Everything You Need to Recover from Google Panda and Penguin
If you are an SEO you probably know that Google Panda is two years old. The first Google Panda Update (or Farmer Update) was targeted on February 24, 2011 to target content fields (and made for search engine sites) and it was a nightmare for webmasters. And after using exact match domains, there were more updates to punish more customized (Google penguins) websites, which were pages with much higher over the fold ads.
I love all these updates because it improves the search experience of users and this is clearly the goal of a search engine. That said, Google is still far from the “perfect” search engine definition.
That’s why I’m going to focus on all major updates by Google with all my recovery tips which I had collected from various sources. With this research, I can easily conclude that you should not worry about any Google updates if you have not violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
I think Google was confused with the penalties that started with Overstock and JCPNay. In 2011, Google penalized Overstock.com and JCPenney.com (popular e-commerce website) to artificially increase ranking on Google search results pages. Then there were several updates in an attempt to improve the search results and improve interface to Interfalera.co.uk (yet another e-commerce site that was hit for poor SEO practices).
Google Algorithm Updates Matters (Panda era)
I have not included all the updates because some of them were regular updates and there were “feature” updates such as other social signals, local, Google +1, knowledge graph, etc. I recommend that you look at the Google Algorithm Change History for tracking by SeoMoz all updates from 2000
Each year, Google replaces its search algorithm from 500 to 600 times. Although most of these changes are minor, in a few months Google updates a “major” algorithmic effect that affects search results in important ways.
- Google Panda (Farmer) – February 23, 2011
- Fresh Update – November 3, 2011
- Page layout algorithms (ads above fold) – January 19, 2012
- Google Penguin (Over-Optimization Penalty) – April 24, 2012
- DMCA Penalty – August 10, 2012
- Exact Match Domain (EMD) Update – September 27, 2012
- Writer Rank – ???
To recover from any updates you have in order to recover from Google Panda, Penguin or to confirm any updates you have made. Go to Google Analytics – Reporting> Traffic Sources> Source> All Traffic> google / organic and use web analytics to identify the problem.
If you’ve seen a sudden drop in traffic, you might be a hit. And you should check the analytics to see if it’s a side wide penalty or page specific. It is possible that if you lose the ranking of top keywords, then you can lose a good amount of traffic.
If you have suddenly seen a huge traffic drop after a specific date, then you can compare that date with various Google algorithms updates. For example, if there was heavy traffic drop on April 24, then it clearly means that your site Google was killed by penguins.
And do not forget Google Dancing because Google uses over 200 ranking signals for page ranking so that they can deploy several other changes, you will see traffic drop / increase.
Google Panda was announced on February 23, 2011. This was a major algorithmic update by Google that affected 12% of all search queries. Although the primary goal of panda update was content fields (and hence the farmer update name), it is also affected with low quality content (thin content), for AdSense websites, and others. After the Google Panda update, Google gave more guidance on what matters to the high quality website.
- What is “high quality content” according to Google?
- How to stop terror before asking I have slapped Panda?
- How to recover from Google Panda Update traffic loss
- How to recover after Google panda and penguin updates?
- 6 months with Panda: Complaint of a story, difficult decision, and recovery
On November 3, 2011, Google announced freshness updates by saying that their search results pages would have more fresh content. It affected 35% of all searches (compared to only 11% by Panda Update).
Page layout algorithm
On January 19, 2012, Google improved the page layout algorithm so that web pages could be punished with many ads over the fold.
“Instead of scrolling the page behind many ads, users want to see content right away, so sites that do not have” much of the above “can be affected by this change.”
This means that if you click on a search result and landing page ads
Link Building Strategy – Post Penguins
- Link Building Strategies Post Penguin Era
- 79 Link Building Resources for 2013
- How WPMU.org was retrieved from Penguin Updates
- A Penguin Recovery, and Disavow Tool Works During a Panda Update
Google offered DMCA penalty on August 10, 2012 by saying:
“… we will start keeping in mind a new signal in our rankings: the number of legitimate copyright takedown notice we received for any site.”
This means that if Google has received several DMCA notices against your website, then your web pages will be less visible on search results pages. It may be difficult to recover from this kind of penalties, the atrocities are serious. So just make sure that you do not copy content from other sites and if you ever receive a DMCA notice by the webmaster, you should do the necessary work by giving immediate feedback.
Exact match domain (EMD) update
Google has issued an exact match domain (EMD) update on September 27, 2012 that tweeting:
“Minor Weather Report: Smaller incoming Google Algo changes will lower low-quality” exact-match “domains in search results.”
And it basically means that low-quality keywords rich domains will be penalized and given less space on search results. Google has historically ranked domain names (even those spammy sites) with history.
If you are affected by the EMD update, it probably means that web pages are of low quality. In that situation, besides improving the quality of your content, you have no other choice. You can also take the site to a new branded domain name (Use 301 redirect) so that you can not hit again and make your website social media friendly.
- Exact Match Domain Playbook: A Guide to EMD and Best Practices
- Your guide to Google’s EMD algorithm update
I did not include the “Site Speed” update which Google included in 2010. Since that update, Google began using “Site Speed” as a ranking signal. This means that fast loading sites will be ranked higher than those pages which are slower.
Google announced that “We encourage you to see the speed of your site – not only to improve your ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone’s experience on the Internet.”
Load load time affects Google ranking [Infographic]
- You’ll need only 7 tools to check page speed performance
- 15 tips to speed up your website
- How to make your site extremely fast
Tips for correct Google reconsideration requests
The labnol.orgwas of popular Indian blogger Amit Agarwal were labeled as “Content Farm” by Google when the first Google Panda was launched. And he finally got cured because his blog never violated Webmaster Guidelines and besides this it is not a content form. It is a real blog with original ideas, reviews, technical tips, etc. which never hired any writers.
Amit wrote that,
“… makes me more tragic This is the fact that Google algorithm has labeled digital inspiration as ‘content farm’ despite high quality and original articles. And I can do anything about it. ”
I fully understand my feelings because I know that they have never used any of the writers and have never published guest posts. I think the penalty was due to “thin post” because he wrote blog posts with 100-300 words. But it hurts, especially when the post was expressing the views of the author on a topic.
What you should know about reconsideration requests
Alright, now based on various sources, articles and videos, I’ve solved tips that should help you submit a complete Google reconsideration request.
Reconsideration request is read by real people
A user asked on the Google Webmaster Help Forum whether the reconsideration requests are read by real people. And Matt Curts confirmed that 100% reconsideration requests are read by the actual person until there is no manual action by the web spam team.
This means that if your website was manually penalized by Google, then read and respond to your reconsideration request, if necessary.
Google will not tell you exactly why your site was penalized
Google has also confirmed that they do not respond to your reconsideration request with too many details, but only because of your exact reason your site has been penalized.
Accept that you made a mistake
Now assume that you have violated some Webmaster Guidelines and have manually penalized. It is really important to accept the mistakes made by you in that situation so that you can fix those issues and tell them that you have made all necessary changes.
For example, if a manual penalty is due to “paid links”, then you can delete all the links you purchased and then click on your link.