How to Bounce Back from Google’s Penguin Update

Many websites still find themselves reeling from Google’s Penguin Update. It seems that Google has again managed to shake the SEO landscape penalizing websites with what they perceive as bad linking practices. Months after Google released its Penguin Update, websites are still finding themselves at the short end of the stick losing valuable traffic. Let’s face it, when Big G speaks everybody listens. So if you find yourself continuously slipping from the search engine ladder, here are a few tips to get you back on your feet.

Analyze your Inbound Link Profile

The first thing to do is to study if you’re latest drop in traffic is due to Google’s Penguin update. If this sudden drop started on April 24 or the date of Google’s update then there’s a high probability that this could be attributed to Penguin. Most of the changes to Google’s algorithm deal with links and anchor text being used in these links. You could do this by studying your inbound link profile.

Your inbound link profile displays just how you use your anchor texts. Whilst in the past it was good practice to have 40 to 50 percent of your anchor text to contain target keywords, some experts recommend that you cut this percentage into the single digit mark. It seems that the ideal inbound link profile should display a more diverse use of anchor texts. This includes using brand name, naked URLs, links to internal pages, and generic text (click here, visit this website, etc).

Some of the surrounding discussions deal with over optimization. It seems that Google penalizes websites when certain anchor texts make a huge percentage of a website’s inbound link profile. The result is that the amount of juice that these exact phrase anchor texts drops down, hence negatively affecting the website’s search engine results.

Identify Bad Links

After analyzing your inbound link profile it is now time to identify what anchor texts are currently over- optimized. If you find yourself with your keywords taking a huge majority of your anchor texts then your recent drop in ranking is being caused by this. A simple way to do this is to use Open Site Explorer. This tool helps you analyze your inbound link profile. Search for the anchor text tab which displays the top anchor texts being used and how many of your links use these. Do a simple computation to determine the number of times each of this is being used.

Your main focus is to get a majority if your links using brand names, generic text, naked URLs. The trend towards using these types of anchor texts is fairly new. And most websites including yours would definitely display a higher percentage of anchor texts leaning towards exact matching keywords.

The amount of work to be done depends on how over-optimized your anchor texts are. There are two basic strategies to fixing this. The first is by eliminating or decreasing the number of links coming from highly optimized anchor text. The second is by building new links using the next anchor texts. Your focus would depend on the number of links currently in your website’s profile. If you believe that creating new links would be a faster way to even out the percentages then focus on link building.

Removing Links

This might not be as simple as it seems. It requires you to engage with webmasters and ask them to remove your links. This could have been done years ago and requires webmasters to scroll down posts and articles to remove your links. You should remember that the webmaster has nothing to gain from this. So be extra courteous when communicating with these websites. You might also have lost their contact information but simple finding their contact us page or looking them up with “whois.net” could give you the information you need.

Creating a New Link Building Campaign

When you’ve done everything in reducing the number of links from over-optimized keywords then it’s time to engage in a new link building campaign. The best strategy to do this is to diversify where you get your links from and of course focus on the recommended types of anchor texts.

  • Branded Anchors
  • Naked URLs
  • Universal Anchors

It is not only where you submit your guest posts or the type of anchor texts you use that determine the quality of links. You should also focus on the content’s quality. Develop a content strategy that helps engage readers and generate better traffic to these posts. This in turn increases the link’s quality.

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