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Robin Good's insight:
The Google Penalty Checker is a free web-based tool which allows you to instantly verify whether your web site has been penalized by one of the Google Panda or Google Penguin algorithm updates in the last two years.
The key characterizing feature of this service is that it provides a statistically significant result that highlights exactly which update impacted your website and if it was a positive or negative impact.
Free to use.
If you want to monitor more than two websites, there's a PRO version. Pricing it's here: http://fruition.net/gpc-pricing/
Try it out now: http://fruition.net/sem/user/login
FAQ (very useful): http://fruition.net/seo/google-penalty-faq/
MozCast is a weather report showing turbulence in the Google algorithm over the previous day. The hotter and stormier the weather, the more Google's rankings changed.
Robin Good's insight:
Mozcast is a free data reporting service which allows you to see general trends and symptoms indicating whether Google is making significant changes to its search ranking algorithms.
MozCast has been designed to help you keep track of the day-to-day changes in the Google algorithm by tracking a hand-picked set of 1,000 keywords and by grabbing the top 10 Google organic results.
These are compared with the previous day's top 10 (for any given keyword), to produce something that looks like a temperature (in °F). An average day is about 70°F.
Free to consult.
Try it out now: http://mozcast.com/
Learn more about how it works: http://mozcast.com/about
(Thanks to Donnie Strompf for kindly suggesting it)
How do you get links in a post-penguin world? For far too many the answer seems to be, exclusively, guest posting. Today I’m going to give you four reasons why I think this tactic can be as dangerous as those it replaced.
Robin Good's insight:
Google is getting smarter every day, and it makes little to no sense at all to keep going after links like it was 2005.
In this very interesting article by James Finlayson on SEOMoz, you can get a good idea of how Google thinks and looks at your inbound linking profile when looking at your site.
Better understanding link quality, type, position and authorship can help you a great deal in saving yourself not only lots of time and money, but also the risk of having a site that is penalized.
The best strategy of all in my opinion is to build oustanding, uniquely useful content, ike no one else in your niche does.
Informative. Insightful. Very useful. 8/10
Are you confused about the difference between Penguin and an Unnatural Links penalty? Not sure whether you should be disavowing your links? Wondering whether you should file for reconsideration? Well...you're not alone!
Robin Good's insight:
Excellent review of Google Panda, Penguin and "unnatural links" manual penalties from Google from Marie Haynes, including symptoms, consequences and best approaches to recover from each one.
The article also cover the use of the Disavow Links tool, when and whether to file an official Google Reconsideration Request and what is the best course of action for most troublesome penalty-related situations your site may have fallen into.
Highly informative. Up-to-date. 8/10
(Image credit: red card by Shutterstock)
Robin Good: This is pretty interesting.
“Given the fact that Google updates impacted at maximum 12-13 percent of U.S. searches, how is it that 40 percent of SEOs and website owners are reporting an impact?”
How is the overall impact of a Google Panda or Penguin update/data refresh measured, beyond Google’s own numbers?
PM Digital’s Clay Cazier proposes a method of measurement using Google Organic Click Turbulence and invites SEOs to participate.
"The purpose of his research was to determine whether Panda and Penguin actually had the negative impact reported by SEOs. Early in 2012, digital marketers were surveyed to determine which of Google’s search changes had affected their business. Fifty-four percent voted for Panda. In May, 65 percent of SEOs reported less traffic after April’s Penguin update.
Do opinion-based surveys reveal the true state of search after an algorithm change, though?"
Here is the hot take:
"This fear and doubt Google has put into organic with these updates has certainly resulted in increases in paid activity.
There may be an echo-chamber effect, where activity in forums and on blogs results in decision-makers moving budget to paid”
This is what most Savvy SEO's and webmasters have been saying all along. It has nothing to do with fear and uncertainty. Google pushed out the quality sites specifically to get the site owners to pay for clicks.
If you can afford to pay an SEO top dollar and afford to pay for premium content, you can afford to pay Google for clicks. If Google takes your $100,000 investment and pushes it to page 3 of results you are left with only one thing to do, pay for clicks."
Read the full article here: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2216573/Google-Panda-Penguin-A-New-Way-for-SEOs-to-Measure-True-Impact
(Thanks to Giuseppe Mauriello for suggesting this article)
"Penguin has now been reverse engineered. The results are shared including what is likely wrong and what you can do to fix it.
