It’s been three months( the last penguin update was released on 4th October 2013) since the arrival of penguins and we still get cold feet thinking about what would be the next assault of these Google animals. Often you hear the scream of people panting for their sites going down.
Today there is a whole new market in this ruthless digital world thriving just on the bucks paid to them in order to recover from the penguin bites. Often we get queries from our clients seeking help for their friends, for helping them to revive their business and tips to fight this algorithm.
So what are you waiting for? Do you still presume that since you have no messages in webmaster so there’s still time for you to relax? Well if that’s the case get prepared to find yourself in the no man’s lands very soon as may be you are the next on Penguin’s hit list.
What to do then? That’s a bold question. Why not go hunt down these Penguins to save your online marketing campaign before their next strike.
Within next few paragraphs we will try to transform you into a hunter. So that next time when you hear about a new Penguin release you have all the reasons to party.
This fest of penguin started somewhere round 2012 when people were gaming with Google. To be specific the very first Penguin got out of the cage in April 2012. The reason being simple, the bots of Google were going through the resurrection phase. Google wanted to clean up the spam generated through unethical techniques. And the worst hits were the link farms.
There was an era when black hat ninjas use to rule the world of internet marketing. Keywords stuffing paid linking, anti co-citation policies, Meta refresh, link pyramids, link wheel used to be the common tools for promoting the websites and get your desired keywords on top. But then they were hitting hard the quality of SERP in Google. Not only that, it was irritating Google which has always the vision of providing the right answers to user queries, and here comes Penguin.
Technically speaking Penguin is an algorithm which is inbuilt with a lot of sub algorithms many of which are quite similar to the ones used by Google to rank your site on SERP. The assault weapon of Penguin is its capability to crack down on anything which is un-natural and a pure spam. This does not only include the links you built but it covers everything your website has while standing in queue of Google SERP.
What is SPAM?
Defining spam is like you are on the voyage of this universe. Perplexed! Well don’t be. You can find different answers to this question; even Google defines it in its own terminology which is
“Webspam” refers to pages that try to trick Google into ranking them highly.
However over the years, in fact from past two years the definition of spamming is getting dynamic, each time the search engine bots get smarter. However as this is big and ever evolving concept, so just in case if you want to get a complete insight of it you can always check it here: http://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/fighting-spam.html
Just to help you a bit here are few point taken from the above link which are considered as spamming
1. Cloaking and/or sneaky redirects
2. Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing
3. Unnatural links from a site
4. Unnatural links to a site
5. User-generated spam
What’s the course of action if you are found guilty?
You can be penalized in any of the possible and Google defined way. It can range from penalization of the entire domain, penalization of a specific page just like the one which we witnessed in case of Mozilla, minor rank fluctuation, de-valuation of the links, loss of PR and many more.
Note: Talking specifically a Penguin hit site is one which losses a major chunk of traffic once it is hit, with a major loss of rank which can be anything from going down on SERP pages other than the 1st page to complete invisibility of ranks. However the above mentioned factors if by any chance occur with your site than there is a good probability that your site is ringing bells for Penguin to wake up and bite you.
How to recover?
Well as the evangelist of Internet marketing say the very first thing to do once you are hit is:
1. Link Sanitization – This means check all your back links you have procured for your site.
Hey I have more than a million link what to do now?
Well with Google webmaster you can get a maximum of 1 lakh links however just in case you have even more links it’s safe to go with the paid tools. Tools like majestic Seo, Serp, Opensite explorer, Raven, Cognitive, Ahref do an awesome job in getting you all the links for the bucks you pay.
How to filter the spammy Link?
Here again it depends on the expertise of the person you have hired and the way you are doing it. Tools like link Detox or Raven create their own report of the spam links which they found on your site. However do not rely completely on it as they will crawl your site based on the factors inbuilt with them so it’s always good to give a last check manually.
Note: Once you have started sanitization process maintain a doc for the later reference.
What to do next?
Once you have your sheet ready contact all those sites form where you want to get your link removed. Once done maintain these data in the doc as well.Once you are certain that no more sites can be asked to remove links to your site start to disavow the links.
Finally you can submit a reconsideration request.
Note: Although we have penalized sites which recovered within weeks but officially in order for the complete recovery it can take a minimum of 3 months time. So be patient.
So where’s the juice of entire story, where’s my harpoon?
Well the above mentioned steps are what you should do once you are hit and seeking for help. How about if you do this on regular basis? Let the sanitization process be the part of your marketing strategy. And there you are, ready to hunt down the Penguins.
One of the other most important points to be noted is that try to increase the quality of your content every day. Grade your current content 1 on a scale of 1-10 and with each passing day increase your grade.
Last but not least, if we talk about link building stop running from pillar to post just for the sake of procuring link, it’s the era of link bait so how about you go fishing with your content being the bait. Never shy to use your originals whenever you are doing link building, so next time if you are commenting on MOZ or Search Engine Watch use your original name.
Finally it’s time for some Pro tips
Focus especially on social media, authorship and blogging. Do not stress too much on meta- tags. Semantic mark up is again one of the vital tools if used in an ethical manner.
Remember you are here to win the heart of your customers so plan your online marketing strategies in a customer focused way abide by the search engine guidelines.