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Penguin not working - sites continue to rank with spammy links
atlrus




msg:4509367
 1:57 pm on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

It took me a while to decide how I should go about this post, even if I should really post in the first place. But with the recent "disavow" tool, I kinda feel obligated. The meat of this post:

Penguin is NOT working

There may not even be such thing as Penguin. I know, there are penalties, but I believe Penguin in general is seriously misrepresented, to say the least.

Recently I decided to enter a new niche. I'm not going into details, but it's rather competitive in the natural results. I have the knowledge, thus I am confident I can compete in this niche, as far as quality content. The first thing I did is to gather the main search keywords and analyze the competition, starting with backlinks, of course. It appeared that about 20 websites are currently occupying the top spots (first page) for the more popular keywords, so I ran ahref on all of them.

You would not believe the backlink profiles! 99% pure unadulterated spam. Site-wide links from foreign websites, blog roll links, almost all (at least 90%) of the backlink profile on ALL of them comes from websites not even remotely related to the niche. I mean things we used to see about 10 years ago. I just don't have the words to describe the "spammyness", blatant and wide in the open. If I showed you the backlink profile of just one of the websites - you will probably punch your monitor and go get drunk.

There is no way in the world that, if Penguin is what it was described to be, it would miss such websites. No way!

I have seen it with my own eyes and I strongly advise everyone to really rethink Penguin.


Now that I have seen this, my personal opinion has changed to: Penguin is just a jolt, most likely designed to bring as much "SEOs" out of the woodwork as possible, as usual based on FUD, or simply to scare them a bit for the future. It certainly is not really targeting anything in particular and seems to work randomly. Add to this that fact that Penguin has not reappeared since it was used for the first time.

I don't think google had any plan about "Penguin", so I have no idea if there is any recovery technique besides just riding it out and hope that one of the thousands yearly changes would trigger something that would improve ones position.

 

brinked




msg:4510939
 6:12 pm on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Keep in mind that sites will creep up in between panda and penguin updates. I see 1 webmasters who always ranks top 5 for a search term. Then every panda update that site gets pummeled. A few weeks later he will have another site ranking top 5...and then that gets demolished by the next update.

I had a pandalized site taken offline for a year...I put it back up and it was recovered...until the next panda refresh that is.

So if sites creep up in between updates, if they are really low quality, chances are they will get taken out by the next update around the corner.

Leosghost




msg:4510995
 8:36 pm on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

altrus..you said
Leoghost tried to make the claim that Google never said it was about links,


whereas I actually said
Google has never said that Penguin is all about links

Removing the word "all" from my still visible original post, so as to make it appear that I was saying something which I was not, and then claiming to have "proved me wrong" ;)..You are merely refuting your own perversion of my post..

It doesn't prove me "wrong" at all ..merely that..

a)you don't pay attention to what you read when it is posted by others..
or
b)that you deliberately miss-quote others..

I hope that is a) and not b) ..but even if it is a) ..it doesn't help the discussion..

Not paying attention to exactly, and all, of what is said by Google and or others, before racing off to "prove them wrong" or take actions on sites, or advise others to take action on their sites..is the equivalent of purposely covering ones eyes and then complaining about being lost, and how the signposts are not visible..

Penguin is about many things, links is merely one of them, I have never tried to claim otherwise, ( only in your imagination )..as to what the other things are included within Penguin..study it..

Bear in mind I have suffered neither from Panda, nor Penguin, nor from the EMD algo, nor from the changes to the way Google deal with images..and I'm not "trawling for clients or selling secrets via stickies"..I occasionally advise ( for free ) some members here about what are potential problems, or actual problems with their sites ..99% of the time, the reasons for the "problems" are blindingly obvious..

This thread reminds me of the Panda threads..every one (except a small number of us ) were absolutely certain about "what Panda could not possibly be about"..

And now..everyone ( except a few of us ) is absolutely certain about what Penguin is about..deja-vu ..

Carry on..

