Google Penguin – Fix It And Forget It!


Google, Google, Google…the search engine giant is a source of frustration for many website and blog owners worldwide. Having survived the last few updates unscathed, some SEO specialists and webmasters believed they were on target and doing all the right stuff. Think again! This last update dinged lots of unsuspecting owners, those who do seem to play by the rules. Here are a few things noted as potential problems that could be affecting page rank due to the latest algorithm change, and what you can do to pander to Google’s SEO judgment.

1. Diversity

Google wants to see natural linking, so hundreds of links pointing to your blog with the exact same anchor text—BIG no-no. Build links naturally; use varying keywords, various phrases, even some of those “click here” for more info links, so that your links do not look spammy. The key is to use your “money keyword” only about half the time, and instead use related anchor text.


2. Relevance

Another issue that seemed to be a problem for sites penalized was sites linking to totally unrelated sites. For instance, if you have a car blog, recipe and food posts and links do not make the most sense. This does not mean you cannot have links from unrelated sites, but a hodge-podge of unrelated links will almost certainly be a problem. Keep the majority of your incoming links from sites and domains in your niche and you will be giving Google clear evidence that your site is high quality and relevant within that niche.

3. Bad Neighborhoods

By now, it should go without saying that not linking to questionable or a spam site is in your best blogging interests. Sites that appear to be set up only for links—you have seen them; they are the ones with posts about everything, but no real theme. Another characteristic of many of these sites seems that there are just two tabs—Home, and Disclosure. When you land on one of those pages by mistake, get out of there quickly, and do not approve comments or pingbacks from them.

4. Corrective Measures

I have already mentioned some things you can do to fix the problems— be sure that your anchor links are varied, link to relevant sites in your niche, and stay away from questionable internet neighborhoods.

Here are a few more things that will help:

  • Check out the links pointing to your site and try to remove those that seem questionable.
  • Look for your content duplicated on the web, and if you find it has been, send a DMCA takedown notice to have it removed.
  • Add fresh content regularly to keep your site relevant.
  • Be sure that none of your content is stuffed with keywords, nor is spun material.
  • Have a presence on Google+. You will see that blog posts and other links that you share on G+ will rank very high in searches.
  • Tone down the advertising on your site. You do not want Google to see it purely as a monetary site.

Essentially, Google Penguin is an attempt by the search engine giant to further squash spam websites by targeting link spam. Of course, its search engines work on patterns, and perfectly ethical site dings noted.  If you believe you received an unfair penalty, you should contact Google through the Webmaster site and appeal the ranking. Otherwise, take a good look at your site and see where you may be missing what the Penguin wants.

Author: Denise Gabbard is a prolific blogger with a passion for SEO and social media marketing.

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About the author

Denise Gabbard wrote 5 articles on this blog.

Denise Gabbard is a writer and social media and SEO professional. She works with small businesses to build and enhance their online presence.

60 thoughts on “Google Penguin – Fix It And Forget It!

  1. The best way to not be affected by penguin is not to depend completely upon Google. I usually get loads of traffic from Stumble upon and so now I am not much depended on Google.

    1. Not a good idea. You better try to be depended on Google, you will see the traffic growing like never before.

      1. I get just a small portion of my traffic from Google. Maybe I should improve my SEO to get more from it. Anyway thanks for the suggestion.

        1. I think Praveen is right– Google is the big shot— and you know what they say—“He has the gold makes the rules”–until something bigger and better comes along, Google holds everyone’s gold in their hands–so it is best to play by their rules.

          FYI–I could not get your page to load.

          1. What was the error?

          2. Hey Praveen—not your page, but Srivathsan’s– I tried three times, and admit that I am so impatient that I hit refresh and finally gave up before getting any error message or the page to load.

    2. Hi Srivathsan, i’m experimenting on them question, i have 2-3 word press sites and i’m blogging for one site without google support, after using it few moths i know that the page rank is stable, not going to profitable and not going in lose.

