What used to work with link building found its way into the trash bin. One of the biggest problems was low-quality link building; typically from cheap and unproven link spammers, as well as thin content veiled as quality but used as a way to drive traffic to what is essentially is an ad page. Panda is designed to ferret out low-quality pages like this.
In her article, Erin Everhart, discusses the importance of continuing to build quality links and this can even overcome severe penalties. Below is the site she worked on and she demonstrates how this strategy actually worked to recover from both Panda and Penguin slaps:
Erin explains this and more and this article is a great read.
Erin goes on to explain that SEO is an investment and has to be done consistently if you want rankings and from HIGH-QUALITY Whitehat sources:
“It will get frustrating. You will doubt yourself. You will curse Matt Cutts’ name. You may even get in slap flights with your computer screen. (All true stories.) But have faith in the white-hat system because it works. Google’s goal isn’t to penalize every single site; they just want to make the Web a better place. Make sure that your website is part of that better place.”
What Type Of Conten Ranks And Why
So now you know that Google wants top quality content, few ads on your site and ongoing links from related authority sites. Let me expand on this based on a recent Ranking Factors Report:
“The Search Metrics Report, Ranking Factors Study 2014. The study concludes that high quality, relevant content with semantically comprehensive wording is the way to improve your SEO rankings but the absolute primary focus for content … is quality.”
Let me translate into simplistic terms; the more QUALITY, original content you create for your site that is semantically linked, the better your overall performance will likely be:
“Google is focusing on semantics and context. It is getting much better at understanding semantic meaning. The survey gives an example where Google knows it very likely that the word “car“ is relevant in an article in which the word “bumper“ occurs, while this is not true for the term “refrigerator.“ This is called Co-Occurrence analysis.
The survey looks at both “proof terms” and “relevant terms”. Proof terms are terms typically included in all articles on the topic, thus Google expects them to be included. Relevant terms are not always present but part of a sub-topic. In essence context matters.” Steve Rayson, Buzzsumo
How To Tell If You Are Hit By Panda Or Penguin
So what to do if you believe your site has been impacted by Penguin or Panda? We discuss the importance of exactly what needs to be understood so that you can determine if you were affected. How?
Search Engine Land’s Janet Miller has devised an impressive flow chart that simplifies the whole process and explains exactly what you should be looking for:
“In conjunction with Search Engine Land, I developed this flow chart to help others
follow a process to determine if a Panda or Penguin algorithm update may be affecting their sites. . . The flow chart should only be used as a guide, however. It is not a guarantee but rather a potential indicator that your site may have been hit by one of these updates.”
We placed this information here because there are many nuances and facts that you should check prior to believing that your site has been impacted by either Panda or Penguin.
The nice thing about flowchart is that you don’t have to be an expert to see what either Panda or Penguin has potentially done to your website and if you believe you have been “slapped” you can contact us.
Steps To Recovering Your Website(s)
The recovery process is contingent on whether or not your website was actually affected in whole, or in part by Panda or Penguin. The good news is that ongoing, consistent high-quality backlinks properly timed can eventually overcome most Penguin penalties and is the basis for Panda recovery too.
Of course, there is considerably more that is involved in this process and I will be glad to explain it to you once you contact us.
Let’s assume that you would like to attempt to do this yourself or at least understand the process so that you can be educated into choosing the right kind of service to assist you in recovery. Here’s how:
The Basic Penguin Recovery Process
The actual recovery process is contingent on the overall site analysis; this means for any effective plan can be made to recover from Penguin, there is a whole host of considerations for you to create the correct formulation to then begin exercising the entire recovery of the site.
You must first determine whether or not your site has been affected by Penguin. Typically you will see a drastic drop in traffic and if you use Google Webmaster tools, you will most likely be notified that you have questionable links.
Part of the job of a good website audit team is to determine various linking patterns such as, URL patterns, IP patterns, name server patterns, and anchor text patterns. All of this combines to create a natural or unnatural linking pattern that Google uses to detect and determine if you are deserving of the penalty based on your linking profile and how your backlinks are showing up:
Typically an efficient audit team has several tools as well as software that can help you determine natural looking linking patterns which are difficult to determine manually.
