How Google's Panda and Penguin are affecting your site's rankings

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Placating Penguin

Once you've thoroughly diagnosed and identified the issues leading you to Panda/Penguin purgatory, it's time to make good. The first and most obvious step is to fix the problems. If you're not sure how, you can hire SEO pros like me, or you can read and understand Google Webmaster Guidelines. Since time is of the essence, I've provided a checklist below of the most common Panda/Penguin penalty fixes:

  • Consolidate similar pages to reduce duplicate content
  • 404 the offending pages or move them to a new domain
  • Be thoughtful with placement of advertising on your site
  • Get more high quality and relevant links
  • Vary your anchor text
  • Cancel or remove unnecessary footer links
  • Take it easy on the internal "SEO" linking
  • If you are purchasing sponsored links, be careful!
  • Delete, destroy, or dilute offending or suspected low quality links

In a more recent development, Google announced a new "link disavow tool" meant to aid in removal of offending links. To some, it seemed to be a godsend at first glance, but to other more skeptical SEOers, it caused concern. 

How Google's Panda and Penguin are affecting your site's rankings

The primary insight from initial analysis of the new tool is not to utilize the link disavow tool unless you've received an "unnatural link warning" notice via Google Webmaster Tools. There may be a danger that you are submitting "good" links for consideration for removal, which may hurt you. The other danger is in helping Google identify low quality links it may not otherwise have known about, exacerbating your situation. Last but not least, do not utilize the tool unless you've seen a drop in traffic. If you have seen a drop in traffic and received the notice, keep in mind that Google's Matt Cutts indicated that webmasters should manually remove links and not rely solely on the disavow tool, or you may not be helping yourself.

Regardless of how you get there, once you're confident you've corrected the issues, you can resubmit to Google. If the submission form isn't working, post a note to Webmaster Forum. Warning: Do not submit your site for reconsideration unless you are 100 percent confident all issues have been addressed, otherwise you risk extending your penalty.



baochi nguyen
baochi nguyen December 31, 2012 at 2:59 AM

Thank you, Kent. Excellent article. I learned so much. And yet, there seems so much more to learn. :)


Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis December 18, 2012 at 2:34 PM

My thought with regards to Penguin is to treat it like a seesaw. You want to slowly lower the bad links size and raise the good. I saw slowly because if it move too quickly you might accidentally remove links that were actually working in your favor. And if you don't replace the links you remove you end up with a much smaller link profile, which might not be strong enough to pull you out of the penalty.

Maria Dykstra
Maria Dykstra December 18, 2012 at 3:02 AM

Love the practicality of your advice. A number of websites still follow the same SEO practices of 5 years ago, good info for smaller businesses.