How to Recover from the Penguin Update

Google has put the world of Internet marketing through the ringer in the last two years. The good old days of ranking your content easily are over and it is now a daily fight. The Panda Update wiped out a lot of content that was deemed unimportant by Google. The Penguin Update has targeted over optimization and excessive use of anchor link text. If your site was affected on the 24th of April, you do have a way out to help you recover. It will take some time, but like all previous updates you will recover if you learn to play by Google’s rules.

Blog by Matt Cutts: “Google thinks SEO should be both constructive and positive. By creating high quality sites, users will have a better web experience. The algorithm change targets websites that we believe are in violation of the Google quality guidelines. No penalty is imposed and a website affected by the algorithm change can be given a second chance.”

Why the Penguin update was needed: “Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings.”

I want to quickly go through exactly what Google Penguin set out to destroy and show you how to recover from the Penguin Update. Taking action as quickly as possible will cut down the recovery time and get your pages back into Google’s results. It should be noted that the Penguin Update is temporarily de-indexing websites with its algorithm change.

Penalty #1: Excessively Using Anchor Text with Optimized Keywords

Penguin hit SEO and Internet marketing guys below the belt. The term “money keywords” is used to describe what keywords that you use to pull web traffic to your site. These are the very keywords that you find using Google AdWords and ultimately what users enter into Google when searching. Penguin decided to penalize sites that over optimize money keywords using anchor text.

The data: Websites that over optimize money keywords as anchor text for on-page SEO higher than 60% of the time were affected.

The fix: Use generic anchor text or naked URL structures like to diversify your anchor links. Keep the density about 50% or less between money keywords and generic URL structures to beat the Penguin and subsequent updates.

Penalty #2: Incoming Links are Not from Relevant Websites

It was good practice to get a lot of high PR backlinks and use money keywords for anchor text from a variety of websites. That is until the Penguin hit. Since anchor text relevancy was hit, it is causing a shift in determining exactly what is relevant about a backlink or not. Backlinks from .EDU domains or .GOV domains that have nothing to do with the website they point to is the problem. Google is trying to devalue links from these sites in an effort to ensure that sending users from backlinks to website pages is relevant or somehow related.

The data: Websites with more than 20% of backlinks coming from unrelated sources were rudely affected by Penguin.

The fix: Get high PR backlinks from authority websites in your industry or niche. This can be accomplished through blogrolls, guest posts or other link sharing between two related websites. It is still OK to get non-relevant high PR backlinks, but spreading them around and including relevant links is the best strategy.

How to Recover from the Penguin Update and Avoid Future Aftershocks

Quote from Matt Cutts“The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs. We also want the “good guys” making great sites for users, not just algorithms, to see their effort rewarded.”

You should be adding content for your website that is marketed to humans and not Google. Each time Google has an algorithm change, it can affect your website if you have low quality content. There should be a reason for every word that you post onto your website and Google will reward you for it. You will not have to create artificial rankings and take a hit that wipes out your traffic.

Things to Do Immediately to Recover:

• Practice deep linking inside of your website similar to what Wikipedia does. This creates a solid structure that links content to pages that are relevant

• Submit to Yahoo directory to gain a high PR backlink

• Submit your website to Yelp, Google Places, CitySearch, Best of the Web,, Yellowbook, Superpages and create a Facebook fan page

• Avoid using non-informative content on your website, practice content curation and update your website content regularly

• Place your automated backlinking from Fiverr or other sources on a slow drip to mix signals sent to Google

• Include a social media toolbar on your website

• Add a physical mailing address and contact phone number to your website


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