Why was this blog hit by Penguin?

40 replies
  • SEO
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Can someone take a look at my blog, and give me any insight you might have as to why this may have been hit by the penguin update?

This blog is about 5 months old, has PR1, and was receiving about 50 uniques per day until Penguin. Now it receives about 10 per day.

BoxingTrainingFitness DOT com

I feel there is really high quality content here, and not a lot of backlink spam either
#blog #hit #penguin
  • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
    What with Yahoo Site Explorer not being available anymore, and without buying into an expensive service like Majestic SEO, it's difficult for anyone but the webmaster of a site to evaluate its inbound links portfolio.

    But my guess is that your rankings dropped because the backlinks you have aren't particularly relevant and were from sources that Google deems low quality...?

    Only you can answer that one, really. Backlinks are likely to be the overriding culprit, though.

    If you haven't already, hook up to Google Webmaster Tools, and/or whatever the Bing equivalent is called, sift through your backlinks and see if they pass muster according to the hazy doctrine of Big G.
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    • Profile picture of the author xiro25
      I was expecting a crappy blog. Your Website seems pretty good to me. You have well written content from I read, Good interlinking, well made titles.

      Is the Content Unique?

      Your backlink profile is mostly from forums. This in itself is not a bad thing. I actually encourage to post more, useful comments with your sig linking back to your site. This may not increase your rankings but will definitely increase you traffic.

      I would also start commenting on blogs in that niche. This will diversify your backlink profile and bring in more traffic.

      Your anchor text is most your naked link or BTF. This good as well but i would start to throw in just a few of some exact anchor text for some keywords.

      I would also start to build some quality web2.0 with unique content about boxing and link to your website. i would then blast the web2.0 with blog comments, profile links, high pr links. stuff like that.

      I would also start to build links to all your pages not just the home page.

      For branding purposes I would up a logo of BTF in the header on the right side.

      I would also change around the website to where you maximize your email list. This will create constant source of traffic you can tap at any time and you can market to them several times.
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      • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
        4 Reasons I Can See..

        1. Site age
        2. Site structure
        3. Keyword stuffing your articles
        4. Not enough content yet and not *resourceful* enough yet.

        It's not nice to read the title of the article in the SERPS, then in the title, then one sentence into the article, then in the last sentence of the article.

        You read your articles and see how it feels, it's so unnatural.

        First fix all articles to not follow that pattern.

        Then fix the navigation.

        Separate the non fitness training articles from the rest of the content

        Add a search box above the fold

        Add social sharing buttons at top or bottom of post.

        REMOVE any repetitive content - 3 Ways to Win a Fight is same as 12 Techniques to Win a Fight and ADD MORE CONTENT (there's not enough yet).


        MAKE YOUR NEWSLETTER VALUABLE - DO NOT SELL, SELL, SELL.

        FINALLY: Don't give up, just fix it and work hard on it and it will work because you're on the right track, just lacking the knowledge required to go further.

        Good Luck.

        Oh and informational websites are a GO TO RESOURCE - Think of what else you can offer site visitors..

        Maybe..

        A page dedicated to books about boxing.
        A page dedicated to local boxing training for each state.
        A directory of boxing sites.
        An about page, why you created the site, who you are.
        Videos on boxing.
        And so on..

        It's not a race... it's about creating a site that earns you that illusive 2/3/4/5/6+k per month.
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        Started this stuff 2009. Time is what will teach you the skills you need.

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      • Profile picture of the author TCrosby
        Originally Posted by xiro25 View Post

        I was expecting a crappy blog. Your Website seems pretty good to me. You have well written content from I read, Good interlinking, well made titles.

        Is the Content Unique?

        Your backlink profile is mostly from forums. This in itself is not a bad thing. I actually encourage to post more, useful comments with your sig linking back to your site. This may not increase your rankings but will definitely increase you traffic.

        I would also start commenting on blogs in that niche. This will diversify your backlink profile and bring in more traffic.

