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|Panda recovery with added internal links?|
Disclaimer: it's not my site I'm discussing and I don't have access to server logs(or Google's crystal ball) but I can say that I've just witnessed a site make an apparent huge recovery and then some. I've also seen the changes made to get the new higher rankings which is what I'll mention here. There doesn't seem to be any new spike in backlinks.
The site, according to its owner, was hit rather harshly by Panda earlier this year(verious SEO tools agree) despite having original articles and not doing anything blackhat to speak of. After losing 50% of his traffic the owner added 75(!) links at the bottom of every page to other important pages. These 75 links are in addition to the 35 he added to the sitebar which already had 35. In total each page has 110 new internal links, 145 per page in total, and nothing else has changed.
The site now has more traffic than it did before being pandalized and, more importantly, is now top 3 for a good number of impressive keywords. Surely the increase in internal links can't be the reason?
I don't know , but I had the same idea float through my head on Friday when I was considering the "Host Crowding" thread.
You say adding more links to internal pages, could be a solution. I always had a suspension that internal links is a big factor in panda and not google boring statement make good content, when I see what ranks everywhere that can not be it.
More internal links could possibly result in more visitor engagement with these pages, which may be something that Panda is looking for, but with 75 added links at the bottom of the page, that seems a bit unlikely...
Are the footerlinks static or dynamic (different from page to page)?
Could it be possible his other important pages were not visible to spiders before? Maybe his page structure was flawed.
I've wondered about this tactic. I have a lot of pages that this could be applied to, with some logical argument that it could be helpful for the visitor.
Most of these pages have only 1 to 3 internal links pointing at them now so the change in link count could be significant.
Hmmmm.... maybe I'll test it, gotta think about it a bit more.
And if it IS the reason, will the recovery last or get smashed by the next Panda update, which seems to focus more on linkage?
I've wondered about something like this. A top site in one of my niches has an incredible number of links in the sidebar, arranged in ways to help visitors narrow in on what they want to find. It really is totally useful to visitors. What I don't know is whether Google can tell it's useful, and therefore likes it, or if the site is just such a top quality authority site that it can get by with all sorts of things Google wouldn't let the rest of us do.
I'll try it on one of my pandalized/penquinized sites. Thanks for the idea
Sounds like he may get out of Panda only to be hit with Penguin down the road.
|Sounds like he may get out of Panda only to be hit with Penguin down the road. |
Penguin is about bad external links, not internal links.
Sounds like a bad idea. If it looks like spam and smells like spam then it's spam. This may be the worst idea I've read on here in a while. To me this is like a make it rich overnight concept. Get enough riches before that penalty comes along. I'm sure at some point you will be needing to send in a reconsideration request to Google. If it sounds like spam? Yeah. If I'm driving over 90 here, I'm speeding. I might not have a ticket yet but it's coming eventually.
Had a half dozen related page links on nearly every page plus about 35 static on the left side navigation before Panda and now. No effect.
I've often thought my 35 was hard for the visitor because I even have trouble finding where some pages are. Eventually I'll go with categorized spry navigation. 145 per page? Talk about a navigation nightmare.
Are all the additional links pointing to the higher quality content on the site?
I have worked on some massive sites with highly varying degrees of content. Tons of amazing, highly engaging pages, as well as multiple times that of poor pages. These sites weren't hit by panda because they do a good job of funneling users, pagerank, and googlebot to the best pages through 100+ internal links on every page.
Well my site had 30 static link in my footer and i was hit 3 times by panda, 2 panda-hit-occasions these links were in footer. After that i did mayor changes(removed these links as well) , i was hit again by panda. I guess it hasn't got anything to do with panda. It didn't have any affect in my experience.
The footer links are a mix of recent and static with recent being the newest content and static being to the top pages. The sidebar links are dynamic, they link only to pages similar in content as the page they are on.
|Are the footerlinks static or dynamic (different from page to page)? |
I'd say yes for the most part, some of them point to new articles however so they may not all be top quality. I didn't see any links to low quality pages.
|Are all the additional links pointing to the higher quality content on the site? |
The number of internal links will have jumped by a factor of four. It could be an initial surge with a probable dip in traffic later when all page changes propagate but, time will tell. I can't see anything else different about the site, at all.
Having "newest" and "related" article links are pretty standard practices in blogging, and while they can be done badly, they really can help visitors when they're done well. Most bloggers only do maybe 5-7 links of each type, though, and it's all dynamic.
That said, in the case of this particular site, maybe Google sees this as a big improvement in site navigation, and that's why they raised his rankings.
|Penguin is about bad external links, not internal links. |
Actually, it's about "aggressive web spam" and no one's entirely sure what all that encompasses. A number of sites with no spammy backlinks have been hit, and it may be they had "too many" outbound links or something that looked suspicious with their internal linking. Or other factors entirely.
I am not here to promote plugins, but to tell a similar case.
In one of my WP sites, I use two Related posts plugins.
