So now is the right time to start cleaning your link profile by removing and disavowing your unnatural, paid or low quality links. Oh, and to change your entire link building strategy too.
OK, but how exactly does Penguin penalty removal and prevention worksr?
In this expert roundup you will learn exactly how to prevent a Penguin penalty and how to remove one in case you got hit by Google Penguin.
And that’s not all. You will not get just one or two useful tips on how to revoke a Penguin penalty.
Instead, you will get 58 tips from some of the most reputable SEO experts in the world. And all these priceless pieces of advice will be served on a silver platter. You will also learn about some nifty SEO tools that can save you tons of time and increase your chances .
Awesome, right? Let’s dive right in.
I asked 68 well-respected SEO experts one simple question:
“Which is the best method (or strategy) you recommend in case of a Penguin related issue?”
This article is enormous, so I created quick links for your convenience. Want to jump right to the answer of your favorite SEO expert? No worries, just click on his/ her name.
Tim Soulo, Maria Johnsen, Dan Petrovic, Matthew Barby, David Leonhardt, Chuck Price, Joost de Valk, Colin Klinkert, Zac Johnson, Justin Ham, Shari Thurow, Albert Mora, Alan Bleiweiss, David Krauter, Warren Whitlock, Steve Wiideman, Chris Makara, Asher Elran, Adam Steele, Sean Si, Allan Pollett, Bill Sebald, Gabriella Sannino, Matthew Capala, Tripp Hamilton, AtiqUr Rehman, Matthew J. Brady, Bartosz Goralewicz, Dominic Wells, Dennis Seymour, Marcus Miller, James Reynolds, Floyd Buenavente, Nate Shivar, Marianne Sweeny, Jamie Spencer, Martin W. Smith, Jon Tromans, Jasmine Sandler, Ian Spencer, Felix Tarcomnicu, Tor Refsland, Melanie Nathan, Jan Koch, Russell Lobo, Aaron Jones, Hernan Vazquez, Louie Luc Correia, Nirav Dave, Shounak Gupte, Patrick Hathaway, Jo Turnbull, Niraj Ranjan Rout, Sherman Smith, Kulwant Nagi, Dave Schneider, Moosa Hemani, Fervil Von Tripoli
Tim Soulo Ahrefs.com
Recovering from a Penguin penalty is a 3-step process.
Step #1: Getting rid of “unnatural” links.
Most people who suffer from a Penguin penalty have a very clear understanding of the unnatural links pointing to their site and where they come from.
Usually these are links that were rented from link farms and blog networks.
So first thing that you should do is take down all these artificial links from whatever sources.
Step #2: Disavowing low quality links.
If you weren’t specifically renting backlinks somewhere, the chances are that you have paid some shady SEO guy to build links for you.
Well, now you’ll have to find all these low quality links that he has built for you and disavow them.
(actually it would be better to take them down, but that’s usually very time consuming, so disavowing is preferable)
How to find these links?
Just put your website into Ahrefs and you’ll see pretty much all the backlinks that point to your site.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@timsoulo @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]And actually in Ahrefs we have a feature called “Disavow list”.[/tweetthis]
It allows you to mark bad links (or entire domains) and then export this list in a format that can be then sent to Google.
Step #3: Building good backlinks
And actually the right word here would be “acquiring”, because the very term “building backlinks” is a little shady.
I won’t give you any tips on building (or acquiring) backlinks, because there are hundreds of tutorials and case studies on how to do that.
Good luck with your Penguin penalty recovery!
Maria Johnsen Maria-Johnsen.com
If business owners follow Google’s guidelines in regards to on page and off page SEO, they will be safe from any Google Algorithm update.
Keep doing the following:
Implement content marketing with social media optimization and promotion, write content for users not search engines, make sure your website’s usability and mobile friendliness are aligned with Google’s guidelines, keep an eye on your Google webmasters tool updates and your link building profile.
Monitor your competitors and interact with your users on social network or have someone to do it for you.
Every Google algorithm update points on a particular task and process. We can’t give any precise recommendation as we don’t know what will be in next Google penguin algorithm update. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@iMariaJohnsen @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Google’s aim is to clean up their search engine from spam and irrelevant content[/tweetthis]
Website owners must show to users and search engines that they offer quality and user friendly content, products and services (guest blogging services for example). Content which is filed with fluff words won’t do any good for anybody.
Make sure your mobile websites are free from syntax errors and structure date is Google search engine friendly.
Today website speed is another algorithm factor; improve your website speed for desktop, mobile, tablet and other devices.
If you are an ecommerce owner, ask your clients to write reviews about your products and services, it helps with your ranking. Also don’t forget the power of press releases if you have a new product or anything new is going on with your business.
Clean up your back link profile and those which you have no control over, disavow them, then send a reconsideration request to Google, so a Googler check it out for you.
Don’t be afraid of interacting with a Google employee. They will reply but it takes time. If they don’t then you should keep trying until one of them let you know if you follow with their guidelines.
Another solution is to hire an SEO expert to help you with improving your back link profile and your website’s online performance.
Dan Petrovic DejanSeo.com.au
Dealing with Penguin? No thanks. If my site was affected by Penguin I would throw it away and start a new one.
I’d take great care to reach out to webmasters and re-point any organic links but wouldn’t redirect any URL from the old site. I know this is not what you want to hear, but it is my honest opinion.
If I’m attempting to fix client’s site and they have no option to move to a new domain then I make sure that my team doesn’t fall into “oh that link is good enough” mindset.
For example if a link is on a guest post and is the only link in the content piece, it will stick out as being completely unnatural, no matter how good content piece may be. Google won’t care. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@dejanseo @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Get rid of inorganic links generously and use domain level disavowing[/tweetthis] when facing links from fake sites and blog networks.
Matthew Barby MatthewBarby.com // @
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]If you’ve been hit by a Penguin penalty then the first thing you need to do is find the root cause[/tweetthis]
Use a link analysis tool (preferably a few) to pull through all of the links pointing to your domain and then you’ll need to begin the process of combing through the links to identify potential bad links.
After spending a lot of time in the past to work with companies that have suffered from Penguin penalties, the most important thing to decide early on is whether it’s worth just starting a fresh or tackling the problem.
There are a lot of factors that come into play but I’ve seen starting a fresh can be a lot more cost effective in some situations.
David Leonhardt SEO-Writer.com
I have long believed that if you don’t try too hard, you shouldn’t trip any wires. Google’s penalties and algorithm corrections are meant to neutralize anything that is tipping the scales in the wrong direction (in an unnatural, inorganic direction).
[tweetthis url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]If you are hit by Penguin, the best thing you can do is to review your backlinks using the “Aunt Bertha Technique” [/tweetthis]This technique might seem benign and almost harmless, but it is deceivingly effective.
First, create a table of all your backlinks.
Second, open each page one-by-one. Third, look at your link on the page…not as an SEO specialist, not as a business person, but as somebody who really is clueless to SEO. Someone like my Aunt Bertha. Ask yourself, why is this link here? Why does it say a nonsense phrase like “Real Estate San Francisco”?
It might be hard to disassociate yourself from the business, so it can help to use a real Aunt Bertha. If you are one or two Aunt Berthas short, not to worry. I rent mine out for $1000 per diem.*
If the link does not make sense to her, then it probably does not make sense. Period. We in business can be very competitive, and that includes when we get to link-building. More links. More links. Even more links. And it is so easy to justify why that next great link opportunity makes sense. But does it really make sense? Aunt Bertha knows.
If you try too hard, you’ll probably trip some wires.
Aunt Bertha will see right through your contrived links. If they don’t make sense to her, get rid of them if you can, or add them to the disavow list if you can’t.
If at the end of the day you remove tons of backlinks that can’t get Aunt Bertha’s stamp of approval, and Google still won’t give you a break, it might be something else. Or something more, in addition to Penguin. It might even be time to start over.
* Just kidding. I don’t really have an Aunt Bertha.
Chuck Price MeasurableSEO.com
An easy way for people to check to see if they have been hit by Penguin is to use our tool.
If so, it’s time to perform a link audit.
In the case of a manual penalty, Google wants to see some effort on your part to get the links removed, so email outreach and documentation of that outreach is required. If your site has been impacted by Penguin, there is no need to ask for link removals.
Having tried most, if not all, of the commercially available link auditing tools, I found each to be lacking in some respect. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@ChuckPrice518 @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]To resolve that, we built a private tool which helps to identify both good links&bad[/tweetthis]
The logic is based on a set of link characteristics.
