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Penguin 2.1 Recovery - How to recover if affected
Searg




msg:4616104
 6:49 am on Oct 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Let's get input from seasoned vets here in the forums or anyone who KNOWS how to recover. I realize it's new but some sort of checklist for some of us that may have been affected. Perhaps a good checklist and perhaps even Brett could chime in as well.

Ok....I had a site up since 2006 that hasn't been touched. It's a good quality site that generated me a decent amount of income. It went by the waysite because I have so many internet properties but in the last couple of weeks I decided to work with it to increase it's rankings. Last Friday (October 4, 2013) WHAMMO! I have roughly 300 pages on the site and TONS of my keywords took a beating. There were a number of them I have held a number one ranking on for YEARS that are now in the hundreds. Naturally, the first thing I did was check the links and #*$! is it bad. I haven't added any links at all in years and I'm being targeted by competition I believe because links continue to get discovered daily and it's unnatural as hell.

In my case, I'm certain this is the culprit.

Referring Pages 654

Total Backlinks 710

Referring IPs 134

Referring Subnets 129

Referring Domains 150

Governmental 0

Educational 0

.com 96

.net 16

.org 19

Can someone help verify my theory? Also, if we act quickly can we overcome this fairly quickly with an algo adjustment or perhaps another update soon to correct the shortcomings/bugs of this one? If so, what is the best way to fix it and THE QUICKEST WAY? Disavow? Get them removed? Both? I guess I'm looking for the best formula to fix my site I worked so hard to build.

<snip>

[edited by: goodroi at 12:25 pm (utc) on Oct 11, 2013]
[edit reason] Please remember WebmasterWorld is not the place to contact Google [/edit]

 

aakk9999




msg:4616304
 1:15 pm on Oct 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is not such a huge number of backlinks and you should be able to review each and make a list of backlinks that you would like to remove.

Then you can email these sites for removal and create Disavow file with what you could not remove.

What is the anchor text in all these links? Can you see any pattern there?

JohnLuke




msg:4616360
 12:04 am on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't want to sound too negative but I don't think there is a clear way to get out of Penguin.

When we were hit by Penguin 1.0, we had over 20.000 backlinks from over 5.000 domains. We hired companies to have them manually removed and we got down to 2.000 links. We removed "everything" that was looking unnatural or had anything to do with us creating it.

With Penguin 2.0 we got hit even harder. So we started to remove many natural backlinks which we thought might not look good. We got down to 1.000 backlinks from 180 domains. Out of the 180 domains we disavowed another 80 domains. We gave a Google Webmaster Forum Top contributor access to our Webmaster tools account and he was surprised about the clean and actually excellent link profile. We spent over 3 hours going through every link and he just couldn't believe we were hit by Penguin 2.0.

With Penguin 2.1 we were hit just very slightly.

Now we're considering getting a new URL and contacting all newspapers, top blogs and competing websites who naturally linked to us to change the link to the new URL.

Searg




msg:4616363
 12:17 am on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hey aakk999: Well, not very well distributed. I know this was the problem. No doubt about it. I know what I need to do to fix it but here's my issue. Do I clean up the link profile or start an entirely new site? I'm going to clean up the other domain regardless but what will get me back quicker?

A: Clean up current website and establish a better & more natural link profile OR

B: Start fresh with a new domain and natural link profile?

My question....what would be the quickest way to get rankings back again. If it would be quicker to get a new domain I'll do that since this domain was never publicly advertised. If I can do what I mentioned above I'll do that. I just need to get those back asap.

JohnLuke - anytime you go from 20,000 links (spammy or not) and get down to 2,000 it doesn't look good. Yes, it looks great you're cleaning everything up but you MUST build good links in return. It's like replacing the bad with the good in a natural way. I think you'll see if you build high quality links that look natural you'll see massive improvements.

JohnLuke




msg:4616365
 12:47 am on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Searg, you're right about the good links but we decided right after Penguin 1.0 to stop doing any link building whatsoever. Due to the fact that we had only 50% of the hits we had before, we got less natural links than before but still gained at least once a month an excellent newspaper links or top blog link.

I didn't mention it before but between Penguin 1.0 and 2.0 we actually fully recovered. The recovery was, unlike most reports, gradually and by January of this year we had more google hits than before Penguin 1.0.

Now it looks different. We get so little hits that it's nearly impossible to get any good natural backlinks.

aakk9999




msg:4616396
 1:26 am on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do I clean up the link profile or start an entirely new site? I'm going to clean up the other domain regardless but what will get me back quicker?

It is difficult to say. If once you clean up, you end up with hardly any links, then I would be inclined to start a new site - at least it would not have tainted history.

Alternatively, you can clean up and wait for penguin re-run, and if you see no recovery, then start a new site (but this is at odds with "asap").

Searg




msg:4616402
 3:28 am on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'll do both. Thanks for your help. It means a lot.

When do you anticipate the re-run? Does it happen soon after an update like this one?

JohnLuke




msg:4616405
 4:19 am on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

if the pattern continues it's going to be May 2014.

JohnLuke




msg:4616406
 4:28 am on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google Penguin 2.1 on October 4, 2013
Google Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013
Google Penguin 1.2 on October 5, 2012
Google Penguin 1.1 on May 24, 2012

Jez123




msg:4616427
 9:58 am on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

@JohnLuke have you gained any new links in this time? I got hit with Penguin 1.0 and it's taken until the last refresh to almost completely recover. There was a partial recovery on the refresh before where I saw about a 30% to 40% rise in traffic. I wonder if perhaps you have just not served enough "time" yet or if you have not gained any new links significant for google to reinstate you. Though I feel that Penguin is a penalty for spammers and you must serve the time first.

