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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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 link profile look like today?

Interestingly the number of referring pages pointing to 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

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.

Is Google Penguin 3.1 here?

Is Google Penguin 3.1 here?

Blog SEO

Overall we didn’t notice many positive or negative changes in Penguin 3.0 update on the 17th October, for a major update we’d all been waiting for I couldn’t help think is that it?Like many SEO’s we do a lot of link auditing for clients that come to us with penalties already, as long as there is SEO there will be the need to help correct poor quality work too.

Google sure do love to give during the holidays

Easter & Thanks Giving have both been times when Google have cared enough to share a cuddly creature for us all (ain’t that nice?) But when I heard via Bartosz on his blog (nice chap by the way I called him today and had a bit of a chat) that he thought Penguin 3.1 was rolling out or so he believed , I wasn’t all that surprised. I checked all our sites and client sites but sadly nothing….or so it seemed.

Why did we expect a Penguin refresh so soon after 3.0?

The reason I was expected to see an update around this time was because of the Easter bank holiday update, yes a nice chocolate egg laid by Google that hurt so many users sites out there and because of John Muller ‘s comments on ‘more regular updates’ could be expected. Great for those who’ve been hit and work hard to recover.

I’ll be honest I was disappointed to see no changes it sites we’ve been trying to correct and get on the right path but then I reminded myself, the UK saw Penguin 3.0 roll out first so maybe the it was our Stateside friends turn to receive first. After all it was thanksgiving.

Monday 1st December Penguin 3.1 hits the UK

Early Monday morning on December 1st 2014 I couldn’t resist and started to check sites, immediately saw BIG things happening and sites showing up in the top 5 positions for the majority of their searches. GREAT!

I am sure i am not the only one who does this but i was immediately obsessed with checking positions and although a few fluctuations probably more likely down to which server was been accessed to pull results, all was looking good.

One health site in particular which we had been working on for a good 9 months if not more hadn’t seen any positive or negative changes when Penguin 3.0 rolled out but as if by magic it’s #1 for it’s most important search term.

Fluctuations in rankings after Penguin roll out

The only time i noticed something a little odd was when I was out of the office and I searched again and saw something completely different, almost every time I searched the same thing i was presented with different results. I cleared my cache, changed browsers, everything you can do even change location of my position. I put it down to server location again and waited till i was back home. Bingo! Search results still presenting as they did on Monday morning across all devices.

After going back to the office and repeating the same thing across Monday and Tuesday all looked well, apart from the occasional search where something random appeared or something I wasn’t quite expecting.

Data correlation in search results

From what I can see there are 3 ways of the results showing currently over the last 3 days after the 3.1 Penguin roll out.

  1. Pre 3.1 update
  2. Post 3.1 update
  3. Mix bag of frogs (only happens when i choose certain cities or locations to search or access data from and not conclusive.)

Mixed bag of frogs refresh

I think it’s worth mentioning my mobile device is not longer showing the mix bag of frogs results as it was Monday. So if we go off the same assumption that this mixed bag of frogs result is probably just some missing data or incomplete data for the algo update that hasn’t gone through yet. Or at least i am hoping that.

That’s all for now but we’d love to hear your findings and how you’re seeing data

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+ vs Facebook Likes and Twitter Tweets

Google+ vs Facebook Likes and Twitter Tweets

Blog SEO

Although that title just sounds like a really bad YouTube video for social media nerds it’s actually a question that needs asking.

If you read my recent post abouthow does Google+ help SEO and have been following our updates,
then the next obvious question is how does Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter ‘tweets’ factor in our organic rankings?

Is Google+ automatically going to have a better result on our SEO over the other obvious social media outlets?

You would imagine so but without hard evidence it’s too early to comment.

I certainly don’t believe in making any bold outrageous claims without seeing it first so that’s what I am going to do.
I am going to create 3 similar posts and run them against each other.

1st post pushing Google+1s
2nd post pushing Facebook ‘likes’
3rd post pushing ‘Tweets’

Should be very interesting

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

Does Google+ help SEO?

Does Google+ help SEO?


The aim of this post is to see how much of a difference to the SEO of a page ranking with Google+ posts and shares make a difference.

Where to begin with your Google+ post?

How much impact does Google+ have on our SEO?

How much impact does Google+ have on our SEO?

I have started out by using a reliable keyword tool such as and finding a reasonable search phrase that gets at least some decent traffic. I am not looking for thousands of searches per month to begin with just a relevant long tail phrase we can target our on and off page optimization techniques with.

I decided to go for ‘Does Google+ help SEO?’ which I used as the page title and URL. As wordpress does not allow syntax in the URL I opted for ‘plus’ instead of ‘+’

this should also help cover both ways of searching too.

We are also using a reliable social share plugin to allow users to easily share or in this case ‘+1’ our dedicated blog post on related to Google+ and SEO rankings.

Next up we write some useful non-spammy content relating to the subject in question (which you are reading right now) – no i am not going to try and get in the title again, that would be a little tacky 😉 hmmmm but it might help….no i will resist.

Ranking Results from Google+ shares

I avoid the obvious SEO forums like the plague, it’s not for me to be honest. But I am interested on how Google Plus and more importantly Google+ shares can help a website rank better. I have heard a lot of SEO’s talking about this but I am yet to see conclusive data that it in fact plays such a major role in our organic rankings.

Google product + Google+ = Improved Rankings?

So let’s see if this all works then. The post is live we are going to encourage fellow Google+ users to share this and we will report back with hard data which will either show a positive increase in rankings or not.

My first thoughts are that yes of course it will help our organic rankings, after all Social is only going to prove to be more and more important in SEO but what I want to really find out is, at this moment in time having more +1’s to a page or post on your website will it improve the rankings significantly, and are Google +1’s more effective than traditional link building?

I don’t believe they are right now and I will be doing more tests on this soon.

Let’s see what happens…but in the meantime i’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Ranking Update Friday 14th February 14:32

As of 14:32 GMT this post is ranking page 5 position 6 with 10 Google+1 shares and no back links (as yet)

google+ ranking shares update

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 many back links before you hurt your site?

How many back links before you hurt your site?

Blog SEO

back links

The one thing being discussed in the SEO world it seems continually is back links and the best ways to use them without getting any penalties.

So let’s ask the obvious question

How many links to add each month?

How many back links is the right number before positive increases in rankings becomes a negative result? Well we are currently testing this theory as we believe there isn’t an actual number but in fact it varies for each site.

How many back links have been added per month, check out and see how many inbound back links have been added over any given time. Too many could flag potential issues.

We’ll have some more data on this very soon…..

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 is SEO?


Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Optimisation is often referred to as SEO.


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 Rich Snippet Reviews


google rich snippetsRich Snippets are additional meta data that allows user generated content to feature extra information in the Google search results.



Types of Rich Snippet Data

  • Product Reviews
  • Product Information
  • Directions
  • Business Details
  • Aggregated Reviews

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