Google Penguin Refresh in the UK

Google Penguin Refresh in the UK

Blog Google Algo Update Google Penguin News SEO SERPS

Tonight at 22:30 we are seeing huge movement in the Google UK SERPS. As we predicted we thought the Google Penguin update might take another couple of weeks to feel the full affects of it in the UK as Google had announced approx 2 weeks ago the roll out had finished.

On October 10th 2016 we report that we were seeing some big changes in the organic results and previously Penguin affected sites were showing signs of improvement. But tonight we are seeing way more than even compared to the 10th October.

My guess is the data is finally hitting UK data centres and over the next week or so you should be seeing solid positions.

I hope you’re seeing more ups than downs, but remember guys even if you do get hit by the Penguin, never give up you can always recover.

Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.
Google Penguin Dataset Fluctations – But Penguin Recoveries Are Happening Right Now!

Google Penguin Dataset Fluctations – But Penguin Recoveries Are Happening Right Now!

Blog Google Algo Update Google Penguin SEO

Hey everyone I decided to hold off posting anything about the latest Google Penguin 4.0 algorithm update until I had collated enough data to report properly, and not just another click bait post.

So what do we know about Google Penguin 4.0 update

Well officially according to Google it rolled out on the 23rd September 2016 but many including myself believe it may have rolled out even soon than that. We tracked ranking fluctuations weeks and week before this and later in this blog we will share with you dates throughout the year where we tracked massive but temporary ranking improvements.

This is what Google has to say about the Penguin 4.0 Real Time Update

  • Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google’s algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page. It also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes.
  • Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.

Let’s break this down in more detail and what Penguin 4.0 means for SEO’s and webmasters right now.

‘Penguin is now real-time’

get out of penguin jailThis now means if you’re website gets caught out for manipulating it’s organic search rankings then it can be as quickly corrected. More importantly though it means those who were hit by a previous generation of the Penguin algorithm and were waiting on a refresh to clear any penalties against them, as long as they have cleaned up their link profile and haven’t continued to spam will finally be free!

Google makes a big point of mentioning it’s now granular rather than penalising an entire website.

I think this is one of the most interesting points about the latest Google Penguin update. Previously spammers would feel the full wrath of Google should you get caught out. But now they are quite clearly telling us all that if you spam or try and cheat with paid links etc then you shouldn’t expect your whole site rankings to get killed off.

How Google Penguin now looks and deals with link spam

This is the biggie without a doubt and I could write about this all day but I will keep it short and sweet.

Google tells us that now it won’t penalise you but in fact will ignore suspicious links to your site. Hang on a sec!

No more Google Penguin Penalties, ever?!?!?!?!

google penguin 4.0 devalues links rather than penalizes

Yep according to this post Gary Illyes at Google said that they now look at signals that suggest spamming or link manipulation and will just devalue the links rather than penalising for them.

Goodbye link spammers and negative SEO problems then?

Looks like Google sorted that issue out then. But it does also make you question is a rolling Penguin update even that important if it just ignores spam? There are two types of websites right now that this applies to.

1.) Sites that already have a penalty from previous Google Penguin updates

2.) Sites that are yet to spam and have no issues.

So for the first type of website which have had Penguin issues, once the update has fully rolled out and all data is refreshed they are free from the evil Penguin.

The second type, the good guy not doing anything wrong then this really has no affect on them. Because if Google Penguin now devalues spam then it with neither harm or positively affect your rankings anyway.

The ones that slipped through the net

So far so good then with the Google penguin 4.0 update it seems. But what about serial spammers the seem to have slipped through the net? I discussed this in my last blog post about certain websites we’d found to be link spamming and getting away with it.

Techniques such as using link networks (SAPE/PBN’s) but cleverly using no relevant business keyword anchor text. Thus being able to keep off the radar from Penguin and the manual spam action team at Google.

Will Penguin ever catch up with the no-good-ers?

I think Penguin will only continue to evolve and catch black hatters out but right now from what we have seen those who choose to link spam using a bit more grey matter are getting away with it and dominating search results.

So that’s what we know about Penguin 4.0 so far and what it means right now for SEO’s.

Evidence of Google Penguin Recoveries

This is the really good news and also some pretty strong evidence that contradicts what many believed a Penguin recovery to really be.

The U.S were reporting Penguin recoveries a little sooner than we were seeing here in the U.K – We started to see these on Monday 3rd October 2016. At first the results of obvious recoveries were hit and miss but over the next week we saw many sites recovering and showing huge ranking and traffic increase.