Why two? To make a diverse/dynamic links:
1. Contextual Related Posts plugin (4 links with thumbnail images) at the bottom of posts.
2. ELI's Related Posts Widget plugin (4 links) on the sidebar. This plugin takes similar posts from the associated category.
I don't know if there's any correlation to Panda/Penguin, but it works quite well to increase pageview per visit and time on site which makes an indirect effect on SE, I guess.
Thank you for sharing kickaxe.
To the people calling this a bad idea....why is this a bad idea? Kickaxe is not saying this is the cure all for panda. In this particular instance, adding a bunch of internal links just so happened to get someone he knows out of the grips of panda.
Quite frankly, it makes sense. Perhaps this site fit the mold of all the other sites that when you look at it, and you really take a hard look at the content, you can not for the life of you understand why this site was hit by panda.
Site navigation is very often overlooked. An easy to use, user friendly site navigation is important to your users and google always says to make your site for your users.
Perhaps google knows this site has good content that is useful, but it sees that the best content is hard to find since its buried deep in the pages with a poor navigation and poor emphasis on the good content.
Maybe in this instance it was not so much about the sites content, but the fact that the sites good content was not being featured in a way that google likes. If your website is 20 pages and 12 of those pages are useful and high quality (in googles eyes) but those pages are not featured prominently, google may not count those pages towards your credit since they feel most visitors will not even find them.
In my opinion and from my experience, I don't recommend doing this whether you were hit by Panda or Penguin... again, just my point of view and I understand every situation is unique and different.
One of our sites got hit with Panda and traffic dropped 50%, but it's now up 50% from the original drop after changing several factors to the site which included basically removing all footer and sidebar internal links. What seems fishy with this example is the persons content appears to be unique/original and of high quality..... so how did they get hit by Panda?
One of our other sites also got hit by Penguin, traffic dropped 67% but is now up 100% from the initial drop which also included removing almost all the footer and sidebar links.
Again, for both situations several other adjustments were made to help the recovering process including: cleanup keyword stuffing in-content, adjust title and h tags, adjust internal linking and anchor text, make content more user friendly, and reorganize the backlink structure.
I can't say just taking out the footer and sidebar links is the sole reason for our road to recovery on these two high revenue generating sites, but I do believe it is helping. Also, if you follow/do research on the few elite/trusted SEO experts they are also saying to remove footer links from your site.
Again, I'm not saying what to do or what not to do but just sharing my experiences. I would be worried for this site in the near future having 145 sidebar/footer links to trigger the Penguin penalty, especially if the anchor texts are over-optimized for the keywords they are trying to rank for.
Just my two cents and I know this is a learning process for everyone and nobody has all the right answers. All we can do is try to help each other and I will update everyone as things continue to pan out. This is a process and I'm curious to see how things play out with all the new adjustments I have made and am making.
Can you please let us know about the few "elite/trusted seo experts" that made this suggestion?
If any so called seo expert said to remove footer links, I would laugh so hard in their face. Footer links have their place on any website. They can be a very valuable asset to an online business and it does provide a level of usability.
I have websites that have over 200 links per page and they were not hit at all by any algo update. Heck I have a site that has 100 links in the footer sitewide and it even received a boost after the penguin update.
This is not about spamming your site with links. It is about exposing them to the best pages on your site. This is about adding relevant links on each page that offer something to the user.
Some sites are just hard to navigate or find what you're looking for. This could very well be a part of panda. Nobody knows for sure, so we can not rule out what sgt kickaxe is saying. Exposing your visitors to the high quality areas of your site is not going to get you into trouble.
Well i do have to agree with both sides:
Yellow_Sun has a point that having too much internal links can be seen as a bad behaviour! But i have to agree with the other side: just by removing links, you won't solve anything.
I really feel from my experience, that the actual informational text on a page have to be in harmony with the internal links on that page. I think a website with a ton of internal links without any actual information IS spammy. So either remove some links - like Yellow_Sun suggested - or add more useful info to the page.
I respect your opinion, and like I said, every situation and website is different.
We have about 13 sites up and running, and only 2 of our lower/middle sites got affected that do revenues in the low/mid 6 figures each. Our higher/bigger quality websites did not get affected that have footer and/or sidebar links but for other reasons I believe. However, we still are adjusting our sites that did not get hit including removing most footer and sidebar links.
I don't think just removing footer links will get you out of the Panda or Penguin penalty, but I do believe it will help and is just 1 piece of the big pie. As I mentioned, I have adjusted several things and the positive results are showing.
The few trusted experts are the single entrepreneurs that make net revenue in the 8 figures. Now, if you personally make $10-$30 million net a year then I would respect your opinion more. If you don't, I will continue to trust my experience and the people in my small inter-circle, but you can feel free to laugh in their successful face if you wish.
Again, as I mentioned, every website and situation is different with dozens of very important factors that come into play. All I am saying, based on experience, is I wouldn't recommend adding 150 internal links to your footer or sidebar to every page/most pages on your website. Take it with a grain of salt, and all I'm doing is trying to help and share real life experiences.
As part of a redesign after panda, I did add an extra left sidebar with many links to some of the best content (in addition to related posts in the body of the page)... absolutely no sign of any positives coming from this.
