Penguin 2.0 Results on our sites

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Hey all,

As I've mentioned here before, although we'd NEVER use them on client sites, we maintain a portfolio of "experimental" sites that we throw "amateur" and black-hat SEO techniques at just to see what works and what doesn't - multi-tier stuff, automated links, etc. (BTW these sites are far from being throwaway sites - they're feeder sites for leads to our money sites!)

Here are the changes we've seen as of this morning post Penguin 2.0:

1. Link networks

As with all previous updates, sites ranked with our private link networks either held rank or gained rank.

2. Multi-tiered link building

This includes sites ranked using Matthew Woodward's method, and purchased link tiers from providers such as TheHoth. Overall these sites lost a bit of rank. I'm very surprised Google hasn't whacked this method yet, but I suppose there really is no safe & reliable way for them to do it. We do not use multi-tiered linking on client sites, but it's interesting to see the effects on other sites we test it on. Overall, these sites weren't harmed too badly, they lost anywhere from 1-5 positions. Tiers done manually using Matthew's method fared better than purchased tiers from Hoth.

Overall they can be recovered quickly with good links, or maybe even more link pyramids.

3. SAPE Network

After hearing all the hype about this Russian network, I threw a few hundred SAPE Network links at a couple of sites. These definitely took the worst hit of all but still it wasn't too bad - the worst damage so far is that one site lost 6 positions, which can easily be recovered within weeks using quality links. I will say that this site is relatively new, and domain age seems to be a factor in Penguin 2.0.

Other than SAPE and our own private networks, I have not tried any other link networks so I cannot comment.

4. Automated links/GSA-SER

This was a shocker - sites ranked solely using massive spam links generated by GSA Search Engine Ranker either held steady or even gained a few! I just about fell out of my chair on this one. I guess we'll wait and see if this remains true or if the sites crash but as of now they're doing fine. Which means that the purpose of Penguin 2.0 was all b.s. and it seems instead to have imposed the heaviest penalty on the Russian network links.

5. EMDs

EMDs held steady. The only drop we saw was one EMD that was pumped up with multiple runs of Matthew Woodward's method. It went from #1 to #3. It's been almost a year since any new Tier 1 links have been built to it so one more run will probably recover it. All other EMDs remain at #1.

So that's that. Another algo update that's been smooth sailing for those using high-quality linking, and just a small bump in the road for the multi-tier and automated linking crowd.

Now it's back to business as usual!
Frank
#penguin #results #sites
  • Profile picture of the author Backlinko
    Thanks for sharing your insights. I don't have as many experimental sites anymore so it's good to see what Google was targeting.
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    • Profile picture of the author FrankRumbauskas
      Originally Posted by Backlinko View Post

      Thanks for sharing your insights. I don't have as many experimental sites anymore so it's good to see what Google was targeting.
      It's fun to have them, and like I said, we use them as feeder sites for leads so they're making money too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    To quote you from another thread (with slight modification)

    Only amateur SEOs evaluate an algo update less than 48 hours after it has gone live. Exerienced SEOs know it takes several days to settle out and derive good data. Whether observations hold from the first 24 hours or not no experienced SEO draws conclusions based on that time frame.
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    • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
      Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

      To quote you from another thread (with slight modification)

      Only amateur SEOs evaluate an algo update less than 48 hours after it has gone live. Exerienced SEOs know it takes several days to settle out and derive good data. Whether observations hold from the first 24 hours or not no experienced SEO draws conclusions based on that time frame.
      He couldn't wait to post his ad (thread) about how his network survived
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    • Profile picture of the author FrankRumbauskas
      Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

      To quote you from another thread (with slight modification)

      Only amateur SEOs evaluate an algo update less than 48 hours after it has gone live. Exerienced SEOs know it takes several days to settle out and derive good data. Whether observations hold from the first 24 hours or not no experienced SEO draws conclusions based on that time frame.
      I'm not analyzing, just sharing some observations for those who might appreciate the information. No wonder my network manager and SEO director both mock the WarriorForum and call it the place where "stupid people stay stupid" - trolls like you give it a bad name.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by FrankRumbauskas View Post