So I prefer to ignore many threads now, (or only make the occasional comment in an attempt to open the eyes of some )..except when I'm willfully misquoted, as you did, in order that you could claim, that "you had proved me wrong"..

TheMadScientist




msg:4511011
 9:03 pm on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Don't listen to leosghost or jimbeetle.

Don't go read the source and try to think like you work at a search engine.

Don't pay any attention to anything except the 'gurus' who are in it to make a buck by explaining what they say Google said to you OR just believe Penguin is about nothing.

Please? It'll really help some of us out if you don't quite 'get' what's going on and if you think the 'super guru' is giving you the real keys in their blog, please, please, please, don't ask yourself how they possibly get customers and stay in business when they're telling you what you really need to do for free...

What's up leosghost? Been a long time... Would you stop giving the bleeping farm away? lol (Great posts as usual.)

Leosghost




msg:4511012
 9:12 pm on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Glad to see you back :)))..

aristotle




msg:4511013
 9:20 pm on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Penguin is NOT working


At the start of this thread, atlrus described one way in which Penguin isn't working, namely that it often fails to catch mediocre websites that are ranked much higher than they should be.

But that isn't the only way in which Penguin isn't working. Because it also does the "opposite", by causing many quality sites to fall to much lower rankings than where they should be.

The overall effect is that Penquin has significantly lowered the quality of Google's SERPs.

TheMadScientist




msg:4511035
 10:20 pm on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Glad to see you back :)))..

Thanks... Thought I was done with this. (Had all my sites sold or just dropped em if I didn't feel like working on them, only had 2 I was working on at all for other people, then I had an idea I just had to run with. Grrr! Gotta quit staying up so late and thinking so much! lol)

The number of webmasters ( and SEO "gurus" ) who think that Penguin is all about links is incredible..

I can't believe you said out loud, but since you started it...

Talk about FUD ... There's more pure, completely useless, unadulterated FUD on the 'top notch SEO' blogs and sites than Google could ever hope to compete with. Google might give guarded and technically precise answers that are easy to misunderstand or misread, but when I want to know what direction to go I read the SEO sites so I know what everyone else is scrambling to do and then figure out something totally different to work on, because doing what everyone else is doing isn't the answer to out ranking everyone else...

atlrus




msg:4511251
 11:18 am on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Removing the word "all" from my still visible original post, so as to make it appear that I was saying something which I was not, and then claiming to have "proved me wrong" ;)..You are merely refuting your own perversion of my post..


I dropped "all", simply because you are using it as a catch-all (punt intended). Your posts in this thread sound like those made by a google employee - lots of words, but no substance.
I am yet to her your opinion on what it is all about :)
I'm sure that in your head you are following all the posts you've made on this forum, but I'm not. I have no idea what you've said/posted in the past - so don't be afraid of repeating yourself or at least give a link to those posts.

Bear in mind I have suffered neither from Panda, nor Penguin, nor from the EMD algo, nor from the changes to the way Google deal with images..


You and obviously a ton of spammy sites, your point?
It would be really helpful if you'd said "I avoided suffering from those changes because: this and this and that etc"

I hope you realize that general statements like "do your own research", "read the source" and "don't listen to SEO gurus" (whoever they may be) don't really help anyone. And if you don't want to help, then why post in the first place?

Leosghost




msg:4511271
 12:21 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have already posted many things that could help, and many on what is included in Penguin ( again you ask what it is all about..it is not all about anything )..
I have no idea what you've said/posted in the past
You don't want to go look for them yourself..You want me to supply you with links to those posts ? ..
Sorry I have sites to run and other things to do ..you will have to search for them yourself..

I suggest that you read and search more, both in WebmasterWorld and in general, you would understand more how search engines work..rather than expect others to post how to avoid problem with algos, and also to post links for those posts, for those who are too lazy to read the posts first time around, or to search for them..

( to paraphrase something my mother used to say when I was younger ..."what did your last slave die from ?" )

I've contacted plenty of people here privately via sticky, in order to help them ( for free ) because IMO they ask intelligent questions in threads..