Don’t worry about ranking fluctuations Google has a lot of data to go through

If you’ve been seeing fluctuations in your organic rankings over the last 2 weeks then don’t worry as Gary Illyes once again has said this is normal and to be expected.

During parts of the week we reported as many as 8 fluctuations per day, with rankings moving up and back down to their last seen position, pre Penguin 4.0 roll out.

google penguin recoveries and ranking fluctuations

 

Strange results in Google search for your domain?

I thought i’d mention this incase anyone else had seen strange indexing issues with their website.

For one website we are tracking who’s site has seen a huge Penguin recovery in the last week with traffic increased by as much as 50% their home page was not listed in the results if you searched site:domain.com

This site has no manual actions and I wouldn’t expect it to either as it has a very organic and clean link profile. Plus it’s rankings for every other page have increased massively. Plus what’s even more interesting is when using a mobile browser or even mobile device tethered to a laptop the home page is indexed and has been reindexed twice since we noticed the error.

I think there must be others seeing pages missing, even their home page/root domain but if you do don’t panic as there are no penalties from Penguin anymore, we know that anyway and it looks as those there are just some holes still in Google’s dataset.

Biggest Google Penguin Recoveries We’ve Seen

One site we look after was hit with a manual action in 2012 and Penguin penalty in 2013. We began the long drawn out task of auditing all of their inbound and outbound back links. Once we were certain on the offending links we started to reach out to websites asking them to remove them, and where we couldn’t get them removed disavowed them. 2778+ referring domains removed in total.

Waiting patiently for Penguin to refresh, we expected huge improvements in their rankings, but sadly it never came.

Recovery without link building as the primary SEO focus

Without building links, just a few organic ones the site has now fully recovered. Even with very few back links, only good content the website has made a full recovery.

During the early part of this year the website traffic started to increase and peaked in July (this is a seasonally effected industry)

traffic increase

 

 

 

 

Their website traffic hit almost the same peak as it did when they were spamming, over 45,000 unique visitors in a month.

Then came Penguin 4.0 last week and everything changed

I must be clear nothing else has been done just added more good content and concentrated on getting the on page SEO in order.

Last week everything changed for this website (which I’m not going to publish). Suddenly where it had once ranked page 1 but not been seen for almost 3 years was now back. Plus more importantly with all the new content it was getting a lot more long tail keyword traffic, over 30,000 search terms in fact as apposed to 200+.

So this leads the question can you recover from a Penguin penalty without link building and still rank page 1?

YES, Yes you can! We’ve seen it in more than once too.

We’re seeing sites previously panned in search with no SEO since and no links whatsoever now ranking where they once did.

Don’t give up on your penalised website, you can recover fully and even higher than you did before.

I say this because i’ve read so many times where business owners have been told by SEO’s just give up and build a new site on a new domain. But if you’ve spent thousands on building your site and just as much if not even more getting it to rank well just throwing it away shouldn’t be your first decision.

We’ve now recovered more than 50 websites in the last 24 months and more in the last 2 weeks.

If you’re site isn’t doing as well as it once did or has taken a hit recently then talk to us and we’ll try and help.

Say hello on Twitter https://twitter.com/seotwentyone

 

Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.
What’s with all these SERP fluctuations in Google?

What’s with all these SERP fluctuations in Google?

Blog Google Algo Update SEO SERPS

With Penguin chatter still occurring daily on Twitter etc it seems a lot of webmasters and SEO’s are hanging their hopes on the next big Penguin refresh. We’ve even blogged several times when we’ve noticed significant movement or ranking fluctuations.

However I think something else is going on behind the scenes and Google HQ which may not be Google Penguin and something completely different which is why so many are reporting ranking fluctuations.

Lots of movement in Google SERPs

I’ve noticed over the last 2 months in particular that Google keeps showing incorrect results for UK searches in particular niches and also for certain locations.

Let me show you an example

For the search term ‘bi fold doors Perth‘ in Google.co.uk you can clearly see now 7 out of 10 positions are com.au sites

google showing incorrect country sites for co.uk

Does Google not understand GEO location any more?

Until recently Google has always been pretty spot on when it comes to understand your IP location and what you are searching for and presenting the most accurate results. So why now is Google getting confused with a location such as ‘Perth’ in Scotland and delivering Perth Australia?

Way back eons ago when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth (in 2103 really but it does feel a long time ago to me) Google released an update code named ‘Venice‘. The Venice also update was created to understand your GEO IP location and to tie this in with the results you required. This meant if you were in London and searched ‘Restaurants’ you would be served ‘Restaurants in London (UK)’. Perfect, Google is a magician, it can read my mind.

So how in 2016 when we have RankBrain and the most up to date search algorithms can Google get confused and serve up Australian websites in it’s UK search engine?

