In April 2012 many website owners were negatively impacted by Google’s Penguin algorithm update. Some people lost a large chunk or even all of their website traffic as a result of this. As a result shockwaves were sent around the internet marketing and SEO community as people wondered how they could recover from this devastating update.
If you are not sure whether or not your website was hit as a result of the Google Penguin update then the best way to find out is by looking at your web stats. Have a look at your search engine traffic for April 24th and see if there is a drop in Google traffic around that date. If you see a drop in traffic on this date it is highly likely that your website was impacted by this algorithm update.
Google specifically targeted over optimization in this update. This means that a website has overdone the search engine optimization either on their own site, or in the backlinks that they have built to their site.
The first thing you should do is take a look at your on site optimization. Have you gone over board and sprinkled your keyword on the page too many times? Take a look at the main competitors in your niche that are still ranking high in Google and check what sort of keyword density they are using. Next compare their backlink profile with your own and take the necessary steps to correct your own.
The next step is to gain an understanding of your link profile. I recommend using a tool called Majestic SEO to get a backlink report for your website. This is free and you will be able to download a report that shows the anchor text for all the backlinks that you have built.
Most of the websites that were impacted by the Google Penguin algorithm update used their keywords in more than 50% of their anchor text. This looks unnatural to Google and wouldn’t happen if these links had been acquired naturally.
The biggest job that you will have to tackle in order to get your site ranking highly again is to make your backlink profile look natural. It is my opinion that the following steps need to be taken into account whenever you build links to a website:
1) Vary the anchor text – if your site has been affected by Penguin, take time to build links using a large variety of different anchor text keywords including things like “click here”, “visit this site”, “look here” and so on.
2) Build both dofollow and nofollow links. It is not natural to get only dofollow links
3) Try to get a good amount of links from sites that are related to your niche.
4) Stay away from obvious linking schemes such as link wheels, reciprocal linking and posting in blog networks.
If you have the analysis tools available it makes sense to look at your main competitor’s backlink profile. You can then aim for a similar backlink profile to them.
A well as tackling the above it is very important that you also spend time generating traffic to your site using other techniques. You should use other traffic generation methods such as social marketing, paid advertising, ad swaps and others.