Google Algorithm Archives

Google Penguin Algorithm UpdateDid you lose rankings in the recent Google Penguin algorithm update? If so, you are certainly not alone. You just need to look at the comments on Matt Cutts’s blog post to see how many people are impacted by this. There are over 900 comments so far, which is a lot, considering that the majority of people who read blogs won’t actually leave a comment.

In this post I’d like to tell you about a free report that I have written to help you recover from the Google Penguin algorithm update. First though, I have to write a disclaimer (sorry)! At this point it has been a mere two weeks since the algorithm change and I feel that it is not possible for anyone to know for sure exactly how to recover a site that was impacted by this update. It can take weeks or even months to test out theories and confirm that these theories are actually correct.

My thoughts and recommendations are based on my own analysis and the analysis of others. I will be following these recommendations myself for the sites I have that were impacted by Google Penguin, but I cannot guarantee that you will necessarily recover your website by following these recommendations.

If you have a website that has lost traffic as a result of Google Penguin I imagine you have no doubt done a fair amount of research yourself. You will probably come across a lot of people in forums who either claim that they have the answers or berate other people for using “spam” tactics. I don’t think it is wise to listen to anyone who bases their conclusions from one or two websites, nor do I think it is fair to assume that people who lost their rankings were engaging in spam tactics.

I’ve seen first hand many high quality original websites that have lost rankings as a result of over optimizing the anchor text in their backlinks. This is a tactic that has worked well and has been necessary to use if you wanted to gain page one results in Google over the last 10 years.

Suddenly the Google algorithm has turned it’s sensitivity to anchor text up a notch and this has left a lot of great websites buried deep in the Google SERPS. Yes, it has also got rid of a number of spammy websites, but at the same time a lot of amazing content has now been buried!

If this has affected you in any way, you may want to have a read of my “Penguinized” report. This report is free to download and if you are a subscriber of mine you will have already received an email from me with the details of how to download this.
How to recover from Google Penguin

You can download a copy of my FREE Penguinized report here.

In this report I cover:

  • The background to Google Penguin
  • What caused all these websites to lose their rankings
  • A 4 step approach to recovery
  • The 6 things that you MUST do when building links from now on
  • How to analyze your backlinks and determine a course of action

I hope you find this useful and please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

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I have to admit – I had a good chortle when I watched this video. If you have a website that was impacted in any way by the Google Penguin algorithm update on the 24th April 2012, you may find this video quite amusing.

If you are offended in any way by swearing, I recommend that you give the video a miss as there is some heavy use of the “F” word.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m off to write my next WSO, LOL!

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Screw you GoogleOn April 24th 2012 Google released its latest algorithm update – see the official Google webmaster blog for details.

This update was designed to increase quality by targeting over optimization and filtering out more of the spammy websites from the search results. Ironically it seems to have done the opposite.

If you’ve been on any internet marketing forums in the last few days you may have noticed a LOT of website owners complaining that many or ALL of their websites have lost the majority of their Google traffic.

Not only this, but the forums are full of people posting examples of spammy, low quality search results.

I’ve done a fair number of searches on Google over the last couple of days and have come across a lot of the following things:

  • blogspot blogs and web 2.0 style sites ranking highly
  • completely irrelevant results on page one and two of Google for many keywords
  • scraper sites appearing on page 1 and 2 of results
  • repetition – many sites ranking again and again on the same page of results
  • sites blocked by my anti virus software!
  • thin sites with hardly any content ranking highly (including 404 errors)

As some people are saying in the forums it is like going back into the late 90’s to the days of Altavista!

If you are interested in reading or getting involved in the discussions about this, here are a few good threads to check out:

Jonathan Leger’s forum thread  – Major Google Update

Warrior Forum – Google Algo Change

Webmaster World – Google Launches Update targeting spam… again?