        Your anchor text is most your naked link or BTF. This good as well but i would start to throw in just a few of some exact anchor text for some keywords.

        I would also start to build some quality web2.0 with unique content about boxing and link to your website. i would then blast the web2.0 with blog comments, profile links, high pr links. stuff like that.

        I would also start to build links to all your pages not just the home page.

        For branding purposes I would up a logo of BTF in the header on the right side.

        I would also change around the website to where you maximize your email list. This will create constant source of traffic you can tap at any time and you can market to them several times.
        Content is completely unique.

        I have gotten in contact with several others within the niche, and have some inter-blog promotions planned.

        More keywords based backlinks are forthcoming.

        I have a few small web 2.0 minisites with content and some links, but that seem to have not been picked up yet by G.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by DireStraits View Post

      What with Yahoo Site Explorer not being available anymore, and without buying into an expensive service like Majestic SEO, it's difficult for anyone but the webmaster of a site to evaluate its inbound links portfolio.
      Not really. Ahrefs has a free version. There is a free version of SpyGlass. Open Site Explorer isn't too bad.

      Anyhow, there are some low quality links out there. Looks like you were using a blog network or paying someone who was using a blog network.

      That could be hurting too, but Yukon's point about the footer links would be a much more pressing concern to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author povchef
    I have a similar issue with one of my sites. No affiliate links, real world business website good self written content ect. BUt the keywords it targets no longer return related searches.

    My top 15 keywords all contain the same phrase or shortend version of it. which untill the 24th my site was ranking top 3 for each term. Where as now Google replace the exeact phrase for a more broad term and although within the same niche there not the same thing.

    Maybe thats whats happend with your EMD keyword google might be substiuting one of your keywords for another your not targetting.
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  • Profile picture of the author dp40oz
    This update was mostly about backlinks. If your backlinks were perceived as low quality then you got hit. Im not saying that you actually do have low quality links but Google has been very wrong with a lot this update.
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    • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
      Originally Posted by dp40oz View Post

      This update was mostly about backlinks. If your backlinks were perceived as low quality then you got hit. Im not saying that you actually do have low quality links but Google has been very wrong with a lot this update.
      See my post above for way more reasons why..

      The update was not mostly about backlinks, it was about much more than that.

      It was about rewarding those putting effort into creating a *resource* and chuck out those spamming for cash.

      Yes it's not always giving results that seem that way but it's the reality of what's going on
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      Started this stuff 2009. Time is what will teach you the skills you need.

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  • Profile picture of the author TCrosby
    I will take those into account and see what I can do.

    I am unfortunately tight on time for the next 3 weeks.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Originally Posted by TCrosby View Post

    Can someone take a look at my blog, and give me any insight you might have as to why this may have been hit by the penguin update?

    This blog is about 5 months old, has PR1, and was receiving about 50 uniques per day until Penguin. Now it receives about 10 per day.

    BoxingTrainingFitness DOT com

    I feel there is really high quality content here, and not a lot of backlink spam either
    I'm 99.9% sure the Viagra backlinks in your sites footer are the problem.

    Remove those pharmacy type links from your site/theme. Search your Wordpress theme footer.php file for the keyword base64, I'm sure you'll find an encoded bit of code that is creating the viagra backlinks in your footer, this is an old trick that spammers use on free theme download sites.

    [related base64 link]

    Regardless of any Google algo update, they would have found those viagra/pharmacy backlinks on your site sooner or later.

    cache:boxingtrainingfitness.com

    Here is a screenshot from your Index page Google Cache (text version):



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    • Profile picture of the author mosthost
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      I'm 99.9% sure the Viagra backlinks in your sites footer are the problem.

      Remove those pharmacy type links from your site/theme. Search your Wordpress theme footer.php file for the keyword base64, I'm sure you'll find an encoded bit of code that is creating the viagra backlinks in your footer, this is an old trick that spammers use on free theme download sites.

