Web Marketing After Google Panda & Penguin - SPECIAL REPORT
Compiled and Written by Titus Hoskins
Oct. 17th to 20th, 2014 - Google has announced it rolled out Penguin 3.0 over the weekend and it's complete by Monday Morning.
Google Finally releases its Disavow Link Tool - find out more about the process here. Use with Caution!
Find the Disavow Link Tool here - you will of course need a Google Webmaster Tools Account: Google Disavow Tool
Google Refreshes The Penguin Update For The Third Time - find out more - Click Here.
Batten The Hatches - Major Penguin Updates Coming Says Cutts
Aug. 17, 2012. At the recent SES conferences in San Francisco, Google's Matt Cutts stated in response to some questioning - major Penguin Updates are coming soon. And these are not just data refresh updates but incorporating different signals... webmasters should take note and keep fixing their link profiles. It all comes down to those links folks and how good they are. Read more here... New Penguin Updates Coming
Friday, July 27, 2012
Latest Update - Recently, Google sent out an additional message to Webmasters in GWT about inbound links which directly concerns Penguin and your link building. Google is now saying in certain cases (emails were sent to some 20,000 lucky webmasters) they're now judging only those "unnatural" links when it comes to ranking your content. Your WHOLE site is NOT being penalized because Google trusts it - but just doesn't trust those "inorganic" coming to your site. Might sound a bit confusing but Matt Cutts explains it further in a blog post on Google Webmaster Central.
Matt Cutts Tweets May 26 - Minor weather report: We pushed 1st Penguin algo data refresh an hour ago. Affects <0.1% of English searches. Find out more here.
Please Note - The material below is only for guidance and to offer some strategies for web marketing in the wake of Panda and Penguin. Use at your own risk. Keep in mind, since Penguin hit on April 24, no one has recovered from it because Google has stated Penguin has not YET been refreshed (May 15, 2012) but webmasters can expect further updates and fine-tuning in the future. Both Panda and Penguin are complex algorithmic filters which your site is being judged against, throw up enough wrong signals and your organic search traffic from Google disappears.
The following special report looks at some of these (supposed) signals or triggers and how to fix them. It also examines the broader issue of marketing on the web in the aftermath of both Panda and Penguin.
SPECIAL REPORT - Web Marketing After Google Panda & Penguin Copyright Titus Hoskins
Google is on a rampage, rapidly rolling out algorithm changes, like a chaos theory on steroids. Littering the web and the real world, with shattered lives and nervous panic, as the full affects of the Panda and Penguin Updates hit home.
While that's a bit harsh, even considering the enormous collateral damage which has been done, but we mostly hear from those who were negatively affected by these changes. Remember, where there are losers, there are also winners - so there are just as many people cheering as jeering - maybe just a little more quietly.
Regardless, Google's recent year and half long series of changes to how it ranks sites and content on the web, have truly turned the "monetized" section of the Internet upside down.
Panda went after content farms and poor quality sites, (or what Google believed were poor quality sites) and removed these whole sites from their rankings. Penguin went after web spam or sites which had over-optimized both their content and links. Again, removing or reducing their rankings depending on how many "keywords" were affected.
Most SEO experts say - Panda was a site-wide penalty for having low quality content, Penguin targets specific keywords and the linking structure of your external & internal links.
Both updates or changes are still ongoing, and are mostly aimed at those sites and webmasters who have tried to "game" or "manipulate" Google's rankings. These updates are supposed to bring forth a "level playing field" where high quality sites rise to the top in Google's SERPs.
Whether Google can reach this noble goal remains to be seen, but webmasters simply have to adjust their sites and SEO to the new rules if they want to recover (or keep) their rankings.
Google Query Hack
- Check To See If You Have Hit By Penguin -
Latest news is reporting that you can use a Query Hack to search in Google and it will bring up your rankings Pre-Penguin. As reported here, WebmasterWorld users found if you do a search for your previously ranking keywords and add a negative like " -amazon.com" it will bring up the old rankings before Penguin. This works in some cases but not all, so if you think you have been hit by Penguin... just do a negative search in google... "blue widgets -amazon.com" or you can also use something like -ebay.
Your Internal and External Links Must Be Right
Given that the main goal of Penguin is to combat webspam, your links must be given special consideration, if your site is drawing a penalty. Pay special attention to where your links are originating and if these links may appear "unnatural" in the eyes of Google.
Paid links are obviously out unless they have the "nofollow" tag. Sitewide links from an outside source may draw the wrong kind of attention. Links from low level directories and article sites may be a serious problem if your articles are of low quality or cover the same content repeatedly. Blogroll links and blog networks are another issue, since Google has de-indexed many of these networks.
