1) a link in the footer going to the home page using the url as anchor text.
2) a link on a couple of other pages going to the home page using the url as anchor text
3) links from images on an inner page going to the home page using the alt text as anchor text. The alt text describes the images, they aren't phrases that the home page is trying to rank for, but do contain some keywords that phrases the home page is trying to rank for include.

Could all this be seen as too much linking to the home page and perhaps with Penguin, Google is also looking at internal links more closely than it used to, and it is affecting my traffic?

soflasurfr




msg:4453775
 3:02 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thought I'd add my two cents, manage about 30 sites. 4 or 5 got nailed, all of them had an abundance of forum profile links and probably too much keyword anchor text.

One site we did nothing on has recovered about 90% of its losses, the others I am testing a variety of things on but nothing much to report yet.

Another site had multiple sitewide links from a sort of mini site link wheel which made anchor text super high. I took them all down last week, will update reports here, no improvement yet.

Another site dropped and I tested one affected landing page; moved content above the fold, removed keywords from far left of title tag and lowered keyword density and it went from page 100 to page 2, still not where it was but it's something.

Going to test the facebook button removal on other pages but i highly doubt that's something Google would be concerned about.

backdraft7




msg:4453780
 3:14 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Going to test the facebook button removal on other pages but i highly doubt that's something Google would be concerned about.


All I can say is that it worked for me and today I continue to see new key phrase recoveries popping out of the woodwork. I can't say it will work for your site, but mine was placed prominently in a .dwt page up in the header portion.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:47 am (utc) on May 16, 2012]

diberry




msg:4453781
 3:19 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I noticed a shift in one of my keywords yesterday, and it's held steady through today. I had been #2 for the phrase for years, and a competitor I tracked had been #3-5. When Penguin hit, we both fell to the second or third page (it kept shifting).

Now the competitor is #4 and I'm #8. Looks like a full recovery for the competitor, and a partial one for me. At least in this case I would say most of the pages above me are as good as my page or better. Except the multiple about.com pages, one of which is typical about.com slush and the other of which is is just crap.

On a sidenote, about.com has come out of Penguin stronger than ever in my niches, and I've rarely found that site very useful. Then again, I can't fathom why ehow dominates. I never click it unless it's the only resource I can find on a topic.

Gemini23




msg:4453797
 3:43 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

gouri...

Are you saying you did the following and it was good or bad?

1) a link in the footer going to the home page using the url as anchor text.
2) a link on a couple of other pages going to the home page using the url as anchor text
3) links from images on an inner page going to the home page using the alt text as anchor text. The alt text describes the images, they aren't phrases that the home page is trying to rank for, but do contain some keywords that phrases the home page is trying to rank for include.

gouri




msg:4453799
 3:48 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have had these for years, and it is a question of what I should do now. I think #3 is probably what should be changed.

I also looked at the links from the images going to the home page in terms of percentage of all the links in the body text from all of the website's pages and found the following:

1) if counting links to other pages and anchor links (going to specific parts of a page, not to specific parts of another page), the links from the images to the home page are over 20%

2) if counting only links going to other pages, the links from the images to the home page are a little over 30%

Maybe this helps to further analyze.

Can you tell me what you think?

[edited by: gouri at 4:14 pm (utc) on May 15, 2012]

p5gal5




msg:4453803
 3:56 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Backdraft

Interesting observation on the social media widgets - I have been toying with the idea of direct linking since I implemented them (few weeks before Penguin, also experienced some major drops). Their reliability leaves something to be desired, and I've noticed a big change in my site performance (as measured by GWT) since installing them. Can't hurt...?

Jez123




msg:4453836
 5:07 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hmm, I just got a referral from google in my stats. Showing me at #1 for my main KW. Just checked and it's not. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Even odder is that I was not as high as that for my main SERP.

Is anyone else seeing any blips or changes?

Bewenched




msg:4453912
 9:13 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Backdraft
@p5gal5

About 6 months ago I took ALL of those off, the google plus was slowing down the website and facebook occasionally had glitches.

We do have a link to our facebook company page and twitter, but that's all anymore.

Regarding Penguin, not sure if we were affected or not initially. I did see a little bit of a drop in traffic and an increase in bounce rate (probably due to zombie traffic) but I think maybe some of the sites that link to us may have been thus we aren't getting some of the flow through like we had been.

haseebnajam




msg:4454089
 10:13 am on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

main things of the Penguin Update:

1. No. Of Relevant Links to your website (links for a site selling "blue widget" should come from a website about "widgets", "yellow widgets" etc)

2. Anchor Text Ratio = % of anchor text for your main keyword vs % of "other keywords" as anchor text

Proof:
After the penguin update, we have seen a surge in post and content discussing negative seo. This means link profile is the key of this update.

If you have better theory with logic...Please do share....

Andylew




msg:4454129
 1:13 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

One thing to consider when deciding what panda/penguin is all about is to step back from what you might think it is targeting and ask why is it not part of the real time(ish) ranking system?

Google may be all mighty and powerful in terms of processing power but thats only proportional to the amount of data they have to process.

From a programming pow you have to do a batch run on some tasks to ensure you dont impact on the real time systems - so with this in mind why would keyword stuffing be so processor intensive that you would have to analyse it as a seperate task? The answer is its not, in its simplest form anyway.

All the theories about bad links, keyword stuffing etc etc are all too small scale as all the signs are this is a massive processing task.

The google ranking system has historically always been a scoring system, each site is assessed independently, the one with the highest score ranks top.

What I believe panda/penguin does is take an entire cross section of websites or even an entire niche and do a site to site comparison. It would then be very easy to weed out sites which dont fit into the statistical norm ie high page rank in the real time algo but the niche comparison might show the site as having massive blog links compared to the rest of the sites in the same niche so it gets dropped. The main thing being each niche would be different as to what is considered normal.

