Recovering my site that got hit by Penguin..

16 replies
  • SEO
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Hey guys.

I have a money site in health niche, that on 5th October got hit by Penguin 2.1. There were basically 3 main keywords driving most of the traffic, so let me give details about these and a few other keywords.

(I'm gonna provide as much details as possible, so you can better answer my questions, plus all the information might help someone too, i guess).

Ranking Before:

KW 1: 4
KW 2: 4
KW 3: 4
KW 4: 15
KW 5: 34
KW 6: N/A

After Penguin 2.1:

KW 1: 15
KW 2: 17
KW 3: 6
KW 4: 35
KW 5: 40
KW 6: N/A

All the links in Tier 1 were high quality manual backlinks, like manual bookmarks, web 2.0 sites, high PR network posts, and so on. Nothing was automated here. However, there was one thing that I do admit my SEO worker did wrong. Anchor text diversity. I mean, there are about 6 keywords in total that we were targeting. And these exact 6 keywords combined together made +92% of our anchor texts. So I believe this is what caused us being hit by Penguin. However, it has been going on before too. I mean, the site would keep going up for a few days, then stays on some good spots, and then all of a sudden would drop to lower pages. (By the way, this is before penguin).

Now after penguin, my site did recovered to some extents:

KW 1: 10
KW 2: 9
KW 3: 4
KW 4 (very high volume): 21
KW 5: 46
KW 6 (extremely high competition, plus 50000+ Exact searches): 73

But then again yesterday everything back to where it was before penguin. We didn't do much work after penguin, only built around 20 backlinks with 60% containing naked URLs, the remaining as keywords. The site goes up a little, and then again went back down, just like always, even before penguin (the difference being that after penguin it is much worse).



My Strategy For Recovering This Site:


Alright. So my strategy to recover this site is as follows:

* Note: By %, I mean the percentage of it compared to total links build.

Build daily 15-18% blog comments link (to diversify the sources a little, and also to help diversify anchor text. Will only be using random anchor texts here), 10% wiki links on high PR and DA domains (to diversify link sources), about 12-15% web 2.0 properties (with a mix of anchors, but main focus on random ones), 10-14% Pdf/Document sharing (to get link diversity), 10-14% links using Senuke (will be using very carefully though. Will find own sites list to get links from, and also use unique content and everything. These are easier to create, so the main focus is to create anchor text variety), some Private blog network posts (personally owned), also some video submission, and social bookmarking (manually off course, about 8% per day). I will also be focusing on Social signals, and slowly build those too. I will do this for like 21 days or so. And then slow it down to 20% of this pace. This will help me balance out my anchor texts, also create lots of diversity in link types and so on.

I personally do things like this strategy, but this time I let another person to manage SEO for my site, and this is a really important site to me, as it was making quite an income for me.




Questions:



1). Why do you think my site keeps going up and then all of a sudden drops? Is it because it keeps getting lightly hit for anchor text over-optimization time after time?


2). As the site is lightly hit as of now, so I'm sure it can be fixed. What do you think of my strategy for this? Do you have any recommendations?

3). What do you think might have caused the problem in the first place, other than the anchor text problem off course?

4). Do you think I should focus on fixing this site, or start a new one from scratch? I personally think fixing would be a better idea, as it is just lightly hit, and already proved that it can be fixed if done right. Also, it already required a lot of work just to get here. But I'd love to hear your opinion on this.

That's all I guess. I'd really love to hear your opinions and recommendations on this. Looking forward to it. Thanks
#hit #penguin #recovering #site
  • Profile picture of the author online only
    I don't want to sound harsh, but you are missing out one thing in your SEO "campaign". To be more clear, there's no real links.

    If I understood correctly, the only kind of links you are currently building are either:

    A) Blog comments - Most of them are nofollow anyway, and for me they are bunch of very low quality links.

    B) Web 2.0s - Without legit tiers and legit content, (Not talking about some 300 word SEO articles per web2.0s) they are more or less worthless.

    C) Social Bookmarks - There are only dozen of legitimate social bookmark sites. Any other are most likely crapola. Again, very weak link. Only help you to index site, but that's basically IT.

