Lost Links in Google Webmaster Tools

On Feb 7th, 2013 Google announced a known issue with the links counts
found in Google Webmaster Tools. It may appear that you have lost most of your links but its just a glitch and Google is working on the problem now. In the meantime, your traffic will not be affected.

lost-links-google-webmaster-tools

Above is a snapshot of the Links to Your Site page in Google Webmaster Tools and below is a post that Google made on the Webmaster help Forum a few days ago.

Known issue: links to your site data issues

Thursday, February 7, 2013 | 2:23 PM

Labels:

Some Webmaster Tools users have reported missing data in the Links to your site section. We are aware of this issue and are looking into it; you do not need to take any action. We hope to have the normal data shown again in the near future. The data were shown there is informational and does not affect your site’s crawling, indexing or ranking.

Tracking Multiple Domains and/or Subdomains in Google Analytics

blindfolded-man-subdomainTo Properly track the visitors of your site is the first and foremost critical step of collecting reconnaissance traffic data. Without it, you’re lost like a blind man in an orgy trying to feel things out. There are no clear instructions for installing Google Analytics to track multiple subdomains or two different domains in the same profile. Rather, there are several different ways to get the job done and the method you choose will greatly effect your reports and the ability to accurately monitor your traffic. To achieve the deepest crawling and render the most thorough report, I suggest the use of these two methods.

  1. Cross-domain tracking
  2. Filter modifications  

Step 1. Cross-domain Tracking Across a Domain and Its Subdomains

The default settings for Google Analytics are to track one single domain at a time so if we want to track any subdomains of the top level domain we will need to modify the GA code snippet so it will show which subdomain the visitor entered the site from or if they navigate to other subdomains within the site. Luckily, all subdomains share the same cookies making this easier to implement.

I will use the examples below in my demonstration:

www.example-testsite.com

newyork.example-testsite.com

california.example-testsite.com

For this setup, you simply put a . in front of the domain to enable cookie access to any and all subdomains. If using the traditional GA code use the modification I used below.

Asynchronous syntax

var _gaq = _gaq || [];

_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-12345-1’]);

_gaq.push([‘_setDomainName’, ‘.example-testsite.com’]);

_gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]);

Traditional (ga.js) syntax

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(UA-12345-1);

pageTracker._setDomainName(example-adultsite.com);

pageTracker._trackPageview();

Again, no changes to the forms or links will be needed as they all share the same cookies as the top level domain. If you need a working example, you can look at the GA code in the header and the code in the links of TheLeadTree.com and LeadTree.org to see how Ive set it up in the past.

Step 2. Modifying a Cross-Domain Profile With Filters

subdomain-setupWithout this step, you will only be able to see the URI in your content reports and not the domain or subdomain. So if someone visits newyork.example-testsite.com/females, you will only see /females/ in the report with no indication of which page is for which domain. This is why we want to tell GA to show us the full URL and not just the last part of the URI. We do this by adding a filter.

  1. Go to the settings page of the profile and select Add Filter.
  2. Select Add New Filter and give it a relevant name.
  3. Select Custom Filter and select Advanced on the Filter type settings.
  4. Under Advanced settings: FieldA should be set to Hostname and FieldB should be set to Request URI.
  5. Set the values for both Field A and Field B to (.*), which is an expression that captures all characters.
  6. Set the Output To > Constructor option to Request URI and provide $A1$B1 as the value for that choice.

You will now have the most comprehensive reports that will give you a deeper insight on how traffic navigates through the different subdomains of your site!

SEO Karma: As always, don’t forget to show some Google love and like, tweet, plus or Digg this page if you found the information to be helpful.

 

Secret Google Operators and Custom Footprints

Secret-Google-Operators-and-Custom-Footprints

google-advanced-operatorsGoogle Advanced Operators are basically, extra commands that you type into Google that help you filter your search. Think of them as searching short-cuts to help you find what you need easier and faster. Google has always had Advanced Search Operators and often released new ones, unannounced. Some of us SEOs out there stumbled across these years ago and started to find ways to use them in our SEO techniques. When used in combination to scrape sites, we called them custom footprints but now Google has officially coined these tools Google Advanced Operators.