      [related base64 link]

      Regardless of any Google algo update, they would have found those viagra/pharmacy backlinks on your site sooner or later.

      cache:boxingtrainingfitness.com

      Here is a screenshot from your Index page Google Cache (text version):



      Excellent FIND! Nice work, Yukon
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  • Profile picture of the author retsek
    Penis pills ..wow.
    Nice catch, yukon.
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  • Profile picture of the author JeanneLynn
    Wow, so if you don't check your free theme, there may be viagra links? That's terrible!

    That was some good detective work, Yukon.
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  • Profile picture of the author DPM70
    Nice catch Yukon!
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    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 yukon
    Banned
    Thanks everyone.

    The first thing I always check when researching a web page is the Google Cache text-version, that text-version of the Cache never lies, removes all the fluff (javascript, images, etc...) from the web page & is easier to spot problems.

    I posted an older thread a while back that will also let you simulate a Google Cache text-version, not exact, but very, very close simulation. That way you don't even have to have a page that is cached to get an idea how Google will view your web page.

    It's possible that OP could have been hit by an algo. update, regardless those viagra links are bad news for SEO & as you can see in the Cache (text-version) Google knows OP has those junk viagra links on his pages.
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    • Profile picture of the author mosthost
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      Thanks everyone.

      The first thing I always check when researching a web page is the Google Cache text-version, that text-version of the Cache never lies, removes all the fluff (javascript, images, etc...) from the web page & is easier to spot problems.

      I posted an older thread a while back that will also let you simulate a Google Cache text-version, not exact, but very, very close simulation. That way you don't even have to have a page that is cached to get an idea how Google will view your web page.

      It's possible that OP could have been hit by an algo. update, regardless those viagra links are bad news for SEO & as you can see in the Cache (text-version) Google knows OP has those junk viagra links on his pages.
      Good points. And for anyone who dropped rankings: check to make sure your site hasn't been hacked. It's SO common, especially with 'self-hosted Wordpress' blogs.
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      • Profile picture of the author JeanneLynn
        Originally Posted by mosthost View Post

        Good points. And for anyone who dropped rankings: check to make sure your site hasn't been hacked. It's SO common, especially with 'self-hosted Wordpress' blogs.
        I think hacking is a huge problem with wordpress. I use a firewall program on my blogs and I get emails all the time about hacking attempts from Russia. I don't know if they're false positives or not, but it's pretty scary.

        I wonder if blogger blogs are hacked as often as wordpress blogs.
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        • Profile picture of the author yukon
          Banned
          Originally Posted by mosthost View Post

          Good points. And for anyone who dropped rankings: check to make sure your site hasn't been hacked. It's SO common, especially with 'self-hosted Wordpress' blogs.
          Originally Posted by JeanneLynn View Post

          I think hacking is a huge problem with wordpress. I use a firewall program on my blogs and I get emails all the time about hacking attempts from Russia. I don't know if they're false positives or not, but it's pretty scary.

          I wonder if blogger blogs are hacked as often as wordpress blogs.
          I'm very sure that OPs Wordpress theme was hacked before they ever uploaded the themes zip file to their host.

          I doubt the site/host itself was ever hacked.

          Any theme regardless of whatever the blog platform is can be hacked with an encoded base64 string that only displays links in Google Cache (text-version), it doesn't matter If it's Wordpress, Blogger, Joomla, etc..., the hacks usually happen before you ever download the theme.

          Anytime you want to use a theme for any blog platform
          1. Download the zip file to your desktop
          2. Run a virus scan on the zip file
          3. Unzip the file
          4. Do a manual search for the keyword base64 in any text editor on all the files included in the zip file.

          If you find any sign of the keyword base64, the theme most likely has hidden backlinks, nobody has any reason to encode anything with base64 on a theme. Base64 serves a single purpose, hiding backlinks.