    D) "Private" blog network links - If you sell your "private" blog network links on fiverr, they are not really private, are they? I doubt they are niche relevant as well. So basically, you are playing with fire.

    So my question remains. Where are the real links? Bunch of low quality links won't help you to survive updates nor recover from updates.

    As I said above, I might sound too harsh, but that's reality, unfortunately.
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    • Originally Posted by online only View Post

      I don't want to sound harsh, but you are missing out one thing in your SEO "campaign". To be more clear, there's no real links.

      If I understood correctly, the only kind of links you are currently building are either:

      A) Blog comments - Most of them are nofollow anyway, and for me they are bunch of very low quality links.

      B) Web 2.0s - Without legit tiers and legit content, (Not talking about some 300 word SEO articles per web2.0s) they are more or less worthless.

      C) Social Bookmarks - There are only dozen of legitimate social bookmark sites. Any other are most likely crapola. Again, very weak link. Only help you to index site, but that's basically IT.

      D) "Private" blog network links - If you sell your "private" blog network links on fiverr, they are not really private, are they? I doubt they are niche relevant as well. So basically, you are playing with fire.

      So my question remains. Where are the real links? Bunch of low quality links won't help you to survive updates nor recover from updates.

      As I said above, I might sound too harsh, but that's reality, unfortunately.
      What are the real links you speak of?
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      • Profile picture of the author dukegman
        Originally Posted by BuyExpiredDomains View Post

        What are the real links you speak of?
        I certainly second that +1
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      • Profile picture of the author online only
        Originally Posted by BuyExpiredDomains View Post

        What are the real links you speak of?
        Real links are placed by webmasters. Also known as editorial, aka not placed by YOU.

        A) Links from resources: Publicity & Marketing Resources for Getting Media Attention, Finding Customers, & More

        B) Contextual links from blog posts, articles: How to Make a Successful Portfolio or Demoreel | Blender Guru

        C) Links from lists: 100 Free SEO Tools & Resources for Every Challenge - Moz (can be "list of best car blogs", "list of best Photoshop tutorials" etc

        D) Guest post links (not from author box)

        E) Blogroll links from reputable blogs in similar niche: Grumpy Old Bookman

        F) Manually reviewed niche directory links: joeant.com for example

        G) Not so strong links, but good for branding: NAP's, 1-800 listing sites

        H) Check your competitor links, do broken linkbuilding, post awesome content, distribute infographic etc.. Sky's the limit.

        I) You can always mix things up with semidecent links like sponsorship links, donation links, feedback/testimonial links.
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        • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
          (for the OP)

          I didn't change anything about my site and rankings came back up. Most my keywords went from page 6 and beyond, back to the top 3 of google. So I hate to say this, but you can't say conclusively that your "improvements" are the reason your site came back up.

          Especially when there are people like me who did nothing to improve their sites, and saw substantial improvements in their rankings (much more dramatic than yours).

          Now let me respond to this guy,


          Originally Posted by online only View Post

          Real links are placed by webmasters. Also known as editorial, aka not placed by YOU.

          A) Links from resources: Publicity & Marketing Resources for Getting Media Attention, Finding Customers, & More
          What is a "resource link"? You mean directory links and press releases?

          Originally Posted by online only View Post

          B) Contextual links from blog posts, articles: How to Make a Successful Portfolio or Demoreel | Blender Guru
          No offense... but what the hell does creating a successful portfolio have to do with backlinks? Because that site confused the hell out of me. You're telling people that you know what a "real link" is yet you're sending them to sites that show them how to make portfolios? I must be missing something here.

          As far as "contextual links from blog posts, articles".... you mean like the type that GSA does?

          Those are contextual links from blog posts and articles. It might be highly spun textual links, but if you do a good enough job spinning, the articles read great and last forever.

          Originally Posted by online only View Post

          C) Links from lists: 100 Free SEO Tools & Resources for Every Challenge - Moz (can be "list of best car blogs", "list of best Photoshop tutorials" etc
          Once again, we are talking about "real links" here and you drop a link with a page full of random SEO tools, 90% of which have nothing to do with link building. Most of those tools are for analytics.


          Originally Posted by online only View Post

          D) Guest post links (not from author box)
          Guess posts. This should have been your "A" not your "D".