Google Operators Mostly Used in SEO

link:

Find a list of pages that link to the specified URL. Yahoo had this same operator that turned into a wonderful site explorer tool because unlike Google, Yahoo showed all or at least almost every link that pointed to a site while Google just gives a small glimpse. Unfortunately, Yahoo discontinued site explorer and there still is no free replacement.

will show sites that link to the specified URL

allinanchor:

Wanna find what anchor text links to which sites? Use this operator to get results only from sites that have links pointing to them using  ALL of the keywords in their anchor text. Lets say you wanted to find websites that had links pointing to it and those links contained all of the keywords that you stipulated even if you stipulate 3 or 4 keywords along with your search (e.g.[allinanchor:keyword1 keyword2 keyword3] will show only sites that have all of those keywords in anchor text pointing to their site).

[allinanchor:porn seo] this means the links must contain both or all of the keywords in my query

inanchor:

Either one of the terms must appear in the anchor text of links that point to the sites. Unlike allinanchor:, not all of the keywords stipulated must be contained in the results.

[inachor: porn seo]  not all of the words must appear in the anchor text of inbound links in order to appear in the SERPs

 

site:

One of my favorites advanced operators, it will let you quickly see every page of an entire website that Google has already indexed. It can be super useful for getting to know a competitors site better but also to check your own site to measure crawl depth and make sure Google is not indexing areas of your site that you don’t want them snooping around in. These also come in very handy when used in combination with other advanced operators.

[site:irs.gov] will render results from the Internal Revenue Service of America

 

filetype:

Comes in very handy when searching for specific document file types like .pdf, .swf, .avi, csv, kml

[google leaked raters guidelines 3.18 filetype:pdf] will give results of the actual Google PDF file that was leaked earlier this year.

Exclude Using the  (-)

Adding the minus symbol or the dash in front of a word will remove any results that contain that word. A great example of this is if you type in the keyword [sex], then you will get tons of porn results but maybe your teenage daughter just wanted sex related topics and wanted to filter out the porn.

[sex -porn] removes the results that contain the specified keyword

 

Google Advanced Operators

Calculator

Just type in numbers and full equations and you will see one of the most advanced calculators online today complete with 3d graphing and all!

  • + – * / Better than your Texas Instruments you used to carry around in school  x/2 (x/2)^2 ln(x) cos(pi*x/5)
  • ^ or ** When you want to raise a number to a power 2^5 or 2**5
  • % of Find the percentage of one amount to another 1% of 123

Converter:

Converts currency, weight, and other measurements. Some examples are [300 Philippine Peso in USD] or [2342 ft to miles].

[unit1 to unit2] just list two amounts of units and use the word to in between

 

city1 city2

Google now has a built-in online flight checker not only to see arrivals and departures but also for bookings. Just type in two cities names and it will show flights. You can type out the full name of the city or most cases you can use abbreviations and airport codes or both in the same query like NYC-LAX.

Flights from New York, NY (all airports) to Los Angeles, CA (LAX)

Flights
Non-stop flights: 40–45 per day, 6h 6m duration
Airlines: United, American, Delta, and 2 more

[nyc lax] get flight information

define:

Super cool tool to just get the definition of something without having to click through to other sites. Like the word triskaidekaphobia which most people have never even heard of but is special to me. The results are pulled from the top dictionary sites. Wikipedia, Websters, Answers.com and Dictionary.com.

[define: triskaidekaphobia] will show you the definition of a word

movie:

Find reviews and showtimes. Not really a movie goer but I’ll list this one anyways just in case you got a big date coming up and you want to be slick and take her for a movie and popcorn.

[movie: the campaign] I just chose a movie title that I wanted to see

stocks:

Putting [stocks:] in front of the financial symbol of a company will give you a brief but informational overview of how the stock is currently performing in the market.

