How To Recover From Google Penguin Update

So you have been hit by Google Penguin Update. You can confirm it if your site’s rankings went downhill immediately on 24th April. Penguin update has been one of the most criticized update brought by Google. The quality of this update has been called in to question by industry experts as well as webmasters.

But in the end the fact is that Google has done its deed and it is left to site owners, webmasters and SEO consultants to make sense of this big change and try to retrieve the situation. Unlike other updates, Penguin update is still shrouded in mystery and no one really knows for sure why the sites got affected. While initially, it was thought perhaps it was an over optimization penalty which was proposed a few days earlier to the Penguin update, soon it was clarified it wasn’t the case.

It brings us to the question on why some sites got hit by this update. Various reasons have been ascribed to Penguin update but the broad consensus has been that Penguin update affected the sites that somehow fulfilled the following criteria:

1) Anchor text over optimization: Over reliance on anchor text with main keywords which sends out signal that links are natural.

2) Backlinks from low quality sites: If the majority of backlinks to your site from low quality sources then your site can be a prime candidate for Penguin update.

While there are many other plausible reasons such as duplicate content, over optimization, sites with malware, the first two reasons are the most obvious reasons and  therein lies the ways to recover from this update.

Here are some of the ways you can do for Penguin recovery.

1) Audit your website: If you have been hit by Penguin then the first thing after confirming that it’s indeed a Penguin disaster will be audit your website for all SEO related issues. Check robots.txt file, malware issues, sudden or unnatural increase in backlinks (especially since negative SEO seems doable). This will help you in at least getting an idea of where the problem may lie.

2) Vary Anchor Text: For too long, exact match keywords were used as anchor texts. This was a regular practice and almost every SEO consultant used to do this. But the rules have changed. Google perceives too many backlinks with same keyword frequency as a case of spamming. With this Penguin update it acted against those sites. The road ahead will be to vary the anchor text and make them look natural. Use your domain name, phrases and different variation of keywords to create a bouquet of links with different anchor texts.

3) Get backlinks from credible sources: Over the last few years, Google let websites with poor quality links dominate the search results. Their time is up now. Majority of your backlinks should be from high quality websites. If you have links from shady sites or low quality blogs then remove them ASAP.

4) Get backlinks from relevant sources: Not only should be a link be from a high quality site but it should be relevant site. If your website is about real estate then getting a link from a blog about watches will look out of place to you, me and Google.  In case you have links from non-relevant industries or niches then clear them and start link building afresh.

5) Create good content: Though this is a general point which can be found in any how to SEO guide, it begs a mention. If your website has pages full of low quality content and keywords stuffed in to them, then take the trash out. Obviously you created those pages solely to entice search engines.  Alas, Google has got wiser. Your website should have a lot of content but the quality takes precedence. The content should make sense to the users and educate/help them.

6) Explore social sites: Let’s face it. You don’t want to rely only on Google for traffic. Socialize using Google +, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest etc. and get more inbound and relevant traffic. But will it help recovering in SEO?

Google has started including social signals in its search results. Though, they may not make much difference right now but Social factors will become more important as Google+ gets popular.

7) De-optimize your website: If your website was over optimize with your main keywords propping everywhere then it’s time to take a step back and go easy on it.

Have you done whatever you could?

If you have done all the above mentioned steps and haven’t still recovered your rankings then relax. There is nothing more you can do at this moment. Keep up your work and wait for the next refresh of Penguin update.

If your website still doesn’t recover then as Cutts mentioned
And when all else fails, you might want to just start over with a new site”

About

I am the founder of Azurebiz Solutions. I love to write about SEO and technology. On my blog, you can read about my views on the Search industry. Aniruddha on Google+

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