        I'm not analyzing, just sharing some observations for those who might appreciate the information. No wonder my network manager and SEO director both mock the WarriorForum and call it the place where "stupid people stay stupid"

        They are free to mock because I am mocking them right now with all the blog comment link building they are doing to your site. However they are to be congratulated for the few PR2 links among the sea of PR zero and N/A blog comment links they have got you. Stellar Pro SEOs!!!

        and no my sig site is only for WF not for SEo so I build no links to it. IF I did you would not see a bunch of blog comments. Apparently there is more than one place where people can stay stupid.
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      • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
        Originally Posted by FrankRumbauskas View Post

        I'm not analyzing, just sharing some observations for those who might appreciate the information. No wonder my network manager and SEO director both mock the WarriorForum and call it the place where "stupid people stay stupid" - trolls like you give it a bad name.
        If that's how they feel, then let me - on behalf of the Warrior Forum - say please "get lost!"

        There's no point in wasting your life visiting a forum with an attitude like that.
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        • Profile picture of the author nik0
          Banned
          Originally Posted by PerformanceMan View Post

          If that's how they feel, then let me - on behalf of the Warrior Forum - say please "get lost!"

          There's no point in wasting your life visiting a forum with an attitude like that.
          He doesn't use this forum, he abuses it, every day I receive spammy emails from him about worthless webinars and what not, while I never signed up for anything.

          For the rest he's a typical case of fake it till you make it, few months ago he contacted me to buy links with a link in his signature that he owns a network of 1000's of private domains.

          Makes sense doesn't it?
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          • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
            Originally Posted by nik0 View Post

            He doesn't use this forum, he abuses it, every day I receive spammy emails from him about worthless webinars and what not, while I never signed up for anything.

            For the rest he's a typical case of fake it till you make it, few months ago he contacted me to buy links with a link in his signature that he owns a network of 1000's of private domains.

            Makes sense doesn't it?
            Check out his reviews at Amazon some time for some LOLz. You'll enjoy it
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            • Profile picture of the author nik0
              Banned
              Originally Posted by PerformanceMan View Post

              Check out his reviews at Amazon some time for some LOLz. You'll enjoy it
              LOL indeed:

              "Unimpressive Book From An Impressive Salesperson"

              "Yet, and despite that, Rumbauskas is still a good salesperson. Why? I purchased his book despite all that."

              "Cold Calling IS a waste of time. I couldn't agree more. However, so is reading this book."


              I just couldn't leave it
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      • Profile picture of the author nik0
        Banned
        Originally Posted by FrankRumbauskas View Post

        I'm not analyzing, just sharing some observations for those who might appreciate the information. No wonder my network manager and SEO director both mock the WarriorForum and call it the place where "stupid people stay stupid" - trolls like you give it a bad name.
        Noobs who pretent they are a whole what give this forum a bad name.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    After reviewing dozens of sites and keyword searches, I noticed:

    - Overall, not as much change as I expected. Perhaps if I were looking at IM related keywords and niches the impact would be more noticeable.

    - Domains with a high PR home page solidifying a lock on the first couple rankings for many searches involving keywords on other pages. Another boost for big brands.

    - Facebook and social media pages resurfacing in the middle of page 1 for high and undeserving rankings. These are pages with no backlinks and thin content, but with the search phrase as the page title.

    - Unbelievable amounts of spammy or thin content pages ranking near the bottom of page 1 and in subsequent pages. I did not do a backlink check for sites that are not mine, but the on page "quality" of ranking pages is atrocious.

    - Amazon rules for product searches. I might as well be searching on Amazon.

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post


      - Unbelievable amounts of spammy or thin content pages ranking near the bottom of page 1 and in subsequent pages. I did not do a backlink check for sites that are not mine, but the on page "quality" of ranking pages is atrocious.
      Thats why such "analysis" is poor in the first days after an algo update. the same thing was said after penguin and Panda. The sites people pointed out as proof that the update was messed up disappeared in a few weeks
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      • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
        Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

        Thats why such "analysis" is poor in the first days after an algo update. the same thing was said after penguin and Panda. The sites people pointed out as proof that the update was messed up disappeared in a few weeks
        No. These are the immediate results after an update. What you are referring to are the inevitable "clean ups" Google makes after getting feedback about the immediate results. The further we go out from an update the harder it becomes to distill SEO lessons from a specific update, since Google is continually tweaking things and websites continue to change.

