Internet Marketing

The First Step Towards Penguin Recovery Is...

published on

... doing more, and talking less:

Penguin Recovered Site

That site just returned to #3 yesterday after being affected by Penguin (or at least I think it was). Anyway, a few days after it happened I took a look at the niche to see how the sites were ranking. In this particular niche, it was focused blog comments that were niche specific. So I just concentrated on building these types of links. I built on average 2-4 per day but spent more time looking for on-topic blogs.

This may have been a fluke, so I'm trying to test this again with another site to see if my methodology is correct.

Rant of the Day

I'm going to lay it to you straight: let's can the whole theorycrafting crap. Lately on blogs that I read I've been seeing a lot of:

  1. Complaints about Google, Panda, and Penguin.
  2. People posting theories about what will and what won't work nowadays.

Sometimes I feel that I am guilty of #2 too much, so I thought I'd put up, shut up and do something about it. Aside from building new sites I've been working on this one site to see if I could resurrect it. So far it seems to have worked. I don't know how long it will stay where it is, since it just got there, but at least I believe I'm safe until next month's update (I assume that Google will just refresh Penguin and Panda on a regular basis). This was more of a learning process for me to see if I could figure out whether it was a waste of time to try and recover a site or build a new one.

Every time a big ranking shakeup happens I get the sense that a lot of people are stunned into inaction. This is the worst possible thing I think you can have at this point. Don't. Give. Up. Work. Hard.

Secondly, there is a large amount of analysis and perhaps over-analysis of what happened, what to do, etc. Lots of theorycrafting as we like to say in the gaming world.

Instead of incessantly talking about it, let's take action and start doing something. Lost a site? Cough up the $10 and buy another domain and build a new one. Don't want to do that? Try recovering it. Don't like Google's organic search? Move on to other things.

Stop talking, start doing.

End of rant. (Sorry)

What I Did To Recover This Site

I kind of alluded to this here, but my basic plan was to look at what my competitors were using to rank and use that. So in this case it was blog comments, and I just built those types of links. I didn't pay any attention to anchor text diversity or anything like that. Just kept it simple and built steady, relevant links. It looks like it worked, and it seems to be a success.

I also did not change anything onpage or in terms of site structure. I see a lot of people talking about keyword density, but none of my sites have keyword stuffing present.

However, it could be a fluke, so I'm trying this again in another niche with another site to see if I can repeat this. I'm pretty confident though.

Obligatory warning: don't just try to build blog comments and expect to have the same result. Your niche may require something completely different.

In order to look at what ranks a site in terms of offpage, you'll need a tool that can look at backlinks of a site. So you can grab a copy of SEO Spyglass (the free version will suffice), or use something like MajesticSEO. Whatever floats your boat.

Should I Recover A Site Or Build A New One?

The answer depends strictly on return on investment. If you're spending too much effort or money to bring back a $10/month site, well, it's probably not worth it and it's cheaper to buy a new domain and 301 redirect the old one to it. So just as long as you're spending less than you earn, you're fine, and I would base any decisions on that. In my case this was about a $25/month earner and blog comments were essentially free except for my time, so I thought that I might as well do them. After all, if your site is in the gutter what else have you got to lose?

Caveat Emptor

There is of course, the possibility that by copying your competitor you will both get smacked if you just so happen to use the flavour-of-the-month ranking strategy. Remember high PR blog posts? I urge you not to think about it too much and just keep it in your head that it may happen sometime or other.

There's also no guarantee of how long you will stay at the top. Again, don't overthink it. Try any method and see what happens. If it doesn't work out, move on.

You have to try these things yourself in order to know what works for you. I find it really hard to believe what methods actually work until I see it for myself, so that's why I'm game for testing things out a lot.

Having a plan is good, but having a plan and executing it will give you results whether favourable or unfavourable. But at least, you know the answers and found them yourself.

In fact, you don't even have to believe this post at all, and you should challenge the methodology that I used to see if it works for you.

"works for you"

Important part emphasized.

The Plan From Here

I'm keeping an eye on this site as well as another one to see where they end up. For the most part I've gone on to building up the sites that are ranking well with more content and such, rebuilding, or building new. I haven't actually put too much into recovery of existing sites except for the two that I've talked about here, but it might be worth a second look.

I apologize for the less-than-meaty post, but I thought that this might help a few people lacking direction at the moment.


P.S. - This post is a motivational one, not a blueprint or a guide. If you came here looking for a step-by-step method, sorry but that wasn't the intention.