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If you link scrubbed or disavowed, how did you do with Penguin 2.1?

     
12:55 am on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Personal hypothesis is that google threw a bone to those who link scrubbed and/or disavowed to encourage this type of behaviour.

For those of you who did scrub and/or disavow, how were you affected by Penguin 2.1?

I'll start. Hammered with penguin 1.0...and after a lot of scrubbing/disavows, I've pretty much recovered to pre-penguin levels.

This is very remarkable to say the least...
1:10 am on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Good idea for a thread. But if we are to learn anything, we need more details, rather than just "removed links, disavowed, recovered".

@smithaa02,
To go back to you first as an OP of this thread, do you know what percentage of links have you gotten removed and how big was your disavow file? What else did you do apart from link removal and submitting disavow - did you improve pages, tone down anchor text in internal links, link build new links with no anchor, etc etc.
5:48 am on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So far sites that I have disavowed links for have not recovered both my own and clients.

Having said that I have gone pretty soft with the disavow tool. I have disavowed about 15% of domains on most sites. Using the "domain: " attribute. So all up I am guessing that about 30% of links are gone because some of the domains had more than 1 link in.
7:37 am on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Disavow submitted 8 months ago. Traffic gets smaller each month. My disavowed links are still showing up in 'Links To Your Site' (Webmaster Tools).

I have no confidence whatsoever in Google's ability to tell if a bus was parked inside it's a_ _ and somebody had rang the bell to get off.
8:27 am on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@renomart

disavowed links will still be visible in WMT (at least as far as i can tell). im thinking double decker bus lol

no recovery for 14 sites (9 of which was pure negative SEO)

average of 45% of IBLs disavowed

one site which was targeted by some b******* i disavowed around 85% of IBLs

original disavow files uploaded 10 months ago. domains added to disavow file (negative seo) more or less monthly

seems a bit "out of order" to say the least, that your competitor can end up taking so many hours of your day just by paying someone to saturate your site with crappy IBLs

maybe it is time to change hats (at least in those verticals!)
9:40 am on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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2 sites both hit by original penguin. link scrubbed both sites for the last year and a half. disavow 100% of links built plus any questionable links from wmt for both sites. Manual penalty removed for both site 2 months ago.

Site 1 showing significant improvement in serps, higher traffic Monday by about 25%

site 2 showing significant decline in serps, lower traffic Monday by about 30%
1:23 pm on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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An important factor that everyone should mention is the quantity and quality of new natural backlinks that the site has acquired in the meantime. Even if the site has been fully released from Penguin, it might not regain its previous rankings unless it has acquired some new legitimate backlinks to compensate for those that were removed or disavowed.
1:43 pm on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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> Even if the site has been fully released from Penguin,

Exactly. Some of the Penguin sites I have seen are 99% unnatural. Some have content that is not good for linking. So even if they get rid of all the bad links, the site still struggles. So it's difficult to know if it recovered from Penguin or not.
2:41 pm on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So it's difficult to know if it recovered from Penguin or not.


I knew that mine definitely WAS still affected by Penguin when new links had no effect whatsoever.
2:48 pm on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just want to add some perspective to the topic.

I had a website that was hit by P1.0 and just recovered after 2.1

What I did to achieve this - absolutely nothing. Literally not a darn thing, stopped adding new content, new links, etc. The website was not touched since it got the penalty.

So whether your website recovered because of disavowing or other link manipulation is quite questionable. Most likely some of the penalty triggers were removed/adjusted in 2.1.
5:12 pm on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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E-commerce website that was hit by Penguin 2.0

Disavowed ~90-95% of domains in June with periodic spot checks.

So far, 2.1 has caused an even further traffic hit (which I'm surprised was even possible).

Other things to note: out of our competitors, we were really the only business of our size that appeared to suffer from Penguin 2.0, but thus far, it looks like a number of the other big names are taking hits with 2.1.

Only a small trickle of new backlinks since the original hit in May.

Been having to spend most of my time and energy patching up all the gaping content, design and UX holes in our website in what limited ways I can until we launch our new backend and are able to start working on our redesign.

I know it is still early, but at this point we are, for now, forgetting the entire concept of trying to fix all the past practices that have damaged traffic (e.g, the mountain of crap content that an oooold employee has plastered all across our website), and just focusing on gradually building everything anew.

If disavow actually leads to less algorithmic clamping by Penguin at some point, then that will be great, but not counting on it. No sense spending anymore time on something that has high odds of being a wasted time/effort investment.
7:44 pm on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What I did to achieve this - absolutely nothing.


lol. Well that puts the cat amongst the pigeons! I wonder if it would have been the same for me had I just left the site and waited.
11:51 pm on Oct 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If you linked scrubbed and/or disavowed, could folks say whether they just focused on links shown in WMT ( as recommended by John Mueller ) or if they went beyond and used an external tool in addition to describing the numbers of links versus total.
2:29 am on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So far I see a ratio of 1 recovery to 6 non-recoveries and further declines. Those figures are not very promising, especially when one fiverr spam link gig can cost any webmaster many hours of work in addition to lost business from losing their ranks.
2:50 am on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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There's indications here that a large number of sites have recovered, albeit unscientific [seroundtable.com...]