Pay Special Attention To Your Anchor Text
There was some very interesting research done by Micrositemasters, they do SERP site tracking for their business. After Penguin, they examined data from 1000s of sites and discovered those sites which had over 60% inbound "paying keywords" in the anchor text were penalized in some way by Penguin.
However, those sites which had less than 50% of these money keyword links, weren't affected by Penguin. So it seems that you need to keep your percentage of these paying backlinks below 50% and it's best to use many neutral or more natural anchor text, such as click here, go here, check out this link... and many sites are now including 4 or 5 words in their anchor text links.
Likewise, you have to have a diversity of link sources, other websites, blogs, social sites, twitter... one or more quality links from an .edu or .gov can prove very beneficial. Having all your links coming from one source can draw a red flag and appear unnatural.
Perhaps, one of the most discussed issues with Penguin, has to be the whole notion of Negative SEO and whether or not your competitor can disrupt your linking profile so that your site draws a penalty or downgrade. If certain "low quality" inbound links do affect your rankings in Google, these can be easily manipulated to give your site the thumbs-down.
Almost everyone has heard of Google Bombing, using 1000's of anchor text links to send someone to an inappropriate page. They may not of heard of Google Bowling, using countless low-quality links to bring down your competition.
Google says this is very hard to do, but the jury is still out on this one, especially in very compeitive niches. Let's just hope Google gets this one right - or it's open season for all concerned.
You can check your site's Link Profile including Citation Flow and Trust Flow metrics at this free service offered by MajesticSeo. See who is linking to your site and the quality of those links.
Another major problem for many webmasters, many have been told to always optimized their content for the search engines... making sure your keywords were in the URL, title of the page and in the headlines on that page. If over done, this can all now result in a lowering of your rankings in Google. Especially, if your whole site is made up ONLY of these keyword pages - all geared to gaining valuable targeted traffic from Google.
While everyone knows they should always write content for their visitors first, most have also kept the search engines in mind and this now can result in a delicate dance of keeping the right keyword ratio when it comes to Google. Put in too many keywords and/or keyword links... and you could end up in the "keyword stuffing" penalty box.
If your site has been affected by Penguin or Panda, this is one area you must take a serious look at when fixing any problems. You might have to simply "delete" or "fix" any shallow content pages, remove any duplicate pages or pages with too similar content that they might be considered spam.
Both Panda and Penguin are algorithmic in nature, which means your site and links are run against set standards or criteria - trigger enough negatives and your site/links receive a penality. Good news, fix these triggers and when these Updates are refreshed, your site will bounce back in the rankings.
Here's what Matt Cutts said about bouncing back from Panda:
"It is possible to recover a hundred percent from Panda. So, it is possible to recover from Panda in the following ways. Remember, Panda is a hundred percent algorithmic. Theres nothing manual involved in that. And we havent made any manual exceptions. And the Panda algorithm, we tend to run it every so often. Its not like it runs every day. Its one of these things where you might run it once a month or something like that. Typically, youre gonna refresh the data for it. And at the same time, you might pull in new signals. And those signals might be able to say, 'Ah, this is a higher-quality site.' "
Try to keep as much original quality content as you can throughout your site, but you must also remember the SEO game has fundamentally changed.
Your whole site must now be perfect or clean of any issues.
Offering great quality content is no longer good enough, you must make sure you're playing by ALL of Google's rules, if you want that content to still rank in Google.
Practice Smarter SEO
In my opinion, we all have to practice less SEO in the future or rather be much smarter in how you optimize your backlinks and how you optimize your sites. Versify your anchor text backlinks and don't "over" keyword optimize any site or content.
Besides not putting all your eggs into the one basket, the main benefit of having 10 or 15 sites - you get to compare what works and what doesn't in the new Google changes as your sites are applied to them. As expected, the sites which I haven't "overly" promoted or optimized have fared the best.
The backlinks on these sites grew naturally and slowly. I use all the social bookmark buttons so visitors can easily bookmark or link back to the content. YouTube videos have helped spread the word. I also do the occasional Press Release which helps with link building.
Smaller Sites Can Do Better
Smaller sites (5 - 20 pages) also seems to have weathered the storm much better than larger sites (100 - 2000 pages) with the Panda and Penguin updates. Perhaps this is simple logic, with smaller sites with fewer pages, you have a much lower chance of messing up the SEO and triggering one of Google's rules or penalties.
Newer Sites May Be The Better Option
My newer sites are doing much better than my older sites. Even sites created a few months ago are doing better in the rankings than my 10 year old site. Again, older sites may have much more complicated link profiles on the web and also have much more dated content. In addition, older sites were created in an era where optimization was seen as the proper way to proceed.