          It takes maybe 15 min. to check & see If the file is clean, which is time well spent.
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  • Profile picture of the author guitarjosh
    Also, consider that since you're just basing the Google love off of visits p/ day, it may have nothing to do with your site dropping.. but other sites rising. It seems to be common knowledge that the bigger, more established sites have risen to the top as a result of this update.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    I just checked OPs Google Cache text-version again, notice how the viagra/pharmacy links are being rotated with new keyword anchor-text.


    Screenshot #1







    Screenshot #2
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    • Profile picture of the author mrehan
      Hacking is a real problem these days. I had submitted about 7 articles to a PR5 article directory during the last 3 months. When I checked those articles yesterday the links in my articles were changed to point to some other site. Another friend who uses the same article directory encountered the same problem. Now I have decided to regularly randomly check my links. I have never had this type of problem before. Anybody else noticed this?
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  • Profile picture of the author uoftenwinny
    Maybe it thought you copied someone.
    I think it's stricter than before.
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    • Profile picture of the author TCrosby
      I've heard that links that are disguised/invisible/hidden were also something that Penguin penalized heavily. So that could be it
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  • Profile picture of the author TCrosby
    Is there a way to see if these hidden links are live on the site right now? (as opposed to a cached version from a week or two ago?)

    I'd like to try systematically turning off my plugins to see if that gets rid of them...
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  • Profile picture of the author ElectricChili
    I've had to clean out several sites that were hit by the pharma hack. You can use the exploit scanner plugin to find files that have base64 in them. Either delete or replace these files (depending on how needed they are by WP).

    You'll also need to browse through your database where you'll see in the WP Options section, a bunch of stuff that starts with $KMD5=(bunch of encoded data). There could be hundreds of lines that start like that. You'll need to delete them all.


    Then, install the BulletProof plugin to protect your installation.

    Rich
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  • Profile picture of the author onlinetraffic
    may be due to over optimization.
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  • Profile picture of the author TCrosby
    I think I may have found and removed the malicious code, but don't really know how to verify that
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  • Profile picture of the author TCrosby
    The good news is when google cached my site today, the bogus links are no longer there.

    I've heard that some people who fell victim to this exploit had them links/bug reoccur so I guess I'll need to monitor it.

    Hopefully between these links, and an increase in some social posts linking up with other bloggers and media, I can get back in penguins good side
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    • Profile picture of the author pons_saravanan
      Can you please post, whether you have got your site started climbing up or not?

      I am curious to see that, after fixing the issues the penquin penality filters are automatically removed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    I'd also like to ad that you should also include your wp-content folder as dissallowed for google to crawl.

    If you are using any type of automated plugin for seo or even content you could get issues with that as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author FraserC
    Hey TCrosby, if you've done any linkbuilding, then it's a violation of their Webmaster Guidelines. So when you say... "not a lot of backlink spam", that's still more than 0, which gives your site a profile that's different from a site that has gotten links purely organically.

    Go through your links in Google webmaster tools that you got artificially and unlinkbuild them, or change them to naked links (just your domain.com as the anchor text).

    Keep working on amazing content, build your social relationships, and things should work out for you over time as Google runs future versions of the Penguin filter.

    P.S. You have mad skills Yukon, nicely done.
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    • Profile picture of the author TCrosby
      Originally Posted by FraserC View Post

      Hey TCrosby, if you've done any linkbuilding, then it's a violation of their Webmaster Guidelines. So when you say... "not a lot of backlink spam", that's still more than 0, which gives your site a profile that's different from a site that has gotten links purely organically.
      What I was speaking of was sort of temporary meta links. Things like say woorank.com evaluating my site, and having a link. A have a handful of random links like that floating around. Not intentionally made BS links.

      Originally Posted by pons_saravanan View Post

      Can you please post, whether you have got your site started climbing up or not?