[stocks: goog] will tell you how Googles stock is doing in the market

weather:

Quickly find the weather in any city by just typing [weather] in front of the city’s name.

[weather Angeles city] you’ll see that I’m in the middle of the monsoon season in the Philippines 🙁

cache:

You can see what the site looked like the last time Google cached it. This can be helpful for seeing how Google caches your site and also for retrieving archived content.

[cashe: whitehouse.gov] will show you what the White Houses website looked like last time Google cashed it.

info:

You will get a list of links that you can quickly access to get more information about a specific website. Here’s what the results will look like.

Google can show you the following information for this URL:

[info: whitehouse.gov] will provide information about the official White House website

related:

Using this advanced operator, Google will give you results to related websites or at least websites their algorithms deem to be related. It can also be a good way to find one’s competitors or a great way to find sites to get links from because after all, these are the most relevant sites in the eyes of Google.

 [related:bored.com] a flash games site I used to work on so it should show other gaming sites

allintext:

The terms following the allintext: must all be included in the text of the results. While the is especially good for find recipes that have some of your favorite ingredients, it’s also good for finding subject matter that you might not normally see together.

[allintext: jesus atheist dawkins] Will show results that contain all 3 keywords on the page

intext:

Unlike allintext where all of the keywords must be in the text, any one of the keywords in your query must be in the text of the websites shown in the results.

[intext: jesus atheist dawkins] should show different results as not all 3 words must be in the text of the pages rendered

allintitle:

Search for sites that have all of the keywords that you’ve stipulated in their title. This operator only renders results from the meta title of a page.

[allintitle:porn SEO finest] will only show sites that have all of the keywords in their meta title tag.

intitle:

Not all of the keywords in your query must be in the title.

[intitle:porn SEO finest] you will see results that don’t have the keyword finest but they must contain at least one of the other keywords.

allinurl:

All of the keywords stipulated in your query must be in the URL of the pages rendered.

[allinurl:panda friendly article writing]  will render results from pages that have all 4 of the keywords in their URL

location:

This advanced operator only works when searching in Google News. If you want to find news stories from a specific location.

[floods location:Philippines] this query will shows result from Philippines news arrogates

source:

This is another Google Operator that only works with Google News. It will render results only from the specified source.

[porn stars source:cnn] will show all the news results where CNN mentioned porn stars

AROUND( x) Word Proximity

Will give results from pages where the keywords queried must be within x amount of words from each other. Let’s say you were looking for a page that had sentences that contained both the keyword search and engine within 4 words of each other then your search would look like this

[search around4 engine] this means that engine must appear within 4 words of the word search

Fill in the blanks (*)

The * aka, asterisk symbol aka, a wildcard is a common character in almost all coding languages and it usually means anything which means that the * is a placeholder for anything and everything that may follow.

[ Romney voted * on the * bill ] this will give results where Romney could have voted yes or no on any bill.

Number Ranges (..)

Put two periods in between a date range and get results from within that range.

[Richard Dawkins 2005..2009] will show all the pages published about Richard Dawkins within that date range.

Exact Search ()

When you put your keyword query inside double quotes that is telling Google that the results must contain those keywords exactly as you typed them and in that exact order. The reason this can be helpful is because sometimes Google uses synonyms and because the order in which words are typed can also have an effect on the results that are rendered.

[“imagine all the people”] will show the exact results from the John Lennon song

Keyword OR Keyword

This one is pretty self-explanatory if you want to get results from the two keywords at the same time. Sometimes you are looking for something that is referred to in two different terms like outsourcing and BPO.

[outsourcing OR BPO] will give results about outsourcing and BPO.

Combinations of operators:

Using these operators alone can be very helpful but when used in combination they can really become ultimate mining tools for targeting and harvesting large lists of sites. Let’s say you wanted to find all the WordPress sites that are relevant to your site and of course, you want ones that are still open for commenting without having to log in. Lastly, you’d like to narrow it even more to get only .edu sites.

