What to do if your website has taken a hit in rankings from Google’s latest Penguin update
With over 700,000 websites already reporting their organic rankings affected by the evil Google Penguin update there is a lot of talk within the SEO community on what to do if you have received a message in your Webmaster Tools inbox from Google re: suspicious links.
Here’s our take on the situation and what to do before resubmitting your site to Google for re-consideration:
1.) Stop link building immediately
Why? How do you know you won’t get another bad back link to your site, which Google is going to see, and get a further penalty?
Two wrongs will kick you in the ass and I don’t know any webmaster, SEO or business that wants to get the site removed from Google’s indexed, or blacklisted for 3-6 months.
2.) Analyse your back links that have cached. A great tool which has a 30 day free trial is SEO Powersuite and it can effectively analyse your current back links much more accurately than some of the free online back link checkers.
3.) Remove all suspicious looking back links. There are ways an means such as contacting the webmasters themselves if your link building company can’t remove them or don’t know how. Another great service is DMCA takedown – we’ve used them twice to get stolen content taken from our site down. They usually do it in well under than 24 hours and it’s not an expensive service about £100.
What to look for when searching for bad/suspicious back links:
SEO Powersuite will tell you using a green to red colour scheme if these links you have indexed to your site have any warnings on them, green = good and red = bad.
Look at the domains themselves, are they really new with lots of outbound links?
Paid for links – Personally we avoid any sites with ‘buy links here’ or ‘paid back links’ on their site. You’re just asking for trouble. Of course it is likely that Google has a filter in built to look for such tags, alt text or meta data. Just avoid like the plague it’s a fundamental rule of Google to not use paid for links.
Anchor Text Density
Quite a recent find but if the majority of your links say ‘best seo’ or ‘diamond rings cheap’ for example that looks un-natural to Google. In reality if it were organic link building we’d all write them slightly different it’s not like your customers care what is says after all. So very them, alternative try long tails, spelling mistakes this should keep you off Google Penguin’s radar.
Google Penguin has a darker side
The other interesting point I don’t see people talking about is if Google really is going to be using this in it’s algorithm and quality checks to determine site positions then surely if you wanted to beat your competition without link building you would just buy really bad links to your competitor’s websites. I’m not suggesting in any way we all do this, I for one am against black-hat SEO.
We’ve all seen those links advertised for 10,000 for $5 – and we avoid them.
But you can see where I am coming from, there has to be a darker side to this we must be all aware off. Nothing worse than playing it by the book for some rogue SEO trying to get you penalised.
Google Penguin Case Study:
I thought I would add this on to this post as it is relevant and i’m sure some people will be able to relate to.
Yesterday I spoke to a business (not a customer just a cold caller) who wanted to know about the Penguin cull. They told me they received a penalty warning from Google in their webmaster account approximately 4 weeks ago.
When I asked what they were doing about it they said ‘Oh nothing!’……..
Really? Nothing that’s an odd decision, and you said your ranking are dropping everyday?
To which they replied sheepishly ‘Yes’.
So at least you’re not still link building, and not with the same company you’ve been using that have picked up this dodgy back link though right?
There was a bit of a silence and then a ‘errr yes’.
I was stunned to be honest. You get a penalty but yet you still carry on link building and haven’t tried to remove any potential suspicious back links. I can’t believe any company would willingly go toe to toe with Google. It’s Google they hold all the cards, it’s their casino. You all saw what Joe Pesci did in the 90’s film Casino right? [Head-in-Vice] Same thing applies here. Play by the rules and don’t mess with the don, he will have your head and squish it like a grape.
Tom Peary is the director of SEO21 Ltd. Offering SEO, Website Design, Digital Marketing, Google Places Optimisation, Guest Blogging, Copywriting and Link Building Services.