This is totally different than what most of the SEO world is telling you to do these days."
Josh Bachynski reports in this video that the biggest surprise for most people will be the fact that Penguin has NOTHING to do with your backlinks, as it only targets on-page factors.
Key take-aways from the video:
1) You need to fix on-page issues as the top priority
2) Penguin-based negative SEO is not possible
3) No need to delete links - Google is already taking care of that by devaluing those
4) Add quality links to your key content in ways that make them look "natural" to Google (30% exact match query, 30% partial match, 30% url-based, 10% generic/other stuff)
5) Do not overoptimize - Google knows what your page is about - don't overdo it with keywords. Check with Google Webmaster Tools and see what Google thinks your page is about.
6) Try always to look and be as "natural" as you can be.
Must see. 9/10
Watch the video for a complete explanation: http://vimeo.com/42939368
(Thanks to Nicoleta Leon for pointing me to this)
From Search Engine Land: "No matter that it’s late Friday night on the start of a three-day holiday weekend in the U.S., Google has just pushed out the first update to its recent webspam-fighting Penguin algorithm. Let’s call it Penguin 1.1.
Google’s Matt Cutts announced the news a short time ago on Twitter, calling it a “data refresh” that impacts less than one-tenth of a percent of English-language searches.
Minor weather report: We pushed 1st Penguin algo data refresh an hour ago.
Affects <0.1% of English searches. Context: goo.gl/4f7Pq
Robin Good: If you have been wondering whether you have been hit by one of Google recent algorithm updates (Google Panda and Google Penguin), this in-depth article by Glenn Gabe provides lots of valuable insight and specific advice on how to verify whether your site has been hit by an algo update and specifically by which one.
"Based on how Google rolled out Penguin and Panda recently, I’m finding it’s common for webmasters to be confused about which algorithm update hit their websites.
Penguin 1.0 and the latest Panda updates were so close that it’s easy to believe you were hit by one, when in fact, it could have been the other.
Use the techniques I listed in this post to help you determine which update really hit your site..."
"It’s been about two weeks since Google launched its Penguin Update. Google’s happy the new spam-fighting algorithm is improving things as intended."
From the original article by Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land some key points I extracted:
"...Penguin, like Panda, is a filter that gets refreshed from time-to-time. Penguin is not constantly running but rather is used to tag things as spam above-and-beyond Google’s regular spam filtering on a periodic basis.
...To further confuse matters, some who lost traffic because of Penguin might not be victims of a penalty at all. Rather, Google may have stopped allowing some links to pass credit, if they were deemed to be part of some attempt to just manipulate rankings. If sites were heavily dependent on these artificial links, they’d see a drop just because the link credit was pulled, not because they were hit with a penalty.
...if you know that you were hit by Penguin (because your traffic dropped on April 24):
-> Clean up on-page spam you know you’ve done
-> Clean up bad links you know you’re been involved with, as best you can
-> Wait for news of a future Penguin Update and see if you recover after it happens
-> If it doesn’t, try further cleaning or consider starting over with a fresh site
-> If you really believe you were a false positive, file a report as explained here
Just in, by the way, a list of WordPress plug-ins that apparently insert hidden links. If you use some of these, and they have inserted hidden links, that could have caused a penalty."
(Suggested by Giuseppe Mauriello)
From the original article on WebProNews: "Google has already launched another Panda update. By already, I mean since the Penguin update.
After the Penguin update was announced, and Searchmetrics put out its lists of winners and losers, Google revealed that there had actually been a Panda update a few days prior, and that this was strongly influencing those lists.
The update reportedly hit on Friday, April 27. With all the Penguin chaos out there, one has to wonder how much the Panda update has skewed webmaster analysis.
Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land reports that he has confirmed as much with Google, sharing the following statement from the company:
"We’re continuing to iterate on our Panda algorithm as part of our commitment to returning high-quality sites to Google users.
This most recent update is one of the over 500 changes we make to our ranking algorithms each year."
Robin Good: a good friend just emailed me saying:"...this is by far the BEST analysis on what Google Penguin did and how to "seo" through it.
...They talk about anchor text density, themed linking and have the data to back it up."
There is indeed some very interesting data in this article, showing exactly what Google Penguin is paying attention to and why.
Great value is also to be found in the final five recommended solutions to steer clear of the Penguin.