[keyword Inurl:.edu “powered by WordPress” “leave a comment” -“must be logged in to comment”] this will get you an awesome list of sites where you can comment to get links.

Custom Footprints to Use in Advanced Operator Combinations

Here’s a complete list of different footprints that you can use inside your advanced search queries.

WordPress Custom Operator Footprints

Inurl:.edu “powered by WordPress” “leave a comment”
Inurl:.gov “powered by WordPress”
Inurl:.ac.uk “powered by WordPress”

BlogEngine Custom Operators

Inurl:.edu “Powered by BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5.0?
Inurl:.gov “”Powered by BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5.0?
Inurl:.ac.uk “Powered by BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5.0?

Forums

“Powered by PHPbb”
“Powered by vBulletin”
“Powered by SMF”

Guestbooks

allintext:[get a cbox]
“Powered by Tagbox”

Find Forum Register Pages

proudly powered by bbPress
bb-login.php
bbpress topic.php
Powered by PunBB viewforum.php
Powered by PunBB register.php
Currently Active Users: 18 (0 members and 18 guests)
Users active today: 15478 (158 members and 15320 guests)
Threads: 673, Posts: 7,321, Total Members: 376
powered by vbulletin
powered by yabb
powered by ip.board
powered by phpbb
powered by phpbb3
powered by invision power board
powered by e-blah forum software
powered by xmb
powered by: fudforum
powered by fluxbb
powered by forum software minibb
this forum is powered by phorum
powered by punbb
powered by quicksilver forums
powered by seo-board
powered by smf
powered by ubb.threads
powered by the unclassified newsboard
powered by usebb forum software
powered by xennobb
powered by yaf
Powered By MyBB
Powered by IP.Board
powered by phpbb

“Powered by PHPbb”
“Powered by vBulletin”
“Powered by SMF”
“powered by Simple Machines”
inurl:/index.php?action=register
“powered by punBB”
“powered by expressionengine” “yourkeyword” site:.uk
“powered by expressionengine” “yourkeyword” site:.us
“powered by expressionengine” “yourkeyword” site:.eu
“powered by expressionengine” “yourkeyword” site:.uk
“powered by expressionengine” “yourkeyword” site:.us
“powered by expressionengine” “yourkeyword” site:.eu
yabb
ipb
bbs
intext:powered by vbulletin
intext:powered by yabb
intext:powered by ip.board
intext:powered by phpbb
inanchor:vbulletin
inanchor:yabb
inanchor:ip.board
inanchorhpbb
/board
/board/
/foren/
/forum/
/forum/?fnr=
/forums/
/sutra
act=reg
act=sf
act=st
bbs/ezboard.cgi
bbs1/ezboard.cgi
board
board-4you.de
board/ezboard.cgi
boardbook.de
bulletin
cgi-bin/ezboard.cgi
invision
kostenlose-foren.org
kostenloses-forum.com
list.php
lofiversion
modules.php
newbb
newbbs/ezboard.cgi
onlyfree.de/cgi-bin/forum/
phpbbx.de
plusboard.de
post.php
profile.php
showthread.php
siteboard.de
ubb
ultimatebb
unboard.de
webmart.de/f.cfm?id=
xtremeservers.at/board/
yooco.de
phorum
phpbb
yabb
ipb
vbulletin
bbs
cgi-bin/forum/
/cgi-bin/forum/blah.pl
powered by e-blah forum software
powered by xmb
/forumdisplay.php?
/misc.php?action=
member.php?action=
powered by: fudforum
index.php?t=usrinfo
/index.php?t=thread
/index.php?t=
index.php?t=post&frm_id=
powered by fluxbb
/profile.php?id=
viewforum.php?id
login.php
register.php
profile.forum?
posting.forum&mode=newtopic
post.forum?mode=reply
powered by icebb
index.php?s=
act=login&func=register

Other Blog CSMs

BlogEngine
Inurl:.edu “Powered by BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5.0?
Inurl:.gov “”Powered by BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5.0?
Inurl:.ac.uk “Powered by BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5.0?
“Powered by BlogEngine”

Blogsmith
“Powered by Blogsmith”

Typepad
“powered by Typepad”

Scoop
“powered by scoop”

Guestbooks

“Powered by Tagbox”
“Powered by DRBGuestbook”

 

Please feel free to share some Google Operators that I might have missed in the comments below and also share some of your favorite footprints and combinations.