The following classes of links are automatically disavowed:
- DA 1 /PA 1 Moz metrics aren’t infallible, but a site with both a PA and DA of 1 has no value at best and in aggregate could send a poor quality signal to Google.
- SPAM TLDs: If you are located in North America, having a large volume of links coming from Russia, China and Brazil (.ru, .cn, .br) it’s almost always unnatural. I see this particular combination frequently after someone has destroyed their website after buying links from Fiverr
- Links not Found: One could argue that if the link isn’t there, what harm is done? I prefer taking a conservative approach by removing a potentially harmful link which could automagically reappear
- Page Offline: Links reported on pages that are now 404. The rationale is the same as above.
- Scrapers: The web is filled with scrapers that steal content. It’s unlikely that Google holds these against you, but, since these have no positive value, I prefer to disavow them.
The next class of links would be sent a link removal request, assuming a manual penalty was in play. If we are looking to fix an algorithmic penalty, email outreach is not necessary and the links would be disavowed.
- Exact Match Anchor Text: EMAT links built for the sole purpose of manipulating search rankings often cause the biggest problems.
- Penalized Domains: Links from another site that has been penalized algorithmically or manually sends a poor quality signal to Google
- Link Network: Multiple links pointing to you from Private Blog Networks (PBNs) can draw you into a spammy or otherwise bad neighborhood
- Partner Sites: If you own or partner with other websites we recommend adding a nofollow attribute to avoid the appearance of creating a doorway page. If a no follow attribute cannot be arranged, then disavow the link.
The final class of link types is generally Okay
- Social Media links: Since most are no-follow, no problem
- Other Nofollow Links: Because they pass no equity, no need to disavow
- Natural, organic links: No explanation required J
Even after applying this criteria, a percentage of links will not cleanly fit into any of these categories, and will require a manual review.
We’ve used this system to recover both manual penalties (with a 100% success rate) and algorithmic penalties. Websites hit algorithmically by Penguin will require a post cleanup Penguin refresh to fully benefit from these efforts.
Joost de Valk Yoast.com
In my opinion, the best strategy in case of a penguin related issue consist of a couple of steps.
First you want to look at all your backlinks. You can use something like Majestic to get all these backlinks.
Once you have that list, you are going to want to filter out all the “bad” links. These are links from shady websites, links that are unrelated to you website/brand/niche, links with a low trust flow etc.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@jdevalk @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Once you have a list of all your bad links, you can start getting rid of them[/tweetthis] Ask website owners to remove the backlinks and use the Google Disavow tool. But I would always try to ask the website owners first!
Colin Klinkert ColinKlinkert.com
The most important thing to do if you feel like you’ve been affected by Penguin is to confirm that it’s not all in your head; do an analysis on your site rankings.
If you are using a Rank Tracker that allows you to see an overlay of updated from Google, to see if you were affected by an update (such as the rank tracker inside SERPed.net) to see if your rankings have indeed fallen around the time of a “Penguin attack”. This is the most vital step you should take before going any further.
If you have found that you’ve been affected by a Penguin update, the best thing to do is immediately go back to the drawing board on your link building strategy and clean up your anchor-text profile because that’s what the Penguin algorithm really uses to derank.
It compares your link profile to your on-site keywords to identify over optimizations. The first thing you should check for with your keywords is that you are not overusing “money keywords”; meaning your link profile should look as organic as possible.
How do you know if a backlink is bad for your site? It could have some of the most basic spammy traits like too many links from one source, one IP and and links coming from a source that has content unrelated to the anchor text.
You can use a good tool like Site Explorer (also part of SERPed.net) to first analyze the domain, then remove the bad links and rebuild your way to the top.
Another good strategy which can be time consuming but rewarding, is pushing out high quality content.
Ensuring your content is: unique, written well, checked from grammatical errors and relevant to your website could be the difference between you being hit by Penguin, or earning from Penguin by helping those who were affected clean up their act.
As I wrote about in my post: ‘7 Ways to get Backlinks Google will Love’ – there are backlinks you can actively build that look organic…
At the end of the day, all Google wants to see is content that lives up to it’s mission statement, relevant and useful content from organic sources. Once you stay within these guidelines there will be no need to worry about their “pets” coming to get you.
Zac Johnson Zac Johnson
When it comes to Google Penguin concerns, [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@zacjohnson @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]you want to make sure the quality of your backlinks are high and relevant [/tweetthis]. While I highly recommend guest blogging and getting other brands to link back to your site, you need to make sure the relevancy and link quality is there.
Getting a link or mention from a huge site like HuffingtonPost or Forbes can be worth 100-1,000 more valuable than getting backlinks from 50 random sites.
This will not only help the power and relevancy of links coming to your site, but it can also help in that Google will start seeing authoritative sites linking back to your site as a valuable reference.
Another option is to go back and remove or disavow all low-quality links pointing to your site.
This is a huge pain and a massive tasks, but if a penalty is already in place this is one of the best ways to get your site back on the good side of Google and getting the penalty lifted. (though may site owners and SEO experts have their own opinions on if this method works or not)
With the combination of new high-value links being built to your site and a bit of a clean up process of old and low-quality links, you should be able to stay clear of any future Google penguin updates.
Justin Ham EcommerceChief.com
Penguin’s premise is around evaluating how links increase or decrease the rankings of your site. If you’ve taken a hit, here are four basic steps to course correct.
The first step is to make sure it’s a Penguin update that caused the traffic drop. As you know, Penguin is just one of many SEO updates that can affect your traffic. It is always wise to see the data and facts behind what caused the drop in traffic.
There are tools out there like Fruition or JellyFish that can provide more data to your hypothesis. Check the data and see what caused the hit to your site.
Once you’ve confirmed that it was the Penguin update that caused a traffic drop, you need to start digging into the percentages and distributions of your anchor text. The key is to have anchor text distributions similar to that of a healthy site in your niche.
If your site is only receiving links with certain anchor text, you need to find out what a normal site’s anchor text distribution would like in your industry and try to match it.
Now that you’ve begun fixing your anchor text, your link profiles are going to be a major priority. Use ahref or MajesticSEO to dig deeper into the type of links that are linking to your site. Take out the ones that are unnatural and keep it clean.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@EcommerceChief @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Last critical step is to begin building healthier backlinks.[/tweetthis] The more good links you have the better off you’ll be. Again, you can use tools to check which sites would be beneficial to your site growth.
All this information is basic steps, it’ll be wise to dive into each step and even consult with an expert. Each situation will vary and some Penguin related issues will need more special attention than others. Also, the new Penguin 4.0 update can happen anytime and again change the way SEO is done.
I hope this helps make your links relevant again. Penguin essentially is a mechanism that evaluates a site’s backlink. Keep them healthy and you’ll be good to go.
Shari Thurow SearchMeetsUsability.com
Since my and my company’s approach to SEO has never been (and never will be) to exploit web search engines via spam or any other means, clients who have been with me at any point in this series…
- Information architecture
- Navigation systems
- Technical architecture and development
…won’t be affected by Penguin or any other major algorithm change. Reason? [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@sharithurow” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]My focus has always been on users & user behaviors, and that includes web searcher behaviors[/tweetthis]. A site that is (a) architected well in the first place, and (b) contains well-organized and well-labeled content usually doesn’t have web spam issues.
Not all my clients, unfortunately, come to me with a clean slate. Getting poor advice about architecture, navigation, digital content assets, link development, and so forth from other SEOs is quite common. Fixing an SEO mess is not always easy and straightforward.
An audit is usually required to ascertain many things, not only link development.
- Does the website have linkworthy content, also known as digital content assets?
- What are they?
- How are they labeled?
- Where are they placed within a website’s information architecture and site navigation?
- Is the site architecture based on mental models of actual users? Or is it the technical team’s mental model? The marketing team’s mental model? The CEO’s mental model? Someone’s personal opinion other than actual users?
Answers to these questions can be uncovered with a site audit.
Many SEO firms simply use software to ascertain possible issues with a site. I understand that software can help uncover issues. However, some SEO software can be the source of the problem. For example, content density (or thin content) can be an issue. Too many links per page is often a related issue.
Those issues are best addressed with a human, not software. A wayfinder site map or site index will contain many links. A category page might contain many links. These page types might be mislabeled as “thin content” in SEO software.
Additionally, a site search engine results page (sSERP) is often treated as a category page. This situation is often a poor decision by a technical team. Category pages and sSERP pages have different characteristics and should never be treated as the same page type.
A site audit can uncover these decisions. A thoroughly qualified SEO team with education and experience in information architecture, navigation systems, usability/UX, and technical skills should be giving these site audits with recommendations.
