Penguin Recovery Service

The Penguin Recovery Service specifically relates to helping websites that had a dramatic drop in ranking (and traffic) from the 24th April 2012. The Penguin algorithm was introduced by Google on the 24th and if you are unsure whether your website was hit by Penguin then a quick look at your Google Analytics will show a drop off in traffic on or around that date. Or look at any webstats analysis package that you get with your normal hosting e.g. Webstats will show something happening in and around that date. (If you are still unsure about whether you are a victim of the Penguin then please get in touch and we can analyse your website stats for you.)

It’s important to note that Penguin is not a ‘penalty’, although a lot of SEO’s talk of it as a penalty. Yes, your website(s) may have seen a drop in ranking and you may feel that your site was ‘penalised’ but Penguin is just one of 100’s of variables (filters) that Google now uses to rank your website.

How can we help your website recover from a sudden drop in ranking? 

If you are unsure about why the Penguin algorithm update was introduced then make sure and read the section below where we detail why the Penguin filter was introduced and why you may have been affected by it.

Given that the main purpose behind the Penguin filter was to weed out those sites that were over-optimising for certain keywords the Penguin Recovery Service compromises 2 different stages:

  • Stage 1: Gather as much information about all the anchor text links to your website. And then decide on which links should be removed in order to eliminate the over-optimisation which is triggering the Penguin filter.
  • Stage 2: Once a sufficient number of links are removed, through a process of contacting as many webmasters as possible to remove links, an additional stage of link building is required to provide a much stronger ‘natural’ link profile to your site.

As part of our Penguin Recovery Service we can help with Stage 1 & Stage 2 but if all you need is a report with all your backlinks, showing the anchor text variations, and would like suggestions on what links to remove then we can provide that for you.


How/why did the Penguin algorithm get introduced by Google?

In the Google algorithm update on the 24th April, commonly known as the ‘Penguin’ update, Google introduced an additional filter ont top of the 100’s it already uses to help provide better results in its SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

There’s been a lot of discussion amongst SEO professionals as to exactly what was implemented as part of the Penguin update. The most common theory, and which we’ve seen with numerous test sites, is that the Penguin algorithm filters out those websites from the SERPs that it deemed to be over-optimising their anchor text i.e. the text used in the backlinks to a given site. Over the last number of years it has been common practice by SEO professionals to create a lot of anchor text links for too few keywords i.e. the main money keywords for a website.

NOTE: Although Penguin does seem to be primarily looking at over-optimisation on keywords, there is annecdotal evidence to suggest that Penguin also included other aspects of earlier Google updates such as the Page Layout Algorithm, the Venice update (affecting ‘local’ search results) and the Panda update (relating to quality of content).

Let me illustrate a typical ‘Penguin hit’ website that was optimised for ‘blue widgets’ and how Google Penguin hit the website hard in the SERPs:

For such a keyword as ‘blue widgets’ the webmaster would have obtained 100’s of anchor text links to the home page which was optimised for that keyword. And in some cases the typical % of anchor text links may have ran as high as 80% for just that 1 keyword. Or it may have included variations e.g. cheap blue widgets, blue widgets online etc. However, the core keyword ‘blue widgets’ is also contained within those keyword phrases so they too are used as part of the overall % calculation for the anchor text spread.

The problem with over-optimising for 1 keyword is that it looks very ‘unnatural’ in that if you were getting genuine links from webmasters who wanted to let their visitors know about your great website on ‘blue widgets’ then it’s highly unlikely that 100’s of them would link using the exact same anchor text or even a slight variation of it. So Google decided that too high a % of the same keyword was deemed to be ‘gaming’ their search engine and introduced the Penguin filter to combat that SEO strategy.

A more natural link profile is shown below and is by no means exact but can be used as a ‘rule of thumb’.

Main keyword & variations (20%): blue widgets, cheap blue widgets

Brand & Product Name (40%):, http//, The Blue Thingy (Blue widget product name)

Generic keywords (40%): Get more info, Click here, Visit this website

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