          Originally Posted by online only View Post

          E) Blogroll links from reputable blogs in similar niche: Grumpy Old Bookman
          Blogroll links are no more "real" then any of the links mentioned by the OP. And sitewide/blogroll links make a very easy target for google.

          Originally Posted by online only View Post

          F) Manually reviewed niche directory links: joeant.com for example
          Directory links again... yep, those are "real".

          Originally Posted by online only View Post

          G) Not so strong links, but good for branding: NAP's, 1-800 listing sites
          Not so strong links no so worth the time.

          Originally Posted by online only View Post

          H) Check your competitor links, do broken linkbuilding, post awesome content, distribute infographic etc.. Sky's the limit.
          Yep good idea. Post awesome content.... like pdfs, then upload to GSA and blast that shit everywhere. Sky is definitely the limit. I agree.

          Originally Posted by online only View Post

          I) You can always mix things up with semidecent links like sponsorship links, donation links, feedback/testimonial links.
          Sponsorship, donation links etc etc.... those sound like paid links to me. Just change the semantics and you'll be cool. Like when people get escorts, they're not actually paying for sex, they're just having sex then making "donations".

          More importantly, sponsorship links are just as risky as what the OP outlined. You can wind up with thousands of links coming in, from 1000 different niches.... so please tell me how those links are "real" or "safe"?

          If you make a good wordpress theme, even if its themed for a certain industry or niche, if the theme is good, everyone will want to use it. So you have no real control over where those links are coming from. I can take your sponsored "business" theme and make a gay porn website with words like "shit" "fvck" "suck" "dick" "sex" "gay" etc etc. Doesn't sound safe to me.

          Most importantly, when you are taking hours / days / weeks and months of your time, to build "real" links, and your #1 competitor has senuked his site above you, all he has to do is set up a simple campaign and shit all over your site. Then all those years of hard work and building "real" links is in the toilet.

          I view white hat and blackhat seo like politics. You have your hardcore blackhat guys, spamming their way to the top. You have your whitehat guys doing everything perfectly. But you get radicals from each site. Its like politics. And it doesn't matter how clean your link profile is, if you bash heads with the wrong person, a simple smear campaign will ruin your life. Same thing with SEO, bash heads with the wrong competitor, and they will spam your site into the Google abyss.

          NOTHING is safe, nothing is "real". Your version of reality is as distorted as anyone else, blackhat, grayhat, etc etc. And the only "law of certainty" regarding seo, and life in general, is that nothing is certain.

          Why waste so much time playing by the rules? This is a serious question. You seem like a well intentioned person. I'm sure you have years of experience over people like me. But don't you worry that all this time you invest in a clean profile, and "real" links.... can be destroyed overnight?

          Thats the 1 reason I could never go full whitehat like guys like you or Yukon (I'm only assuming Yukon does white hat seo). I would wake up every night, at 3am sweating profusely, paranoid as hell .... just waiting for the day that 1 greedy BH marketer would ruin everything. All the time wasted for nothing.

          Maybe its my own distorted view of reality. But when you talk about "real links", I look at real life in general. Lets forget backlinks for a minute.

          Everywhere you look, every industry, every profession, every thing you can think of, is INFILTRATED with corruption and people who don't play by the rules. People trying to game the system, politicians, corporations, the government, the entire field of psychiatry, big pharma, the fda, small businesses, athletes, food industries, medical industries, any business you can name, there is vast amounts of corruption. In fact, America was built on corruption (with oil industries signing illegal contracts with the government).

          Its completely off topic I know. But the point is, your links are no more "real" then the shittiest spam links you can imagine. To say such a thing is to imply that spam is almost "fake".... which doesn't make sense. Especially when you consider that someone can use these "fake links" to ruin your life.

          Does that not sound "real" enough to you?

          -SB
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          • Profile picture of the author online only
            Originally Posted by RedShifted View Post


            What is a "resource link"? You mean directory links and press releases?

            Resource links are links from resource pages that are legitimate. Let's say someone runs a blog about writing. He will also have a resource page there where he puts all the valuable sites/blogs that are related to his. The resource page can be anywhere from PR0 to PR5, but it's relevant.