And it’s not just this occurrence either, I have found it in Cambridge, Basingstoke, Kingston (upon Thames) and others.

What does this have to do with a Google mystery update?

I’m not saying it’s directly related to this mystery update but it sure does fit in with the same time line that we started to see these glitches. The same with Google Places, we are seeing incorrect map data every week although the last 10-14 days has been a lot more stable than it has been in the past.

Here’s one idea why things are messed up

One idea is that RankBrain is learning and it will take it time to understand locations the way we humans do.

Dude you broke Google!

Another idea is that it’s just broken. Why not, Google breaks all the time. Really? Oh yeah! We reported earlier this year about Google reporting a catalogue of copyright entries after page 2 of the search results.

Another possible reason we are seeing rankings fluctuating

Google is texting out a new algorithm. I am seeing over the past 3 weeks a lot of sites using high numbers of inbound links via SAPE and PBN’s ranking a lot higher. This goes for ‘IT Support London’ if you look at this site which came from nowhere HTL.London and from March to the present has acquired over 13,000 back links in a very unnatural way.

example of PBN Sape Links

How are they ranking without getting a penalty?

Look at their anchor text ratio?

links anchor text ratio

You can see their anchor text is all over the place. No mention of ‘IT Support’ but have some very ‘interesting’ shall we say link anchors coming in to the site. So maybe by using this approach they are able to get better organic rankings without getting penalised for search terms they are targeting.

Has Google uprated the importance of inbound links as apposed to referring domains?

This is one thing I’m definitely seeing more of in the spam world. Sites with huge number of inbound links but far less of new referring domains outranking sites that have great relevant content and authoritative links.

It’s impossible to say for sure what the reasons are but I’m pretty sure it ain’t penguin as this goes against everything Penguin is about. My best guess is Google are testing something new out or it’s rank brain. It doesn’t seem to effect every niche and with rankings across the board fluctuating so much daily all signs point to testing. Or it’s dataset merging but I’m not sure its that either.

 

 

Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.
Google Testing 9 Organic Positions on Page 1

Google Testing 9 Organic Positions on Page 1

Blog Google Algo Update SEO

Over the last 2 weeks we’ve been noticing 9 organic results for page 1 instead of the usual 10. This doesnt seem to show up on any other pages.

On the 10th Feb we blogged about an error in Google.co.uk search showing a list of catalogue copyright entry queries

I’m not saying this is at all related but it is odd to say the least.

Google search results showing 9 not 10 listings

Could be just some testing they are doing or it could be related to the new layout of the Adwords results with 4 positions at the top.

We will let you know more if we see anything else.

 

Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.
Is Google Broken? Google showing catalog of copyright entries

Is Google Broken? Google showing catalog of copyright entries

Blog SEO

Something odd happening today in Google.co.uk search when i click next page I’m seeing strange results and all other pages are not showing.

is google broken

Sometimes it’s page 5,6,7,8 etc sometimes its page 2 of the Google search results.

 

google showing book results

 

I have reached out to @methode on Twitter but didn’t get much more of a response than ‘define strange‘.

Anyone else seeing these odd results?

 

 

Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.
All calm on the Mozcast today

All calm on the Mozcast today

Blog Google Algo Update SEO

After our last blog which we report some very strange goings on in google.co.uk search Mozcast today is showing much less turbulence.

So why has their been so many fluctuations in SERPS in January?

Although not confirmed it’s most likely down to either some testing or those core algorithm updates that rolled out earlier in the month in the US. Quite often Google.co.uk will see roll outs of it’s core algorithm after google.com

Gary Illyes at Google replies but doesn’t confirm anything

Merging Datasets in Google search

The easiest way to explain it is imagine you have 2 computers all with some data syncing software like Google Drive or Dropbox.

Google Dataset Merging Explained Simply

You upload your favourite pictures from your smartphone, or music but the data is massive thousands of Gigabytes or known as Terabytes. It’s going to take time for both machines to replicate all this data. So whilst you search on your computer for your favourite song you can’t always see it straight away.

Same goes with Google and its algorithm updates, it just takes time to roll out the data merge. So we sometimes see strange results that fluctuate.

Things seemed to have settled down now and things were as they were.

But if you’re seeing inconsistent results let us know so we can share it.

Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.
Knowing when to stop link building

Knowing when to stop link building

Blog News SEO Website Optimization

Due to the amount of questions we get from people who email or phone us about Google Penalties and problems with poor or spammy link building from their current SEO company we thought we’d put a blog together which will hopefully answer all these questions.

