My Observations re Penguin Google Update

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I have about 40 sites - all WP based. Like other warriors have seen lots of my P1 rankings disappear - but not all. I have been looking at the results returned for keywords i follow closely to try and get some clues as to what will work when trying to rank new sites - my approach is to simply build and rank new sites if the old ones get hit by google updates , but try and 'change tack' and factor in what is NOW required (post google update) to rank the new site.

One thing i have noticed is that for sites where i lost P1 rankings for the main KW that the site was optimised for , and have totally disappeared in the serps for that KW , i still rank very well for the wordpress tags - i use LOTS of WP tags with my sites and its very interesting to see them still ranking well even though the main KW is nowhere to be seen. I am still getting reasonable traffic now from those tags and getting sales as a result. I also see my competitors who were not on P1 , now ranking for their WP tags.... definitely something in this guys... OK, so why are the 'tags' (eg still doing well and what does it 'tell us' about the penguin update.

My conclusions are

1. The 'over optimisation' thing that google mentioned is true - as an experiment i might try ranking a new site with domain name - www.secondaryLSIkeyword and then have more emphasis for the mainkeyword ie: the H1 /H2 , content and meta title WITHOUT going over the top.

As this excellent article (Solutions To Google's NEW Algorithm Update For Over Optimization and MORE!) points out "For every h1 tag you use, plan on having 5-6 h2 tags to expand on the keyword and subjects." - spot on i think.Do not over optimise for 1 KW - lots of LSI in the content needed.

2. Next, i took a look at the backlinks for the sites that are NOW (post penguin) ranking in the top spots of P1 google.I used SEO Spyglass. It follows the same pattern - they have more diverse anchor text - ok, this is not new but its probably more important now to have very diverse anchor text. What has NOT changed is that the top sites still get links from high PR 'quality' sites , generally related to the KW they are trying to rank for. Not easy to get i know (thats why im building my own blog network, to create those sites to link to my money site from).

3. Use LOTS of WP tags , LSI related - even if your site gets hit for the main KW, you will still get traffic from the tags now appearing all over the serps in good positions.

I think by taking the emotion (and disappointment etc) out of losing hard won rankings and looking at what is NOW (post pengin) needed to rank in the serps , we can 'reverse engineer' what is needed to rank post penguin google update. All is not lost.

Sorry for the ramble - would be interested to hear what others have made from this last update - mainly from an observation point of view as to why sites have high rankings post penguine


#google #observations #penguin #update
  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Interesting post.

    You really only need to look at the search results to see the additional weight given to LSI. Also, EMD's have definitely been affected, especially for those ranking EMD's and pushing one type of anchor text back to the site.

    The search results tell us theyre giving additional preference to "deeper" pages, rather than just the domain.

    I think at this point I would tend to agree that....

    1. You really need to ramp up LSI (both in page content, and url structure)
    2. Rethink using EMD (although many of my sites that use EMD still rank, so its anyones guess)
    3. Avoid cheap backlinks (pretty self explanatory)
    4. Write naturally (I do this anyway)
    5. Backlink diversity (anchor text and referring sites)

    BS free SEO services, training and advice - SEO Point

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  • Profile picture of the author martyJames
    Hi John,

    yes , re the EMD - i have the same experience , some of the sites got killed, others on P1. I suspect , like the WP tags , which are really 'LSI urls' an LSI domain may be the way to go, so rather than have (or what ever LSI is related to 'dog training').

    I am sure this penguin update can be reverse engineered so seo will prevail again!
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by martyJames View Post

      Hi John,

      yes , re the EMD - i have the same experience , some of the sites got killed, others on P1. I suspect , like the WP tags , which are really 'LSI urls' an LSI domain may be the way to go, so rather than have (or what ever LSI is related to 'dog training').

      I am sure this penguin update can be reverse engineered so seo will prevail again!
      Marty, I use a strategy to find what I call "RMD" ..or "related match domains"

      Go to Google and type in ~(keyword)

      eg ~training or ~recipe

      Then take words that Google "bolds" and try them as domains.

      So lets say for example youre interested in registering an LSI version of

      You might end up with something like or

      Try it.

      BS free SEO services, training and advice - SEO Point

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  • Profile picture of the author retsek
    Doing #3 will most likely get you sunk when Panda is refreshed. Having a bunch of thin/duplicate pages on your site is not best practice.

    Unless you use tags as primary navigation (in which case, you probably won't be stuffing them with so many keywords), you should "noindex,follow" them.

    As I said in another thread, if you find your tag pages are ranking while your post pages are not, it means you're over-optimized -- specifically look at cutting down your keyword density and your reworking your titles tags so they read naturally. You DON'T have to line up the keywords in a row every single time.

    If your keyword is "best restaurants boston". A great title would the "The Top 10 Restaurants in the Boston Area". Understand what I mean?
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  • Profile picture of the author martyJames
    yes- good idea John - im building a new site at the moment - domain name exactly as you describe.

    Retsek - thanks for the excellent input - with this update some of my post pages are nowhere to be found at all (not in top 1000) , yet the tag pages are doing quite well and as i say, many competitor sites are ranking no.1 or no.2 for their tag pages - will try your suggestions and 'de-optimise' the original post


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  • Profile picture of the author mijagi
    I had a bunch of sites taking a dive as well. However, there's one site that gained positions, and here's what I did differently on that site:

    - used more than just one spinned, relevant article for backlinking from article directories and web 2.0s. I think there were about 5 different ones used all together.
    - all the articles were manually spinned (some of them weren't spinned on word level, but rather on sentence and paragraph level) with the intention of making sense after the spin.
    - most of the articles linking back to my money site also linked out to relevant, authority sites like CNN, Wikipedia and other reputable web sources.

    With most of the other sites that were affected, I was a bit lazy with linkbuilding and used only 1 spinned article all over the internet, and didn't link out to other relevant stuff either.

    Hope this helps. I'm staying away from linkbuilding until things settle down. Cheers

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  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Simond
    Thanks for nice posting. I gather much information form your posting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mohan Harianto
    google penguin make some people crazy because this update
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  • Profile picture of the author DPM70
    I'm seeing the same thing with tags ranking well for some of my sites. If the original post is thinned out in relation to the keywords are the posts likely to come back stronger - as they were before? I'll test this idea, I think. Thanks for the posts Marty and retsek
    I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build. - Ayn Rand
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  • Profile picture of the author sudiekram
    My best site was severely affected by this update. It is still getting traffic to a couple of blog post, but the main page which accounted for 50% of the sites traffic is no where to be found in the search engine ranking. This site was also affect during last update, but after 3 weeks it's ranking were restored.

    The only thing I did during that time was post some unique content post to the site. I don't know if that is what brought the ranking back or if Google suddenly decided to restore my rankings. Think I'll try the same again this time. I keep you guys posted on the results.
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  • Profile picture of the author vuedoolor
    Are you guys using spun content for backlinks? If so how are you spinning the content?

    word synonyms level spinning?

    sentence level only?

    paragraph level only?

    I would think that spinning on word level would be easier to spot VS sentence and paragraphs. Maybe it's something to consider as well? Unless you guys don't use spun articles period...
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