            I'm not sure where did you come up with the press release cuz I usually don't do this kind of stuff at all.

            No offense... but what the hell does creating a successful portfolio have to do with backlinks? Because that site confused the hell out of me. You're telling people that you know what a "real link" is yet you're sending them to sites that show them how to make portfolios? I must be missing something here.

            As far as "contextual links from blog posts, articles".... you mean like the type that GSA does?

            Those are contextual links from blog posts and articles. It might be highly spun textual links, but if you do a good enough job spinning, the articles read great and last forever.


            Let's say you have an article/site about making online portfolios. You fill also find tonloads of other similar articles/post about portfolios.

            You just contact the website owner or the creator of the article and say:

            "Hey, I recently made a super-cool blog/article about creating portfolios. It's really comprehensive. Perhaps you check it out. In case you find it useful to your readers, feel free to add it to your article"

            Of course you can pre-tweet his article or find some broken links to make your conversions better, but it's usually around 10% - 15%.

            Most folks don't know a shit about IM and they can easily give you a PR3 contextual links by just emailing them.

            Again, I'm confused where did you come up with GSA and spinning... It has nothing to do with that.

            Once again, we are talking about "real links" here and you drop a link with a page full of random SEO tools, 90% of which have nothing to do with link building. Most of those tools are for analytics.

            I just showed it as an example. Many many blogs create similar posts as "101 list of linkbuilding articles", "101 list of photoshop tutorial sites" "my 30 favorite WordPress tutorials" etc. Again, all you need to contact the website owner and get your link placed.

            Guess posts. This should have been your "A" not your "D".

            Why so? I'm not a huge fan of guestposts and I usually don't do them much, but if you like, go ahead. I'm not much into writing 500+ words, I better email them and get my link placed in a article that is already published.

            Blogroll links are no more "real" then any of the links mentioned by the OP. And sitewide/blogroll links make a very easy target for google.

            Someone places a PR6 link to his REAL blogroll and you call it not real? It's niche related and brings me traffic. I know Google doesn't like dofollow blog roll links, but if they are relevant and it's less than 10% of my links then they can't do much...

            Directory links again... yep, those are "real".
            Not so strong links no so worth the time.


            PR3 links from niche categories are bad? Cmon.

            Most importantly, when you are taking hours / days / weeks and months of your time, to build "real" links, and your #1 competitor has senuked his site above you, all he has to do is set up a simple campaign and shit all over your site. Then all those years of hard work and building "real" links is in the toilet.

            I view white hat and blackhat seo like politics. You have your hardcore blackhat guys, spamming their way to the top. You have your whitehat guys doing everything perfectly. But you get radicals from each site. Its like politics. And it doesn't matter how clean your link profile is, if you bash heads with the wrong person, a simple smear campaign will ruin your life. Same thing with SEO, bash heads with the wrong competitor, and they will spam your site into the Google abyss.

            NOTHING is safe, nothing is "real". Your version of reality is as distorted as anyone else, blackhat, grayhat, etc etc. And the only "law of certainty" regarding seo, and life in general, is that nothing is certain.


            I don't know. Maybe I'm not operating in those niches like payday, casino etc. My sites have been on top over a year with no fluctation at all. I have seen blackhat sites pop up occasionally, but never reached the top. And they are usually gone after few months/weeks.

            More importantly, sponsorship links are just as risky as what the OP outlined. You can wind up with thousands of links coming in, from 1000 different niches.... so please tell me how those links are "real" or "safe"?

            I agree that they are not the safest types of links, but I have full control over them. So I don't really care...

            Why waste so much time playing by the rules? This is a serious question. You seem like a well intentioned person. I'm sure you have years of experience over people like me. But don't you worry that all this time you invest in a clean profile, and "real" links.... can be destroyed overnight?

            Noone has destroyed my rankings / links. And even if they do, I'm sure I can recover. Don't worry

            Why I'm playing by the rules? Well, I just sold one site that was making 5k per month for $100 000. And you know what the buyer said? "Finding sites with this kind of link profile is like finding a needle from a haystack".