As an aside, to gauge where my site should have been, it stopped me worrying about if I had removed too many links, I checked my ranking on <a metasearch engine that doesn't use Google filters> and as time went on my results got closer and closer to those results and now they are almost mirrored. Penguin does not appear to have been introduced to the <metasearch engine's> version of google but neither has domain crowding so you won't get an exact match but it's REALLY helped me.

In the time that I was penalised I put up 2 niche sites that my main site used to cover and got those ranking in the top ten to ease the pressure a bit. Now I wonder what I should do with them as having 2 sites in the top ten just attracts unwanted attention from my competitors and I really just want to stay below the radar. But I digest :) Maybe you can do the same JohnLuke? Time should bring your main site back I reckon but I understand your need to keep afloat financially.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:39 pm (utc) on Oct 13, 2013]
[edit reason] removed specific metasearch mention [/edit]

JohnLuke




msg:4616436
 1:32 pm on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks Jez.

I think you and Searg are right about the natural links. It might be still too little.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:32 pm (utc) on Oct 13, 2013]
[edit reason] removed reference to edited section in previous post [/edit]

rish3




msg:4616503
 2:59 am on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

One possibility is that you haven't identified all the links. We had success with a recovery after pushing a little harder to find all the links first.

The "Download Latest Links" and "Download More Sample Links" within GWT don't show you everything. You can get additional links if you individually click on each linking domain (and then, each linked page) within GWT. We used an automation tool to pull all of this. However, even with this additional data, you don't get every link Google knows about.

Then, we also downloaded the link data from Ahrefs and Majestic. Note that with majestic, there's one path that does a better job of pulling all links (create a report).

Once we had all of them, we sorted and removed duplicates. We also crawled the pages and pulled the current anchor text, and other interesting info, like, for example, if the linking page was gone, or if the domain had expired.

This brings up the next thing that saves a bit of time. Penguin is anchor specific. You probably noticed that you didn't lose traffic for all your keywords...just some. Since that's the case, we filtered out links that weren't a somewhat close match for the anchors that took a penguin hit.

Last piece of advice...google can sometimes take a long time (months even) to recrawl a page that's gone, had links removed/disavowed, or is gone. You can force the issue with the "public url removal tool", which will remove urls that return a 404, or can also force a crawl for pages where the current content doesn't match the cached content. This is why we pulled the information about links that were no longer there, and linking domains that had expired.

Searg




msg:4616510
 4:21 am on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

rish3...kick ass man. Thanks for your taking the time to post this excellent information. If I could ask, how long did this recovery you mention take?

rish3




msg:4616511
 4:38 am on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

If I could ask, how long did this recovery you mention take?


A couple of months, but the biggest driver for the recovery timeline is when google decides to refresh penguin. Being that they recently did so, the next refresh may be a while.

Whitey




msg:4616515
 4:58 am on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

"public url removal tool",

@rish +1 - good tip

It might also be useful to use "Fetch as Google" in WMT to accelerate the effects of re-crawling pages sending links, to be ahead of the next update, where those sites are under a webmaster's control. e.g. interlinking or managed

Letting Google know you're working hard and asap to get out of the penalty can't hurt.

diberry




msg:4616671
 5:03 pm on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Another possibility is: Penguin is not just about backlinks. I got hit on a site that hardly had any inbounds, and so did some other webmasters I've talked to. SEOs have looked at our sites and agreed: it wasn't the backlinks.

This is controversial and I don't want to start a dust up, but I'll just say: Penguin may look for PATTERNS which are typically dominated by "bad inbounds" but do have other factors.

My site that was hit by Penguin recovered partially on Penguin 2. What I did to recover was remove a few OUTbound links that I thought Google may not like. I'm not sure that worked - it's also possible I never should have been hit by Penguin and Google tweaked something that fixed some of the damage. But I do see now that this domain can rank for NEW content very nicely despite never coming back for a few of those top phrases.

Jez123




msg:4616770
 7:56 am on Oct 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Another possibility is: Penguin is not just about backlinks. I got hit on a site that hardly had any inbounds, and so did some other webmasters I've talked to. SEOs have looked at our sites and agreed: it wasn't the backlinks.

This is controversial and I don't want to start a dust up, but I'll just say: Penguin may look for PATTERNS which are typically dominated by "bad inbounds" but do have other factors.

My site that was hit by Penguin recovered partially on Penguin 2. What I did to recover was remove a few OUTbound links that I thought Google may not like. I'm not sure that worked - it's also possible I never should have been hit by Penguin and Google tweaked something that fixed some of the damage. But I do see now that this domain can rank for NEW content very nicely despite never coming back for a few of those top phrases.


How rich was the anchor text on the incoming links? I think if the ratios between direct anchor text to non money terms anchors doesn't look right to google it might trigger Penguin.

FatSteve




msg:4616783
 9:57 am on Oct 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@diberry

Please keep in mind that Penguin is an algorithmic process. Means that there always will be results that make no sense - sites got hit that should not have (sad but true) and sites that did not got hit but should have.

diberry




msg:4616859
 3:32 pm on Oct 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

FatSteve, from the human perspective yes. But because it's all math, that means we CAN try to figure out what triggered Penguin, whether it "should have" in our minds or not. I mean, obviously Penguin 1 believed it saw something "wrong" with my site.

Jez123, I'm not sure what "rich" means, since I'm not an SEO. I always craft the anchor text to tell human beings what they can expect from clicking. So my link text is usually short and to the point, like "green dog" if I'm linking to a page about a green dog. Not sure I answered your question. But I do think the type of pattern you're describing is the type of thing that may have triggered some "false positives" with Penguin.

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