        But I agree that "Penguin" impacted results will change shortly as Google evaluates the algorithm change and reviews complaints about the change missing its mark or having unintended impact.

        I believe this thread is about results that are being noticed now.

        .
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        • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
          Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

          No. These are the immediate results after an update. What you are referring to are the inevitable "clean ups" Google makes after getting feedback about the immediate results.
          No I am not. This is a common misunderstanding but if you want to persist in them you are free. No skin off my back. People see changes in the first few days and swear that its Google making corrections but they say that with no evidence. I have never seen an algo that worked through all the data instantly and such a thing is not even possible given the huge amount of data on the web and limitations of technology.

          The further we go out from an update the harder it becomes to distill SEO lessons from a specific update, since Google is continually tweaking things and websites continue to change.
          That makes no sense whatsoever unless you think the alleged tweaks would be all manual which they would not be. Even if what you said were true why would people want to learn about an update that had been modified. You would want to learn about the modified algo. Thing about it is no matter what theory you have either way things have always changed after a few days or weeks after an algo so its all pointless to try and figure out anything in less than 24 hours after an update rolls out.
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          • Profile picture of the author danparks
            Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

            No I am not. This is a common misunderstanding but if you want to persist in them you are free. No skin off my back. People see changes in the first few days and swear that its Google making corrections but they say that with no evidence. I have never seen an algo that worked through all the data instantly and such a thing is not even possible given the huge amount of data on the web and limitations of technology.
            Yes it is going to take time to understand what's happening. Yesterday I threw in a post of how my keywords were doing (roughly half up, half unchanged) simply to throw in a data point. I like reading about the effect of an update on others sites. Immediate effect, effect days later, effects weeks later. The keywords I mentioned yesterday? Already, just one day later, most of the ones that were up have gone back down to roughly their original places pre-update. A handful that raised high stuck -- hopefully they'll remain up. Simply too soon to tell.

            About a year ago after an update I had a client site with 5 keywords all long-standing near the top of Page 1 and the update sent them all down in to the hundreds position. It wasn't until at least 10 days later that they bounced back (huge jump back in one day).

            We won't know the real outcome for many days, probably a couple weeks. It's just the way it goes. I know that, but I still read and participate in these threads because, hey, it's SEO, and that's what I do, and that's what interests me. But I'm not making any drastic decisions based on my own client sites or on anything anyone here says, for at least a couple of weeks.
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  • Profile picture of the author mojo1
    Hey Frank,

    Thanks for the detailed post very interesting findings. It definitely seems like the more things change the more they stay the same with Google.

    In any event, I just visited your website and not sure if you're aware of this but your "About Us", "Management Team" and "Sales Careers" page located in the lower right widget/sidebar area do not display at all. The "Blog" link does display properly.

    Again thanks for sharing your observations.
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Monroe
    My results?

    20 emails in the past two hours promoting "Penguin recovery courses"..

    "SEO has changed forever, get our groundbreaking Penguin 2.0 Recovery Guide and SMASH the competition"

    Seriously, thats what my inbox looks like.

    Relating to the actual update, not much difference. I did some check for normal keywords and a lot of older sites are ranking top positions again..but nothing too strange.

    Oh, and a "test site" with nothing but spammed blog comments for backlinks (over 5,000 of them) is now ranking position 1 - up 5 places....Lol
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  • Profile picture of the author TolyZ
    Noticed the same thing. My 5 Page sites are ranking and the bigger sites dropped for some keywords ...
    I just don't understand Google ...
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  • yes even i agree with you on automated tools.. i know a seo company based in using blackhat tools to rank their clients websites and their clients websites are now on top 5..
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  • Profile picture of the author squadron
    Thanks for sharing Frank. We had a few sites drop 6 or so spots from number 1 positions. and another site go from number 5 to number 1 for a few hours, then drop back to number 5 again.