  2. Hi Denise
    I must admit that I have really been hit hard by the Google Penguin update. My organic traffic has dropped with about 30% since the update. I do think that I am playing by the rules and that I always try not to spam, but I guess Google have found something they don’t like. I guess that it has to happen at some point. Since I started my blog the traffic has almost increased every month and it have been great. The hard part about this Google Penguin update is that no one know for sure what it is that have hit is and how to recover from it.
    I guess that I will just have to keep on writing good post that people will like to read and hope that I will have more luck with the next Google update.

    1. Amen brother, yes we know the penguin kicked our butt, but what is the reason and more important what is the solution ?

  3. Thanks for these tips. I was quite surprised with the Penguin update and had been wondering what to do about it. My SERPs had gone down quite a bit already following the Panda Update previously.


  4. Hi Jean– It is always good to hear from you. I thought that I was doing things the right way, too…so was surprised when my PR dropped to 2…and I started scouring for answers. I think diversifying my links will help, as I tend toward the same keywords much of the time.

    By the way, one thing that Penguin has opened us to is negative SEO– so I just want to throw in a plug here for easy reputation fix , a friend’s company that can help if you find yourself unfairly dinged.

    1. Thanks for your insights, Denise. I didn’t know about the negative SEO, I will read that article.


  5. Hi Thomas– Your blog is very good, I think it will recover nicely. Good content always helps:)

  6. I hope you can update your blog and for sure, we will be happy to read it. Thanks that you shared.I love this link up; it’s always so much interesting post..

  7. Oddly, I find it odd anyway, I haven’t had hardly any impact. On a number of other updates I actually could see improvements on several sites (I imagine largely from Google dropping ranks of others.

    I have quite a few sites across several themes. I did have 2 sites that seem to have been hit. One dropped to about 0 visits from search for 2 days but a few days later was back to about 70% of previously levels. I have been bouncing around in weird ways for months. It is a good site (I think) but I can also see it doesn’t look super great in Google.

    So in many ways I just had 1 site hit. In past updates I usually had 0 or maybe 1 go down (normally I never changed anything and the site just recovered naturally over time). Really my “loss” has been that I didn’t see my normal increase after a significant update across my range of sites. But I am not very greedy so it is fine with me.

  8. Build links naturally; use varying keywords, various phrases, even some of those “click here” for more info links, so that your links do not look spammy. 

  9. Many sites that was hit by Google penguin and that is the worst thing happen to us. I think you are right about forgetting Google penguin and focus to the another one. Thanks a lot for sharing this information!

  10. Yes – I do agree. Have a presence on Google+ , Google according to what I can see does add more value in their searches according to your Google+ activities compared to other Social Media sites. And most importantly , act natural online, especially with link-building. Dont try to out-think the Google update, it will never work.

  11. There’s no other option other than adapting to Google’s changes and Fixing our blogs.
    Nothing can match the huge organic traffic flow.
    Even social media traffic can’t match it.
    Google is highly important.
    Good article in that aspect 🙂 .

  12. Loved the post! I think it will really help a lot of there affected and hit by Panda’s & Penguin’s!

    If these intelligent steps are followed there could be no penalties or drops. What I am really enjoying is that the so called SEO experts who used to build links left , right & center, will go bankrupt. I know the percentage will be low, but any percentage will be really welcome! Making the net a better place.. :).

  13. Awesome, Penguin has affected a lot of people, hope this helps them.

  14. Google makes many changes in algorithm to avoid spammers. Google penguin is one type of strategy of Google which must follow the unique SEO tricks. Thanks for your tips to fix Google penguin effect.

  15. Google make so much changes . Some of them are logical , others are not. But we have to be adaptable to these changes. Keep posting ur blogs/websites with a good and quality content and that way u will get naturally pure backlinks.

