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How to Recover From Google Penguin

Brick technology Ltd announced last week about the update to the ever so famous Google Penguin update. As many now look at their diminished website statistics desperately trying to figure out an internet marketing strategy in order to recover from their ranking drops we tell you the story of one company who were hit and how to recover from the Google Penguin.

It wasn’t long after the Penguin Algorithm hit when we also got another insight into how it works as it updated last weekend. It’s this update which makes it unique and rather similar to Google’s other Algorithm – the Panda.  For the most part those who had been hit by Penguin tried to work towards a recovery which meant removing and editing their links whilst others simply removed any manipulative link strategies which they may have in place.

However this recovery was not done quick enough in order to see any change, links take time to crawl and new actions need time to be implemented even though the refresh of Penguin only took one month to cause such devastation in the way of rankings.

Now though what the common thought of many has become is that Penguin is simply undefeatable and so would it not just be easier to start over with a new domain?

The answer is no.

If you have been hit by Penguin then recovery is achievable and in a short amount of time and Brick technology web design can prove to you by telling you the story of recovery from Wordpress site, WPMU.org.

In just one week after being hit by the Penguin Update, WPMU.org saw their traffic from Google drop by over 81% in just one week! It was this which obviously caused a massive hit in revenue for the business overnight and it wasn’t as simple as them dropping from number one on Google to number three it was the reality of dropping from number one on Google and then almost disappearing completely.

The site is an informational site with various resources and plugins as well as some other items including a resource portfolio of themes which was their most important aspect. What happens though is that their themes functioned like many other, a theme is created with citation footer links to declare the theme type being used so when they are installed they generate a “Powered by X” link in the footer back to the theme page.

Through these links high volumes of sitewide links were created on very low quality sites and also the anchor “Wordpress Mu” was used and this was seen by Google as an attempt to gain commercial anchor text pointing to the site.

WPMU had a lot of other positive links however:

  • 10,700+ Likes on their Facebook
  • 15,600+ Followers on Twitter
  • 2,500+ People who +1s
  • 4250+ People who subscribed to Feedburner
  • Backlinks from Technorati, Ars Technica, Wired, Huffington Post, SEOBook, Business Insider and many more high quality sites.

Why did they get hit by Penguin then?

WPMU were hit badly because of low quality links which combined with spammy, rarely clicked footer links with over-optimised anchor text. Just below we demonstrate some of the low quality links which were connected towards WPMU.

  • A website Pirating WPMU Software, http://baydownloads.info/11580-Wordpress-Membership-Plugin-Wordpress-PayPal-R-Plugin-show-5starserve.htm
  • A website using an old theme pack with a link to the WPMU in the footer which had commercial anchor text, http://computerofficechair.blogdetik.com/category/tak-berkategori

Now there needed to be a proper plan set into motion and so WPMU set about getting the nofollow attribute added to links or removing them completely. There was a great need to get rid of “Wordpress MU” and although nofollow seemed to be the obvious solution it probably was not the best and so we asked for removal.

As WPMU instantly shut of around 15,000 of their footer LRDs to their profile it was seen as a dramatic improvement to their anchor text ratios, sitewide link volume and more. They carried this out quickly after the original update rolled out and as it was straight removal they differed from those who then just tried to “clean up” their websites.

Although this has a massive impact still lots of junk remained from independent bloggers who had put up WPMU themes. Footer links needed to be removed and so in cleaning up the remaining junk links Penguin couldn’t penalise the site on its second visit. Even though some pretty big changes occurred it is important to note that it is the little things that count too!

  • Pinged blogs
  • Submitted WPMU to the Penguin review form twice
  • Used SEOmoz campaign data to implement some canonical URLs to clean up crawl errors and also kill some unnecessary links across the site
  • Did a bit of "SEO cleanup" that revealed WPMU.org sitemaps did not exist and the ones that did were broken. Implemented sitemaps and submitted the feeds to Webmaster Tools, which was not happening previously
  • Cleaned up numerous duplicate title tag issues as reported by Webmaster tools
  • Continued to build natural links to the site and promote other positive signals such as referring traffic and social shares
  • This specific case was brought in front of Google which may well have caused the algorithmic adjustment

In reality though the bottom line is that if you carry out the quick fixes and then some other long term items you can move towards a higher quality site. Now this is just the story of WPMU and it may well be that Google Penguin hit you because of some other items however, what your best step to take would be to take a look at your link profile and the Penguin update in general to see where it is you have gone off track and then go out your way to put this right.

For more information then please contact Brick technology web design Lancashire on 01254 277190 or email info@brickweb.co.uk.