You won't be getting a sticky..

btw..you removed "all" so as to try to pervert my post and then try prove me wrong ..not for the reasons that you now claim..put the shovel down and quit digging ..the hole you made for yourself there, is deep enough already..

As for me posting like a Google employee..;) ..mine can't be the only coffee that hit the keyboard from laughing on reading that..ah yes ..you've no idea what I've posted in the past..

Thaparian




msg:4511276
 12:32 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

My site ranked well for many years...never really got affected by any algorithm. And I thought whatever I was doing was just right, cos Google loved my site.

Then Penguin came along, cut my traffic to half, and suddenly I start to question my approach towards my website. Now I think I should've had totally different site structure. I thought of making big changes (which I thought were good changes) to my site, but I didn't because I was ranking really well.

My question is:
How do you know what's the right approach? The approach that gets you results or the approach that you think is right, but may not get you any results.

I didn't build too many links, I only got directory submissions, and a little blog commenting, done back in 2007, which was pretty much a normal practice. At that time, after the submissions, my rankings improved a lot. Now, those links might be hurting me.

Google rewarded me for those links for three years, and now Google is probably punishing me for those links. :/

TypicalSurfer




msg:4511281
 1:11 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Thaparian

In the result sets where you lost your positions, were you replaced by competition or were you replaced by non-commercial results?

At first blush it doesn't sound like you were hurt by existing links, some of your older ones may have been de-valued but don't mistake that for a "penalty" it simply means that a link that delivered a +5 may now only be adding +1 to your page scores. In that event, you need more quality links, not less.

crobb305




msg:4511326
 3:24 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've contacted plenty of people here privately via sticky, in order to help them ( for free ) because IMO they ask intelligent questions in threads..

You won't be getting a sticky..

LOL. I just choked on my coffee.

I tend to agree with Leosghost, on Penguin not being JUST about links. I tried to express that shortly after Penguin 1.0, but who wants to listen? I found it more than a small coincidence that in late 2011, Google updated a patent on spam detection, and then the attack on webspam heated up.

Thaparian




msg:4511352
 4:53 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

In the result sets where you lost your positions, were you replaced by competition or were you replaced by non-commercial results?


It's not like that, apart from a couple of sites, all other sites have ads.

And those couple of sites, are old domains( 10 years+). If there is a manual comparison between my site and those sites, my site would be considered a lot better, and much bigger.

I get it that my site is not #1 anymore. But it should not be below those low quality websites.

For one keyword, my site totally disappeared. Apparently, I had maximum backlinks for that keyword. My site was #3 for a very highly searched keyword. It didn't deserved to be #3. I think a fair rank would be between 10-20, not 200+.

The site in question was created in 2006. And I built another site in the same niche, in 2009, it has very poor content as compared to my main site. This newer site ranks around 120 for the same keyword. So I'm pretty sure, that there is a penalty. And I feel it has a lot to do with anchor text.

Derricks




msg:4511356
 5:02 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

i also only heard about PANDA.
I've never heard about penguin.
I also don't know how that actually work.....

TypicalSurfer




msg:4511407
 7:24 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

The site in question was created in 2006. And I built another site in the same niche, in 2009


Can you see from any stats package the date your site(s) got hit?

jimbeetle




msg:4511417
 7:47 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Don't listen to leosghost or jimbeetle.

He, you know folks on this board don't listen -- to anybody!

seoskunk




msg:4511427
 8:17 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well I got hit by October update and since everyone else has either already got hit or it passed them by its been very difficult to gain information. Only 0.3% of sites were affected.

I have used the disavow tool but I am not convinced this is entirely about links so I have been reading old posts. I learnt about "sets and venn diagrams" sites that claim to have recovered changing onsite factors, ip penalties, keyword diversity, keyword in onsite links .... and now I AM totally confused. I'm going for a walk!

TypicalSurfer




msg:4511432
 8:27 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you are adsense centric and you got hit in October you might want to look into "above the fold update". Too many ads at the top of page may be causing some issues.