One of the most talked about spammy results was the #1 site for “make money online”. This was a blogspot page with no content whatsoever on the first page apart from the word “Make”.  Google must have manually intervened on this embarrassing slip up though, as the site is no longer there.

Another dodgy result has Kentucky University ranking on page #1 of Google for the keyword “Viagra”. Chris Crum has devoted a whole blog post to this if you are looking for some amusement.

Jonathan Leger spotted an interesting result for the keywords “dog training” – the SEONuke software website was ranking for that keyword on page 2.

A few of my own sites have been affected by this Google update, but thankfully not all of them. I’ve also chatted to a lot of other people today who have been impacted and I’ve noticed some of my competitor’s sites have been blown out of the water. Interestingly my traffic from Bing and Yahoo has also increased a lot over recent weeks, so I wonder if some people are turning to other search engines for more sensible results.

From what I have read so far, many people are in panic mode and I don’t think anyone really knows what the solution is at this stage – it is too early to tell. Yes, there are plenty people suggesting solutions in the forums, but I prefer to wait a while and see if there are any improvements in the search results.

If anything, I think all the recent Google algorithm updates of the last few months have taught us one lesson – do not rely solely on Google for all your traffic. If you’ve had success with search engine rankings in the past it can be very easy to rely too much on Google as the traffic is so targeted and almost becomes automatic after a while. If you’ve not been doing so already I recommend adding a few more traffic strategies to your promotion strategy. Here are a few that I currently use:

  • Build a List – yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it all before – “the money is in the list”. If you are not doing this now you really need to start.
  • Do Ad Swaps, Solo Ads and JVs with other marketers. I’ve been using Safe Swaps for the past year and I highly recommend taking a look.
  • Cheap paid advertising – there are many options available now and it doesn’t cost a lot of money to test. I just read a great WSO last week called White Trash Traffic which was a great source of cheap places to buy traffic
  • Facebook – build your own Facebook page, or use Facebook ads to get more traffic.
  • Find affiliates – if you have your own product, seek out some affiliates to promote for you in return for a commission.

There are plenty more traffic methods available – you may want to check out my 30 Ways to Get Traffic in 30 Minutes or Less EBook for some more suggestions.

If you got to the end of this blog post, thanks for reading my rant! Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Have you been impacted by the latest Google ranking update?

Have you found any amusing results in Google over the last couple of days?

Are you using other strategies to build traffic besides SEO?

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If you read any SEO news or forums, or keep up to date with the Google Webmaster blog you may have heard that there have been many changes in SEO over the last few weeks. Here is a brief summary of some of the things that have happened:unnatural links detected?

  • Google has rolled out multiple Panda algorithm updates over the last few weeks targeting both on page factors and backlink profile issues.
  • Over 700,000  webmasters (probably over a million now) have received a message inside their webmaster tools warning them that they have “unnatural link” profiles. The message starts with “We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines….” and then goes on to say “Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes“. It reommends that you remove the unnatural links and subit a reconsideration request to Google.
  • Many paid blog networks have been completely de-indexed. This includes networks such as Build My Rank (BMR) High PR Society, ALN plus many private networks. These have been closed down and this has affected potentially hundreds of thousands of webmasters.
  • It is now possible for your site to lose rankings as a result of these things. In the past, backlinks could never negatively impact a site – they just wouldn’t count towards your ranking.

One of the biggest issues in my opinion that comes up as a result of this is that it is now possible for a competitor to negatively impact someone else’s website just by building some “unnatural” backlinks to the site. This opens up the doors for all sorts of horrible things such as negative SEO services. It is also hard to define exactly what Google means by an “unnatural link”. They are never going to tell people in too much detail what this means as it could reveal areas of their algorithm that they want to be kept private.

Things are still changing and it is hard to make concrete recommendations at the moment. It is best to wait until the “dust settles” and until there is some concrete data to analyse.