I understand very few SEO professionals have these skills. An information architect and SEO, for example, might not have technical skills. But that group should be able to work with a technical team to get desired results.
A Penguin issue can have straightforward solutions. It can also have complex solutions. Some solutions might be quick-and-easy to implement. In all likelihood, though, comprehensive Penguin solutions take time.
A negative Penguin effect means that someone or group(s) listened to poor optimization advice. Therefore, any proposed solution should be different than the poor advice. The better advice and solutions might not be easy to hear and do. But that advice and solutions are better for websites in the long run.
Albert Mora Seolution.com
We’ve had several clients who came to us to solve this type of problem. This is a very complex issue. Therefore, it’s not easy to formulate a straightforward solution. Let me give an overview.
Frequent reasons to experience penalizations:
- Poor/spammy backlinking profile
- Anchor text overoptimization
- On page overoptimization
- Duplicate content…
- Whole site or just few pages
- Keyword related penalizations
- -x positions in serps vs site totally vanished from Google index
- Manual vs automatic…
Solution will be based to the type of penalization you’re experiencing. The first that you have to take into account if it’s worth it or not to try to solve the penalization. Sometimes, it requires such an effort that it’s better to start with a new fresh domain (by the way forget about 301 redirections). Having said that, some tips:
-If you have a spammy backlink profile:
- If possible delete poor backlinks
- Use the disavow tool from Google (it can take months to see results)
- Get new high quality links
- After the above steps, ask Google for a reconsideration
If you overoptimizing your anchor text
- Lower the anchor text density
- Switch your approach from artificial links to deserved links
-If you have duplicate content:
- Eliminate duplicate content
- Use 301 redirections
- Use canonical tags
Of course, my best advice is to [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@albertmora @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Prevent any eventual penalization by strictly following white hat seo practices[/tweetthis] You can learn more about it in my SEO tutorial. It’s what I call SEO 2.0.
Alan Bleiweiss AlanBleiweiss.com
A good way to start addressing a prospective Penguin cleanup process is to see if there really is a problem specific to Penguin. Does the date of a major, obvious drop in Google organic traffic line up with a known Penguin update? Check the Panguin Tool to find out. Or the Moz Known Google algorithm change calendar.
If you can’t see a specific dramatic drop that way, or don’t have Google Analytics installed, another good way to at least begin to understand, is to have an inbound link review done by an expert. By looking at a sampling of inbound links, an expert can look for patterns that indicate whether a more complete link-specific audit is needed.
I offer such reviews, but only as part of a more complete on-site audit, because what I find often is where one issue exists in one aspect of SEO, there’s usually major problems in other areas. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@AlanBleiweiss @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]So just cleaning up links is not always all that’s needed.[/tweetthis]
And by working on multiple paths to improvement, a site is more likely to see gains and long-term sustainability. So that’s another thing to consider – what else might be going on that needs to be dealt with?
Find out. Because if you wait until link cleanup has been done, (especially with the reality that Google hasn’t updated Penguin in forever), you could be leaving a lot of revenue behind.
At that point, however, the best way to address a situation where a site appears to have been harmed by Google’s Penguin algorithm is to hire a professional consultant or agency that has direct Penguin specific recovery experience to do a proper link audit
That’s vital. Unfortunately, many agencies claim to have this, except a number of them are actually not as properly skilled at the right level as they need to be. The end result can often be a site getting many links removed or disavowed, that are not harmful to the site’s link profile, and where that itself then harms the site.
The other flawed scenario is where not enough toxic links are cleaned up properly, or disavowed. Because of this, it’s critical to do proper research and “due diligence” reference checking on every prospective/potential Penguin clean-up solution provider.
People like Dr. Marie Haynes, Jenny Halasz, and Sha Menz are all excellent as just three examples of true link clean-up (manual penalty as well as Penguin) that come to mind. Again though, there are others – quite capable – just remember do your homework before hiring someone.
David Krauter WebsitesThatSell.com.au
We’ve had sites that have been “negative SEO’d” the hell out of – but the site still ranked….
Because there were ten times more GREAT links pointing at the site, they business had a great brand presence around the Internet and awesome content on the site.
Naturally, when seeing spam hit your site you’d be ready to throw it away and start over.
In our testing and case studies, we have found that this is no necessarily always the case anymore.
Especially after Google employee, Gary Illyes revealed that “for Penguin specifically there’s less need (for a disavow file), but if you see the crap, you can help us help you by using it (the disavow file).
This confirms that Google is getting VERY good at determining good links and bad links – and on top rather than penalising a site or a page they are now simply devaluing the actual links.
That’s great news for webmaster and dramatically removes a lot of headache penguin caused people.
Now this doesn’t mean to start spamming your site and thinking you’ll be safe from a penalty.
But rather, to get out of a penalty or stay well away from a penguin penalty do the following.
– worry less about bad links pointing to your site.
– build more awesome links
– GET YOUR ANCHOR TEXT RIGHT! off page and on…
Warren Whitlock Warren Whitlock.com
The number one best way to stay free of penalties like Penguin is to not get the penalty in the first place.
A quick review of this article, or a Google search will give you steps to take if you do have the penalty, though I’d first make sure that is the case. Looking at those, you’ll see that it pretty much what good SEO has always been.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@WarrenWhitlock @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]When you build a site,optimize or improve it, always produce content for the reader[/tweetthis] Any shortcut that uses low quality links or repetitive content is bad for users and what Google doesn’t want. That trick you are thinking gets by Google is going to be tomorrow’s nightmare.
Think about readers, over years and serve them.
Steve Wiideman Top10SeoTips.com
We always refer to Lewis Sellers’ Ultimate Guide to Penalty Removal
- Run a baseline (ranking and traffic)
- Identify if it’s Penguin or a manual action (via Google Search Console)
- [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@seosteve @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]If Penguin, round up all the links you can get your hands on (Ahrefs, Majestic, Moz)[/tweetthis]
- Dedupe your lists
- Remove nofollow’d links
- Segment your remaining list into “Optimized Anchors” and “Low Relevancy Links” tabs in your workbook
- Remove all the good and relevant links from both tabs
- Upload to Buzzstream or Pitchbox
- Assign to a team member to start making contact to remove or replace links (based on traffic potential and revenue)
- Disavow any URLs that you could not get removed or replaced
- Wait patiently for a week or so and then run a delta report from the baseline
Chris Makara ChrisMakara.com
If you have confirmed that your site has been dinged as a result of Penguin, you’ll need to work to correct the issues that triggered it.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@ChrisMakara @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]First you’ll need to use a tool like AHREFs tool analyze your backlink profile.[/tweetthis] You need to look at the diversity of your anchor texts pointing back to your site. If you see that a large percentage are exact match phrases, you’ll need to work on creating new links using a variation of anchor texts like your brand or site name, “read more”, “click here”, etc.
Basically, you’ll need to bring down the high percentage of exact match anchor texts.
Additionally, you will need to see where on your site the links are pointing. If a large number of them are linking just to the homepage, you’ll want to look for ways to build link to your internal pages to build a more natural link profile.
Another thing is that you will need to look at the actual sites linking to you. If you see a lot of shady sites that aren’t related to the topic of your site, you might want to contact the website and see if they can remove the link.
It’s not a fun process by any means. If you you don’t have any luck getting the link removed, you can submit them to be ignored by Google with their disavow tool.
Asher Elran Webds.com
Penguin is vicious and hard to recover from. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Penguin isn’t just about link related issues, it’s about the reputation of your website with Google.[/tweetthis] Since Penguin is not part of the core algorithm, it is hard to estimate recovery time.
Google runs Penguin periodically, and everybody needs to wait for that to happen. I know business owners that have been waiting for over a year for the next update in order for their work to take effect.
The way to deal with Penguin is by cleaning your link profile and at the same time invest in natural link earning methods to strengthen your authority and trust signals.
This is something many overlook, and therefore get disappointed from the results after the penalty has been lifted.
The tools I use include excel to manage all this process, ScrapeBox to complete the link research, ahrefs + majesticsem+ Google WMt for backlinks database, and lastly Ignitur which helps collaborate with others running this tedious and time consuming process.
Adam Steele Magistrateinc.com
It was some time ago now, but it was a battle I won’t soon forget.
A project came my way that has both Panda and Penguin issues. 1000s of duplicate pages, 1000s of spammy links. It was an absolute slog. 18 months from the time we begun, to the time we saw some relief. The business was entirely crippled.
1) Pulled a link profile via Ahrefs, MJ, and GWT. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@AdamGSteele @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Combined, removed duplicates and prioritized based on type of link, anchor, etc[/tweetthis] Basically the worse it was, the higher on our hit list it was.