    My guess is blog comments have been devalued, the number of OBL has been tweaked, or the nofollow attribute is now operational in Google.

    This is all good news for people who use or sell quality high-PR contextual links

    PS I bought a GSA gig on Fiverr the other day for an experimental site. Wild swings of 250 spots up and down. I've never seen anything like it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lilacor
    Hi Frank,

    Could you share more info on the SAPE links you built? I run multiple SAPE campaigns and non of them took a hit during the Penguin 2.0, so I am interested in the type of links you bought.

    Thanks.

    Originally Posted by FrankRumbauskas View Post

    3. SAPE Network

    After hearing all the hype about this Russian network, I threw a few hundred SAPE Network links at a couple of sites. These definitely took the worst hit of all but still it wasn't too bad - the worst damage so far is that one site lost 6 positions, which can easily be recovered within weeks using quality links. I will say that this site is relatively new, and domain age seems to be a factor in Penguin 2.0.
    Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author SASA Techno
    Thanks for the sharing a huge information this is unique and useful details you share with us...
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  • Profile picture of the author Lukas
    Thanks Frank

    Regaidng your private network is it a general one or niche related?
    You don't do high PR linking?

    I hear different results with GSA. Rankings depends on lot on the content quality you use. If it is manually written and spun manually (some guys do 30 different phrase spins for just one sentence) and relevant , why would it not rank well?
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  • Profile picture of the author Theeban
    Yes, I had noticed EMD sites boost up this time. At the same time, still the private networks, properly used web 2.0 contextual links still works.
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    • Profile picture of the author burton4550
      2. Multi-tiered link building

      This includes sites ranked using Matthew Woodward's method, and purchased link tiers from providers such as TheHoth. Overall these sites lost a bit of rank. I'm very surprised Google hasn't whacked this method yet, but I suppose there really is no safe & reliable way for them to do it. We do not use multi-tiered linking on client sites, but it's interesting to see the effects on other sites we test it on. Overall, these sites weren't harmed too badly, they lost anywhere from 1-5 positions. Tiers done manually using Matthew's method fared better than purchased tiers from Hoth.

      Overall they can be recovered quickly with good links, or maybe even more link pyramids.
      Great post!

      Just curious if you have any test sites that maybe used the SEOLutions tier linking building? I'm sure Hoth is pretty similiar, but I could be wrong.

      I just did one of their Packages, so I'm hoping I didn't waste my money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lyanna
    Any update?
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  • Profile picture of the author SandraElam
    So what is the final analysis now after 20-25 days of penguin 2.0 update?

    What sites are affected and what things are working now to recover them?
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    • Profile picture of the author nik0
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      Originally Posted by SandraElam View Post

      So what is the final analysis now after 20-25 days of penguin 2.0 update?

      What sites are affected and what things are working now to recover them?
      The only way to fully recover of these updates with 100% certainty is building a new website.

      Alternatively you can also try the disavow tool and file for reinclusion after that and with a lot of luck you get your rankings back but in most cases not, simply cause most people only have spammy links and after disavowing they have nothing left to rank based on
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      • Profile picture of the author Hansons
        Originally Posted by nik0 View Post

        The only way to fully recover of these updates with 100% certainty is building a new website.

        Alternatively you can also try the disavow tool and file for reinclusion after that and with a lot of luck you get your rankings back but in most cases not, simply cause most people only have spammy links and after disavowing they have nothing left to rank based on
        I would say that if you have clear understanding of what links should be removed then you can use disavow tool otherwise let those links with your site..
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  • Profile picture of the author PROmotions LLC
    That's pretty awesome that you did that and the results were as expected, with a few surprisingly interesting exceptions. I wish someone would put a banner up here on this forum that explains how crappy blog comment backlinks and social bookmarking backlinks are to everyone. It pains me to see people still slanging them as if they are worth a dam anymore. Feel bad for the folks who get these and just dump lots of hard work down the drain with a quick ranking drop.
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