How To Recover From Penguin Part 1

Recovering From Penguin Part 1Hey Folks, after analyzing over 300 of my sites and those of my competitors (some of which were affected by the Google Penguin update, many of them not), and after studying hundreds of excellent posts such as THIS ONE and THIS ONE, I’ve put together a list of tips which will help you get back on the road to recovery if you’ve been hit by that pesky non-flying bird.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but every step will pull you back up the search engines and quite probably push you further up than you were before.

In Google’s Webmaster central blog post of 24th April 2012, Matt Cutts (Top Dog @ Google’s Webspam team) said the following:

In the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don’t benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be ranked. We see all sorts of webspam techniques every day, from keyword stuffing to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings.

He goes on:

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

Studying the analytics results it shows 2 very clear points that have also been verified and backed up by the guys at Micro Site Masters (who tested thousands of sites)

  1. If over 50% of your backlinks contain your “Money Keywords”, you WILL have been penalized by Penguin.
  2. If you had very few links coming from websites in, or relating to, your niche You WILL have been affected by Penguin.

Recovering from Google Penguin

1. Analyze and Fix Your On-Page SEO

  • Meta Tags
    Write your Page Titles and Descriptions in such a way that it reads like natural speech – Write it for the Reader rather than the Search Engines. Also look at removing or rewording “Money Keywords” from Titles & Descriptions (NB: If your site is an exact match to your money keyword, you “may” have some leeway on this)
  • Keyword Stuffing
    OK it’s not 1999, you’re probably not doing this. If you are? Stop it :-). Try and keep your Keyword Density down to under 2% and your LSI under 4%
  • Duplicate Content
    Get rid of, or rewrite PLR articles. If your site is mainly PLR content which needs reworking, seriously think about outsourcing the rewriting tasks on sites such as Fiverr
  • Hidden Links
    Some sneaky plugins have been known to hide links back to their own sites to gain in the SERPS – Check your code. I’ve just checked mine and found (& removed) a 1×1 pixel link to LinkWithin – Not the done thing, chaps!
  • Footer Links
    A few links are fine eg: T&Cs, Contact, Privacy Policy etc. But don’t go overboard and link to all your other sites just to get a backlink. Same goes for your sidebars.

I’ve realised this article is going to be longer than first planned, so i’m breaking it up into smaller pieces to make it easier to digest: Part 1 today (you’re reading it) and Part 2 tomorrow (I’ll be covering Backlink Analysis, Link Diversification, Going Social and more…)

So if your site has been hit by the Penguin update, focus on the On-Page SEO today and let’s look at some excellent Off-Page tactics tomorrow. Onwards and Upwards!!