2) Begun our first round of link outreach, using a legal@ email address associated with the domain, and some sternly worded legalese.
3) Submitted a disavow file. This is a last resort in my opinion, but the situation was dire. The types of sites we were reaching out to, would never reply to us.
4) Reached out to Google (reconsideration request), explaining our situation, our actions and our intentions.
5) Repeated steps 2, 3 and 4 approximately 5-7 times all while hammering away at our Panda issues.
6) After about 9 months, we begun dialogue with representatives such at John Mueller via various Google Hangouts. He was able to give us some input, and provide some things to try.
7) Repeated steps 2, 3, 4 and 6 many more times. Kept extremely detailed accounts of everything we did, and updated Google along the way via each reconsideration request.
8) …and eventually relief came.
This was my last battle with Penguin.
Sean Si Seo-Hacker.net
By ‘Penguin related issue’ I assume that it’s a penalty. Otherwise, Penguin is a non-issue.
First thing we need to do is to establish an on-going linkbuilding effort that is all-white, and then execute it so that it goes on daily. Low quantity, high quality.
Second, we will have to do a clean-up. Run through the site using Cognitive SEO. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@SEO_Hacker @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Check the backlinks for any low quality and negative links, then disavow.[/tweetthis]
Allan Pollett AllanPollett.com
The Google Penguin update looked at the quality of links.Despite my best efforts to prevent my clients from doing the very things that would incur the wraith of Google, they of course get enticed by the offers of cheap links that flood their email boxes.
Resolving a Penguin related penalty is a painful process, but there is at least a process to deal with it First, I made a list of all the links using Google Console, Majestic, Ahrefs, and any other backlink tool to get the largest list possible. Next step involves running the list through LinkDetox.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@allanp73″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Once the bad links are determined then it is a process of contacting webmasters to get links removed.[/tweetthis] From the successes I compile a list of all the removed or no follow links. After all of this is done I disavow all the links which were deemed to be negative and do a review request with Google.
Even with best efforts, sometimes links get missed and the process needs to be repeated. Google knows of many more links than any other tool and they aren’t very open about showing what they know, so the process isn’t perfect. However, with the effort described the usual outcome is positive.
Overall, the process is tedious and time consuming one. Often clients don’t appreciate the effort that goes into it, so the best advice I can provide is teach your clients not to make the mistakes that will get them in trouble with Google and just hope they listen.
Bill Sebald GreenlaneSeo.com
We’ve helped several clients out of Penguin. It’s typically the same stages of work:
1) assess the issue
2) build the plan
3) meticulous execution
4) follow up plan.
Assessing is key because you don’t want to go in and disavow just any link – you want to be cognizant of the unnatural links, many of which need a careful eye.
We do Penguin penalty removal with a lot of manual effort. A lot of work up front, but almost always leads to the desired result the first time. I’ve found shortcuts and tools fail if you rely on them solely. For us, they’re a great headstart.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@billsebald” @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Tools like Rmoov and Cognitive SEO are very helpful, and so are efficiency plugins like Spamflag[/tweetthis] The human element is still required. The fourth stage is important too – you need to have a plan to replace those lost links.
Google has told us that good links can outweigh the unnatural links, so build good links as part of the big picture. It works for us!
Gabriella Sannino Level343.com
Although Penguin looked at other things, linking is its main target. With that in mind, if you believe you have a Penguin issue, reviewing your back links should be the first step.
It can be time consuming, but extremely useful. Use a link crawler link MajesticSEO or Monitor Backlinks. You can also get a list of the backlinks listed in Google Search Console.
Here’s the time consuming part. Visit each site manually. Review the page that your link is on. Compare them to this awesome article on Moz outlining what an unnatural link is. It’s like a “who’s who” on unnatural link types.
Make a list of those links that should be removed. If you can take them down yourself, that’s great.
If not, try contacting the site owners and asking them to take the link down. You can use Sidekick to track who has opened your emails and not answered you. Give them a week to respond or remove the link.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@SEOcopy @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]As an absolute last resort, you can use Google’s link disavowel tool.[/tweetthis] I’d be extremely careful with this tool, however. As Google warns, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could do a lot more harm than good!
Matthew Capala Alphametic.com
Getting the kind of high-authority editorial links that Google wants to see in 2016 is more difficult today than ever. Content marketing has exploded since 2014, increasing competition for high-quality links.
With the recent Penguin updates, Google has also cracked down heavily on paid link schemes, making it less possible for SEOs to buy, trade, or barter their way into organic results pages.
Building a diverse portfolio of high-authority backlinks in 2016 takes a methodical approach that’s akin to the process used in a PR agency.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]It requires reaching out to bloggers to build long-lasting relationships with influencers in your field [/tweetthis]Penguin updates haven’t changed ‘link building’ best practices, they upended them so that it’s harder and harder to place anchor-text links on sites at scale.
With that said, your best bet to recover from Google penalties or to jumpstart your backlink strategy is to build real-world relationship with bloggers, and create win-win situations so that they talk about you and your business, without getting paid to do it.
For Fortune 500 companies, it means connecting PR and SEO. It also means blogger-centric, news-oriented content strategy. For small businesses and startup, personal branding, public speaking, self publishing, and guest blogging plays a huge part in your ability to get blogger attention.
Tripp Hamilton Angular.Marketing
A tried-and-true method for discerning a Penguin-related issue would be to manually analyze your back-links. Be sure you gather data from multiple sources such as AHREFS, Majestic, Moz (Open Site Explorer), and Google Search Console’s “Latest Links” export.
Utilizing a multitude of data sets will ensure that you have identified all the links to your site, and will help you determine which ones are natural and unnatural.
Use pattern analysis to determine which anchor text has been manipulated and which methods were used to obtain links (such as directories, article sites, etc.).
Once you have identified the unnatural links, then you will want to get those bad links removed. The disavow tool can take time to have any effect, especially in the case of a non-manual penalty against your site (algorithmic issue).
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@Tripp_Hamilton @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]You can hire an SEO expert like Nikolay Stoyanov to assist with the Penguin penalty removal process.[/tweetthis] Remove’em will help find contact data, track each link for no-follows, removal, 404s/301s/302s, etc., and it also has a variety of templates to use to contact the webmasters.
AtiqUr Rehman iKozmik.com
Penguin actually have different level of penalties. The highest is manual penalty and the lowest is probably loss of ranking for a given keyword. I have experienced a manual penalty with a website because of excessive guest posting on unrelated websites.
Although no link buying or black hat methods were used but a bad use of anchor text distribution on unrelated websites by their SEO team caused this.
Unfortunately for manual penalties the only way to fix is by contacting people to get the backlinks to your website removed and disavowing the rest.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@atiqi36 @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Make sure to remove at least 80% links because simply disavowing will never help.[/tweetthis] Google is very picky on this.
Matthew J. Brady wsol.com
Since Penguin 4.0 will operate in real time, it’s important to quickly resolve any issues that might cause penalties, such as links coming from spam sites or linking networks.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@WarrenPeace @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]You’ll want to regularly audit your site’s linking profile[/tweetthis] and take action to remove any of these bad links.
You can use Google Webmaster Tools or other sites like Ahrefs or Screaming Frog to find any bad links and then disavow them through Google. If possible, you should try to get these links removed altogether by contacting the owners of the site and asking them to take the link down.
Aside from managing your link profile, I always encourage people to ensure that their site provides quality content, good user experience, and accessibility across all devices and screen sizes. Providing people with the kind of relevant, shareable content that answers their questions is the best overall SEO strategy, and it’s what Google is trying to encourage with every change they make to their algorithms.
Bartosz Goralewicz goralewicz.co
Yeah we work with Google Penguin all the time.
Most important factors are:
1) get ALL the links you can. Not only Majestic, Ahrefs & Link Research Tools. Go as wide as possible. We usually get 40 – 50% more than only Majestic or only Ahrefs.
2) de-duplicate and run alive check (with e.g. hrefer or Scrapebox)
3) [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@bart_goralewicz @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Load all to Link Research Tools and go through every single backlink manually.[/tweetthis]
No tool will solve this problem for you, but tools like LRT will really help to asses the problem correctly and to speed up the whole process.
Dominic Wells OwnYourPage.com
The first thing you want to do is confirm it’s penguin penalty. At the moment, penguin hasn’t updated since late 2014, so if your site lost traffic or rankings since then, it’s probably not penguin.
However, assuming you know it is penguin (and soon penguin will be part of the normal algorithm, like panda), then you want to do the following.
