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Has Anyone Recovered From Penguin?

 7:24 am on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi All

With all these changes happening, the BIG question is still the same. Has anyone actually recovered from Penguin.

We removed thousands upon thousands of links from some sites that were hit, to a point that they have less than 100 links left in total.

Yet no recovery and any of our sites.

And after reading tons of comments on so many websites, I am still to hear of someone recovering from Penguin.

I will refrain from swearing :)

Please if anyone has recovered I'm sure everyone would love to hear, else it means the last 5 months have been a waste and we all should have just started new websites.



 5:39 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Nope, no recovery. I've seen two cases of claimed recovery on two other forums, but no evidence or much details besides the claim.

Like you I made alot of effort to remove links and even acquired new, and very good ones with one site. With another I've just removed links alone.


 8:23 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

As with any of these updates it's hard to be 100% sure, but I have seen a site tank on the original Penguin and recover on the EMD update. It was an EMD with reasonable content.

Internal anchor text was varied away from exact match keywords and it held through the latest Penguin refresh.


 8:31 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

no recovery


 9:42 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

I recovered 2 sites and I'm sure many others have also but like myself can not give details.


 10:17 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

@serenoo - what did you do to assist breaking out with a recovery?

- Apologies, that site that held for a week after the EMD update and thru the subsequent Penguin refresh, has actually completely tanked in the last 12 hours. I didn't bother to check until after i wrote the post.

Just goes to show that things can be subject to flux through these updates.

[edited by: Whitey at 10:27 pm (utc) on Oct 11, 2012]


 10:23 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

No recovery, despite massive link removal. Checking around around on a couple of other forums and I haven't seen any other recovery except from Spunkle.

Spunkle...it is quite understandable if you don't want to share personal information, but can you provide non-identifiable generalities? It would be so very helpful to us stuck in the dark. We could also be sure that you did recover from Penguin as obviously there are a lot of other penalties out there.

Can you share things like when you got hit, the # of fake links you had, the # you removed, the # you still have, the # of links you obtained (organic or articial) between now and April 24th...?


 10:29 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Spunkle - I'd second that. Some generalities would be helpful so that folks that have been hit have something to work with.

As per my above post you can count out one recovery, unless there's a data shuffle / flux going on while the site settles.


 7:54 am on Oct 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Whitey: I removed all the purchased backlinks (only about 3-4 links for website) and stop. I removed them months ago, so Google knows I removed them befor running again.


 8:03 am on Oct 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think that if we are going to get out of this it's going to be when whatever penalty that we have, expires. That's what I hope anyway. And six months would seem to be fitting. That is what I am currently clinging to. I wish I had not wasted what little money I have left workjing on my hit site. I should have just moved on. I might be seeing some results by now.


 8:39 am on Oct 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

And six months would seem to be fitting.

Surely that is a bit of wishful thinking since it is 6 months from the initial drops.

I see two demotions, one where the site is sent into oblivion and the other is a continual weekly bouncing, personally I am going to work on the bouncers as I can see more hope with these and just let the big sinkers expire.

The best result I had was when I registered a brand new domain and transferred the content accross with a new home page.


 10:11 am on Oct 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Surely that is a bit of wishful thinking since it is 6 months from the initial drops.

Yes :-) But at least we only have a couple of weeks to know if I am right or not.


 11:51 am on Oct 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

There's a lot of talk about link removal, but has Google actually spidered these removals? It can take months for them to get round spidering low-quality pages. For those of you still waiting on a recovery, what's the result when you search for the exact anchor text or surrounding text you used for those low quality links?


 2:44 pm on Oct 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

For what it's worth - I'm starting to see changes in my analytics and in the SERPs that I have checked which seems to imply that I'm at least out of a penalty situation that I had been in since April 24. This seems to have been just since yesterday. I'm crossing my fingers and holding my breath.


 1:05 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

My page that had been creeping back up the SERPs entered page one briefly and then back to the top of page 2 and now dropped right off to the top of page 3. Did anyone else see anything over the weekend?

I am pretty much giving up on the site. It's 11 years old - I don't have a hope in hell of cleaning every link it's ever received. Time to call it a day.


 1:55 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)


I have a page entered in top 10 in the weekend, dropped again today.


 2:04 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

When you deleted a lot of backlinks, you site lost a lot of its incoming "pagerank juice". And google has probably devalued the shady backlinks you didn't delete, causing even more incoming "pagerank juice" to be lost. This lost "pagerank juice" had previously helped to boost your site's rankings, so without it your rankings have fallen.

This is why I said in another thread that most likely the only way for a site to make a "full" recovery from Penguin is acquire some new "natural" backlinks to replace the incoming "pagerank juice" that has been lost. I think this will still be true even if Google fixes the Penguin part of its algorithm to remove the penalization aspect of it.


 2:37 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

aristotle, I believe that I have recovered from a Penguin penalty - or some other penalty that was imposed on April 24.

I am no longer seeing my site repressed in the SERPs. My site is long-tail, so people searching for pages on my site's subject should get my site on the first page when there is no other competition. From April 24 to Oct 17 that was not the case - my site often appeared at the #11 position, which was a clear sign of a penalty to me.

Starting on April 18, when I search for the phrases that I've seen repressed, they are now showing up in the #1 or #2 spot.

I made a lot of changes since April 24 - but because my backlinks were all legit, I did not focus on backlink removal, with the exception of a small handful of sites which had linked me blogroll style to their message forums so it showed 400,000 links on their site to one on my site. That seemed really egregious, so I asked those sites to remove the links. A couple did, but they did it months ago, so it didn't coincide with Oct 18.

