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Penguin Without The Message



1:38 am on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Much has been written about messages in GWT to help sites that have strayed outside Google's Guidelines. I'm guessing the sites receiving these messages range from those tripping over a spam threshold due to ignorance of the "rules" through to full on black hat spamming. Whatever the case, these sites get some guidance on the issues to be fixed.

But there is another mostly ignored category of sites, also clobbered on Penguin dates, that have never received any message. Apparently, this group have to work it all out for themselves.

All the Penguin related advice/information/guidance/videos that I have seen seem to be saying that if you have a site that does NOT receive a GWT message, then the site has been affected by ongoing automated algo changes, not a manual action such as Penguin.

My understanding is that in cases such as this:

a) Remedial action needs to address whatever tripped the algo (good luck figuring that out!)

b) Any successful changes should have an effect as soon as the pages have been re-spidered and indexed. ie.. there is no wait period until the next Penguin run.

c) Reconsideration requests are not required (because the site has not actually been penalised) and will be ignored.

d) If bad inbound links are suspected as a problem, a disavowal request CAN be submitted. This is not limited to just Penguin affected sites.

Is this the correct interpretation for sites that seem to have been hit by Penguin but which have no GWT messages?


5:11 am on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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then the site has been affected by ongoing automated algo changes, not a manual action such as Penguin

Penguin isn't a manual action. It is an algorithmic penalty.

It's a bit confusing, since Penguin, like Panda, isn't part of the "main" algorithm that runs constantly. It's a separate bolt-on that's run occasionally, thus in one light...you can say it's not part of the algo.

As for sites receiving messages, I'm assuming you're talking about the messages underneath SearchTraffic->ManualActions within Google Webmaster Tools. Those are true manual actions, meaning a human enacted it.

Those messages are separate from Penguin, though it's highly likely that a site with one of those messages has additionally been affected by Penguin. Might explain why many sites that have had the manual action removed via reconsideration don't experience a recovery.

As for Penguin recovery advice, there's not much to offer outside of conjecture. If you dig into the recovery claims that exist, many relate to manual actions. Others don't have supporting data (traffic drop and recovery dates that line up with Penguin rollout/refresh for example) that's credible.

Personally, I'm skeptical about the mainstream opinion that it's strongly related to overuse of specific anchor text. There were plenty of sites with unnatural amounts of money keywords that never took a hit.

There does seem to be a strong correlation that survivors all have a good number of high authority backlinks. Note that I didn't say natural. Many of the survivors have obviously paid, planted, etc, links. They're just high authority ones :) In general, it feels like a filter with a variety of interacting triggers. A few really good backlinks seems to allow you to escape a good number of lousy ones.

In particular, I've seen a site ranking well for years with almost 100% crappy, unnatural "profile/forum" type backlinks...the twist being that they are all from legitimate, popular, and authoritative forums. More than 50% of the backlinks are for the same money term.


6:14 am on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Penguin isn't a manual action. It is an algorithmic penalty.

Absolutely. Also my understanding is, Penguin Plugin (since it is only an add-on to the main algorithm) can find and kill regular spam (or over-optimization), such as overuse of money keyword as anchor and skewed ratio of links from sources that don't need editorial review (bookmarks, profile links, comments, articles, forum signature etc). When there are links that the regular Penguin plugin can't deal with, manual review comes into force. There you have the algorithmic and manual penalty.

Also, there was thread I started that discussed how manual penalty is easier to deal with as compared to manual - [webmasterworld.com...]

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