Penguin 2.0 Update: Top Losers and How You Can Remain In the Good Books of Google!

A few days ago, I made a post on the recent Google Penguin 2.0 update where I pointed out that Google may play down on the Panda smack. I also mentioned that the impact of Penguin 2.0 may not be too serious as many were expecting.

True to my suggestions, hours after the update was rolled out, the results of the effect has proved me correct.

Now, let me quickly say that I do not claim to be an SEO expert but if you are a regular reader of this blog you will understand by now that I’m passionate about driving organic traffic from the search engines. I believe greatly that search engine traffic is the most valuable so far on the net and therefore search engine optimization should be top most in wise internet entrepreneur’s marketing strategy!

Recommended: SEO & PPC Compared: Would You Rather Pay $1.500 Or $0 To Drive Search Engine Traffic?

Also, as an SEO web content writer, I’m always researching the subject of search engine marketing and SEO to know what really to do at every point in time. This is why when the news of Google rolling out Penguin 2.0 hit the internet; I went out to research the subject.

So, in this post I want to update you on the results of Penguin 2.0 and also give you some tips on what you must do right away, since there are indications that this update will continue in stages in the coming months.

The Top Losers of Penguin 2.0 Update

For this I want to give the results as reported by SearchMetrics.com – an SEO software company that prides itself on providing quality data for businesses. Here’s a graphic as reported by the site:

Penguin 2.0 top losers
Google Penguin 2.0 Update: Here are the top Losers !

As you can see from the results above, it is clear that the top losers are porn sites and game sites. Others are big brands like Dish.com, the Salvation Army, CheapOair and Educational Testing Service (ETS).

According to Marcus Tober, SearchMetrics founder,

“My first analysis shows that many thin sites, sites with thin links and especially untrusted links face the problem. In addition, some small business sites were hit because they haven’t taken SEO serious enough.”

That indeed is instructional – sites that did not take SEO serious were also hit!

He also reiterated my earlier stance when he said,

“It’s not the update I was expecting. I thought that this Google Penguin update would have had a bigger impact similar to Panda 1. But that didn’t happen.”

Yes, not what many expected but we understand that Google is just starting with this, according to Matt Cutt in this video. That is why you must take the following seriously.

How Do You Ensure That You Stay In Google’s Good Books?

Here are two posts I did back in 2011 when Panda was released and in 2012 when Penguin was released:

  • Google’s Content Farmer: What You Can Do To Stay Afloat! (2011)
  • Google Panda And Penguin Updates: What You Should Know To Stay Ahead Of The Game!

But for the now here are some things you must avoid:

1. Multiple Links from One Domain

Penguin 2.0 big losers!This is one indicator that Google is using to determine link farms (commercialized link building networks). Google algorithms are now structured to identify these types of links and once you fall into this category your site will be “hammered!”

Now, I must say this is really one that I’m not really comfortable with because of an experience I had last year. I reported that incidence in a post: Blog Commenting for Backlinks: Can It Affect You Negatively?
Please read it because if you have too many links from a particular domain because of blog commenting, you could run afoul of Google Penguin rules!

2. Keyword Over-Use

Keywords, over the years, have always been the bedrock of search engine optimization. Because of this they, like backlinks have been the most abused by SEOs. This is what is called “keyword stuffing.” To guide against this it is advised that you use synonyms and related keyword phrases in your content.

Recommended: The Watertight Strategy for effectively Writing Content for SEO in A Post-Penguin Internet!

3. Links from Irrelevant Sites

Google gives high regards to backlinks pointing to your sites. To Google these are “votes” of confidence on your site. But with the increase of what Google now regard as linkspam, its algorithms are presently built to detect “un-natural” links. It is therefore pertinent that, from time to time, you check the links pointing to your sites and when you detect links from un-related sites, remove them using Google’s “Disavow” tool.

4. Links from Bad Neighbourhood Websites

Like #3 above, you must check if websites that have been blacklisted by Google have links pointing to your sites. As the saying goes, “Bird of the same feather flock together!” Google will regard your site as a spammy site if you have links from such sites. So, beware!

Conclusion

The fight to clean up the webspace by Google is an on-going one. It is therefore a wise thing to understand what is going on and then align yourself in the right camp, now.

If you are running an ecommerce site, it is advisable to install a blog on your website as this will help to keep the site regularly updated – a good way to keep Google happy! Also, hiring professional SEO web content writers to create marketing content for your sites will also help your sites to naturally get into the search engines instead of trying to use blackhat tactics.

Over to You: What is your experience with Penguin 2.0? Where your sites affected? Do you have some tips that for those who have been hit? Please, share with us in your comments below.

How to Avoid Google’s Wrath When Building Back-links Using Blog Commenting!

blog commenting for backlinksJust this Monday in our community time out discussion, I related a story of how a site owner contacted me asking to remove all links pointing to his site from my blog!

