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Penguin Recovery Tips - think tank part 2
fred9989

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 10:06 am on Jun 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

< continued from: [webmasterworld.com...] >

Let's go back to Penguin recovery tips, of which there are none easy logical ones for an average small business. Except maybe develop more good links where Google found bad ones, quickly and in numbers. Which, apparently, Google dislikes. And at this point black hats are reporting being able to successfully nuke sites at will thru simple linkfarms.


I don't think it's quite so simple. I had / have a number of sites in dmoz, the open directory (remember that!?), whole categories of which were targeted by spammers for some nefarious purpose. End result - sudden gain of hundreds of spammy inlinks to my sites.

While not quite sure what they were up to (possibly testing the idea of nuking sites, if I had to take a guess), and I can't really be bothered to find out, what I know is that of my 5 sites which fell into the category they attacked, Google has treated them differently.

Three were deindexed to varying degrees: one has been completely deindexed, obliterated; another is showing just the url in Google when I look for the domain. A third shows a couple of pages.

The two that survived this attack and appear not to have been affected, as far as I can tell, already had lots of solid links garnered over 12 years.

One possible conclusion is that having solid links already (or a history) gives protection against spam attacks.

[edited by: tedster at 2:34 pm (utc) on Jun 24, 2012]

 

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 6:58 pm on Jun 29, 2012 (gmt 0)


From the way i look at it, removing a lot of links can cause some sort of trigger, where it can either confirm Google that you were actually participating in link schemes or you accidentally stand on a wrong foot by removing links which are actually good ones. Removing good ones can cause further drop in ranks, removing bad ones can trigger Google.


I removed some links from my own sites that I probably should have brazened out I reckon. Hard to tell if I got penalised further as a whole heap of #*$! hit my site after that. Partly my mistake and partly the guy helping me. The water is now so muddied I have absolutely no idea what is going on. Like you I have built some pretty solid links since then but nothing is making any difference.

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 10:49 pm on Jun 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

A lot of this thread is just panda talk, not penguin as the thread title suggests.

With respect to penguin, recovery factors are all just pure speculation for now. We will know more if penguin updates and some sites actually recover. Then, word can get out on what factors were successful in driving recovery.


PENGUIN Recovery is completely different to PENGUIN avoidance... and avoidance is easier to discuss.

Once you are nailed by PENGUIN it is pointless to leave the mess of unnatural links online... you can work around them sure but as I understand PENGUIN if you are devalued for red striped widget you'll never be able to recover results on that phrase.

Additionally, old webspam can exasperate new and growing problems, and especially if and when Google upgrades PENGUIN to handle synonyms or other way of varying your trust profile. That's a huge unknown that can bite you 1, 2, 3, or 5 years from now... when you can't afford to lose revenue.

Proactively rel="nofollow" questionable links (or deleting them outright is you only option... and you must do that today.

Matt Cutts says there are no workarounds... I don't believe that - the webspam team are really really good search engine engineers but they are not the most notable experts on exploiting their own vulnerabilities... so this does takes time.

In theory, you can force Google to give up on PENGUINized pages. Still waiting for the practical evidence to prove this conclusively but by deleting the page and disallowing Google to the page... including it elsewhere... and one re-RUN later you are off to the races. I would guess that no matter what you need a re-RUN but what does Google do when you delete your website and shutdown the account? Say "no you can't you have to clean up first?"

It won't work for anything to the domain's default page (unless those are absolute urls) as the problem simply follows you around to the next default location...

BUT that is where PENGUIN avoidance changes things... don't get webspam links to http://www.example.com/ get them to http://www.example.com/index.php and when PENGUINized delete the page, disallow Googlebot to it, move your homepage to http://www.example.com/homepage.php and you off again.

...if you got solid editorial links develop only those to http://www.example.com/ so you keep all great links.

This is still theory... but it makes logical sense based on the traditional values Google affords just to defunct any page that is no longer needed.

IMHO

[edited by: tedster at 3:16 am (utc) on Jun 30, 2012]
[edit reason] switch to example.com [/edit]

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 1:26 am on Jun 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Fathom, you're the first person I've come across who's saying a couple of things I suspected, if I read you right.

as I understand PENGUIN if you are devalued for red striped widget you'll never be able to recover results on that phrase.


Is this from something you've read or heard, or based on experience so far? Because it certainly seems to match my experience post-Penguin, but I would think it's a little soon to say "never" at this point.

Proactively rel="nofollow" questionable links (or deleting them outright is you only option... and you must do that today.


