So Google recently released their newest Penguin update or refresh. When they originally released Penguin, they indicated that this would become a part of their overall algorithm and it would refresh from time to time. With this first refresh, we have seen some interesting recovery stories. Today we are going to take a look at this information and how you can use it to your advantage.
The Penguin update hit many sites with an ‘over optimization’ penalty. That was the way it was presented, and people went to town adjusting their backlink profiles, removing links, adding better links and generally doing a lot of things that others said would help their site. The problem with this is that no one really had information on what actions could be taken to help your site recover.
People could look at the sites they owned or ran and see what may have caused the Penguin update to impact their rankings, but the course of action needed to recover was all speculation. The reason for this is the nature of the update. From our understanding, the Penguin update hit sites, and sites that got hit would not be able to recover until the next refresh. That meant you could not take action, test and take more action to see what worked and what did not.
With the refresh, however, we now have information available about what types of actions have helped. Surprisingly enough, from our initial data, the actions that helped the most did not have anything to do with incoming links. Removing links, adding links, changing links, changing anchor text, etc did not seem to have a direct impact in bringing a site back after the refresh. Rather, addressing onsite issues, removing spammy links from your site, removing 3 way linking links, excessive footer links and other unnatural looking links ON YOUR SITE seemed to have the largest measurable impact.
This is very interesting, and gives hope to many who thought that all these off site links were to blame for their woes. Instead, it seems that many webmasters have direct control over some major indicators that caused their sites to fall in the rankings. So what does this mean in plain English, and what should you do?
This means that you need to go through your site and do an outgoing link evaluation. Links that have nothing to do with your site should go away. Reciprocal links should be reconsidered. If the link is not benefiting your visitors, you should rethink or remove it. Also, footer links should be re-thought. Links in the footer do not need to be removed entirely, but your footer should not be full of links. This includes internal site links. Clean up your footer links, clean up links not related to your site and clean up links that do not benefit your site visitors.
By cleaning up these links, you should put your site in a position to benefit the next time Google does a Penguin refresh. It’s been 6 months from the initial Penguin update and this refresh, so you likely will need to be patient. You will not see results overnight, but take care of these issues today and you will be ready to reap the rewards with the next Penguin refresh.