TheMadScientist




msg:4511439
 8:42 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

He, you know folks on this board don't listen -- to anybody!

No Kidding!

I'm going for a walk!

That's actually when I have some of my best ideas, so I'd definitely encourage taking more, especially when you're reading here and get 20,000 different opinions.

One thing I would also encourage is taking everything here with a 'grain of salt' and doing something like translating the different ideas presented into general 'topics' or 'categories' and then asking yourself how those could all work together from a search engine perspective, because one thing I've found is when you put all the different 'this is what they changed' stuff together you generally get a better picture of the areas actually involved in a change and once you get the 'overall picture' of the changes made by Google, it's easier to get a view of your site in relation to those changes and identify areas for improvement...

For example, as soon as I heard about Penguin and the 'overall theme' (compete with over-optimization) I went and made a few changes to one of the sites I work on (it gained spots almost immediately), but even though the person who told me about it said 'everyone seems to think they're looking at links', I didn't give those more than a second's thought, because I know the links are solid and I also know there's way more to 'competing with over-optimization' than only looking at inbound links, and if you think Google's engineers don't look at the 'overall picture' rather than a 'micro-granular' piece of the picture you're sorely mistaken...

An update might have a 'main focus', but to think an update is only about 'one thing' or only looks at one aspect of a situation, in my experience, can lead to some huge misses in understanding what's really going on and what's really influencing rankings in a different way than it did previously.

seoskunk




msg:4511463
 10:35 pm on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

@TypicalSurfer
No ads so this is definately a penguin issue
@TheMadScientist
Very wise words, thanks

So I went for a walk and all those posts whirling round in my head seemed to fall into place.... so here goes a theory

Penguin is not just about backlinks its about a set of indicators triggered by spam websites. Imagine your site is scored for spam , after you reach a tipping point penguin is triggered and your site is demoted in the SERPS. For some sites this may indeed be spam links that cause the problem but other sites it may be onsite factors, in most cases it will be a combination of both.

Add to this a lack of strong signals that do not indicate the site is spam.

By looking at penguin like this it would be neccessary to look at the bigger picture concerning your site.

Take keyword spamming , its entirely possible this has been redifined and could now include keyword stemming. Overuse of a keyword that would be grouped in a venn diagram (thanks Leosghost) could cause an increase in your spam score.

IP address, beeing hosted on the same ip as known spam sites could see your spam score increased as well and a whole load more factors to do with your site could each individually push your spam score towards the tipping point that is penguin.

Anyway its a theory

gouri




msg:4511521
 2:01 am on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

For example, as soon as I heard about Penguin and the 'overall theme' (compete with over-optimization) I went and made a few changes to one of the sites I work on (it gained spots almost immediately),...

@TheMadScientist,

Can you mention what on-site changes you made?

I have been affected by Penguin and I believe that it is about more than backlinks, but I am not sure where the over-optimization might be.

Take keyword spamming , its entirely possible this has been redifined and could now include keyword stemming. Overuse of a keyword that would be grouped in a venn diagram (thanks Leosghost) could cause an increase in your spam score.

@seoskunk,

Does this mean that while before saying create a widget, creates a widget and creating a widget would help you to rank for create a widget, now mentioning these variations could be seen as keyword spamming and affect rankings for create a widget and maybe other keywords as well?

gouri




msg:4511536
 3:19 am on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I learnt about "sets and venn diagrams" sites that claim to have recovered changing onsite factors, ip penalties, keyword diversity, keyword in onsite links

@seoskunk,

Can you also mention what you read about keywords in on-site links? Anything maybe about what these links should include?

Thaparian




msg:4511551
 5:20 am on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Can you see from any stats package the date your site(s) got hit?


First hit 19th January, Page Layout Algorithm.
Second hit 24th April, Penguin update.

Dropped traffic over the next few months, no sudden drops.