            He was pretty experienced guy and said he will never every buy sites that are relying on private network links or links produced by automatic gibberish. He had a trust in my site and I made a lot of money. I would never ever gotten 120k for a site with shitty links, so he was willing to pay 20x monthly for a site that has been in top for a little under 11 months.

            Flipping is part of my business model, so...
            About Your last paragraphs... I just think you are being a little bit too paranoia. Neg. seo exists, but only in crazy niches.

            Of course, I'm not saying my linkbuilding approach works in every niche, but in most of them. If you don't have a porn or casino site then most likely you can come up with something to get those links.

            And when you think this is way too time consuming - it's not. Hire a VA, pay her/him $1000 a month and you can feel free to sit back & scratch your balls all day long.

            And I don't think Google can destroy this stuff in the near future. And if my site (content) is great, why should he?
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    • Profile picture of the author dukegman
      Hi. Thanks a lot for your input. I really appreciate that.

      Originally Posted by online only View Post

      A) Blog comments - Most of them are nofollow anyway, and for me they are bunch of very low quality links.
      As I mentioned before, these are just to create anchor text variety. I forgot to mention that I will only be choosing dofollow (with a little mix of nofollow), and most of these will be high PR actually. But the main idea is to help create anchor text variation.

      Originally Posted by online only View Post

      B) Web 2.0s - Without legit tiers and legit content, (Not talking about some 300 word SEO articles per web2.0s) they are more or less worthless.
      I should have explained this one better actually. I will be using 500+ words unique articles on these sites, along with images, and videos too, and on each of these, there will be 3-5 posts (like blogger, wordpress etc.). There will also be those with only 1 post (like squidoo). Then, I will build 2 lower tiers to these. Tier 1 for these will consider of many manual and automatic backlinks, and each will be treated as if it was an actual that I was trying to rank. So I will be doing a lot of work on this one.

      Note: I will be building 2 lower tiers for all backlinks of tier 1 too.

      Originally Posted by online only View Post

      C) Social Bookmarks - There are only dozen of legitimate social bookmark sites. Any other are most likely crapola. Again, very weak link. Only help you to index site, but that's basically IT.
      I will only be using a handful of sites, plus the amount of total links will not be that much, from this source. I'm only doing this to create some variety in backlink sources.

      Originally Posted by online only View Post

      D) "Private" blog network links - If you sell your "private" blog network links on fiverr, they are not really private, are they? I doubt they are niche relevant as well. So basically, you are playing with fire.
      Off course I won't be using the ones I'm selling links-on, on fiverr. I have a separate (but only a small one) network for my own sites.

      Originally Posted by online only View Post

      So my question remains. Where are the real links? Bunch of low quality links won't help you to survive updates nor recover from updates.
      As I said above, I might sound too harsh, but that's reality, unfortunately.
      I absolutely appreciate you taking the time to give your input on this, and I think that the point you are raising is indeed a valid one. So, is it possible that you could tell me about some sources of backlinks that you consider as High Quality? There is very little opportunity in my niche, as there are no Real blogs to guest post on, and so on. So I'd appreciate if you could tell me what type of backlinks are you talking about? I mean which you consider as high quality.

      P.s English is a second language for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author HeadStartSEO
      Originally Posted by online only View Post

      I don't want to sound harsh, but you are missing out one thing in your SEO "campaign". To be more clear, there's no real links.

      If I understood correctly, the only kind of links you are currently building are either:

      A) Blog comments - Most of them are nofollow anyway, and for me they are bunch of very low quality links.

      B) Web 2.0s - Without legit tiers and legit content, (Not talking about some 300 word SEO articles per web2.0s) they are more or less worthless.

      C) Social Bookmarks - There are only dozen of legitimate social bookmark sites. Any other are most likely crapola. Again, very weak link. Only help you to index site, but that's basically IT.

      D) "Private" blog network links - If you sell your "private" blog network links on fiverr, they are not really private, are they? I doubt they are niche relevant as well. So basically, you are playing with fire.

      So my question remains. Where are the real links? Bunch of low quality links won't help you to survive updates nor recover from updates.

      As I said above, I might sound too harsh, but that's reality, unfortunately.

      You can do these things well, but you have to make sure they are really good quality.

