Google Panda & Penguin: How to Recover from Penalties

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In recent years, Google panda & penguin updates have really penalized lots of sites, some of which had very good organic traffic & ranking before. I have tried to make this article milestone on this topic:


Google Penalties

Google updates and penalties have always been there since the early days of Google search engine. Especially, Google is nominating them now with specific names. Google has also announced about other updates, such as Florida, Dewey, Austin or Big Daddy Vince were named in the SEO scenario which Google had rarely told. In the early years, an OB update was ever happening and finally someone had named this update. Now, Google announced name and time of updates that is a big question, why?

So, the answer of this “WHY” is, Google wants to tell that they are observing the activities of SEOs and they really know many factors about domains, which we may don’t have an idea to consider. So, Google is highly discouraging use of Gray or Black Hat SEO techniques and in the case of identification of any Gray or Black technique, they are releasing their revised algorithm update. But, finally it results a large number of ranking updates due to automated algorithm.  In other words, it simply means many black hat SEO techniques still work and there is no way for Google to prevent these guys without causing collateral damage of authentic sites.

So, I have been trying (in addition to the algorithm) with many brain washing methods to make entire SEO community fears free. We can only laugh on real black hats about their practices as the whole thing, they are driving illogically. Miserably, it has been noticed so lately to some collateral damage that would not have to be. Penguin update, where you have a right to explain your domain is penalized by mistake but apparently it’s only working in the US market not in the whole world.

Today’s Google Updates

In recent years, Google has released many updates in the shape of algorithm modification and it has been always told major update. Following are some major features of Google updates:

  • Algorithm is very sensitive and it has achieved a moderate level to place penalty on any website on minor violations.
  • Algorithm has a human element as well and use of user behavior is now very high in it.
  • Google is officially telling us, what possible error is like worse content or spam link building and what should be modified to fix it.
  • Through these public statements, its better to think like normal users and algorithm is always better, if you are working in authentic & genuine SEO ways.

In the below steps, I have tried to explain, how to proceed by following the algorithm update rules:

Step 1: Identification of Lost Ranking

  • My domain has lost ranking for all keywords or only few keywords are in ranking or all keywords have positions -30/-60/-90?
  • If only specific keywords, they all backing up from the directory / network link?
  • My website is only ranked against my domain name?
  • I am going with the “site:”, getting query not found or I am kicked out of the index?
  • I have changed something on the on-page structure or internal linking of the website?
  • Anything changed on the technology side like server or CMS?
  • I have received a message in Google Webmasters Tools?
  • I have used a technique that I can call risky? This is obviously depends on your own way of linking or on-page optimizations way.

Basically, you should be aware, what exactly has changed? Sometimes it can be a smaller link that you have removed from the home page. Normally, penalties always have massive ranking change with loss of minimum 50% and more. Sometimes, losses are only technical in nature.

Step 2: Identification of Other websites in the same niche and the same ranking losses

  • It has also affected my competitors?
  • What other pages (outside my niche), it has also affected in the same way in the same time.
  • What is the link to my profile in comparison of link text, link type or link networks?
  • Which sites have gained ranking in this period in which I and others have lost?
  • How it has changed my search results? Who is new in ranking? Who won, who lost?

Note: anyone who sees only his own website can never get the idea, what the competition is doing. Now, we can see on-page optimization of every page to get a better idea, what exactly top ranked pages have done. So, look at the other.

Step 3: Clarify Summary of Results and Optimization Requirement

If you are not able to find after the analysis of your own domain and competitors and other pages, then there is a possibility, several other factors can play major role in the search results. Now, you can remove all bad / spam links or just go with the probabilities and only improve the worst part of your on-page & linking campaigns. Till now, following major factors have de-ranked sites in recent years:

  1. Google Panda: It refers exclusively to on-page criteria and has NOTHING to do with the links and their anchor texts. If your website have very bounce rate comparatively competition, page per visit have very few and your page (be honest with you) has not value, then it was probably being a reason of Google Panda penalty. One other major reason can be the duplicate content on the web pages.
  2. Google Penguin – Link Networks: Main victim of this update are web pages which have many links from the same source or having links from many websites having same Class C networks. Google has a very good ability to identify such networks.
  3. Google Penguin – Anchor Text: If you have a too many exact keywords in anchor texts, then you will be punished as well. So, you should use a proper mix of anchor texts while making linking campaign instead of exact keyword anchor texts.
  4. Google Penguin – Link Buying: You can consider it 2nd phase of link network updates. You will get an email from Google in Webmaster Tools about the “unnatural links” in this scenario. Its purely a manual punishment by a Google employee after getting any complaint against you for link buying.
  5. Update # 36: This is for the local search results. Local search results sometimes strongly favored over all other results.

I hope, this article will help to understand the basic scenario of Google penalties and how you can escape by taking precautionary steps. Any questions, feedback or suggestion, please leave in the comment box.

About the author: Bob Marketer
Bob Marketer is an Inbound Marketing (SEO, SEM & PPC) Expert Having More Than 10 Years Of Experience in Digital Solutions Consultation.