Many folks would have varying factors in play, so not all would necessarily respond well on this update. Plus there's a learning curve still out there . The fact that so many more sites have got hit may mean that Google has several more layers of intensity to apply later.
8:05 am on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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may mean that Google has several more layers of intensity to apply later.

Could you expand on that please Whitey?
8:23 am on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What I did to achieve this - absolutely nothing. Literally not a darn thing, stopped adding new content, new links, etc. The website was not touched since it got the penalty.


Atlrus that is interesting because I was talking to another SEO friend today and he said that happened for 3 of his sites that he had given up on. He made new sites in the same niches and they were doing well but his old sites came back and overtook his new sites.

His exact words were "I didn't do a #*$! thing". He is happy but also annoyed as he outlayed quite a bit for the new sites.

I guess there might have been a bit of a roll back in this penguin update as others have suggested but as we talked it out he said maybe the sites picked up some links naturally along the way although he can't see them in webmaster tools or in ahrefs.
8:30 am on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@viral - maybe the site(s) have proved itself in other ways? Perhaps the users were making special efforts to find the site even though not readily available from an easy search? Thinking aloud here...
8:41 am on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Could you expand on that please Whitey?

My thoughts were that Penguin 2.1 might not be the last major update. My hunch is that Google has cut some slack so that it can tighten things up later. Matt Cutts use of the word transition gives me the sense that on the one hand Google is keen to be seen communicating the changes , but on the other hand progressively more aggressive through the various update phases. But it's just my hunch, that's all.
8:46 am on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So my site's return might be short lived?
9:32 am on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'd hope not. Those at greatest risk are those that have done nothing with bad link profiles. There also appear to be some false positives which could be occurring in either direction, so I'd keep a careful eye on anything that could be further culled, while replacing them with good links, where and if you can. It's a balancing act - keeping ahead of the threshold, whilst Google reserves it's right to dial things up.
9:50 am on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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may mean that Google has several more layers of intensity to apply later.

It makes perfect sense that Google would do it this way... go for the obvious low-hanging fruit first... and then go after what was less easy to spot (which will be more easy now that some clutter has been cleared).

Google is going to be constantly raising the bar on every aspect of it's algorithm, so I don't think that anybody can afford to rest.
10:00 am on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So my site's return might be short lived?

Jez, it sounds like you did all the right things. If your competitors are improving as well, then you might just have to keep at it.

But now that you're "out of the woods", as we sometimes say in the US, that's a good place to be working from. What Steve Jobs used to say to the filmmakers at Pixar was simply, "Make it great." That's what you need to continue to do.

Congratulations on getting where you've gotten. But it's a competition... you've got to keep outpacing your competitors.
11:11 pm on Oct 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Jez123 One of his sites lots of schools use for exams that they have behind password protected sites. So it is an authority of sorts in the niche. So he sees a lot school and university traffic to it and as you said any search that came to him during that period where searches by people looking for the site itself.

Why this site got hit in the first place is anyone's guess but it came back with a vengeance this latest penguin 2.1 update.

The other two are not the biggest authority sites in the niche. His competitors have better sites and he fully admits this. Interestingly his competitors have been wiped out and his sites are back.

So now in every niche he has two sites sitting in the top 3 results for most of his long and short tail money terms. Which has him worried in other ways LOL. I told him most webmasters and SEO's would love to have these kinds of worries after a penguin update.
1:27 am on Oct 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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disavowing links doesn't help you improve rank, it merely scrubs any potential penalty associated with those links which is quite rare unless you accumulated extreme numbers of bad links. You will need new high quality links to regain lost rankings.
7:20 pm on Oct 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What I did to achieve this - absolutely nothing.
Did your backlink profile change before/after? This might indicate somone else's cleanup efforts had a positive benifit for you.

Those still seeing a decrease *may* be due to a lower quantity of quality IBL's (not devalued by Google) and thus its effect on ranking.
8:13 am on Oct 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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There's indications here that a large number of sites have recovered, albeit unscientific

But it seems to be at least as disruptive as Penguin 2 in May, with this second wave of hits and rises. Currently looks like 10:1

Penguin 2.0 May Poll : [seroundtable.com...]
Penguin 2.1 Oct Poll : [seroundtable.com...]

In my mind this is a large enough sample to indicate that reported recoveries were bona-fide. Shame we didn't see something like this spike for Panda.
 

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