      I am curious to see that, after fixing the issues the penquin penality filters are automatically removed.
      I'll update this in a week or so. Even though the cache has been updated for my homepage, it hasn't for all of my posts/pages. And even when it does, will probably still take a bit before any ranks update.
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    • Profile picture of the author mosthost
      Originally Posted by FraserC View Post

      Hey TCrosby, if you've done any linkbuilding, then it's a violation of their Webmaster Guidelines. So when you say... "not a lot of backlink spam", that's still more than 0, which gives your site a profile that's different from a site that has gotten links purely organically.

      Go through your links in Google webmaster tools that you got artificially and unlinkbuild them, or change them to naked links (just your domain.com as the anchor text).

      Keep working on amazing content, build your social relationships, and things should work out for you over time as Google runs future versions of the Penguin filter.

      P.S. You have mad skills Yukon, nicely done.
      Have you every analyzed your backlinks and made a conclusion on what a natural backlink profile looks like? Most people here don't have the luxury of having a website like yours to examine. Do people ever link with 'click here'?
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      • Profile picture of the author dmtaylor247
        Originally Posted by mosthost View Post

        Do people ever link with 'click here'?
        Never

        It is interesting though because it makes you think how Google is dishing out these penalties..

        i.e; When they crawl a bad neighbourhood that's linking to you and discover the links are no longer present do they remove penalties when the site is re-cached? or will they crawl the web and refresh everything and then remove penalties hmm..

        It obviously works with re-caching on outbound links and other fluff..
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  • Profile picture of the author TCrosby
    WOW. So the effect of catching these pharmacy/viagra links has been huge!

    Google recached my home page 2 days ago, showing the links to be gone. Some more of the inner pages were recached yesterday, also showing the links to be gone...

    The effect?

    I used to have 40 search visitors a day. After Penguin it went down to 5. Today? Back up to 30 and its only 3pm. Seems many of my old rankings are back.

    I guess your outbound links are really taken into account in Penguin
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    • Profile picture of the author dmtaylor247
      Originally Posted by TCrosby View Post

      I guess your outbound links are really taken into account in Penguin
      Yeah and it seems inbound and outbound are treated seperately. Inbound when Google crawls the web and refreshes the index and outbound when they re-cache your website.
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      • Profile picture of the author retsek
        Originally Posted by dmtaylor247 View Post

        Thats what I don't understand. Penguin is not a real time algo, it only works when cutts refreshes the index like panda, so penguin wasn't causing this, but could have affected it.

        People could be thinking they are gaming google rankings until Cutts refreshes the index and they drop like a stone.

        It has been known for ages that outbound links can hurt your rankings but it seems they are paying more attention to link stuffing in the footer.

        Perhaps when penguin was first launched it made these "viagra" links as bad neighbourhoods and when Google's bots re-cached your site it noticed them and gave you a small penalty.

        The re-caching of your site has removed this.. very interesting
        This is true.

        But there has been speculation that a Google update occurred sometime bewteen May 14th - 15th. I, myself, have seen noticeable fluctuations in two sites I own which were hit on the 24th.
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        • Profile picture of the author dmtaylor247
          Originally Posted by retsek View Post

          This is true.

          But there has been speculation that a Google update occurred sometime bewteen May 14th - 15th. I, myself, have seen noticeable fluctuations in two sites I own which were hit on the 24th.
          They crawl the web quickly then, a little over 3 weeks LOL, what did you see, improvements? Maybe it is just set up to update every so often.. but it can take weeks to crawl some larger sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author FraserC
    @mosthost - Good thinking, that never occurred to me. I'll post it as a separate thread.

    Here you go:
    http://www.warriorforum.com/adsense-...arge-site.html
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    I'm the publisher of Universe Today and co-founder of the Keyword Strategy content marketing tool.

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  • Profile picture of the author TCrosby
    At first I thought that the links being "hidden" is what would have incurred the penalty, because that is a sketchy technique.

    But when I found the code that created the links, all it did was only show them when the viewer was a bot/spider/crawler.

    So in that regard they weren't actually hidden. Which means that it really was just the existent of low-quality, unrelated out-bound links that was the issue
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