Google’s Project Glass is Badass

Google_Glass_Is_Badass

Google announces their newest pet project. The newest product is a pair of glasses that provide a virtual interface to your mobile devices. Previously named Project Glass, this product is straight out of a SciFi movie and promises to bring us leaps and bounds into the future. For years I’ve been wanting a computer with a full interface like this; Then I could build and optimize websites while sitting in a rocking chair eating a ham sandwich.

Here’s their Official Project Glass Plus page and below is the video they put to together to illustrate the possibilities. You gotta admit, project glass is bad ass.

Googles Project Glass Video Shot in NYC

Project Glass Live Demonstration

This is one of the coolest ways to demo a new product!

Google Crawls Facebook Comments

Comments on Facebook are crawled by Google

Google Announces That They Can Now Index Facebook Comments

Surprise, surprise, Google can now crawl JavaScript and AJAX based Facebook comments straight out of a <iFRAME> on your website. This means that finally comments being made using plugins like Disqus and Facebook Comments for WordPress are being crawled and indexed! The implications for this are massive. Not just for the ability to refresh your pages with user generated content, (which, Google loves, by the way.) but also because AJAX, JavaScript and <IFRAMES> have long been considered the dark abyss for Googlebots as it was unable to index the content within. The battle between search engines and SEOs will never be the same!

What Does Google’s Ability to Crawl FB Comments Mean for SEO?

Google inches even closer to running more of a Social Search Engine where SEO techniques should favor freshness, social media, Web2.0 and user generated content. Not only is it time to get more serious about social media integration with your own site but if you haven’t already, it’s high-time to get more aggressive practicing social media optimization techniques. SMO was always considered SEOs little sister but I have a feeling she might pack an increasingly strong punch as our search engines evolve to a hyper-social web. Most of the top optimizers in the industry already agree that social media optimization is a MUST in a post panda world. To sum it up in one sentence, Like is the new link.

The implications go far beyond social search. Being able to index AJAX, JavaScript and <IFRAMES> means that APIs and rich media integration across different websites just became search engine friendly. This could usher in a new era. What will we call it? Web2.1 lol.

SMO Outsourcing

social media optimization outsourcingSocial Media Optimization Outsourcing a.k.a. SMO Outsourcing makes the world of sense. The reason for this is because it’s just not feasible to pay American salaries to have an employee stumble around on his or her Facebook account all day but if the employee is based in Romania, India or the Philippines you can pay pennies on the dollar and actually make a nice return on your investment!

Everyone agrees that social media is where it’s at. You can thank Mark Zuckerburg, the world’s youngest billionaire because the average internet user spends most of their time on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, Blackplanet and yes even Myspace, which still brings some good link juice. That being said, it shouldn’t be hard to imagine how this can benefit your company.

Offshore SMO Outsourcing

While Google still gets more unique visitors per day, statistics show that people actually spend more time on Facebook than any other website on the web, overtaking Google for the first time in 2010. Now it’s time to put this into perspective. With social media comes social targeting and it’s just this way of thinking that got VCs to front hundreds of millions of dollars to help develop social media sites worldwide. See with social targeting you can easily identify and deliver content to a highly targeted audience and it even works for ultra specific niches.

Of course, if you are just selling online games then almost everyone is a target and Farmville is proof of that with over $300 million in annual revenues their first year. Another wide open target is muscle building products because you can target any male between the ages of 18 to 45 and see great results but how about something much more specific like b2b selling in an industry like insurance? That should be much harder, right?