Are you talking about editorial links on your own site? Most people still seem to think Penguin is 100% about backlinks, but I think editorial links are something else it's looking at for indications of spam.

anteck



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 1:53 am on Jun 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Big question now is.. when is the next refresh happening? I think we're do for another one. Would be good to see if all the effort some of us have gone to clean up our link profile has any affect...

CainIV

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 3:23 am on Jun 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

What I have found is that shaking up the internal links, matching of title, internal links, description and theme internally as well as inbound links can start to improve sites hit by Penguin. We just helped a website that was dropped to page 8 get back to top of page two by rethinking the entire approach to SEO and diluting all factors.

Ensure you look at aggregate inbound link anchor text ratios (for those that have decent, clean inbound link profiles)

gouri

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 3:30 am on Jun 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@CainIV,

After making the changes that you mention, can you tell me about how long it took to see an improvement?

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 10:10 am on Jun 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ fathom
Once you are nailed by PENGUIN it is pointless to leave the mess of unnatural links online..


I agree. Best to bite the bullet now rather than worry that they will bite you again in 1, 2 5 years time.

but as I understand PENGUIN if you are devalued for red striped widget you'll never be able to recover results on that phrase.


I really hope you are wrong on that point! What makes you think that no recovery will ever be possible? Or are you saying that with the current link profile it will never be possible? With new links, possible again? Please explain.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 12:51 pm on Jun 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can't imagine how anyone could say you'll never recover that keyword after a Penguin hit. There's only been on single Penguin refresh so far. That's not enough history for anyone to know.

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 1:10 pm on Jun 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ tedster. From the history that we do know, it's not google's style either. I am still hopeful. Just could do with a refresh :S

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 2:49 pm on Jun 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ensure you look at aggregate inbound link anchor text ratios (for those that have decent, clean inbound link profiles)


I'm definitely going to do that. I've just combed through by backlinks in WMT once again, and while there's the usual spammy stuff like "updowner", it's pretty obvious I didn't solicit any of these links, and they're the kind of thing no link profile can completely avoid. I'm pretty confident Penguin sees my backlink profile as clean, and the problem is on page.

I don't do anything on my Penguined site in terms of internal linking that I don't also do on healthy sites. But this site does link out far more than my others, and I suspect that may also be something Penguin is taking for spam when it's not. (As I've said elsewhere, the site has issues and really did deserve a Panda slap, but instead got a Penguin slap, which really still puzzles me.)

gouri

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 2:20 am on Jul 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

In the second case you are more likely to have internal anchor text being subset phrase of the whole page title element and URL of over-optimised page often dropping off stop-words from the URL (which would be there if the URL is created from the CMS page name purely by replacing spaces by dashes or similar)


Is it okay to have internal anchor text on a page that is a subset phrase of the title tag of the page being linked to? Would that be considered over optimization or linking using related or relevant phrases?

I would appreciate your thoughts on this, as I have several internal links of this type on a website that I am working on, and I don't want to over optimize.

klark0



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 3:52 am on Jul 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ tedster. From the history that we do know, it's not google's style either. I am still hopeful. Just could do with a refresh :S


From the last refresh, wasn't there a high profile example ?

Sure some argued that their recovery happened because it was publicized and google took manual action. But the fact that recovery happened on exactly the date of a known refresh makes me think that it wasn't and their backlink clean-up efforts of 'sitewides' with targetted anchortext under their control were a major contributing factor.

Yellow_Sun



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 5:15 am on Jul 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

From my experience you can still recover for the phrase of red striped widgets after Penguin. One of the big sites I worked on was not hit by Panda, but was by Penguin. After working countless hours on fixing everything our rankings have started to come back after being wiped off the face of the planet, in particular the main keyword we are trying to rank for which is extremely competitive and now is back on the first page......

To sum it up, we were ranked #3 for red striped widgets, got hit by Penguin, had no ranking once so ever for red striped widgets for 2+ months, did massive work on the site over 2+ months, now ranked #9 for red striped widgets.

It might not be #1 nor #3, but lets just say its been a great week to see it come back and you can rank for phrases again.

zehrila

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 9:53 am on Jul 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Since its keyword/page specific penalty, its is mainly due to all the external factors. The best practice one can suggest is to prune your backlinks.

You are most likely dropped for your money related keywords, for which you have been acquiring links, mostly exact or matching anchor texts.