    Kind regards

  16. Google penguin was a nightmare for me and my friends.

  17. Penguin Update recently hit my blog, but it doesn’t affect my blog it gave me a lot of traffc! Really to say 250+ page views everyday for a new blog of 10 days and it has alexa of 5 Lakh!. Thanks for the tips to recover from Google Penguin update. in future if it affect my blog , I’ll surely follow these tips!

    1. Wow, Hari! Interestign that it gave you lots of traffic– you must be doing some important things right!

  18. I think the best way is to simply create good original content that builds links naturally. I assume the update was to upset the spammers which in the long run is good for genuine bloggers who put time and effort into their sites. Great article thanks for sharing Denise.

    1. You are right, Craig— and as somebody who spends lots of time stressing over my blog posts, I am not entirely upset about the whole thing:)

  19. Can we just put this panda and penguin on the zoo..? I think many people out there would like to kill them, if someday they check their site, and realize that their site just got eat by penguin or panda… lol…

    1. It surely keeps things interesting, though— in the same way that a problem child keeps things interesting in your house, right? Seems they will continue tweaking as long as people try to game the system….so, that will be forever!

  20. Google Penguin update has affected 2 of my blogs. I think the main reason is that I didn’t make the linking look natural and it looks spammy and robotic. I understand what Google did and it made do better link building from that time on.

    1. Yep– I got a little ding, and I think mine was because of some guest posts I allowed with links that were not really relevant….even though the posts themselves were good, I believe Google looks down on off-topic links….not natural. Thanks for commenting, Mark.

  21. Posting a relevant to your site is the great strategy otherwise, it looks Spam an questionable.:)

    1. Absolutely– everything must be relevant to your topic now.

  22. It’s harder and harder to rank in Google. Even if you’re “playing by the rules” you never know when the rules are gonna change and turn your entire work to nothing.

    1. That is definitely fair to say Marty– Google for their part, gets around that by never really telling us what the rules are, so we can only guess. It is frustrating— but you know the old saying… “He who has the gold makes the rules”…and Google definitely has the gold at this point. I think we may soon see a real competitor in the combined Facebook/Bing conglomerate….

  23. My personal advice would be to fix it but dont ignore it, because its something that is getting constant updates and this we are going to suffer, so better not to forget it!

  24. Hey Denise,

    Interesting article but I have a quick question for you, you mentioned Relevance and how if links are coming from unrelated topics then that might lower your ranks, but let’s say a website that normally talks about computer stuff posted an article about cars for example, and I have a car shop site, If I used commentluv to post a link on that article would it be ok? OR since the whole website niche is about something other than cars then I shouldn’t do that.

    In other words does the link have to be on a website that talks only about related content to your own site or if we leave a link on a page/post/article that does talk about the same topic as your site is enough.

    Take Care.

    1. Hi Sayed, commenting on an off-topic every once in a while is certainly natural. Specifically, you would be posting on an article that is very relevant as well, so Google should be happy–an overall pattern that shows them clearly what your site is about is what they are after.

  25. Nice article Denise. The thing I don’t understand about Google is that I had been doing same thing on my site for almost an year. On previous update my site got rewarded and now it got punished..

    1. Hi Harry— Yes, we have seen a lot of that. It seems that Google may have “over-rewarded” on the last round and corrected with this one. In my particular case, I am fairly certain my ding resulted from allowing some guest posts with off-topic links…but I have seen other results that seem related to not diversifying– that is, they used exactly the same anchor text to link back to their site every time. Often, it can be a combination of some very minor blips right now. It is frustrating– but keep plugging away and surely it will recover soon.

  26. It is all about doing things the way Google wants them done— and that seems to be very naturally.

  27. Right– that was pretty tongue in cheek… what I meant was change what you know to be a problem and then don’t stress over it. It will take time and effort to recover the losses.