1.) [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@Human_Proof @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Check your backlinks and create a disavow file for Google webmaster tools.[/tweetthis] The easiest way to do this is pay someone on fiverr or source market. There are a few good sellers offering this service. As always, check reviews first.
2.) Submit the disavow file to Google via webmaster tools. This will basically tell Google that you don’t want them to consider all the bad links that probably got you the penalty in the first place.
3.) Build some brand and naked anchor links to counter the over-optimisation that got you into trouble.
4.) If there are any links you control and can remove easily, do so, but the disavow file should take care of that.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll recover, but the steps above will give you a solid chance.
Dennis Seymour LeapFroggr.com
Penguin is nasty. It has different levels based on what things you did. Today, I still have some sites that have not fully recovered. I’ve been observing them and doing tests on them. Mostly, I’ve seen those that partially recover and some that recover fully.
I’m sure it will come in handy to many people that are still in the middle of a penguin issue.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@denseymour @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]My best recommendation is to understand how drastic penguin has hit your site.[/tweetthis]
You might login to your Google Search Console and see that you are actually still ranking for all your keywords except for 3-5 main ones.
These are usually the ones that bring in the most money, which is why you went crazy optimizing/backlinking for them.
That shows that you have a partial penalty. Sometimes you can recover, sometimes, you just don’t.
Start investigating the issues. Clean it up and have it reviewed if you had a notification from Google.
Even if they say that the penalty has been revoked, it’s still 50-50 that you will recover those keywords. It’s just the way it is.
We have been looking into and helping folks with Penguin related issues since the Penguin 1.0 so we have seen a really diverse set of sites with algorithmic penalties. From this we have two main strategies when it comes to looking into these issues:
1.Analysis – we really have to do some careful analysis here. We want to know what keywords and what pages of the site are effected. Is this a sitewide drop. Is it just a few keywords? Is it a certain set of pages? Then we need to carefully review the link profile. We need to look at webmaster tools and all of the common link indexes to build a master list.
Often in this world where a business may have had several SEO companies over the years we need to look at links that have been built by all agencies over time as some unscrupulous SEO’s hide links from the link indexes (which says it all about the quality of the links).
This list then needs to be manually reviewed. There are tools that can help but as is often the case we have found the best way to do this is the manual review.
2. Clean Up – in the early days we conducted some heavy clean up jobs. However, it is tough going and given enough time bad links tend to just fall away as these sites are no longer maintained.
We will still clean up overly aggressive links in content or on well maintained sites (often just changing the anchors if they are otherwise good links) but we primarily just disavow the majority.
Penguin issues are just so complicated. We have this negative equity to deal with but in many cases there is not a lot left. The whole concept of Penguin penalty recovery has to be clearly explained before this kind of job is taken on as in most cases you will not bounce back to where you were previously.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@marcusbowlerhat @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]There must be a secondary campaign to build some trust and authority.[/tweetthis] Many companies are just burned by dodgy SEO practices but some folks really need a complete shift in their mindset – not something that is always easy to do.
When it comes down to it a link analysis and comprehensive disavow is the best strategy in 90% of cases and hopefully, with the promised move to a real time algorithm we will see businesses with the right mindset recover from lingering penguin issues once and for all.
James Reynolds seosherpa.com
The way to deal with Penguin issues is to;
(a) Remove any unnatural links.
(b) Build natural (organic) links.
Penguin is an algorithmic filter which means if your link profile “appears” artificial then you are in danger of being hit.
It’s important to monitor your link profile to ensure it looks natural.
Use tools like Majestic or Ahrefs and look out for the following:
– A high percentage of links using the same anchor term.
– Many links from the same site.
– Links from low-quality sites.
If you find any of the above, contact the webmaster of the linking sites and request the links are removed.
At the same time build natural and organic links to your site. You want links from high authority, on theme websites using a varied mix of anchor terms.
This process of caring for your link profile is somewhat like a farmer attending to his crop. Every now and then he should pull out the weeds and plant new seeds in their place.
Do the same with your link profile and you’ll build a very strong website that is resistant to updates.
Floyd Buenavente Marketingmanila.com
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@SEOphilippiness @MinucaElena@niksto82 ” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Ah penguin! that darn penalty of Google! [/tweetthis]There are a lot of ways to fix penguin issues, some would disavow their links after getting all of their backlinks and paying thousands of dollars in the process.
First thing I do is determine the level of severity. I go to my analytics and my webmaster tools and use this tool to see how soon my traffic went down.
Then I check my rankings and my competitors rankings to see if they also got hit by the penalty (or why they weren’t)
This process is easy but what is tedious is when you decide to disavow the links to your site on the root level.
A number of Paid tools come to mind.
1. Link research tools
Now keep this in mind removal can be guaranteed, but Penguin penalty recovery is another matter. The point being is that you’ve amassed a lot of bad links to your site and the only way to recover is to create really good backlinks.
I have interviewed in my website one of the best penalty cleaners in the web for further input just in case you want to go deeper.
Nate Shivar Shivar Web
Penguin is a complicated issue – and every strategy has to be customized for each individual website.
That said, there is one strategy that plays an enormous part in recovering from a Penguin-related issue – getting more high quality links.
Imagine if someone placed some arsenic in a bucket of water and you had to figure out a way to drink it. You could pour it out and end up with no water. You could also focus on building an elaborate filtration system for that one bucket of water. Or, you could also just keep adding gallons of clean water until the arsenic was so diluted that it did not matter.
Penguin is the same way. It works as a ratio. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@nshivar @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]So sure, disavowing and removing toxic links plays a part in the solution.[/tweetthis] But ultimately, you are going to have to find a way to get lots of high quality links to not only dilute the toxic links, but also prove that you have a useful, legitimate, traffic-worthy website.
Marianne Sweeny Daedalusia.com
I believe in a proactive approach and recommend doing a link profile review of your site every 3 months.
This involves using Google Webmaster tools or SEO products that have the capacity to produce a comprehensive list of links to the site, e.g. SEMrush, Majestic, AHREFs or BrightEdge (on the enterprise level).
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@msweeny @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]The advantage to many of the SEO products is the link quality scores that they provide[/tweetthis]I sort the list by domain and scroll through to see URL or anchor text aligns semantically with the subject/product of the site I am evaluating.
I highlight the ones that do not, add these to my proactive Disavow list and upload the REVISED list to my Google Webmaster account.
I emphasize “revised” as there can only be a single disavow list. If you upload a file with only the newly found spammy domains, you will overwrite all of the ones that you found previously.
If you have received a Penguin manual action from Google, you have have to go through the links with much more discrimination. I would recommend subscribing to your favorite SEO product for this.
You will go through many iterations of disavow requests before Google finally lifts the penalty.
It has been my experience that sites who have been penalized, sorted out their links and reinclude din the index do not recover their previous rankings in search results. So, I would recommend setting client expectations on this before moving forward.
Jamie Spencer MakeAWebsiteHub.com
My biggest tip for dealing with a Penguin penalty would be to
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@setupablogtoday @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Carry out a full backlink audit and disavow any unnatural links to your site.[/tweetthis] Having links removed can often be a long and arduous process and if you have limited time/budget it often doesn’t make sense to carry out link removals.
I would start by looking for links with exact match anchors, partial match anchors and then move on to look at links from low quality sites to – if you need any help with uploading and formatting a disavow file correctly then read some of the great articles on mariehaynes.com.
Sadly Penguin hasn’t rolled out for a long time now so it could be several more weeks/months before your work has any affect.
It may also be worthwhile looking at the costs of building a new website and carrying out work to get that site ranking should Penguin not update any time soon.
Want to know how to make a website that is Penguin friendly? Just follow all the tips in this Penguin expert roundup and you should be fine.
Martin W. Smith Curagami.com
Penguin is about links and the value of links coming in and flowing through a site. If a Curagami.com client had a Penguin problem, and we would know by using the Panguin overlay tool, we would suggest these actions:
- Disavow any “spammy” links (helps right away)
- Increase PPC spend while you do #3 (keeps wolf at bay while you build a long term fix)
- Use the penalty to clean internal links
- Create An App
- Strengthen and Use Your Email List
- Build Community
Community can be as little as adding reviews or as much as Curgami.com’s Community In A Box (user profiles, wikis, forums, knowledge base, contests, and gamification). Link quality is hard to fix fast. Dumping more links on a site with a link problem worsens the problem. Fixing a link problem requires organic build over time.
Suffering and Penguin pain starts NOW. We work with clients to clean links with the disavow tool. Many Curagmai clients don’t realize their content, website, and SEO may be hurt by link actions of others. I learned this lesson the hard way when an unidentified competitor paid proxy spammers to flood our site with “bad links” one October to remove us from the SERPs by Christmas.