I think I didn't had way too many ads above the fold, but still I reduced the ads a lot, even tried having no ads above the fold, no recovery. It feels it has nothing to do with the ads.

seoskunk




msg:4511626
 10:19 am on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Does this mean that while before saying create a widget, creates a widget and creating a widget would help you to rank for create a widget, now mentioning these variations could be seen as keyword spamming and affect rankings for create a widget and maybe other keywords as well?


Yes, I think keywords are grouped and that overuse of keyword and variations will add to your spam score ...ie

Keyword Stuffing 1.0 "This seo walks into a bar, large bar, popular bar, local bar, friendly bar etc.

Keyword Stuffing 2.0 "This seo walks into a bar,pub,club,wine bar,inn etc.



Can you also mention what you read about keywords in on-site links? Anything maybe about what these links should include?


Mainly I have read Tedster and Brinked on this and I think overuse of keyword in internal links could add to your spam score. I think it was brinked that suggested grouping navigation of the site under headings which to me sounds like a sound idea... ie

Instead of :
Blue Widget
Red Widget
Green Widget
Yellow Widget

<h2>Widgets</h2>
Blue
Red
Green
Yellow

Also if you are within a category is it really necessary to keep mentioning the category to the user. A breadcrumb within a category could look something like this...

Home > Widgets > Red Widgets

But maybe should look more like this

Home > Widgets > Red

Martin Ice Web




msg:4511657
 11:34 am on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

seosunk,

google suggests another breadcrumb:

A breadcrumb is a row of internal links at the top or bottom of the
page that allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous
section or the root page (1). Many breadcrumbs have the most
general page (usually the root page) as the first, left-most link and list
the more specific sections out to the right.


RED is not specific but generous.

TheMadScientist




msg:4511674
 12:28 pm on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

But maybe should look more like this

Home > Widgets > Red

I think you may be on to something ;)

diberry




msg:4511693
 1:37 pm on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Keyword Stuffing 2.0 "This seo walks into a bar,pub,club,wine bar,inn etc.


Er, if you write a substantial article, the basic rules I learned in English class were to mention my topic in my title, and once again in my article, and then to use synonyms in the rest of the article. This sounds like what you're talking about. Is Google now calling good writing spamming?

smithaa02




msg:4511695
 1:45 pm on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Agree with the OP. Our competitor did massive link buys from an SEO company (in fact two SEO companies). We submitted a spam complain with exhaustive evidence...and nothing.

Know somebody who attended a conference with one of the tripadvisor guys...he got chatty and admitted the reason why they're all over so many keywords is that they buying their position with links.

So sad that google isn't catching these guys but seems to be punishing the small mom and pops that get pressured into shady seo companies to stay even.

And to add insult to injury google gives tons of duplicate listings to these cheaters because how their clustering algorhythm works (or rather doesn't work).

gouri




msg:4512383
 7:12 pm on Oct 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Mainly I have read Tedster and Brinked on this and I think overuse of keyword in internal links could add to your spam score. I think it was brinked that suggested grouping navigation of the site under headings which to me sounds like a sound idea... ie

Instead of :
Blue Widget
Red Widget
Green Widget
Yellow Widget

<h2>Widgets</h2>
Blue
Red
Green
Yellow

On a website, I have Steel Widget Guide, Steel Widget Uses, Steel Widget Maintenance, Best Steel Widget as anchor texts in the navigation and each of the keyword phrases as the anchor text in an internal link going to the respective page. So the keyword phrase is used twice to link to the page, once from the navigation and once from the body text. I have this for a lot of pages.

All of the anchor texts that I mentioned are phrases that I want the page that it links to to rank for and Steel Widget is a popular phrase that many people search for every month. It is a competitive term.

Could what I am doing be over optimization?

Do you think that I should try to change the anchor texts of the internal links if I can so that there is some variety between the two anchor texts? For example, I can have Steel Widget Uses as the navigation anchor text and Ways to Use the Steel Widget as the anchor text in my body text instead of using Steel Widget Uses twice.

Also, can you tell me if navigation links are considered internal links or are they considered navigation links? Navigation links are on site so I think that they would be considered internal links but I wasn't sure.

I would really appreciate your guys advice on this.

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