For me, using an Exact Match Domain (EMD) or the exact keyword in the domain, has worked well. However, most experts expect Google to keep downgrading this ranking factor as it can be seen as over optimizing or trying to manipulate Google's rankings. Maybe in my case, other ranking factors have come into play to over-ride the EMD issue.
Google Loves Amazon
My sites which are mainly monetized with Amazon or Amazon links have done much better than sites which use other affiliate links such as Clickbank, Commission Junction, Linkshare... and so on. Keep in mind, Amazon is one of the top 10 sites on the web, linking out to top ranked sites will give your own site a boost.
Sites with YouTube videos also fared much better with all the recent changes in Google. It's no secret that Google does promote its own products and interests, so having YouTube videos helps. Remember, on-page ranking factors could be coming into play here... page load times, bounce rates and time spent on site is the major one, if your visitors watch videos, they will obviously spend more time on your site, which can equal better rankings.
Web marketing after Google or without traditional Google search traffic is extremely difficult, but it can be done. Now I say "traditional" search engine traffic because there are other ways to get your content and links into Google.
Try Other Ways To Utilize Google
Besides Adwords, what has really worked for me is Google News and YouTube videos. In those sites which have lost organic search traffic, I can still get my links on the first page of Google via Google News, Google Places, Google Images and YouTube videos.
Press Releases are good for this, but these links will only last a few days so it can be time-consuming to constantly put out material. I try to time these releases around peak shopping periods, since I am also monetizing/marketing through these releases or items on Google News.
YouTube Videos Rank High In Google
YouTube videos are much more long-term and can draw good targeted visitors to your site. You must treat your videos as "pre-sell" tools, warming up your potential customers since they will be sent to your YouTube channel first.
After Panda and Penguin, going the YouTube route to by-pass Google's ever-demanding SEO rules, can be a viable option. Another way to get your content into Google is through images, so try to create a few with all your articles and posts. In the next few years, Pinterest will become much more of a major player and it already drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube and Linkedin - COMBINED.
As Time and Newsweek have recently reminded us, having controversial images, is one way of gaining media attention and buzz for your content. The same applies to marketing on the web.
Don't Forget Google+
Another option, make sure you're using Google+ to promote your links and site. I have found using Google+ will get your content indexed in Google extremely fast. In addition, since Google is now listing these posts and profiles in search if someone is logged into their G-account, it can be another way to get traffic from Google.
You must also have the Google Plus Authorship Markup enabled if you want to fully take advantage of Google+ in your web marketing. This is easy to do but if you need help, just try this link:
In addition, Rich Snippets will become a much more important factor in the future, so make sure you are now creating your web pages with these in mind.
Look Beyond Google
Until you fix any issues, both Panda and Penguin, can be major problems for anyone marketing on the web. You have to seek out other sources of traffic but this will take some time, especially in the social networks, but it can be done.
Don't forget to optimize for other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. The traffic numbers are much smaller, but this is still targeted search engine traffic where the searcher is in the right mindset to buy a product or service.
Remember, even if your site and content were not hit by Panda and Penguin, Google is constantly making changes and you may not be so lucky in the future. So it is simply smart marketing to find other sources of traffic outside of Google, or at the very least, try to use some of the methods mentioned above to keep your site in Google without depending solely upon traditional search rankings and SEO methods.
Latest Update on this issue indicates that sites CAN recover from Penguin ONCE they have fixed their link problems. WPMU.org is a well known site which was hit by Penguin and was able to recover. Mostly by fixing linking issues coming into its site... read this Webpronews article for further details on how they did it.
Related Resources worth checking out:
Want to thank BWM for this content? Tell a friend about us, add a link to this page - or visit our main page for more free guides & marketing content.
Link to this page:
Please bookmark with social media, your votes are noticed and greatly appreciated:
My name is Titus Hoskins
and I am an artist, writer
and webmaster. I am also a
former art teacher who has
been a full-time Online
Professional Marketer for the
last 10 years.
Bizwaremagic.com is my main website, but I have many more. You can follow me on Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.
One of the most disheartening and downright scary statements comes directly from Google via Matt Cutts:
"If some of your site is deemed Penguin-like, all of it may suffer. Again, recovery means cleaning up the spam. If you've cleaned and still don't recover, ultimately, you might need to start all over with a fresh site, Cutts said."
If you have an older site, how many Penguin Refreshes (none have been done yet as of May 15) do you endure, before you throw in the towel? Regardless, here are a few videos on cleaning up your sites:
Or if you think your site was wrongly hit by Penguin, you can use this form below: Google Penguin Feedback Form - Google It!
Please feel free to contact us.