Highly recommended. 9/10
Robin Good: If you are curious to see which sites have been badly hit by the new Penguin Google filtering algorithm, here is interesting information.
"The official goal was “to take care” over-optimized websites, containing too many unnatural links, automated content (spinning), keyword stuffing etc. Google tries to kill webspam altogether.
The impact on all keywords queries is about 3.1%, which compared to Panda (with around 12%) is much less.
But Google said more short-head/visible keywords should be affected."
Interestingly web sites that were most negatively impacted, included above all three specific categories:
"a) Database-driven websites – they mainly aggregate information and use large database systems to create as many pages as possible. Sites such as songlyrics.com, great-quotes.com, cubestat.com or lotsofjokes.com fall into this pattern.
b) Press portals and feed aggregators such as pressabout.us, newsalloy.com and bloglines.com were also affected, which makes sense from a Google point of view since these are the website types that are very often created by very aggressive (possibly overly aggressive) SEOs and often contain similar content.
c) A couple of heavily template-based websites were also affected – ticketnetwork.com/ticketcity.com, hotelscombined.com and customerservicenumbers.com fit Google’s anti-SEO bill perfectly when it comes automatically (possibly also spun) content.
d) Furthermore, a lot of sites that copy or rehash other peoples’ content (or are used by their users to do that) were demoted – examples include mayor sites such as digg.com, folkd.com and pastebin.com."
Must read. 8/10
While a lot of the specifics of the Google Penguin 2.0 update are still shaking out, a great deal of information has already emerged. Here's a look at what we know, how Penguin 2.0 is affecting sites, and what to do if your site has been impacted.
Robin Good's insight:
If you are new to the Google Penguin algorithm and want to get the full story on it as well as specific, practical advice on how to counter it, Jayson DeMers on SearchEngineWatch has a good review that includes everything you need to know.
In essence, the Google Penguin algo focuses on is unnatural, manipulative inbound link profiles.
What makes a bad link profile? Google believes that these are the link factors that can get you in a bad situation:
The article covers the Google Penguin history, its focus, and a roadmap of steps to take to avoid being caught by it.
Useful. Good summary. 7/10
Robin Good's insight:
Matt Cutts has officially announced on his blog the release of Penguin 2.0 algo update.
Barry Schwartz reports on Search Engine Land: "Webmasters and SEOs: expect major changes to the search results. Matt specifically said that 2.3% of English queries will be noticeably impacted by this update.
Cutts later posted some more details about this roll out on his blog.
He explained that the launch is now complete, including for non-English languages, and that “the scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more webspam will see more impact.”
Adam Morgan on Search Engine Journal: "This update will be more intensive than version 1 of Penguin and is specifically targeting black hat spam.
Spammers and black hat SEOs should be worried. If you’ve been focusing on quality content, the user, and haven’t participated in black hat techniques, you ‘need not fear’. :)"
To check if you have been affected try one of these two tools:
Original announcement by Matt Cutts: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/penguin-2-0-rolled-out-today/
With the Delegator® AlgoSleuth Tool you can plot your website's organic traffic against Google's major Algorithm updates and see what was won or lost.
Robin Good's insight:
Easily find out if your web site or blog has been affected by one of Google algorithm updates such as Panda and Penguin. Next to the excellent Panguin Tool, now you have an additional tool to make sure you have not been hit.
From the official site: "AlgoSleuth harnesses the power of the Google Analytics API to provide a powerful analysis of your site’s organic traffic and highlights all major Google Algorithm updates that may have affected you over the past several years.
The tool includes all major Panda and Penguin updates from January 2011 to today.
The process for extracting your data takes, on average, just 2-3 minutes. After that, you can use AlgoSleuth to query results for one or any number of Google Analytics profiles."
Harsh Agrawal has also posted a useful intro tutorial to AlgoSleuth, which you can find here: http://www.shoutmeloud.com/algosleuth-find-which-google-panda-update-affected-your-website.html
He writes: "AlgoSleuth uses the Google analytics API to fetch traffic details from your account, and matches with known Panda & Penguin updates to verify whether you have been hit by a Google algo update."
