SEO mistakes to avoid Post-Penguin ... thoughts?

9 replies
  • SEO
  • |
On April 24th, the SEO sky appears to be falling again following the release of Google's latest webspam algorithm update, code-name: the Google Penguin.

Alot have been said and done about the this latest update, so I'll just share what my own data (from ranking hundreds of niche sites that depend mostly on search traffic) tells me about surviving the Penguin and some of the things I'll be doing differently from this point onward.

First, after any algorithm update, check your search-related traffic from Google after the official announcement (April 24th in this case). If they have dropped, the Penguin just hit you. If they increased, your sites are deemed more relevant after the update, so you must be doing something right before. If they haven't appeared to change, track the results a little longer. If they continue to be unchanged, then you are not affected by Penguin update (yet).

My own sites are very 'evenly' affected. Some of them fell from the first page to the second and third page (about 25%). Very little (lesser than the first group, about 10%) actually increased in rankings. Majority of the sites remained unchanged. Overall, I would say not much damage was done in terms of overall search traffic.

Here're my thoughts. The previous Panda update was more geared towards content. Thin content sites were hit badly, followed by content farms that does not add value to Google's users.

Either way, my sites were not really affected because I've always built my sites with thick, useful and relevant content. (The same cannot be said about the article links I usually use to rank the sites though.)

This time, the update appears to be related to optimization of sites, and anchor text backlinks.

Here's how (I think) you should go about backlinking from now:

1) Include far more variety in your anchor texts - works like a dream

The sites that were hit appears to be too 'clean' in terms of the anchor texts. Therefore, you should be backlinking to your usual set of keywords you want to rank for, together with LSI keywords, and also some buffer keywords (such as "click here now", "go to the website", "find out more", "this is the link" etc). The point is to avoid aggressive / limited exact-match anchor text backlinking.

Besides rotating more keywords and adding buffer keywords, you should also anchor your domain.

People really did get hit when they were backlinking their keywords with just the keyword term instead of adding some natural links as well like the etc.

The funny thing is that when someone naturally links to you most likely they will use the and never a keyword.

Credits: OmarNegron (post 9)

2) Understand that EMD may not necessary rank easier these days

Quite a few sites that were dropped were EMD and strangely built around the same style/way of writing content etc. It is highly probable that they're not giving EMD (exact match domains) the kind of ranking advantage they used to have, and also likely that they're a tad more weary about ranking EMDs (probably a slight disadvantage?).

3) Do not try to rank sites using only the well known, popular, paid blog networks - risky

Out of the sites that were dropped, quite a few of them were ranked using mostly popular paid blog networks (ALN and BMR that were recently de-indexed).

Fact: I rank all my sites using article marketing, and other sites have not shown any signs of falling in rankings. Article marketing continues to be a solid way of ranking sites, but no longer by using overused wordpress blogs that are spammed to death with links on every single post like what some blog networks does.

Strangely, I use alot of blog networks myself and contrary to what alot of people think, these blog networks do wonders in terms of ranking sites. But right now, most need a better way to hide their tracks, be less conspicuous and less 'loud' about how effective their links are to prevent a manual takedown of an entire network.

Until then, your best bet might be to build a list of sites (article directories, small private owned blog network) to submit articles to.

4) Do not over-optimize your website / content - it doesn't work

Optimizing your website content (based on high scores in SEOPressor) is 2010/2011. These days, overly optimized content (unnecessary bolding, italicizing and underlining of keywords, forcing them to appear in the first and last sentence of a page) doesn't quite have 'boost' it used to give when it comes to ranking sites/pages. I suspect unnaturally optimized content is even harder to rank than non-optimized but useful,relevant content these days.

Optimization in 2012 and beyond is not as much on focusing on stressing on the keywords, but more so on relevancy, use social media (bookmarks, Google +), adding life (photo) to the "Author Info" in blogs (one of Jon Leger's popular strategies), among others.

Of course, these are not conclusive and are just my thoughts on the update based on what I've found. Thoughts?

#avoid #mistakes #postpenguin #seo #thoughts
  • Profile picture of the author GeraldNitram
    Good bit about the blog networks. I've been hearing a lot more negative stuff about blog networks ever since Build My Rank was deindexed. If you look at things, there are some blog networking methods that you can do which will not look dodgy and all that. If you're going to participate in one in a legitimate way, i.e. following Google's guidelines, you won't get hit badly.

    Oh, and the thing that everyone has to remember when they're trying to rank their sites: creating quality content. Google has mentioned this a lot of times, and this advice has been a lot more prominent ever since that news about over-optimization.
    Be your own boss by becoming an SEO Reseller!
    A white label SEO firm can help you out so that you can start TODAY!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6205331].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author JKflipflop
    Totally second the "Over-Optimization" part - Google caught very well onto that one with this update. And as we know - when Google latches onto something, it only gets stricter on that front with forthcoming updates. Best to play safe and monitor the level of optimization.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6206240].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author StevenJones
    This has been shared multiple times before, but it cannot be shared enough. This is something that anyone that does SEO really need to take into account. All 4 points are very important.. And if you own a website where you do SEO for or for some of your clients.. really take this post and see if you are doing something then immediately change it.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6206695].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Warrior Roy
    Another possibility involving anchor test: it seems if the majority of your incoming links have a "money keyword" as its anchor text, it's a no-no.

    Also it seems that links within your own niche are smiled upon.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6206877].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ayetti
    I think content relevant posts in your niche are huge, I can't quite agree with the EMD stuff (but my niche is not a money keyword niche) I had an EMD that jumped after penguin, its really hard to tell whether that was linking, content or the EMD but it did.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6207376].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author dp40oz
    EMD's may not rank better, but its a good way to get anchor text that looks natural but still has your keywords in it. And diversified anchor text is extremely important but its still very important to have targeted anchor text as well.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6207507].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jackpot9
    I've read a couple of posts repeating 'not to over-optimize' your sites, but few of them really go on to elaborate what they mean by over-optimizing.

    To me it's more of the unnecessary bolding/italicizing/underlining of keywords, which looks unnatural. Having keywords in the title, description and tags are still important though.

    However, as with most things in life, too much of something is always bad, so don't try to optimize one website with too many keywords (3-4 keywords is sufficient imo, maybe less, but probably not more.)

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6207761].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author OmarNegron
    Awesome Post! Indeed I agree with your analysis. It seems that the most common factor has been the variety of anchor test keywords. People really did get hit when they were backlinking their keywords with just the keyword term instead of adding some natural links as well like the etc.

    The funny thing is that when someone naturally links to you most likely they will use the and never a keyword.

    Why would they use a keyword?

    Non SEO people probably have no idea about keywords at all. This is why you must really think about it and understand the importance of anchor link variation.

    - Will
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6207845].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author saketseo
    I think the forth step is the reason why most people fail. You need to consistently build links, slowly it rises higher, too many people dump 10,000 backlinks on a site and let it sit, then dump another 10,000 a week later. Consistency is key, Seo takes patience

    Also with the new penguin update coming out you want to make sure that you optimize for a great user experience as this is what google is going to be looking for.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6208220].message }}

Trending Topics