Just download your backlinks data from webmaster tools, make a nice spreadsheet, check which keywords dropped and what sort of backlinks were pointing to the pages which dropped and start your link pruning process from there, but at same time keep on getting much more qualitative links which are not tailor made!

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 2:11 pm on Jul 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just download your backlinks data from webmaster tools, make a nice spreadsheet, check which keywords dropped and what sort of backlinks were pointing to the pages which dropped and start your link pruning process from there, but at same time keep on getting much more qualitative links which are not tailor made!


That's a great suggestion, but what it revealed on my site is that I simply lack links to the phrases I used to be ranking on - that's why I never understood why I ranked for them in the first place, and wasn't upset when I stopped ranking for them. But this happened with Penguin, so clearly there is more to it than just backlinks. Or else Penguin and Panda are overlapping in ways we haven't managed to assess yet.

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 5:55 pm on Jul 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

So, I reckon it will be the end of this month now before they refresh Penguin. Making it a 3 month penalty (if we come out of it that is). Seems to fit more with google's way of doing things. A 3 month penalty seems more likely than 2 to me anyway.

zehrila

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 11:49 am on Jul 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

That's a great suggestion, but what it revealed on my site is that I simply lack links to the phrases I used to be ranking on - that's why I never understood why I ranked for them in the first place, and wasn't upset when I stopped ranking for them. But this happened with Penguin, so clearly there is more to it than just backlinks. Or else Penguin and Panda are overlapping in ways we haven't managed to assess yet.


In most of websites i went through, which seemed to be affected by penguin reflect the behaviour i mentioned in my earlier post, they were all hyper targeting their money keywords with exact anchors. Its not just the anchors, if the content is shallow on those pages and links are also coming from less authoritative sites, penguin is most likely to ding. First make sure your on page is not hyper optimized, add images, videos make the page worthy probably, then get some editorial links from authoritative sites.

zehrila

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 12:02 pm on Jul 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

So, I reckon it will be the end of this month now before they refresh Penguin. Making it a 3 month penalty (if we come out of it that is). Seems to fit more with google's way of doing things. A 3 month penalty seems more likely than 2 to me anyway.


I don't think Google will be fully ready for a penguin update just yet, even if they do, i doubt there will be wide recovery, the update could be about further tightening the cork and penalize sites which escaped earlier.

Since the penalty is based on backlinks, i removed some of links right after penguin, and they are still in the Google cache, Google has not crawled those pages for a while, so it shall take a while before Google reads all those pages where we are removing our links from and apply changes in their algorithm, that is when recovery is possible, but for now i don't see major recoveries anytime soon.

learnseo81



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 12:42 pm on Jul 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@zehrila

Even If the next penguin refresh is about tightening the cork, Google has to do some changes in their algo to improve detection. I believe that in next refresh % of sites coming out of the penguin will be much higher than sites getting hit.

If they change the threshold of triggering penguin, some sites will certainly come out.

P.S. I think you are dead right that penguin penalized sites with hyper money keywords offsite or onsite.

zehrila

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 2:47 pm on Jul 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, i agree. In next update there will be larger chunk of sites coming out of penalty.

In previous refresh, people were still figuring out what to do and those who had fixed links by then, also did not see any recovery because of several reasons, one of which is Google had not yet detected all the changes they had made, but i hope by next update a lot changes will be counted, but remember getting out of penguin still won't guarantee same old ranks.

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 2:54 pm on Jul 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have just found that someone has run xrumer or something like it on my site. I have lots of links from forum profiles with 0 post history. Not so many that it looks like an attack but as many as though someone tested that software on my domain. I don't know how worried I should be about this. They are off topic but we are not talking thousands of them. What would you do in this situation?

gouri

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 3:23 pm on Jul 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have read that having anchor text in a link the same as the url of a page may be something that Google Penguin looks at.

My question is do you think that this applies for anchor links as well?

For example, suppose a page has a section on stocks to buy and bonds to buy and the anchor link to the sections are stocks and bonds, respectively.

Would it be better to have the urls as

www.example.tld/investments.html#stocks and www.example.tld/investments.html#bonds

or

www.example.tld/investments.html#stocks-tips and www.example.tld/investments.html#bonds-tips

Is it better to have some variation between the anchor text and url or is it ok if they are the same?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 3:43 pm on Jul 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

There is some thought that Penguin looks at internal anchor text. But no one could know for sure - there's only been one Penguin refresh, not enough time for successful testing.