Free to use: www.delegator.com/algosleuth
Guest blogging is the most popular way of building links. It’s been working so well for most SEOs, that bloggers are getting bombarded with dozens of emai
Robin Good's insight:
Good advice from Neil Patel on QuickSprouts on the risks involved in focusing excessively on low-quality guest posting and at the other pros and cons that such link building strategy brings.
Although Google Penguin 2.0 isn't here yet, it is quite likely that it will focus on some of the very issues outlined in this article.
Informative. Rightful. 7/10
(Image credit: www.empowernetwork.com)
Robin Good: Useful advice from John Doherty on today's Whiteboard Friday at SEOMoz for using internal links and links among multiple web properties in ways that are not going to be penalized by Google Penguin.
Video and full text transcription: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/smarter-internal-linking-whiteboard-friday
From the original article: "The good news, whether you were hit by Penguin the first time or this time, is that you can recover.
We’ve now seen that this can happen, and since we know that Google will continue to push data refreshes for Penguin, there should be plenty of chances to do so.
Just think about all the Panda refreshes we’ve seen since February 2011.
We recently reported on WPMU, a seemingly quality site with plenty of fans on social media channels, which got hit by the first Penguin update. The site has now made a full recovery."
Barry Schwartz reports on SearchEngineRoundtable: "About a month ago, we polled our readers asking how they were impacted by the Google Penguin update.
That being said, 65% said they were negatively impacted by Penguin, while only 13% said they were positively impacted.
This is way more than the Panda update where only 40% said they were negatively impacted by the Panda update."
Full article: http://www.seroundtable.com/penguin-poll-15207.html
From the original article by Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Land: "Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft Bing, wrote a blog post on the Bing Search blog named Penguins & Pandas Poetry.
The post is about Google’s latest Penguin update and how SEOs and webmasters need to be better prepared for such updates.
The basic advice is simple, SEOs and webmasters need to do one thing – diversify.
Duane is not just saying, focus on Bing and make sure your site does well there too.
Yes, if you lose all your Google traffic, ranking well in Bing is nice but since Bing only has about 30% marketshare, you are still missing out on a lot of traffic."
Robin Good: Basic guide to the tools you can use to identify all of the backlinks and the keywords used by other sites to link to your web site, and to the few simple steps you need to
"It was until Google’s penguin update while all SEOs were busy in building links. Now, they are busy in removing those spam links, is not it funny. At list not funny for those who were became a victim of that update."
For novices. 6/10
From the WebProNews article: "Another thing on the quality guidelines list is: “Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.”
Of course, like the rest of the guidelines, this is nothing new, but in light of the Penguin update, it seems worth examining the guidelines again, if for no other reason than to provide reminders or educate those who are unfamiliar.
Duplicate content seems like one of those that could get sites into trouble, even when they aren’t intentionally trying to spam Google.
Even Google says in its help center article on the topic, “Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.”
“However, in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic,” Google says. “Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.”
Google lists the following as steps you can take to address any duplicate content issues you may have:"
Useful. Important. 8/10
Check them all out in the original article here: http://www.webpronews.com/google-penguin-update-dont-forget-about-duplicate-content-2012-05
From the original article by Lisa Buyer on Search Engine Watch: "Contrary to popular belief, Google says the Penguin intent is to help the overall search experience versus put legitimate businesses in jeopardy of losing precious web traffic and bottom line sales.
Unfortunately, innocent bystanders report they are taking a hit with little defense against Google, the largest search engine boasting 66.4 percent of the search market share and not to be ignored.
How can a business protect itself from the potential crush of Penguin or the next Google algorithm change? There is something to be said for not putting all your SEO eggs in Google's basket.
Deep SEO Inhale... Long Social Media Exhale
There is life beyond Google for gaining online visibility. The opportunities are greater than ever to take part in some healthy SEO living from other organic marketing sources in places like social media networks.
Read on advice from veteran online marketers."
Good alternatives when Google hits and you are about to give up.
Robin Good: If you are looking for key answers about which triggers have unleashed the new Google Penguin on your site, here is much very good food for thought.
From the original article: "One common factor thus far appears to be the signals of links that are pointing to your website, early analysis indicates."
If you want to understand better what type of links are the cause of this new penalization, check whether you have at least one of these types of links pointing to your penalized web site:
If you are not too familiar with these links categories and want to find out more about each one and why it has become a problem, please read this article in full: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2171174/Google-Penguin-Update-5-Types-of-Link-Issues-Harming-Some-Affected-Websites