At the moment you may want to consider the following:

1) If you are using any link networks that you think may be deemed by Google as “unnatural” it may be best to remove your site from these networks. I’ve been a member of BMR for som time now and although it has been giving excellent results for the last couple of years it has now been deindexed and is closed down. I’ve gone ahead and scheduled my posts for deletion and downloaded my content to be used elsewhere. There is no value in having a link from a deindexed site and now that it can actually hurt a site I made the decision to delete my posts. I’ve noticed from reading forums that some people are jumping from one blog network to another, but personally I don’t think it is worth the risk – it looks to me like Google are on a mission to shut down these networks one by one.

2) If you have a message in your Google webmaster account, don’t do anything hasty – take time to think about it and consider your situation. It is most likely that the message has been automatically triggered (algorithmic rather than manual) so if you submit a reconsideration request you are then triggering a MANUAL review of your site and its backlink profile. There is always a chance that you could end up in a worse position after a manual review. If your site’s traffic has gone down to zero, then you probably have nothing to lose by doing a reconsideration request, but if you have seen no impact to your rankings, you may want to consider just removing any links that can be seen as unnatural and then wait for these to be picked up naturally. I have around 20 websites and received this message for two of my sites. At the moment I’ve done nothing about this. Strangely, one of the sites is a site that I’ve barely touched and had done no link building for over 5 years! It has a link from DMOZ and some article and directory links. My traffic has stayed stable on all of my websites apart from 3. Two of the 3 were using BMR and the other wasn’t.

3) Whenever you build any backlinks it is important to keep things as natural looking as possible. Now that Google can actually penalize your site rankings if it looks like you have unnatural links pointing to your site,  it is best to keep the following things in mind when building links:

  • VARIETY OF LINK TYPE – don’t rely on one type of backlinking technique. Vary things as much as you possibly can.
  • VARIETY OF ANCHOR TEXT – it is good to use your keyword in the anchor text of your links, but you should vary this as well. It is not natural for a site to get only links with the keywords in the anchor text. For this reason include some natural looking anchor text keywords such as “click here”, “look at this”, “sign up here”, your domain name, your keywords within a longer phrase and so on.
  • AVOID LINKING SCHEMES – Google recommends inside the webmaster guidelines that you do not purchase links or use any sort of linking schemes. In the past this could result in Google simply not counting a link that fell into this category, but more recently they have been punishing sites that do this. For this reason be very careful of the linking techniques that you use.
  • USE A MIX OF FOLLOW and NOFOLLOW LINKS – it is not natural to only have “do follow” links to your website. It is much more natural to have a mix of both of these.

4) Add Quality Content – continue to add high quality original content to your website. Vary the length of your content to include some extra long blog posts or pages and consider refreshing some old content on your site.

5) Diversify your traffic. Don’t rely on just Google to get traffic. I’ve read so many devastating stories of people losing their business virtually overnight as a result of a Google algorithm change. If you are not doing so already, consider using some other traffic generation methods such as joint ventures, Ad swaps, Facebook traffic, paid advertising, viral marketing, forum marketing and so on. Build a list if it makes sense for your niche.

6) Don’t believe everything you read in forums. It can be useful to do some research in internet marketing and SEO forums but don’t believe everything you read! These tend to be full of people making speculations about the reasoning behind these changes and what to do about it based on a dataset of one or two websites. Not to mention people gloating that their websites have not been affected and saying that anyone who used blog networks must be a spammer!

I’ll be doing lots of research over the coming weeks, attending some webinars and doing a little testing with some of my existing sites and some new sites.

I’ll be doing a minor update to my Search Engine Optimization Ebook over the next week with more advice on the above, so if you are a customer  please be sure to register for updates (as outlined inside my EBook) and I’ll send you a free update when this is ready. I also expect to do a more major update once the dust has settled and it becomes clear what the best SEO strategy going forward is!

If you’ve been affected by this yourself, or if you have any questions I’d love to read your comment so please feel free to post below.

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