This process is used to identify toxic backlinks and how to begin to eliminate them while also increasing the number of high-quality backlinks in a natural looking dispersal pattern like in the image above. Each dot represents specific backlinks as you can see in the natural pattern it occurs similar to the pattern displayed.
Once you have determined that it was the Penguin penalty that was attributed to your site, recovery can actually be done over time by disavowing and/or removing the toxic backlinks and replacing them with high-quality links that can be distributed throughout your entire linking profile:
- locate toxic backlinks and begin the removal process
- Replace and or eliminate questionable links from your website
- Add high quality backlinks from PR zero to PR nine ranking
There are of course other steps that may be necessary for the Penguin recovery process; such as effective use of the disavow tool that Google has created so that you can alert them certain backlinks that are toxic to your site. You are saying that Google should NOT consider certain domains to be used for consideration of calculating SERP’s.
The effective use of the disavow tool can greatly improve your chances for resubmitting your website to remove any and all penalties.
Remember that ultimately you need to create natural looking backlink distribution patterns and to replace toxic backlinks with an even distribution of a variety of high-quality links.
This process can take anywhere from a few days to many months contingent on the amount of toxic links that are required to be removed and the high-quality good links that need to be added to create a natural looking linking profile.
The Basic Panda Recovery Process
Understanding that Panda’s main reason for existence is to eliminate or greatly reduce the appearance of low quality websites and pages in searches, with little or no high-quality content, excessive ads, and pages that are designed solely to drive traffic to the site without delivering any real good user experience.
Your first step before any more content creation should be to understand exactly what constitutes a good quality website page. This can be examined by following Google’s advice on how to build high quality in all of your pages. Have a look at this link so that you can take an inventory of all major factors that can be causing the Panda penalty:
What Pages Are Affected?
Your next step is to determine what pages were affected. This can be done by examining traffic and seeing whether or not the pages are still indexed in Google or are experiencing traffic drops. If the Panda penalty occurs site wide then it is possible that there is a sufficient enough penalty to drop traffic to a majority or possibly all pages to your website. Keep in mind that every page that could be affected and might be because the entire site was penalized.
One of the fastest ways to recover from the Panda slap is to simply remove low-quality pages and take the time to completely rewrite high-quality content with a single keyword focus for each page. This is useful if the pages are still indexed; so that it is possible to continue to improve the amount of traffic driven from the search engines.
One of the main reasons people are penalized by Panda is that they have excessive ads on a page, or thin content or both; also pages that have little or no content related to the keywords that are driving traffic to the site could mean a penalty.
If you are recovering from Panda it would be a very good idea to have few ads on your site and especially NO ADS on the pages that have been penalized. It is absolutely critical that if you have any ads, that none of these are above the fold (top half of the page most visible) of each and every page that is in the process of Panda recovery!
As your pages begin to recover you can add a few sparse and minimal advertisements, but under no circumstances should this be above the fold. Panda looks for ad ratios versus the core content of your page.
Focus On A Single Keyword
Making sure that each page is representative of a single keyword is extremely important. not only will this make for easy site maps and encourage free-flowing bots to visit your page, bit this is one of the ways that you can reorganize your website into an efficient traffic generating machine. This also ensures that the content on the page is exactly what the search engines and people searching are looking for.
This can be an easy penalty to recover by reorganizing your content in a way that is panda friendly; that is a single keyword concept per page only!
Another benefit of this is to prevent over-optimization penalties as well. Building your content around a single keyword or a single long-tailed keyword is Exactly the way Google wants you to organize your content on your website. This will also help reduce bounce rates when people see exactly what they’re looking for when they visit your site.
Create Quality Content On EVERY Page
We have covered this point before but the main reason sites are penalized by Panda is for lack high-quality content. Create at least 1,000-1,500 words or more per page as this gives the search engines a reason to both index new pages as well as grade your entire website as deserving of traffic and pagerank.