I suspect that the penalty might be time-based, and could be due to something else I did, or maybe just due to an increase in seasonal traffic that my site gets from October to April - maybe the increase in traffic pushed me above some threshold that Google uses.


 2:44 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Ralph_ I have tried to remove links with direct anchor text whether they look natural or not. I just emailed another site that had a lot of links to me - I never asked them for them but that doesn't mean they will look natural to google. How do you know what google thinks in natural or not? This is my dilemma.


 3:04 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

for the reasons I've already given, I still don't think that anyone can make a "full" recovery from penguin just by getting backlinks removed and doing nothing else. And I haven't seen any reports of clearcut examples that would prove otherwise.


 3:23 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

No but there are no clearcut examples of anyone doing anything else that worked either.


 3:47 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

No but there are no clearcut examples of anyone doing anything else that worked either.

Are you suggesting that there's no way for a site to recover?

Actually, it may very well not make any difference whether you remove any backlinks or not, since Google probably devalues them anyway. But in either case, I don't see how a site can ever make a "full" recovery unless it acquires some new "natural" backlinks to replace those that are removed or devalued.


 4:33 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I changed the domain sometime in the first week of August when nothing seemed to work. I didn't do a redirect from the old one. But the search traffic took a leap on Oct 7 just like it took a dip in the last week of April 2012. I'm still not willing to do a 301 from the old domain cause it may be too early to tell. But I'm surprised if this was Penguin, because I changed the domain (but the organic search graph still took a leap just like it took a dip in Apr).


 4:36 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I said a while back that there is no recovery but was said to repress discussion about recoveries, but like most here I haven't seen anybody posting about recovering. I still think that what we have now is what we have to live with, except for us with a double whammy of a -950 penalty where we might be able to recover from.


 4:49 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Are you suggesting that there's no way for a site to recover?

No, just that we are not seeing any. Cutts did say that it would be possible to recover - if you believe him. It certainly does not seem that there is a way to "recover" but maybe the penalty gets lifted one day. I spent way too much time effort and money trying to pull my site out of this - I would have been better to ditch it and start again and that's pretty much what I am doing now. Except I don't really have the budget after spending it all on trying to bring my old one back from the dead.

I do think that recoveries will happen one day as there are too many false positives involved. Plus, it's not really clear what google likes or dislikes now so removing links is dangerous, as is keeping them as you will never know what google does or doesn't like. So I hope they take some pity on us.


 4:52 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I also believe that sites will be penalised in the beginning of the year and there will always be recoveries (just less ppl to crib about recoveries); and recoveries will happen before christmas. (Only to be penalised again). Makes sense for Mr. G.


 5:03 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Jez, I wish I could tell you the specific thing I did that worked. Here is what I did since April 24:

* Blocked Google from my development server which was being indexed. Also redirected my non-WWW pages to WWW (widget.com, mail.widget.com, ftp.widget.com were all showing up as valid URLs).

* Asked 4-5 sites to remove blogroll backlinks. These backlinks were appearing in WMT as a huge amount of links to a very small number of pages, mostly my homepage. 3 of them removed them.

* Corrected a lot of issues with duplicate titles and meta descriptions as show in WMT.

* Fixed a situation where a calendar-like page was generating thousands of nonsense pages which Google had been spidering.

* Changed the link structure on a widget I have to be nofollow. This widget shows on other sites.

* Made site navigation better by adding breadcrumb trails.

* Added rich snippets to some pages.

* removed some advertising from each page, mostly a single-unit Adsense ad, a 125x150 banner that I sold myself, and with some thinner pages, a 300x250 ad unit (though this unit still appears on most other pages).

* Updated my vBulletin installation so that nofollow is added to all external links, and cleaned up some forum spam there (I had been actively trying to do this, but the spammers found crevices that I didn't even know existed).

* Nofollowed my "links" page - just about a dozen links on it though, and none were paid or traded for.

* No-indexed a lot of pages that either had no information on them, were search results (and thus not useful to the SERPs) or were infrastructure-type pages (also not useful to the index).

* Added more content to the site, as I have done for the past 16 years. I focused a bit more on rounding out existing topics than on adding new topics, but not enough to make a difference, in my opinion.

Yes, a lot of the changes were Panda-related, but I hadn't been hit with Panda before, at least not noticeably - although a problem I specifically noticed last October, with certain pages not being returned, appears to be resolved too, so perhaps there is some Panda/Penguin interplay involved here - maybe Penguin just makes your site more susceptible to Panda?

Here is why I think I have recovered: Prior to April, in WMT, it showed about 600k search impressions. In April, the impressions got screwy, changing nearly every day, going as high as 1m impressions. Then, April 24, they dropped to about 200k impressions. Throughout the summer they were around 100k impressions. Now, Oct 18, they went up to 450k impressions.

As I mentioned, my site is seasonal, and my traffic is also being hit due to a labor-related issue in my niche which is
causing less interest in the topic, but I have tracked my site's statistics religiously for the past 13 years and from April 24 to Oct 18, there was clearly a penalty in effect - and my experimentation with SERPs showed it as well.


 6:27 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

(Only to be penalised again)

@varun21 Penalised again if the "problem" is not fixed? Or?


 6:56 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ralph_Slate said
Throughout the summer they were around 100k impressions. Now, Oct 18, they went up to 450k impressions.

One of us must have looked at our calendar wrong. I didn't think Oct 18 had arrived yet. I believe the last penguin refresh was Oct. 5. Is that the day you're thinking about?


 7:19 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

aristotle, sorry, I meant October 11. To be clear, it was not on October 5. That's what makes it odd.

This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44 ( [1] 2 > >
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