Keyword stuffing, automated programs that create links to your site, forum comments with optimized links, excessive link exchange, buying or selling links that pass PageRank and the like are just some of the unethical or what they call “black hat” techniques discussed in google's webmaster guidelines. Surprisingly, many websites still employ these bad link building practices on purpose or by accident. Either way, Google sends them warning messages like the one below.
Google Gets Serious
In 2011, Google didn't only target small time violators but also went for the big fish as well, penalizing major players in the retail industry for violating Google's rules in link building. JC Penney, a well known department store chain was found guilty for engaging in a paid linking scheme. Overstock.com, also a major retailer was caught paying for links in the form of discounts to college students just shortly after the JC Penney scandal. It goes to show that in Google's eyes, no one is definitely untouchable.
You Don't Mess With The Penguin
Google Penguin Update went live on April 12, 2012. It is Google's biggest algorithm change to improve its search results, fight web spams, put stricter guidelines on website optimization; Basically, to make the web a better place.
The Penguin Aftermath
As the Penguin pushed through with its crackdown on low quality sites, many legitimate businesses were put at risk of losing valuable web traffic. 3.1 of English queries were affected and the percentage is even higher in languages where web spam is used. Some of the sites that got hit the hardest were songlyrics.com, great-quotes.com, comcast.com, hotel-rates.com, and free-games.net.
Signs of Penguin Fever
Falling off the first page of Google if you used to be there.
Your keyword suddenly loses 5 – 10 pages of Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings
You can't find your domain using Google Search
Beat the Penguin
Now, your next question probably is, “Can one still recover from the wrath of the Penguin?” The answer is Yes! You just have to follow the step by step procedure below.
Link Crackdown. Look at every domain that links to you and check if it contains bad links to your site or not. If it is, then trash it. Request a link removal in any way possible (e-mail,phone,snail mail.) Remember to be polite when making the request. Explain to them the situation and point out to them the location of the bad links you are talking about from their site.
SEO Inspection. Remember to check your On Page Search Engine Optimizers. Maybe there are factors that contributed or can contribute to Google Penguin's attacks.
Make a Request. If you received an unnatural link message, then it's time to consider filing a reconsideration request.Some key points to remember when making the request:-Don't complain about what happened to your business.-Provide a solid documentation of the details.-Don't mention how much you spend on ads
Start Over. Don't ever make the same mistakes and follow these general guidelines:-Don't overstuff titles with keywords. Use your brand name and a description of the content instead-Don't duplicate posts of almost the same topic and content. Do take time to research information you are about to present-Don't put 20+ instances of the same keywords. Instead, use related key phrases other than your “money keywords”-Don't put excessive amounts of ads above the fold and focus more on valuable information.-Don't stuff the footer with site wide links that have your targeted keywords. Instead, use descriptive anchor texts to point to other pages in your site.-Take down as many links as you can that come from de-indexed sites. Be a good link builder and create legitimate links to decrease the percentage of unnatural links to your site. Also, you may want to consider outsource link building to boost your link campaign.
Now there you have it. Four surefire ways to make the penguin your best friend not your hunter :)