Penguin 2.0 Recovery: How to do it on a proper way

It’s impossible to talk about SEO these days without mentioning Google Penguin 2.0 algorithm update. It’s the latest “miracle” released by Google on 22nd of May, 2013. It is believed that 2.1% of English queries were impacted by this Penguin update, and this time my case studies show that only authority websites are immune to this ranking killer. That’s the first big conclusion in this Penguin World: Build Authority!
There are many articles on the web about this topic, but I personally follow and read Jayson DeMers from AudienceBloom as my views on how search engines work these days are pretty much the same as Jayson’s. We, at Dazines web design and SEO agency produce white hat SEO and thus we don’t have problems with Google Updates…until a client came which site was hit by Penguin 2.0 update. It was partial punishment (not de-indexing or full drops) but his main and money keywords disappeared from page one. Most of theme were ranking from page 5 to page 10.
To recap, Penguin 2.0 hunt spammy and suspicious backlinking profiles. Here is a list of types of backlinks that may hurt your website or blog:

  • Links from non-relevant sites
  • Excessive use of money anchor text in backlinks
  • Not using branded anchors
  • Paid links
  • Sidewide links
  • Footer links (watch out of those!)
  • Hidden Link
  • Anything else that violates Google Search Quality Guidelines

Let’s talk about Penguin 2.0 recovering

There is a poll on Search Engine Roundtable named: Did you recover from Google Penguin 2.0?
Here are the results on the day I publish this post.

Search Engine Roundtable Poll for Penguin 2.0 Recovery

As you can see, only 8.04% of voters are recovered and 62.72 are still in the middle of nothing, and that’s a huge number if make a little maths. One thing is certain. Tools that market link profile analysis, make a huge amount of money at this moment. For example Link Detox.
The problem is not a rocket science, but you still need to posses advanced SEO knowledge in order to access this problem seriously. I advice you not to take any activity before consult with someone who already passed through Penguin. Otherwise, you may create even more damage to your site than benefit.
I needed 49 days to escape from Penguin 2.0 hole, for a client that had massive backlinking profile. The problem was that his previous SEO Agency was doing bad content marketing, that two years ago was working and today you will lose all rankings for that.
There were thousands of backlinks coming from suspicious and non-relevant websites, sitewide links, footer links and excessive use of money anchor text.
When I firstly saw this link profile, I thought: “Oh my god!”, but days after detailed review of those links, things started to get better.
What I did is manual check of all backlinks and identifying the bad ones. YES the core of Penguin problem lies in precise determination of the ratio of good vs. bad links. All you need to do is to identify which backlinks create damage and which not.

Start thinking like Google and ask yourself: “Will this link provide a value for the readers? Are these two pages relevant between?” You see? You will figure out immediately if a link is a good one or a bad one. Don’t forget to check Alexa ranking as well as trust and citation flow on Majestic SEO. Do you know that Majestic is now free for Google Verified domains? Check that!

These parameters are important to have in mind. Remember, low-quality links must NOT outnumber quality links in your linking profile.
Sitewide and footer links are a special story. The problem here is that if you have a link in the footer of certain website, you will also receive a link from every page with that kind of link – footer link. That means that you will get tons of links from low-quality inner-pages and maybe non-relevant (if client site and your site are not targeting the same market), and suppose that his website is not optimized for search engines…I mean on-page optimized. You may even have a link from 404 pages, image pages, pages with no text.
What will Google think about that? What would you think if you were Google?

Next thing is to create link and anchor diversity. I suggest to read Jayson’s article on Search Engine Journal on Post-Penguin Link building and the naked URL truth.

The way to create anchor text is not the same as in 2011 and before. Now Google gives advantage on Naked URL’s, Brand Anchors, Brand-keyword hybrid anchors and Universal anchors. And that’s really normal. Almost perfect. Once again, I suggest reading that post for more detailed information on these anchors..
Next, you should check Majestic SEO chart for your backlink profile. Here is example of a random site that ranks well after Penguin 2.0.

Penguin recovery and Majestic backlinking profile

Well even this is not so good profile but I take it randomly as I was looking for football shirts ;) If you split two biggest in the pie on a half, that would be close to perfect. But even here, you can notice that brand anchor take most percentage, than naked URL’s, and after that, money anchors are coming.
Search Engines want to see diverse profile as that is how natural link profile should look like.

For example, you have a site named Holiday Travel Jordan and you want to rank for Holiday Travel Keyword. Than most likely is that people will link to your site with Holiday Travel Jordan, visit Holiday Travel Jordan, holidaytraveljordan.com, www (dot) holidaytraveljordan.com/, click here, visit this travel website and so on. A little percentage of bloggers will link with holiday travel keyword, especially if your site is still not an authority in its niche. As I said before, think like Search Engines and you won’t have any problem with any algorithm update.

Put links you don’t have control in special basket. At the end, you will submit these to Google Disavow Tool, but first try to contact webmasters if they can remove your link from their site. If you have negative answer or don’t receive answer at all, than logical thing is to use Google Tool.

Penguin 2-0 recovery

After removing spammy backlinks, wait for a while, for changes to take an action. You shouldn’t wait for more than one month. After that, if everything is done well your rankings will come back and you will continue to run your online business.

If your site was hit by Penguin 2.0, do not hesitate to contact me or my SEO Agency Dazines. If you prefer to do this on your own, read more case studies on the web!

I will further write on SEO and invite everyone to join me and make strong SEO community. Otherwise don’t forget to FOLLOW this blog ;)

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3 comments

  1. Bandar F. · · Reply

    Great article!, so diversifying the anchor is not the fix, a link removal should be involved?, What about the linkdetox tools do you recommend it?

    1. Hey Bandar,
      First of all, you should check if having bad links pointing to your site. If yes, add them to list for removal, and go to step 2. If not, go to step 2.
      This step is just for that – diversifying the anchor. In any case, you should put an effort to smartly diversify anchor text.
      If you run local business, try to include local keywords in anchor.
      However, avoid money keywords. Use your main keywords before or after the hyperlink which is mainly your brand name.
      Don’t forget to remove the bad links.
      About Link Detox, I’ve read good reviews and definitely recommend this tool, although i haven’t used yet, as i have manual methods for penguin recovery.
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Google want links to be removed from sites that are not relevant to content on your site. For example, if you are a site about technology and you have harmful links from sites about casinos or pornography you can be penalized. There are companies out there that will advertise that they can remove the unwanted links and help you get back your PR, however most of them make promises they can’t keep. Either they do not have the experience or know-how to remove the links or they don’t have the right tools to do so.

    The Link Auditors, however, are a trusty company that will deliver on promises they make to remove all harmful links. They have over five years of experience in the industry and will get you back to your original page rank in Google.

    Where companies do not have the right tools to carry out removal of links, The Link Auditors have self-designed tools, specifically made to carry out different tasks in order to get rid of harmful links. One tool in particular, is their ‘automated email tool’. This tool, once detected the harmful links on your site, will automatically email the sites hosting the links with removal requests. With what is a very lengthy process, if you have many links to removed, is now made quick and easy with one click of a button. Ordinarily, removing links can take a while too, however with The Link Auditor’s email tool, it is done in no time at all, sometimes with over-night results!

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