Who would have thought that penguins would be involved in a worldwide upheaval? But they are.
Not literally, but in the form of the “Google Penguin” updates. Even though the update sounds innocuous, it has proven to be everything but that. This series of updates to Google search engine algorithm was one of the biggest since 2006 and was – and still is – responsible for the vanishing of many people’s income and source of livelihood online. Don’t shed many tears, though. For the most part, the Google Penguin (and subsequent Panda) updates did more good than harm.
Now, if you were affected by the recent updates, what has changed in your seo efforts? Are you trying to rank the same website again or are you dumping the domain? What steps have you had to take or practices you had to stop or adopt to get your rankings back up? While the internet and search community has been up in arms, webmasters licking their wounds, and others throwing tantrums about google’s hypocrisy, a smarter few have moved on and started tweaking their websites with excellent results. Here’s what we noticed among websites that recovered their rankings:
Reduced Over Optimization
In the past, all you had to do was achieve a certain keyword density (2-4%) for on-page optimization, stuff the keywords you want to rank for in the title and header tags and you’re all set. That time is long gone.
To start recovering your rankings post-Penguin, the first thing you need to do is actually work on a bit of de-optimizatioin of your web pages, believe it or not.
Instead of filling the title tags with keywords like “plumbers San Diego”, you need to rewrite the tags so they both appeal to human readers and search engine bots. A good example will be “Find and Locate Plumbers in San Diego”. Instead of repeating a certain keyword phrase several times in one article, be sure to include similar and related keyphrases so your content reads naturally.
Deeper, Site-wide and Outbound Links
Websites should be intuitive. One page should link to another for more information. It doesn’t make sense nor is it natural that all the links are just within your website. You should also have a few outbound links from your website to other related or authority websites with more in-depth info that you can’t or don’t need to cover. This shows your website is genuine.
Inbound Links Variation
Your backlinks must be varied to make the link-building look natural. Think about it: will natural links come from only do-follow blogs and have only the keywords you want to rank for or will they have a variation of generic words, names, naked links, and your keywords? If your links were strictly targeting certain keywords, here’s what you need to do: leave only 50% of all anchor texts with your keywords and vary the rest between click here, naked links, no-follow blogs, blog name, author name and any other natural occurring variation of a link that you can think of.
Clean Up Links from Questionable Sources
Spammy links from questionable sources like blog networks, spam blogs and so on played a big role in getting websites de-ranked. So, if you have access to those sources, be sure to clean up the links completely. And if you can’t just stop that campaign and build more legit links to even the balance of your backlinks.
There you have it. If you try all these without any results, you may have to move your domain and start afresh from scratch. These are what we noticed worked. Any other ideas? Please let us know.