WRONG, think again, SMO Outsourcing works for that too!

I have recently put this to the test by searching social media platforms to find professionals associated with the insurance industry. I easily found tens of thousands of professionals and ended up selling them insurance leads. No matter what your product or service is, SMO outsourcing can increase your revenues.

How to Outsource SMO Work

It’s a lot easier than you think. The reason is because in developing countries like India, Philippines, and Romania the younger, college-aged generation tends to be complete internet junkies, trying to reach out to the rest of the world via social media. You can go to any of these countries and it will be hard to find anyone between the ages of 18 to 25 that doesn’t already have a Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, or Hi5 account. This makes recruiting and training an SMO outsourcing team super easy because they are already familiar with the sites so all you have to do is channel their social media activities in the right direction.

I have been assembling and managing SMO outsourcing teams in Romania, India and the Philippines for years now and with great results. Some of my most recent social media campaigns resulted in hundreds of thousands of clicks to my customers’ sites and huge increases in revenues. To find out more about Social Media Marketing services or for a free consultation on SMO outsourcing, contact me directly by visiting my contact page.

The Worlds First Adult Search Engine

The First Porn Search Engine

It’s time we address the effectiveness of Google, Bing, and Yahoo’s effort to deliver high-quality adult search results. With the ever increasing pressures from internet censorship and the new .xxx domains, the future of adult content on the net is under attack! In this article I will discuss the following.

  • Adult contents online supply and demand
  • Internet censorship against adult sites
  • Adult Search Engine Reviews

Just How Popular is Adult Content on the Web?

There is an overwhelming demand for adult material on the internet. In fact, the world actually owes the porn industry for inventing E-commerce as the very first online credit card transaction was for pornographic content in the year 1995. In less than 1 month the same website was making over $200,000 per day and ended up processing around $1.5 billion dollars per year in their prime! Their story was beautifully illustrated in the Hollywood movie Middle Men.

The First Online Credit Card Transaction

This huge influx of business fueled one of the biggest gold rush of the information age. As a result, adult content still takes up an overwhelming majority of all content published on the internet today. Here are a few stats to check out:

  • More than 70% of men from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month
  • Google’s Keyword Tool reports 618,213,105 searches per month for the word porn
  • Adult content takes in around $57 billion annually
  • Almost 1/3 of all search queries are for adult content
  • Over 1/3 of all internet downloads are for adult material
  • $3,075.64 per second is spent on online porn

Escort Search Engines

Companies like BackPage.com, Rotci.com, and Eros earn millions of dollars each year on escort traffic. But they have made it very easy to Find escorts in your city no matter where in the world you may be.

Penguin Recovery Case Study I

How to Recover from Google's Penguin update

dead-penguinPost-Penguin Update Case Study I: Is a spammy site outranking you while your site has been moved to page 5 or 6? Think it’s a Google error? Think it’s not fair? Well, the truth is that it may not seem fair but there turns out to be very valid reasons for Google to do this. There are no ghosts in the machine nor human error, instead, this annoying Penguin update seems to be functioning just as Google intended.

In an effort to better explain the new Penguin update, I am posting the results of my first Penguin Recovery Analysis from a colleague that lost almost 90% of his traffic. Two of his sites that were affected the most were pickuplinestouseongirls.info and cutepickuplines.info both of these sites were ranked #1 in Google and were receiving over 1000 clicks per day. Now they have been all but completely removed from Google and get around 100 clicks per day.

The Diagnosis, Panda or Penguin?

panda-or-penguinThe first step was to look at the traffic stats to see if the decline in traffic correlated with the Panda 3.5 update which was released on April 19th and 20th or if the decline happened on or around the April 25th release date of the Penguin update. In his case, the traffic actually increased between April 19th and April 24th and then on the 24th, it when from over 1000 clicks per day to around 10 clicks per day. This was obviously an effect of the Penguin update, an easy case to diagnose, however, complicated cases can easily be misdiagnosed and could require looking at other metrics.

