Guest post: David Kendall
Relatively minor algorithm adjustments are commonplace from Google. The “Penguin” update, however, was much more broad and far-reaching than most. Many blogs and other websites saw their rankings plummet and their traffic drop drastically as a result of the update. In some cases, of course, the changes were beneficial, but they also negatively affected many high-quality sites. Fortunately, if your site was one of these, you have several options for recovering.
Backlinks have traditionally formed the backbone of most sites’ SEO efforts. After the Penguin update, however, traditional SEO methods that were widely used for years suddenly seem to no longer work. Now the challenge is to recover under the new rules.
If you used a backlink network, then you probably know why your site was penalized. You will hear two schools of thought about whether you should remove those network links from your Google analytics or not – that is a decision that only you can make. The one thing that is certain is that you must start rebuilding your link structure in general.
The easiest project to start with during the recovery process is fixing your internal links. Make sure your pages and posts are linked to each other using variable anchor text. One thing the Penguin update looked for was "unnatural links and text." This means if your keyword was "little red wagon," you should not make this your anchor text 99 percent of the time.
Another basic feature that Google examines particularly closely after Penguin is “on-site time” – how long the average visitor stays on your site. If your content is riddled with misspellings, grammar errors, unhelpful or “fluff” content, artificially or awkwardly inserted keywords and the like, visitors will tend to leave your site quickly – and Google will continue to penalize it.
Another high priority after Penguin should be to start building backlinks that Google likes. Acceptable ideas could include guest posts and articles, social networking profiles and similar link-builders; whichever you choose, it is critical that they be genuine, useful and high quality. The days of “link farms” are over.
Social activity has taken a bigger role in the eyes of Google as far as rankings are concerned. If your site is getting plenty of likes on Facebook, votes on Twitter, +1’s on Google+ and so on, your overall popularity will improve; Google will take this into account when it ranks you.
Worst Case Scenario
There is a chance that even after giving rebuilding your site and its ranking your best shot, it will still be severely penalized. This is especially possible if it was an extremely poorly-built site previously. In this situation, you might actually need to start over completely. This means buying a new domain and rebuilding from scratch, this time using high-quality, above-board SEO techniques. Some webmasters have done this right from the start and bypassed the steps above, which is certainly an option that you can consider as well. In most cases, however, even a poorly ranked site is salvageable if you take steps like those above and focus your future efforts on maintaining the highest possible standard of quality in all areas.
David Kendall contributed this guest post on behalf of the Who Is Hosting This hosting review service. David is a freelance technology writer and internet marketer whose articles appear on various marketing blogs.
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