      Pro tip, make web 2.0 sites and send tons and tons of PR network links to them. Web 2.0 can take a lot, if you even use lower quality ones your legit too. The authority these web 2.0 can really allow you to beat them up a bit.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kevin Maguire
        Originally Posted by HeadStartSEO View Post

        You can do these things well, but you have to make sure they are really good quality.

        Pro tip, make web 2.0 sites and send tons and tons of PR network links to them. Web 2.0 can take a lot, if you even use lower quality ones your legit too. The authority these web 2.0 can really allow you to beat them up a bit.
        I've been beaten them since day 0.........

        Originally Posted by RedShifted View Post

        (for the OP)
        Thats some heavy shit for this time of night bro. I wont sleep now..
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  • Profile picture of the author Jimerson Farveez
    Yes, I guess, changing anchor text works, one of my client website too was on page 5 after latest updates (earlier it was on 11,12), now when I am getting contextual links and using different long tail anchor texts, I had noticed that rank is back to 20 now, It is really great. Note : the site has less links pointing to target anchor text.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cobaki
    Well, the Penguin can’t make everybody happy. When others rank up, there are also the ones who rank down. And yes, if your website only got lightly hit and if you think that you can still manage to fix it, do so. That can help you save a lot of money and effort, of course.
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  • Profile picture of the author dynamyt100
    I have been trying frantically to recover! My rankings haven't shown ANY level of consistency. My rank looks like a rollercoaster. One day a keyword gains 30 positions and the next day it looses 29 positions?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dokemion
    First I and my clients rankings were not affected by either penguin 2.0 or 2.1.

    For those who had been affected from one update to another it's because your SEO campaigns is a BS... Change your SEO approach/strategy/campaigns and find a stable SEO Solution that stand to the test of times.
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    Contact me for any SEO Services you need I'm glad to be of your service.

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  • Profile picture of the author ibg
    Did you ever have any success getting your KW's to come up again? I'm having a similar situation now:

    Need advice on how to water down the effects of creating TOO many back links over a short period of time 3-4 months. Since October 22nd 2014 I watched my traffic drop and now even though I still (today) have some keywords working I'm dropping on first page. I was ranking first page google for 20+ keywords and now down to three and those are slipping as well for my site
    The links were built to posts only not the front page. There a lot of articles, posts and forums warning of over doing the links but not much on what to do after the fact.

    Any suggestions short of disavowing links. What about adding generic links like Click here, more info, etc or building links to youtube, Foursquare, facebook, YP or other connecting sites???

    Helpful suggestions requested and appreciated.
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    • Profile picture of the author BrandishJay
      Originally Posted by ibg View Post

      Did you ever have any success getting your KW's to come up again? I'm having a similar situation now:

      Need advice on how to water down the effects of creating TOO many back links over a short period of time 3-4 months. Since October 22nd 2014 I watched my traffic drop and now even though I still (today) have some keywords working I'm dropping on first page. I was ranking first page google for 20+ keywords and now down to three and those are slipping as well for my site
      The links were built to posts only not the front page. There a lot of articles, posts and forums warning of over doing the links but not much on what to do after the fact.

      Any suggestions short of disavowing links. What about adding generic links like Click here, more info, etc or building links to youtube, Foursquare, facebook, YP or other connecting sites???

      Helpful suggestions requested and appreciated.
      Not enough information to provide specific suggestions, it really depends on what type of links you built and the anchor text used. Sending everything to subpages doesn't sound natural either, but again I'm not sure what your exact data is. Overall though it sounds like you need to change your mentality and approach from link building to link earning. Trying to counter what's possibly a penguin penalty with more manual link building isn't really the ideal solution imo.
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      @BrandishSEO

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  • Profile picture of the author CutPasteProfits
    Wow RedShift, my thoughts in your crystal clear postthere. It's amazing how easily people can get sabotaged if someone really wanted to. I'm still having a tough time getting my rankings back - so far, a few have regained their positions but some have dropped off the top 100 completely. I've got a few high PR links on my own network but I'm still putting up content and waiting for the sites to index. I think 2 of them have indexed but they're still not pushing my keywords back where they were.

    I might try de-optimizing my posts and see if anything happens before I do anything more drastic.
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