I believe panda/penguin are essentially the same thing, a niche site to site analysis but look at different signals. Panda may have done a statistical analysis on incoming links to sites within the niche - if you dont fit into the norm you are dropped. Penguin may have looked at keyword repetition within the niche and dropped those that dont fit the norm. This could very easily be described as an over optimisation penalty but it is based on the websites within the niche, if your niche is bad at seo and you have the most optimised site you are likely to be outside the norm.

The key point is that I believe websites are now being compared to each other to find statistical norms with statistical anomalies being dropped. This is in addition to the pagerank score as individual entities with the top score ranking highest as has happened in the past.

gouri




msg:4454173
 3:18 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have had these for years, and it is a question of what I should do now. I think #3 is probably what should be changed.

I also looked at the links from the images going to the home page in terms of percentage of all the links in the body text from all of the website's pages and found the following:

1) if counting links to other pages and anchor links (going to specific parts of a page, not to specific parts of another page), the links from the images to the home page are over 20%

2) if counting only links going to other pages, the links from the images to the home page are a little over 30%

Maybe this helps to further analyze.

Can you tell me what you think?


I wanted to mention this because I think that it could be important. If I also take into consideration links in the body text from other pages going to the home page (these use the url as anchor text), (1) is close to 30% and (2) is close to 40%.

Could this be seen as a high percentage of links in the body text going to the home page?

For links in the body text going to other pages on the site (some inner pages are linked to more than once, but from different pages), the percentages are not this high.

bsand715




msg:4454182
 3:31 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Penquin is definitely not over, serps in my nich are changing steadily. The very thin low content sites,low inbound link and no content sites that arose from the ashes to 1 & 2 and 3 are sowly desinding back down. My site is back at #1 for the 1st time since the 24th, the only change I have made at this time was to take out some keywords on ranking page. Not holding my breath though. Has anyone picked up positive comments about Penquin?

Planet13




msg:4454199
 4:19 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ bsand715

...the only change I have made at this time was to take out some keywords on ranking page.


Do you mean that you removed repetitions of the same keywords on the ranking page? (i.e., reducing keyword stuffing)

Or do you mean that you removed different keywords that you were also trying to target? (i.e., limiting the breadth of different topics for which you were trying to rank)

Thanks in advance.

(Also - and I apologize if I missed this - what was the time frame from the removal of the keywords until you started to make a recovery?)

serenoo




msg:4454318
 8:47 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

bsand715, that is strange. Penguin should run every now and then, and you said you were out of Penguin.
One of the 2 sentence is wrong, because as far I know Penguin run only once.

diberry




msg:4454424
 4:56 am on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Andylew:

What I believe panda/penguin does is take an entire cross section of websites or even an entire niche and do a site to site comparison. It would then be very easy to weed out sites which dont fit into the statistical norm ie high page rank in the real time algo but the niche comparison might show the site as having massive blog links compared to the rest of the sites in the same niche so it gets dropped. The main thing being each niche would be different as to what is considered normal.

I believe panda/penguin are essentially the same thing, a niche site to site analysis but look at different signals. Panda may have done a statistical analysis on incoming links to sites within the niche - if you dont fit into the norm you are dropped. Penguin may have looked at keyword repetition within the niche and dropped those that dont fit the norm. This could very easily be described as an over optimisation penalty but it is based on the websites within the niche, if your niche is bad at seo and you have the most optimised site you are likely to be outside the norm.


This makes a lot of sense, and fits a lot of what we're seeing, especially the contradictions between what sort of practices seem to have gotten us in trouble with Penguin, and in what tactics are helping to overcome it. It's entirely possible, for example, that backdraft7's removal of SM buttons will work for some sites but not others - depending how common the SM buttons are in a given niche, or maybe on how aggressively they tend to be used by webmasters in a given niche.

Martin Ice Web




msg:4454465
 8:18 am on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I blocked a bunch of pages for googlebot, because this pages caused some duplicates that are shown in WMT. After a week it should now have been done by gbot. But now this bot crawls this page with lower cases - where it get it from - i donīt no. This page is not available in lower cases. When I test the robots.txt with WMT in Upper cases then it works then this page is available and WMT says it is blocked. Now I have again this duplicats in WMT. ANd I think this is causing the Penguin to punish my side.

to get more precisely, itīs not the page itself with lower cases but the folder that contsains this file(s).

bsand715




msg:4454524
 11:20 am on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Penguin may have looked at keyword repetition if your niche is bad at seo and you have the most optimised site you are likely to be outside the norm.

Are you saying if your site is built correctly and others are bad, thin little to no content sites with nothing we know as seo done.

Your site built correctly would be considered out of the norm and dropped down.

Do you mean that you removed repetitions of the same keywords on the ranking page? (i.e., reducing keyword stuffing)

Yes, replaced a few keywords with pronouns, even though I did not think I was stuffing, after all for 8 years it was the #1 site. Competition getting a big thrill out of this, just before Panda/Penguin started someone had told them that clicking on there sites a lot would increase their ranking, now two have hired relatives to click on their sites through out the day believing this is the reason for higher ranking. Maybe they are right.

On the other hand today finds the serps changed again. Singular and plural wildly different.

Also today serps showing different description for pages and dropped to 4th again, oh wait another computer must have hit a different server #1 again this is getting stupid crazy - Think I'll go on vacation.

cooldiamond




msg:4454538
 12:00 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I own a few blogs and a noticed that those blogs which content I have not been updating for a long time were a little more hit by the Google Penguin update. May be the freshness of content plays some role when Google determines site rankings after the Penguin update.

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