Now that all the signs point to the Penguin being the culprit, I started looking at the backlinks that are pointing to these sites. This is because the Google Penguin update only targeted webspam which boils down to off-page SEO and link building practices, while the Panda 3.5 focuses more on the on-page SEO attributes of one’s site. I first did a Google search for “pick up lines to use on girls” and found www.pickuplinesgalore.com/cheesy.html ranked number one!

Initially, I was appalled to see this spammy site outranking my colleague’s site. I did a CopyScape check and I found that most of his content was copied and even poorly spun and identified on several other sites, the code is very unfriendly to the SEs like it was coded with Microsoft Frontpage back in the mid 90s, the site has too many ads above the fold, on top of that, it had only a handful of low quality backlinks. This site should be on the 10th page of Google or just de-indexed altogether. Just like what so many people are reporting, Google Penguin failed because now spammy sites outrank mine but on further inspection of the backlinks, via my favorite Backlink Explorer Tool, I started siding with Google on this one.

The Prognosis

penguin-prognosisPickuplinesgalore.com has very few links but they seem to be aged and for the most part look natural. My colleagues sites have thousands of backlinks. Unfortunately, I found many problems in his backlinks.

  • Multiple links from the same few sites. Too many links from one domain can look spammy and unnatural.
  • Site-wide links from other sites he owns. Links within the body of a page look more natural. When link building, especially stay away from blogroll and footer links.
  • Many links were reciprocal. It used to be that reciprocal links just canceled each other out but post Penguin, these are a clear sign of what Google considers to be a linking scheme and can hurt your site’s ability to rank.
  • Lacking anchor text diversity in the backlinks. 90% of the anchor text contained the exact same phrase and this makes it look like the result of an automated posting software or some other form of unnatural link building.

The Cure

Unfortunately, recovering from a Penguin slap down is not easy. Sometimes the best thing to do surprisingly is absolutely nothing; Just carry on with your regular publishing and make sure you don’t participate in any link schemes. Furthermore, do not participate in any communication with Google through a reconsideration request or their meaningless Penguin feedback form. They will not reply unless manual actions were taken and instead, Google just uses the data they collect to further damn you and other SEOs.

Always wait at least 1 week for Google’s algorithms to recalibrate before taking any drastic measures but after this grace period, the algos would have set in and will not correct themselves automatically. Of course in due time you may naturally recover by doing nothing but this could take a year or more for the algorithms to reset. This only works if you have time on your side and you do not rely on a steady cash-flow to keep your business going.

Otherwise, you try these actions to correct the errors and recover from the Penguin attack:

  • First, remove the spammy links.
  • If they came from 2.0 sites then log in and edit them or if it was from spun content, just delete the posts/articles and close the accounts.
  • If they were bought or traded, then contact the webmaster and ask for the link(s) to be move inside the <body> tag instead of in the header, sidebar, footer or blogroll.
  • Make sure to use a wide variety of keywords and employ synonyms in your anchor text.
  • If you cannot remove all your spammy links then you may need to change your URL structure without using 301 redirects to the new pages. This will effectively break all the links pointing to every page of your site except for the homepage and should only be used as a last measure.

If removing the spammy links doesn’t cause your site to bounce back then you may need to take more drastic measures to reset the algorithm or to completely re-index your site. Here are some ways you can do that:

  • First, try moving to a new host server or change your IP address.
  • If you didn’t already change your URL structure in the previous steps then try doing that now and this time you can use 301 redirects as long as the spammy backlinks were removed.
  • Change registration of the domain name and change the IP again to emulate the site being bought and sold.
  • Move your content to a new sub-directory or several sub-directories based on category, author or content matter.
  • Erase or rewrite all of the content on the site.
  • Hopefully, you won’t get this far but as a last ditch attempt, park the domain for a month of two and start all over from the drawing board. We’ve tested this and the site actually bounced back to regain most of its first page rankings. Domain history and authority was not lost.