This “attack” happened before Google’s disavow tool. We used other means to let Google know the sudden “link attack” was from sites we didn’t know. Google created the disavow tool to make it easy to eliminate such a nasty black hat tactic.
#2 Increase PPC Spend
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@ScentTrail @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]TRAFFIC keeps a website alive.[/tweetthis] If Penguin reduced links and traffic is down then BUY TRAFFIC to keep your website alive while working on a fix. Traffic given up is always twice as hard to buy back, so and this recommendation applies to Panda hits too, keeping blood flowing to a website’s heart while we do a bypass is a CSF (Critical Success Factor).
#3 Clean Internal Links
I’m a believer in Bruce Clay’s silo content structure. Clay believes careful with inbound links can help show Google what you value. Hopefully, what you value is what others value too, and they demonstrate their worth with inbound links from “good neighborhoods”. Organic links from “good neighborhoods” is how you recover from a Penguin hit.
#4 Create An App
Apps provide an alternative navigation structure one not dependent on Google. Apps need to engage, excite and reward. That last sentence is another way of saying an app that sucks doesn’t help anything.
An app that doesn’t suck and creates a new reason and way to “login” goes around Google. There are successful mobile startups that have NO organic Google listings. If Penguin punished your site think about building an app so, the big G can’t do that again.
#5 Strengthen Email List
This may seem a strange Penguin penalty recovery tactic especially in a mobile; smartphone enable time. Your subscriber list is and will remain one of the least expensive best ways to drive converting traffic to your site.
Make no mistake.When recovering from a Penguin or Panda penalty you need LONG time on site numbers and visitors willing to look at many pages. For most websites the “recovery group” of visitors I just described lives in their email list.
We advise our clients to up their email frequency when their sites are in the Google penalty box. Can you burn down your email list by sending too often? Yes, but we’ve found most lists are more loving and forgiving than many marketers realize.
Your list has more elasticity than you know AND a Penguin penalty with traffic reduction (from links tossed out by Google) is a house on fire NOW. Always put out your fires THEN fight the next fire. Throw your list in a bucket and toss it on your fire more frequently than you typically mail and you may stay alive long enough to fully recover.
#5 Create Community
Community is the best strategy we know to develop a sustainable engine, an engine capable of sustaining itself with an ever-increasing number of inbound links from “high value” neighborhoods. Give pieces of your site to your customers and they tend to repay that favor with links.
Don’t stop with your customers. Create pages about industry gurus and influential thinkers in your space. Higher up the “guru ladder” you climb the less likely a link back, but you never know, AND your content about the expert is relevant.
If you drive a link out to the guru, you increase chances of a link back. Make sure that link out is a “nofollow” our your PR3 site may be sending juice to a PR6 or PR7 site, and that is dumb.
Curagami.com’s main mission is helping e-commerce clients build community precisely because Google’s shift of priorities has left many commerce sites hurting. More than Google’s requirements creating collaboration, platforms, and community is a winning strategy with a future.
Google is now, has always been, and will always be about sharing content the mob wants, loves and shares. Google’s genius was simple – the inbound links is a VOTE now we need an engine to count votes.
Google became that engine capable of faithfully counting inbound links and life a we knew it changed. Google’s algorithm changes are efforts to keep the faith. If link juice or votes can be bought Google’s ability to faithfully share what searchers love goes away along with billions in revenue.
Jon Tromans Jtid.co.uk
The only real way to get over penguin issues is to do some research and spend time looking at what’s already in place.
Use Google Search Console and Open Site Explorer to figure out where your inbound links are coming from and then spend some time manually checking for links that could be spam.
Don’t be too harsh though. A worthless link is most probably ignored by Google. Just spend time looking for genuine spam.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Once you’ve identified these bad links, try and get them removed and add them to a disavow file[/tweetthis]
If you have used an SEO company to build links in the past then communicate with them to find out where they placed the links. If they tell you it will help speed up the research process.
Into the future make sure any link building is done as part of an holistic marketing campaign that will bring in sales, brand awareness and lots of genuine back links.
Jasmine Sandler JasmineSandler.com
For sites that have been penalized , the best approach for reversing the affects is to first determine all the reasons for the Penguin penalty.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@Jasmine_Sandler @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/1P5zPO5″]Penguin can affect sites where no malicious work was done by an SEO professional.[/tweetthis] Sometimes Webmasters have built content practices by aggregating site content from other sites that appears as unrelated duplicate content.
Sometimes the fault is from Web Developers who do not understand and are not trained in proper SEO strategy and tactics.
But sometimes, site SEO is the result of poor tactics. A proper analysis with related details of where the penalties have occurred is a critical first step
Ian Spencer ISDigitalMarketing.co.uk
Having dealt with a few Penguin related penalties with clients that have come to me with issues, the steps you need to take in terms of recovery are always based on three factors in my experience:
· Time – Recovering from a manual penalty or even an algorithm penalty is not instant in terms of deleting a few links and hoping for the best.
Depending on the size of the site, the amount of links and the severity of the reason that led to the penalty, it can takes months of work to even get to the stage where you are ready to get that reconsideration request in or know if your actions have worked.
Quick and scattergun approach tactics will not work and will just lead to more problems, so you need to allocate a lot of time to start Penguin penalty recovery.
· Knowledge – Although there are some pretty good link analysis and Penguin penalty removal tools out there, in my opinion, you need a manual approach as you do not want to remove any good links or any links that are actually ok.
If you go for a blanket removal then yes, you will get the penalty lifted, but you will not rank for much, so you need the experience to tell a good link from a bad link and then look at the best way of dealing with it.
· Patience – Following on from my time point, this is not an overnight job. Firstly, you need to make sure your issues are due to Penguin and not other factors. [tweetthis url=”http://bit.ly/1P5zPO5″]You then need to gather all of your links into one place,analyse them and then start the Penguin penalty removal and disavow efforts[/tweetthis]
But, the biggest aspect is at the moment, Penguin is not a real time algorithm, you need to wait for the refresh to see if the efforts really worked. Of course, this might change when the new penguin heads our way as its rumoured to be real time, but we will see.
So, in summary, make sure you have a penguin issue and not something else and if you do not have the experience, time or knowledge to start the clean-up, employ someone that has.
Felix Tarcomnicu Pro Optimization
If your site gets filtered by the Google Penguin algorithm, you have to conduct a full analysis of your backlinks. The first Penguin algorithm was mostly about unnatural links with a poor anchor text distribution.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@Felixtarcomnicu @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Today, Penguin is much smarter and can understand the quality of your links better[/tweetthis] With that being said, analyze all your links and try to remove the bad ones and fix your anchor text distribution, if you have such issues.
With the bad backlinks you can’t remove, create a disavow report and submit it to the Google Disavow Tool. After getting rid of the bad links and disavowing the ones you couldn’t remove, it’s also important to create some quality links from relevant sites.
I wrote a step by step guide showing how to find your site’s bad links and I recommend anyone having Penguin related issues to read it.
Tor Refsland TimeManagementChef.com
If you are suffering from penalty from Penguin related issues, you should follow Scott Langdon´s article on Entrepreneur, “How to Recover from a Google Penguin Penalty”.
He basically says that you should:
1. Create a list of all your backlinks
2. Analyze all of your links for quality
3. Keep track of the links you want to remove.
4. Start talking with webmasters and disavowing links.
That being said, you will save a lot of frustration, time and money if you create a strategy and focus on… How to avoid Penguin related issues
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]The best and fastest strategy to build your SEO in the long run is to use a white hat SEO strategy[/tweetthis]
Before I started blogging I read about so many people sharing their frustrating stories about how their SEO ranking was suffering every time Google an algorithm change.
And I thought to myself “There is no way that I am going to predict what Google is going to do next, and I don´t want to sleep bad a night wondering about when they are going to make the next algorithm change.”
That is why I chose a white hat SEO strategy.
My first roundup post, included 80 Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy Experts, and it generated:
- 20,231 page views in 6 days
- 1500+ social shares
- 86 comments
- 185 new email subscribers
This post is ranked as #3 on Google for the keyword “productivity tips”.
Even though I have only been blogging for about 14 months with my first blog, I have several posts that are on the first page of Google, and several on page 2 and 3 (they are still climbing).
My recipe for getting a post ranked on Google is simple (but not easy):
1. Write an epic post
2. Promote it like crazy
3. Link to your posts in your guest posts and in your roundup posts contributions (where it´s naturally to include it).
Blogger outreach helped me to get featured on 158 blogs in my first 14 months of blogging.