At first I was surprised why he wanted those links removed since we all do love backlinks – at least they are good for our search rankings or are they no more important!

However, I knew somehow that something must be wrong on his end, possibly Google’s wrath must have fallen on the site. And true to my presumption, when he later replied it was just as I thought.

RECOMMENDED: 5 Blog Commenting Mistakes to Avoid!

But then, his reply raised some questions in my heart but since I was more concerned with helping this person, I went on to remove the links and left it at that.

The Question of Building Backlinks with Blog Comments Revisited

But then, I saw a Comment by Harleena, who said,

“When you say that Google doesn’t like more than 3-4 links being exchanged between sites, do they include the links earned through commenting? Personally, I doubt this could be the case, as then people will avoid commenting on each other’s blogs or sites, and the web would lose its meaning.

I’ve been commenting at my friend’s blogs who are not in my niche, so would that be detrimental to both of us?”

This is in response to what the site owner said in his email (Harleena that was not said by me!). Here again is the graphic:

blog commenting problems graphic

Harleena’s question moved me to again consider this issue of building back-links with blog commenting as a strategy. Please note the issues in that question,

>>> When you say that Google doesn’t like more than 3-4 links being exchanged between sites, do they include the links earned through commenting?

>>> I’ve been commenting at my friend’s blogs who are not in my niche, so would that be detrimental to both of us?

I’m sure this is also a concern to you, right?

To me it was, at first, but a second look at the site concerned and Google’s demands, I discovered that this is not a problem for blogs and sites with good and valuable content!

This is made clear from Google’s Panda and Penguin Updates, which this site had, ran afoul of. (I wrote a detailed article comparing Google’s Panda and Penguin Update sometime ago. You are advised to read for better understanding of this issue.)

In this post I will simply highlight the possible areas our dear friend has violated Google’s terms which warranted the sledge hammer from Google!

1.    Low-Value Add For Users:

When Google announced the Panda Update in early 2011, Google stated:

“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

This is one area which the site in question violated. The site in question is an e-commerce site, featuring only product information without enough user-centric content. From all indication there were no in-depth reports and content containing thoughtful analysis!

These were clear signals to Google that the site is of low-value to users and so, the hammer fell!

2.    Aggressive Use Of Exact-Match Anchor Text In Backlinks

This is the biggest culprit!

While removing those offensive backlinks I discovered that all the anchor text were the same! Not only that, all were the site’s primary keyword phrase which are also in the domain name!

Hey, big red flag 🙂

Yes, that was a big signal for Google.

Here again is what Google said about this in the Pengiun Update:

“Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings.”

And this is what I said while writing on the Google Panda and Penguin Updates ,

“Backlinks is one big factor used by search engines to rank sites. It is quite clear that many SEO service providers now use automated link building software to generate backlinks using specific anchor texts. The simple way for the Google Penguin to pick these out is to look for a high volume of exact-match anchor text in your backlinks and your site will be flagged as engaging in webspam.”

Can you see why that site was blacklisted?

One, it lacked in-depth reports and thoughtful analysis and now it has hundreds of backlinks from my site (I’m sure the SEO provider who was using this tactic for the client must have also used hundreds of the same exact anchor text on other blogs) using the same exact anchor text in those links!

Phew, another red flag, and so…

Sorry, but here’s your RED CARD! 🙂

Now to Harleena’s questions, again:

1. When you say that Google doesn’t like more than 3-4 links being exchanged between sites, do they include the links earned through commenting?

Ans. As we have seen above, it depends on the site involved. If it’s a site with low value-add for users, simply building links with blog commenting can be dangerous.

2. I’ve been commenting at my friend’s blogs who are not in my niche, so would that be detrimental to both of us?

Ans. No! Your site is a blog with good valuable content. You have content that are insightful and in-depth in analyzing the subjects treated. Google actually love this and so rather than punish you for those backlinks, Google will love you for that!

Another Good Point For Blogs Using Blog Commenting For Backlinks

Apart from the points above, I have also discovered that this problem will not easily affect blogs for the fact that most blogs use the CommentLuv plugin which allows blogs to deep link to individual pages.  E-commerce sites using blog commenting on the other hand can only link to their home pages in the “Name” section of the comments.

With different anchor text linked using CommentLuv, blogs can actually benefit with blog commenting for building back-links. Good points to CommentLuv!

Marketing Takeaway:

E-commerce sites should find ways of adding more quality and high-value content for a better user experience. They can do this by adding a blog to the site. Besides, they should also use different anchor texts based on their target keyword phrases for backlinks. Where possible, using synonyms would be a wise step in the right direction.

Remember, Google’s Panda and Penguin are still watching!

[Before I draw the curtain let me say, thank you to Harleena for inspiring this post!]

Over to You:  What lessons did you pick up from this post? Do you have any other possible reasons why that site was penalized for building back links with blog commenting? Please share your views in your comments.