How to Recover from Google’s Penguin Update
Over two weeks ago, Google launched what is now known as the Penguin Update, an algorithm update that was designed to fight spam in Google’s search engine results. However, many legitimate websites have been hit hard by the Penguin Update, most likely because the SEO companies they hired to improve their search engine rankings utilized spammy SEO techniques or over-optimized their sites. Many businesses have been devastated by the loss of traffic this update has caused them. According to Google, the update has been a success from their standpoint, so there will be no pushing back.
In the past, if you spammed Google and your site got penalized, you could file a reconsideration request. Google has specifically stated that those hit by the Penguin Update cannot file a reconsideration request, but if they clean up the spam, their sites should recover naturally.
The main reason that a lot of sites have been hit by the Penguin update seems to be bad linking practices, such as poor quality reciprocal linking and buying links from shady linking networks, such as the private blog networks that were recently de-indexed. If you start to clean things up now, you can expect to see your rankings improve when the next Penguin update is released.
Cleaning up the Spam
You’ll know your site was hit by the Penguin Update if your site’s traffic levels dropped on April 24. Take a long, hard look at your site to start. Do a full website audit, so you can uncover any potential problems that could have caused your site to be hit by the Penguin Update. On-page factors to look for include keyword stuffing, duplicate content, slow speed, malware, and a lack of fresh content. When it comes to off-page SEO, make sure that you have plenty of niche backlinks from quality websites and that people are talking about your site in social media and blogs. You can use webmaster tools to find unwanted backlinks from questionable, low PR sites.
Clean up the spam by getting rid of bad links and on-page spam you know you’re responsible for. Then, when the next Penguin Update comes along, see if your site recovers. If it doesn’t, do some more cleaning up or consider starting fresh with a new website. Google’s Matt Cutts has stated publicly that some websites will not be able to recover from the update and will have to start anew. But if you have never engaged in questionable SEO tactics and truly believe that your site was a false positive, file a report with Google.
If you outsource SEO tasks, only work with a reliable SEO company that engages in ethical SEO tactics. Furthermore, take the time to ensure that your website is as valuable and relevant as possible. Don’t risk your business by engaging in dubious SEO practices that promise quick, effortless results. There’s no getting around the fact that SEO is a long-term effort that requires hard work and persistence. There are no shortcuts or magic bullets!