And what did I do when I got featured on the 158 blogs?
Yes, you guessed correct. I naturally linked to my own blog posts.
It does take a lot of time, but it´s well worth it in the long run.
Melanie Nathan PositionDigital.com
Depends on what the penguin’s issue is 😉
But seriously, since a “Penguin related issue” would involve some sort of link penalty, the best course of action would be to do a comprehensive link audit and then systematically disavow all low value/spammy links (through Google Search Console).
If you don’t know what to look for or how to identify a low value link, then hire a professional (because the future of your website may depend on it). As for the best strategy I would recommend? That’s easy. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@melanienathan @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]DON’T participate in link schemes that get your website penalized by Google[/tweetthis]
Jan Koch JKoch.me
First of all, reading the Google Webmaster Guidelines or following their blogs is a good idea and should be the first start when metrics tank and I’m not sure what caused the decrease in traffic.
Then I would head over to my Google Webmaster Tools console and check the backlinks I have on my website. If I bought links in the past or discover any spammy links to my website, I’d remove them using the Google Disavow Tool.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@iamjankoch @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Next step would be to look out for over-optimized anchor tags.[/tweetthis]
I’m not completely sure about the recommended percentage for exact matches and relevant anchors tags, but if I see an imbalance between exact keyword matches and related keyword phrases, I’d reach out to the respective website owners and ask them to update the anchor texts.
Sending them suggestions on which phrases to use makes things easier for them and thus makes it more likely that they update their link to my site.
Russell Lobo RussLobo.com
1. Check your anchor text diversity and remove any links which have “keyword stuffed” anchor text from any page which has a PA of less than 20. You can remove those links by using the Google Disavow tool.
2. Check DA and PA of all links coming to the website and remove spammy links.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@taurusknight @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Dilute your anchor text ratio by building quality links to regain rankings[/tweetthis]
3. Improve content of the website and ensure that each article is relevant to the overall theme.
Aaron Jones NextBigNiche.com
Preparing yourself for Google’s never ending Penguin updates will drive you CRAZY, especially if you are following Black Hat linking practices. Google releases anywhere between 400-600 algorithm updates a year.
The release of these algorithm updates is for the sole purpose of analyzing and evaluating backlinks and if you are not following White Hat linking practices you could risk the possibility of losing rank or your website entirely. So how can one be compliant to avoid being penalized?
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@nextbigniche @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Change your link building strategy. [/tweetthis]If you know you have done spammy link building using low quality backlinks and are continuing to follow those Black Hat linking practices then it is time to STOP. Continuing to do so will lead to your site being penalized by Google.
You will want to focus on White Hat link building practices to help offset the spammy links if possible. This is not always guaranteed, but you will want to analysis your links for quality.
You can use such services like SEMrush, MOZ, Ahrefs or even Google Webmaster Tool to analysis your links.
There is always the Disavow Tool Google has to help remove those spammy links but it is like dropping your pants and telling Google you have already tried to manipulate the search engine and sometimes can do more harm than good. Keeping tabs on your backlinks is the best thing to do in order to avoid being penalized by Google.
If you know your website is in the GREEN and you are not afraid of these never ending algorithm updates then continue to follow those White Hat backlinking practices.
While other websites are being penalized you could possibly start to see your Google rankings go up. If you give Google what it wants you will be rewarded.
Hernan Vazquez HernanVazquez.com
1. Write and distribute a Press Release. That helps you equalize your link profile and anchor text ratio with highly relevant and powerful backlinks.
You need to be careful as to use your brand and/or URL as a main anchor text on your press release though, and if you want to send some exact match anchors, do so to a web 2.0 profile (like your website’s Twitter page, for example). Which takes me to step 2.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@HernanV07 @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]I always setup an IFTTT syndication network around any website I setup[/tweetthis] This has proven to be a really effective technique to both help with Penguin related issues, enhance the link profile, get authority and social signals and protect the main money site when building backlinks.
One of the training I help developed is called IFTTT SEO Academy and we use more than 25 properties that are updated on Autopilot using IFTTT. If you want to implement this strategy, simply go to IFTTT.com, open a free account and add your social profiles.
Then use your RSS Feed as a trigger to post to these social networks. Remember to have some sort of attribution link (installing WordPress SEO by Yoast for example), to get all of that linkjuice back to your website. It’s pretty simple, automated and super powerful.
Louie Luc Correia BuzzNitrous.com
Are you wondering if it’s possible to recover from a Google Penguin penalty? Yes, it is. Just follow these simple steps.
- [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@BuzzNitrous @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]First, you need to be sure you were really hit by a Penguin penalty.[/tweetthis]
There are two kinds of possibilities: manual intervention or algorithm penalty.In the first case, go and check your Google Webmaster Tools for any messages informing you of the Google penalty.In the second case, check your Google Analytics for a sudden search traffic drop and compare the date it occurred with the dates in which the updates were released.
- Now that you’ve confirmed that you got penalized by Google due to a degraded link profile, you need to start your Penguin penalty recovery process.Analyze your link profile using free and paid tools to understand what kind of links there are. You should pay attention to negative, poor, low-quality and spammy links. Don’t mind nofollow links; only dofollow links matter to Google.
Google Webmaster Tools is a free option you can use if you don’t have too many backlinks to your site.
Ahrefs, Majestic and Moz’s OSE are some paid options that can help you do things faster if there are a lot of links pointing back to you. Link Risk and Link Detox may also get handy for a deeper analysis of your links.
- After compiling your list of negative links, you need to start removing them as soon as possible.Manually remove all the low-quality backlinks you possibly can. How?Contact the owners of the sites that are linking to you and politely ask them to remove the links that are ruining your site. If you can’t find their email addresses, check their domain name’s whois data and look for theircontact details.
If they ignore you or ask you for money, move on to the next step.
- It’s now time to make use of the Disavow Tool to disavow all the URLs and root domains that you were unable remove manually. (Follow Google’s guide on how to construct your disavow file (.)Before doing it, re-confirm that the links you’re submitting are actually bad. You don’t want to throw away any good ones.
- Finally, you either need to wait for Google to update its backend data related to your link profile or ask them to do it.In the case of a manual intervention, go back to your Webmaster Tools and submit a reconsideration request. In the case of the algorithm penalty, you will need to wait.It may take up to one month or a bit more for you to start seeing search traffic going back to normal and your rankings restored. If it doesn’t seem to happen, you need to start the whole process again. You might be missing some bad backlinks that are still negatively affecting your site.
Nirav Dave Capsicum MediaWorks
When hit by a Penguin penalty, either a manual or an algorithmic penalty, your first action should be to check what caused it. The reason for penalization could be unnatural backlinks, over-optimization of anchor text or duplicate content. Once you have figured out the reason, you would be able to effectively solve this issue.
In the case of unnatural backlinks, you need to first conduct a complete link audit of your website. For this, you could use tools like Ahrefs or Google Search Console. These tools will provide you with an accumulated data of your backlink profile that will help you identify low-quality, duplicate & toxic links on your website.
Once you have the data, you could remove the harmful links (irrelevant links with low DA, spammy links etc) manually or you could use the LinkDetox tool that will help you weed out the bad links that affect your website. Once you have a list of bad links that are hurting your website, all you have to do is create a disavow .txt file and submit it to Google Search Console.
However, your task doesn’t end here. Once you have disavowed the links, you need to then work on building high-authority and natural backlinks to fill in the void created by these spammy links in order to maintain your site’s ranking.
Likewise, check anchor text distribution to see where you have over optimised. You could use Ahrefs and Majestic SEO to identify this and then work on diversifying your anchor text in order to avoid over optimisation of targeted keywords.
Also, a tried and tested method to avoid any penalty in the future is to use the best (white hat) SEO practices and publish awesome content, one that resonates with your readers and help you garner natural backlinks.
Shounak Gupte ShounakGupte.com .
Penguin is a backlink related issue. So the main thing to do in case your site is hit by a Penguin penalty is analyse the backlinks pointing to your site. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@ShounakGupte @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Google prefers quality of backlinks pointing to your site over quantity.[/tweetthis]
The first step will be to download a list of backlinks pointing to your website through the Google Search Console(Links to Your Site) or using backlink tools like Ahrefs and Majestic SEO.
The second step will be to identify the links which are having negative effect on your website. These links are usually coming from low-quality websites, sites which are down, sites which are irrelevant or not related to your websites niche.
The next step will be to get the these links removed by contacting the webmasters or deleting them manually.
In case you or the webmasters don’t have access to remove the links or if they don’t respond, add the links to a disavow file and submit it to Google.