I'd say just keep it natural and user focused. That would mean use matches sometimes and vary it sometimes.

zehrila

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 4:40 pm on Jul 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ted: Isn't excessive usage of targeted internal anchor text already a no go area? specially at navigation level or listing items in categories, like "Mangoes BUY" "Blueberries BUY". I remember we had discussion on internal anchor text back in June 2008, i had a penalty for that sort of over optimization and that was sitewide, but Penguin seems like page/keyword specific.

Are you referring to occasional internal anchor text used in document to link to other page?

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 12:40 pm on Jul 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's not definite proof that *negative SEO has put my site into this mess, but someone has added lots of spammy links without my knowledge and my site has suffered. There are other factors that may have participated but as we don't know everything about Penguin, but we do know that spammy links hurt I can say that negative SEO is real.

*This wasn't done maliciously. I was paying someone to publicise a competition that was being run on the site, and they outsourced it to someone else and to make up the time that was paid after the real work was done the outsource foolishly added spammy empty forum profiles, probably with xrumer or something like that, to the home page of the site. At least that was the way that it was explained to me when I found out who had added the spam.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 1:20 pm on Jul 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well, any negative SEO that was indirectly done by an indirect agent of yours - and therefore it created a promotional footprint for the algorithm to sniff. If it was done by your agent, even if unknown to you, that still "counts". Most of the cases I've looked into were exactly like this. They were made up of outsourced and crappy link building. Sometimes it took a long while to sniff out the actual culprit!

I believe that, beginning from real, confirmed seed sets followed by machine learning, Google has built several profiles or footprints for types of backlink violation. That means, these days at least, that they have a pretty good handle on the difference between attempts at sabotage and attempts at real PR-building promotion that went outside their guidelines.

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 1:41 pm on Jul 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sometimes it took a long while to sniff out the actual culprit!


It did in this case too. It was only that all the spam forum profiles were made in the same nickname and the first part was the guy that I was using's first name (and we ARE talking nearly 2 years ago that I dealt with him). Since then, the guy had had 2 different jobs etc so I was lucky to even find him again, let alone have him find all the links, forums spammed, passwords and usernames emailed to him by the actual spammer.

So, it seems if you do want to indulge in negative SEO, that less is more, perhaps? A massive blast of spam would probably be ignored but a less obvious injection of spam might win the day? Still seems wrong that it can happen at all.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 6:26 pm on Jul 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was paying someone to publicise a competition that was being run on the site, and they outsourced it to someone else and... etc etc.

I think something like this actually happened to Google itself a while back. Google outsourced a publicity campaign, and what was published ended up violating Google's guidelines in several ways. I believe the marketing articles included dofollow links back to Google's product, and the articles themselves were complete fluff. Once this was discovered, Google took the hit, and that product area didn't rank for a while.

The difference between this and negative SEO is the cost involved and the access an actual marketer would have (vs a clandestine operation). I'm sure that Google paid more for the marketing campaign than a competitor would have chosen to invest in a negative SEO campaign, and no competitor could have placed the articles.

gouri

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 2:14 am on Jul 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am working on a website and one of the pages is trying to rank for the 2-word phrase keyword 1 keyword 2. I have included this phrase a number of times in the body text, and I have also included keyword 2 on its own a couple of times in the body text for some variation. Keyword 1 keyword 2 is also in the H1 tag, along with some other words.

I don't want Penguin to consider that I am over optimizing for the phrase keyword 1 keyword 2 so in the title tag, instead of saying Creating a Good keyword 1 keyword 2, I want to say Creating a Good keyword 3 keyword 4. Keyword 3 keyword 4 is a 2-word phrase that is related to the 2-word phrase keyword1 keyword 2.

My question is would it be okay to do this, using a phrase related to what I want to rank for in the title tag instead of the actual phrase. Could this help me to rank for keyword 1 keyword 2?

Would this be good SEO?

I would appreciate your thoughts.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 2:33 am on Jul 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I would use the exact word in the title element, and use the synonyms elsewhere. The title element is just too important for ranking not to use the most important word there.

Yes, it is possible to rank for a word when the title uses a synonym - Google's semantic processing is pretty good there, especially for a core set of common search terms. But then the secondary signals need to be stronger to compete, and that can be harder to achieve.

I think being concerned about Penguin to the point of NOT using an important keyword in the title element is going too far.

gouri

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4468894 posted 3:09 am on Jul 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree with what you are saying. The title element is very important and should probably contain the word or phrase that the page is trying to rank for.

Would putting the synonym in the H1 tag be a good option? I currently have the exact phrase in the H1 but maybe that is a good place to put the related phrase.

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