  28. Thanks a lot for this post. Actually I’m so depressed about the update of Google since last week of march. I didn’t expect that some of our site would affect this much so i was looking for something that would help me to get our site in a good position. Thanks a lot for this tips. I have to try this strategy and see if it works. I guess it will 🙂 thanks a lot Denise! So helpful!

    1. Glad to be of as much help as possible. I know it is frustrating….seems like you understand what they are looking for, and then things change:( Keep your head up and just keep plugging away. It will get better.

  29. Before read you post i was unaware about this point “Bad Neighborhoods”. However, now i learn a lot about it and in my opinion the most important points are relevancy and quality we should keep in mind both these points to get good SERP position as well as traffic.

    1. Yes– those are huge points! It really makes sense when you think about it, and honestly if you stay within your niche, you will build relationships with other bloggers as well, so that you can help each other when needed.

  30. Hi, thanks for the tips, I’ve come to the same conclusion and I think anchor text was a big factor for me on the sites that got hit.

    Only thing is, regarding relevant links, one of my nieches doesn’t really have many sites that let you comment on them, and it’s generally difficult to get links for it (psychic)

    what would you suggest in this case?


  31. Yep, lots of changes, and I am sure there are more to come. So, it is best to alter the way things are done now so that we are ready for even stricter enforcement of the rules.

  32. How about guest posting on some of the related sites? Write them a good, solid article and ask them to post it for you. Of course, you can add a link back to your site, but make it natural–looking, a link in your signature–along the lines of —
    Kelly also has an astrology site, Astrology 101, at the bottom of your post.

    I also found this list of sites, not sure if it’s helpful or if they are ones you already know about— might give you a place to start pitching guest posts.

  33. This update from Google maked me lost almost have of my incomes.I’ve trying to deal with it,but damn is hard,they just don’t like nothing !,i’ve tryed so bad since the update,but no change. Right now I’m like..just watching,hoping they fix the mess.Well,there are not to manny options,start all over again… I belive.Thanks for the tips 🙂

  34. Hi Denise,

    I think you did a great job of picking out the things Penguin appeared to be targeting. Clearly only Google knows exactly what it was looking for, but I think diverse anchor texts was a biggie. Along with things like “click here” I also think you want to have a lot of straight URL’s (where either your full url or your domain name is the keyword) as well as branding keywords. By this I mean, if your site is called “The Blogging Dude” then you should have quite a bit of anchor text with that name as the keyword.

    I also think you should link to your site with your first and last name as well. Of course many people don’t want to take ownership for their blogs because they focus on just creating hundreds of thin affiliate sites. Or they don’t want to leave a so-called “footprint”, but if you aren’t doing anything wrong then you shouldn’t be worried about leaving a footprint or taking ownership for your content.

    1. Hi Derek! Yes, you are right about the full domain…I have started suggesting that with all my clients. Names make sense as well… and like you said, if you are doing things the right way, having your name “out there” is definitely a positive thing! Anything we can do to build links naturally is a plus. Thanks for reading my post and commenting!

  35. Great article! The comments made it even more great! Knowing how Penguin works is vital for your blog success, so this post is very helpful. Thanks a lot.

  36. Due to Google Panda & penguin updates I have lost ranking of my website and can’t get it back after that. Not really sure what to do about it and how to move forward. I would try to use above tips and hoping for better results.

  37. My site effected by recent penguin update. and the worst thing i realise now is that i was depending too much on google. now i am trying to recover and finding ways to get direct traffic

  38. it effects my blog too thnx for this nice tip how to recover from it

  39. Sometimes Google penguin hits site very badly..All tips given in this post are enough for protection of site.. The article and these comments all are very helpful.. Now I can recover very easily..

  40. Isn’t the most important to do something sensible. Like having great content that will make people talk and link to your site for free. Instead of having some bullshit spinned and stuff like that.

  41. Indeed Google frustrates a lot of webmasters because they keep on changing their algorithm. However, we rely on google for free traffic. What we can do is to know the new changes and abide with it. Thanks for sharing the information.

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