In the end, this case study provides the opportunity to test and identify actual causes and effects of the new Penguin update. I will be posting the results of the recovery as soon as the corrections are made.

 

Beware of The Penguin, The Google Penguin That is

Penguin-Update-GoogleAffected by the Penguin? You need to definitely check out this Penguin Recovery Case Study and this one features other Panda and Penguin Recovery Strategies.

On April 24th, 2012 Google unleashed the troublesome Penguin update and posted the unofficial Penguin announcement on Google’s Webmaster Central blog before they even named it Penguin. Then Matt Cutts tweets a link where you can report Post-Penguin webspam which directs to the Official Penguin Webspam Report Form located within Google Webmaster tools. If you were negatively affected by the Panda or the Penguin update, definitely read my post on Penguin Recovery.

If You Are Innocent

If you feel you were unjustly affected by the update it just doesn’t matter because Google will never hear your argument. As an alternative to pleading with Google, you can sign the kill the Penguin petition at Change.org. In addition, Google provided this Penguin feedback form where you can state your case and you can also ask for a reconsideration request here but I STRONGLY recommend that you do not contact Google in any way as it could just put you on a flagged list along with spammers. Google has been accused of pulling similar phishing scams.

The FTC Gets Involved

The ironic thing is that this update which took out many innocent bystanders was released on the same day that the FTC escalated their case against Google and hired Beth A. Wilkinson to help prosecute the case. If you were one of those bystanders, I also suggest you file an official FTC complaint here. Former Federal Trade Commission official David Wales was quoted saying, “This shows Google that if it doesn’t give you the remedy you want, you’re going to litigate.”

What is the Penguin All About?

penguin-link-building-crusherThis update was originally called the Webspam Update until two days later when Matt Cutts officially renamed it Penguin. This update strictly targets off-page attributes and unnatural link building as defined in this Webmaster Guideline on Link schemes including buying links. To save you some time, I’ll go ahead and list what type of links this covers.

  • Paid links
  • Reciprocal link exchanges
  • Links from spun articles
  • Links from low-quality articles
  • Links from comment spam
  • Links from networks
  • Links containing a large number of exact anchor text matches
  • Links from splogs (auto created spam blogs)
  • Links from irrelevant sites
  • Forum spam links

Please feel free to add to my list of bad links below in the comments

Google Loves Synonyms

Why you should use synonyms for SEO

synonyms-keyword-seoI’ve mentioned the use of synonyms in previous posts like 2012 Keyword Research and Post Panda SEO Tips but in this post, I want to elaborate more and talk about why Google loves synonyms. Using synonyms has been beneficial for SEO for a few years now but they are even more important after the Panda and Penguin have rolled out.

Why Synonyms are so Important

According to Matt Cutts, Google’s measurements show that synonyms affect 70 percent of all user searches. An example they use in their post Helping Computers Understand Language is if someone searches for [pictures] they should get the same results if they search for [photos].  The task of identifying the relationship between synonyms and other words is a core function of any search engine. This is why Google has a massive synonyms database and complex algorithms that allow them to intuitively understand your query.

Another reason synonyms are so important to Google is because this same technology can also be used to identify spun content. I stopped spinning back in 2010 as a precautionary measure because I realized that if TheBestSpinner.com can have a database of 82,000 synonyms, then Google must have a substantial amount more. Google’s Webspam Team should be smart enough to use this database and algorithms unspin and identify black-hat articles.

Using Synonyms

2% keyword density is super old school and can even lower your rankings. Plus it just looks spammy and doesn’t read well. This is why I suggest using the main keyword only once or twice while filling up the rest of the 2% with synonyms. You can also stick synonyms in title tags, alt tags, meta content, file names and etc. It’s become second nature for me to just use the keyword once or twice and insert synonyms throughout the page instead.

Some Cool Stuff to Check Out