Are we all on the same page when we say "footer links?" I mean, if you have one of those obviously spammy lists of links down there that could only possibly exist for passing pagerank, then yeah, getting rid of them should help with Penguin/Panda hits. But if your footer links actually have some navigational value to visitors, like a lot of CMS footer links do, then adding those might help a site that Google viewed as poorly structured or hard to navigate.
|I respect your opinion, and like I said, every situation and website is different. |
I am not saying you are wrong here. I think we are both thinking 2 completely different ideas of footer links here. I am talking about legit links that are useful that can be found in the footer or above the footer. Such as related stories/products, other top pages, newly added, featured etc etc.
|We have about 13 sites up and running, and only 2 of our lower/middle sites got affected that do revenues in the low/mid 6 figures each. Our higher/bigger quality websites did not get affected that have footer and/or sidebar links but for other reasons I believe. However, we still are adjusting our sites that did not get hit including removing most footer and sidebar links. |
I have seen some ugly websites in my time. Poorly structured, unorganized slops of filth. They go against everything a typical "seo professional" would recommend. Despite this ugliness, they were not effected once by any update. They don't care about seo they dont even know what seo is. Heck most of them are so big they dont even need search engine traffic.
|I don't think just removing footer links will get you out of the Panda or Penguin penalty, but I do believe it will help and is just 1 piece of the big pie. As I mentioned, I have adjusted several things and the positive results are showing. |
1 piece of the big pie is exactly right. Ever since panda was released, everyone has been repeating what you are now saying. Boiler plate site navigation, footer links, duplicate product descriptions, duplicate content, empty tag pages blah blah blah. Well this has all spread and many webmasters have made these changes, yet we are still not seeing an overwhelming amount of recoveries. Its not just that they aren't coming forward, the ones that are being tracked publicly are all still stick in the panda. So nobody has any clear idea how to get out of panda and sgt-kickaxe's assumption is as good as any.
|The few trusted experts are the single entrepreneurs that make net revenue in the 8 figures. Now, if you personally make $10-$30 million net a year then I would respect your opinion more. If you don't, I will continue to trust my experience and the people in my small inter-circle, but you can feel free to laugh in their successful face if you wish. |
I do not yet make $10-$30 million a year. I have 2 clients who are global brands that make over $50 million a week and they trust me with everything from the development of their site to their marketing. I can guarantee that the people in your inter-circle did not become as successful as they are based on seo knowledge alone. To make that kind of money online you need to have a legit business and a real presence online. You can only get so far with just seo knowledge. I do not mean to be rude, but that is a pretty shallow statement to make stating that wealthy peoples opinions matter more than others.
|Again, as I mentioned, every website and situation is different with dozens of very important factors that come into play. All I am saying, based on experience, is I wouldn't recommend adding 150 internal links to your footer or sidebar to every page/most pages on your website. Take it with a grain of salt, and all I'm doing is trying to help and share real life experiences. |
I don't think anyone was really getting at 150 internal links in the footer. But heck, if a site warrants that many links, why not? If you have a site that is thousands and thousands of pages, then you are probably going to need hundreds of links on every page so people can find all this content.
100% agree with everything Brinked wrote and appreciate his opinion.
+ keep remembering the advice to "focus on the user" rather than merely optimizing every piece of your content for the search engines.
One has to make sound decision as to whether clicking any link on a specific page provide addition/useful info to the reader and if the reader is happy so I am happy.
What if Panda assumes pages that nobody visits (either by internal navigation or via non-Google related sources) are low quality because:-
1) they could be made just to generate traffic from search engines (spam),
2) just not useful enough to entice anyone to go there,
3) impossible to find due to poor navigation.
All three could be considered indicators of a poor quality site. If a large proportion of your site is like this, perhaps that's what pushes you into Panda territory. Increasing internal links might help your visitors find pages that weren't easily discovered before, lifting you out of Panda territory. Improving navigation methodically based on your stats might help you attack the problem with precision, rather than just slapping extra links everywhere.
Footer links are an option but these need to be used carefully. Years ago I overcame a severe penalty just by removing footer links. However, with hindsight I think it was the execution I got wrong not the fact that we had loads of links in the footer. I see many sites being upgraded to include vast footer links and, done properly, it does aid navigation. I think the judgement on whether you've done it properly lies in your visitor stats - if they use them you've done it right and Google won't mind.....otherwise it might be considered a bit spammy and you could risk a penalty.
Since Panda arrived lots of people have said "think about your users" but it's such a sweeping statement. I'm beginning to realise the answers are all in my Analytics account, it's just knowing what I'm looking for that's the problem. Maybe it's as simple as ensuring most of your pages can actually be found!
Based on what evidence?
|Penguin is about bad external links, not internal links. |
I think that a lot of what we hear about Penguin is about external links, but I have read that internal links (in the body text, footer) are also being looked at by Penguin.
If anyone can write about the effects that internal link changes (e.g. anchor text used, quantity) have made to their sites after Penguin, that would be great.
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