So first up if your SEO isn’t working and your rankings aren’t improving when do you say STOP!

  1. If your SEO isn’t providing you with details and data of the work they are supposed to be carrying out then it’s time to ask the question what are you actually doing for me?
  2. Rankings doing down not up
  3. Strange looking back links. This means from non-contextual sites, poor quality content, keyword rich anchor text overuse or abuse.
  4. Too long with no real results. SEO doesn’t guarantee results in fact the biggest variable is the site and the people working on it. But if after 6-12 months you’re not really seeing results then we suggest speaking to your SEO expert and finding out what’s going on and when you can expect to see some movement in the right direction.
  5. ROI ‘It just ain’t happening’ – If you’re spending more than you are making as a business and you’ve been plowing hundreds if not thousands of pounds per month for a considerable amount of time and you’re not seeing signs of a return on investment then it may be time to evaluate your campaign. Like I said before SEO isn’t an easy win overnight success it takes time and skill to achieve organic results. But 1-2 years and no movement or nothing to shout about then you should be talking to the people responsible and finding out why.

Adding the wrong kind of back links

Let’s talk about back links and how they should be used in your SEO campaign and the types of links you should try and avoid adding.

Web 2.0 Back Link Building

Some believe web 2.0 links should be used to promote and build brand link references where as we suggest you just avoid them altogether. It’s better to play it safe than risking your site to a penalty for too many low quality or building links to just improve rankings from a single source or link type.

Don’t build links on Web 2.0 with keyword rich anchor text you’re just asking for trouble with manual site penalties from Google.

Forum Profile Link Building

At one point forum profile links used to be a main source for SEO’s to acquire back links from high quality and trusted domains.

Then Google mass penalised many websites for overusing this method and pushing anchor text overuse as well. There are still some great sites such as www.ideastap.com where you can create a profile link, sometimes you even get a DO FOLLOW link which is great right? BUT! Don’t use anything than your Brand or Naked URL or Name.

Our advice is just avoid using forum profile links as your source of link building.

SAPE Link Networks

Oh dear where to start with this one. SAPE if you are not familiar with this terminology is simply a load of robot built websites on a huge list of domains. Usually have spun poor quality content and are owned by a single individual. Originating from sape.ru a Russian network where you pay for a link on site for very little. It is easy to acquire thousands and thousands of back links very quickly for not a lot of money. I recently saw a company in the UK bragging that their SEO had acquired rankings using SAPE links and when I checked in Ahrefs.com you can see the amount of link abuse going on. I think this kind of link building should just be instantly penalised by any site knowing to build SAPE links to manipulate organic rankings.

This obviously isn’t a complete list of types of link building techniques used but they are some of the worse in our opinion.

For more information contact SEO21 today!

Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.
Google Penguin 4.0 Update is here!

Google Penguin 4.0 Update is here!

Blog Google Algo Update SEO SERPS

Hey guys as we suspected last week it seems that Google is rolling out it’s long awaiting Penguin 4.0 algorithm update. I was going to write a post last week that we suspected it was live as we were seeing lots of ranking shifts in the UK but it was Friday and Star Wars was calling so sorry I didn’t get chance.

Is Google Penguin 4.0 live?

Lots of twitter activity would say that Google has launched or is testing the latest incarnation of the Arctic eagle’s link attack algorithm.

Cognitive SEO said ‘Google Penguin 4.0 ( the real-time update) might have been started!’

What does Google Penguin 4.0 mean for webmasters & SEOs?

Finally if you’ve been waiting for a Penguin refresh to update all the hard work you’ve put in to remove poor quality links that attractive negative attention from the Penguin 3.0 update then you’re hopefully going to see your efforts paying off and any link based penalties being lifted.

If you’ve ignore what Google has been telling you for years about not spamming and continued to spam then get ready as you’re probably about to see shifts in your organic rankings.

Help my site was affected by Google Penguin 4.0 update

The good news is even if you have seen a downward ranking in the latest Google Penguin update then you should in theory be able to recover from this just as quickly as you got the penalty.

Google Penguin 4.0 will be real time

As confirmed by many official sources at Google the latest Penguin 4.0 update will be realtime. Barry Swartz at search engine land has a great post on it here.

Google Penguin changes good and bad SEO forever!

I am curious to see what will happen with sites that continue to abuse link building over the next year and use the churn em and burn em method to SEO. Will this mean as long as they don’t get a manual action then can simple disavow or remove spammy links and then recover? It’s an interesting thought however.

 

 

Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.
Anyone seeing ranking fluctuations? Is it Google Penguin finally?

Anyone seeing ranking fluctuations? Is it Google Penguin finally?