It is recommended that you remove the low quality backlinks periodically to avoid your site getting pinched by Google’s algorithm. Low-quality backlinks can be a result of negative SEO and can affect the overall rankings of your website and hence it is essential to check the backlinks frequently.
Use of multiple backlink analysis tools is also recommended since not all tools will show you the same backlink related data.
Patrick Hathaway UrlProfiler.com
If you’ve been negatively affected by the Penguin algorithm then you’ve been doing something wrong. Specifically, you’ve been building manipulative links.
Maybe it was years ago, maybe you subcontracted it out to an SEO firm and knew nothing of it, or maybe you were doing it yourself. The algorithm doesn’t care either way – if spammy links have been built to your site, you need to put a stop to it right away.
The next step you need to carry out is to figure out which of your links are manipulative, and disavow them all. I’ve written on the subject many times, and there are lots of comprehensive guides out there to help you with this process.
The important thing to remember is that you have essentially been caught ‘cheating’, so don’t try and pretend that some links are actually ok when they aren’t. Disavow ANYTHING even remotely manipulative.
Now that you have (a) Stopped building spammy links, and (b) Disavow all of those links, you’ll come to a point where you want to move forward. But everything you’ve done in the past is out, you simply can’t go down that route any longer.
This can be quite a difficult pill to swallow, since everything you did to help your site in the past is now hindering your site. But you need to, so take your medicine and get on with it.
Moving forward you need to totally shift your strategy. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@HathawayP @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]What content can you create that could earn you links with the right promotion?[/tweetthis] What sites can you write for where you can naturally reference this content?
If you live in a niche where content doesn’t fly, what links can you buy that look natural? Can you create your own private blog network? Do you have any brand ambassadors out there who could blow your trumpet for you?
The specific strategy will depend on your specific situation, but these are the types of questions you will need to ask yourself when you plan your link building strategy going forward.
Jo Turnbull SEOJoBlogs.com
[tweetthis url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]The best method to use in a Penguin related issue is to dedicate the right amount of resources to the task.[/tweetthis]
Some companies may just allocate the task to one or two people and be unsatisfied when it takes a long time to see the desired results.
Depending on the size of the site I would allocate a whole team and also potentially hire an external company. This way you can really plan how to tackle the issue and see how you progress over time.
I would also speak to others who have encountered similar problems if you are having difficulties getting additional resource. You can invite them to your company or a networking event where upper management or senior members of the company may be so that will help push get additional resource to help solve the issue.
Niraj Ranjan Rout Hiverhq.com //
With the new Penguin update just around the corner, it is time to put all the shady SEO practices away. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@nirajr @MinucaElena @niksto82″ url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]It’s time to focus on long-tail keywords in your SEO campaigns.[/tweetthis]
The number of searches per month may be small, but it does bring quality traffic and more lead generations at lower costs per click.
At the same time, you have to be very careful about how you incorporate these keywords in your blog – it should appear natural. And try to focus more on long-form content – it will fetch you more long tail traffic.
A user who has landed on your website through a long tail search is more likely to spend more time with you, and that’s exactly what will get you better search rankings.
Basically, with the new update – No keyword stuffing, no artificial link backs, longer content form, and long keywords to target.
Sherman Smith ShermanSmithblog.com
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@sks_success75 @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Having low quality backlinks can put a halt in your organic traffic generation.[/tweetthis] But this update for me was eye-opener to make some necessary changes as far as being more cognizant on who I network with and what’s going on within my blog.
1. I started focusing more on who I network with within my niche
2. I installed the Commentluv Premium plugin and created a policy for my commenters
3. I installed the backlink checker to find bogus or nonexistent links to unlinked from
4. I focused more on reading, sharing and writing quality content vs. generic
5. I turned my attention to blogs that have useful, beneficial comments more so than shares and alexa rankings
6. I stopped with the keyword stuffing which was ever so popular before the update
With just these simple changes, I started to attract better quality links as well as consistent commenters who always have value to leave on my blog posts.
Kulwant Nagi BloggingCage.com
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Penguin update was released to kill the website which are involved in link buying practices.[/tweetthis]
If you website is caught by Google penguin update, the very first thing you can do is identify low quality backlinks.
The quality of the backlink can be identified by checking the age, DA, PA of the website from where you are getting backlinks. You can filter low DA, PA websites after doing a deep study of your website.
If you have made backlinks by commenting on other sites, study other backlinks on the same page and try to identify the quality of other linking sites.
I would recommend to use Website Auditor tool which is a great software to find the bad backlinks. Once you identify those backlinks, you should submit your links file to Google Disavow tool to let search engines know about those culprits.
In the second iteration, you can check al the blog posts on your blog and identify which are having low word count (less than 1000) and have bad on-page SEO.
Identifying and rectifying these might take few days, but once Google crawl your blog again with the better content and link profiles, you are going to get your ranking back and kick-off penguin.
Dave Schneider NinjaOutreach.com
Firstly you should try to confirm if you actually have a Penguin penalty, which you can do by using the fruition Google penalty tool. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@SelfMadeBM @MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]If you have a penguin penalty it is possibly the result of some spammy inbound links[/tweetthis]
You should look at your link profile using a tool like Moz or Ahrefs and then try to identify if there are spammy links.
If you can find them, reach out to the webmaster to see if they will consider removing them, otherwise you can disavow them. Finally, work to build more natural links to improve your link profile/ratio.
Moosa Hemani Setalks.com
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Penguin can be dangerous for your website conversions and traffic as you can lose it within a day.[/tweetthis]
For my own websites and clients who are with me, I audit there link profile by the end of every month so that I can have a clear idea of what links are come to their website, what links we have to keep and what links we should update in the link disavow file.
The best method I recommend is the one I use on my website and my client’s website. I will explain this idea step by step:
1. Before you build links always, check the domain against open site explorer and Link Research Tool’s Domain Compare to see if domain is worth getting a link from.
2. Before you build a link make sure where are you getting a link from. Link from within the content is always safe and powerful as compare to links from footer, sidebar, badges and more.
3. Audit your link profile on monthly basis using tools like Link Detox. Once you have the final list of bad links, check them manually as they sometime contain wrong URL’s within it.
4. If toxic links are under your control or you can someone remove them, do that as your first choice.
5. If toxic links cannot be removed, add them in the link disavow file and update in Google webmaster tool accordingly.
Also, check the detailed post I wrote on how to avoid Real-time penguin Penalty that pretty much works for all kind of penguin penalties.st
Fervil Von Tripoli FervilVon.com
I firmly believe that any type of links that are hard to replicate and links that delivers relevant referral traffic are considered as future-proof links even when Penguin and Panda updates keep on rolling.
Although there are a lot of effective ways on how to build links, the ones that I would recommend would be Brian Dean’s skyscraper technique and Glen Allsopp’s strategies in building backlinks.
In a nutshell, the skyscraper technique would eventually look like this:
- [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@MinucaElena” url=”http://bit.ly/22decsa”]Research – Finding a very high trafficked content piece that’s related to your site/blog/niche.[/tweetthis]
- Recreate – Create a better version of that high trafficked content. Put the “wow factor” on this piece you are creating, giving it great visual impact and more comprehensive/juicy content.
- Outreach – Reach out to the possible linkers to that masterpiece you have made.
While Glen/Viperchill’s idea of link building is focusing on being useful in the web by creating the best resource in your website.
Some ideas of how to create best content pieces in the web would be interviewing important people, doing round-up posts or collaborating with your influencers or a mixture of all of these but the thrill doesn’t stop at creating the actual content.
Of course, you will need to put more stress on promotion (although you won’t have a hard time promoting it since the content itself is already share-worthy).
If my goal would be ranking keywords in Google and other search engines, I kind of like the idea of assessing the backlinks of the top ranking competitors in my targeted search terms and find out the backlinks that have been helping them rank well in the SERPs, figure out if it’s possible to mimic or simply put my links into their backlink pages.
If you managed to read the whole roundup – congratulations! You deserve a tap on the shoulder. Now you’re prepared for the next Penguin update and you shouldn’t worry about getting hit by a Penguin penalty. You’re Penguin proof now. Congrats on it!
Last but not least, a big thanks to all the colleagues that agreed to take part in this awesome roundup! I wouldn’t have dome it without you, guys. Keep rolling 🙂
Now, I’d like to hear your own experience with Penguin penalty removal. Have you ever been affected by this algorithm? How did you manage to revoke your penalty? Please, leave your answer in the comments below. Please, share this Penguin roundup on your favorite social channel. It will be a HUGE help 🙂
I’d also like to say big thanks to Minuca Elena for this awesome roundup post on Penguin Penalty!