Blog Google Algo Update Google Penguin SEO SERPS

Happy New Year to everyone, we hope you’ve all had a wonderfully relaxing Christmas and ready for some exciting stuff to come in the world of search engine marketing in 2016.

Bit of a recap to tail off 2015 with Google’s mysterious algorithm updates in December.

There was a lot of chatter on twitter and the forums over December with a lot of people reporting ranking fluctuations. Mainly good from what we could see.

But no Penguin update before Christmas Google said

Google shakes things up in Jan 2016

If you’re even half as anally retentive as we are about SEO then you’ve probably seen lots of movement in search rankings this month already.

We are seeing previously penalised website hitting page 1 again, and we are talking from not in the first 10 pages to page 1.

If it’s not penguin rolling out something seems to be happening with the Algo.

Share your thoughts with us!

 

Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.
How do some sites recover from a Google penalty faster than others?

How do some sites recover from a Google penalty faster than others?

Blog SEO

How do some sites which have had a manual or algorithmic penalty seem to be able to recovery quicker than others?

serenata flowers google penalty recovery

So about 2 weeks ago there was some twitter activity that serenataflowers.com had been hit by a manual or algorithmic penalty. Even searching their domain or brand brought up no results in the first 5 pages. Ouch!

This of course wasn’t the first time a large well known online florist had been hit by a Google penalty, back in 2013 David Naylor reported inter flora had been whacked by Google and had lost the majority of their organic results.

It’s now the 4th December 2015 and at least for their brand search terms which I have checked serenataflowers.com is back!!!!

Now I have dealt with many manual action penalty recoveries along with Penguin and Panda penalty recoveries but 2 weeks is fast. So unless the SEO company in question knew exactly what they’d done to get the penalty and removed all links in that time and managed to get their reconsideration request processed in less than 2 weeks I think there maybe another contributing factor.

So how does a site recover so quickly from a Google manual action penalty whilst others struggling for months and even years?

  • Domain authority
  • Trust Rating

All hands on deck to undo the spammy link building in record time

Social media, was Google paying attention to all the twitter chat?

A site that recovers not just its brand searches but primary and secure target keyword phrases in Google in 2 weeks is remarkable. The fastest we’ve done it for any site is 2 weeks but that was for a small partial action not a site wide disaster recovery like what serenataflowers.com are dealing with.

It’s clear to see their SEO bods were on the case immediately as it was reported by Sistrix that they were removing links at an astonishing rate.

This is how you clean up spammy links, 50,000 links removed in 4 days

serenata flowers removing links

In my experience of over 30 google penalty recoveries in the last 2 years a site wide manual action is not something to be taken lightly. Even if you do cut away all the dead rot and make your link profile sparkly and clean and the manual action is removed it is usual for the rankings for all keywords to recovery as quickly. I worked on one site that had a site wide manual action penalty and filed the reconsideration request in the same week and was successful and even though some rankings started to reappear shortly after the site overall took about 12 months until it was back where it once was. So 2 weeks something doesn’t add up here.

Could it be something other than a link based penalty?

Yeah sure I guess why not. Maybe the site had some malicious code injected which caused another type of penalty, or maybe it was outbound links that were the issue.

But all signs point to a link based penalty for serenataflowers.com

But because we know they started to clean up their back links in such a hurry it was more than likely a link based manual action as you generally don’t started dropping 50,000 links unless you are sure that is the issue.

What does Serenataflowers.com link profile look like today?

Interestingly the number of referring pages pointing to serenataflowers.com has dropped in the last 30 days but the number of referring domains has increased. WTF?!

How did serenataflowers clean up their links so fast to remove a manual action penalty?

I haven’t looked in to this in any further detail yet, because frankly i have a life but i would bet they either participated in a PBN, Sape link scheme or owed/controlled a lot of websites which they had access to site wide links.

Getting links removed is a tiresome job and it doesn’t matter how many emails you send getting links removed isn’t an overnight job. This is why I would guess good money they owned these sites linking back to serenataflowers.com

But why has the number of referring domains increased so much?

It’s a good question really, normally once you get a penalty of this magnitude the last thing you would do is build even more links. Although we have tested this theory once before and we did revoke a manual action penalty albeit a partial one just by adding more links and diluting the number of less organic non-branded, naked url anchor links. So it can work but doesn’t necessarily mean you should do this.

Summary of Serenataflowers manual action recovery

Their team responsible for their SEO or manual action recovery were on the case immediately and began removing links, we can see evidence of that. But to have a full recovery in under 2 weeks is something else. So was Google taking a special note of their website and efforts on Twitter? Who knows for sure.

Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.