1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

I Lost 2 Sites To Penguin... And I Don't Really Care. Here's Why!

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Scritty, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    4,496
    Occupation:
    Affiliate Marketer
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    FFS ladies and gentlemen. Penguin has come and gone, and the arguments and anger on here is up again.
    Getting fecked by Google is one thing, but arguing with each other is a feck-nuts game.
    The disagreements I'm seeing are based on some pretty common assumptions many are making.

    ALL OUR SITES, NICHES, COMPETITION AND EXPECTATIONS ARE DIFFERENT.

    Ahh, that's better.

    Getting a churn and burn site hammered by P? Fine - build another.
    Got a site you've sweated blood over for 12 months hammered the same way - then you might want to try and recover it
    Generic advice is not advice at all. "This works" or "this doesn't" without context is just blowing hot air. No wonder people are getting pissed.
    Yeah - I got 2 sites wiped out. One because I had over promoted, one because I was neg SEO attacked (again - same niche as last year - knew it was going to happen, already created another site and will have it ranking inside 6 weeks)

    Someone's site isn't " shitty piece of crap" (as a fellow hatter says on more than one thread here) because it's small and quick to build and replace - on the contrary - if it ranks and banks it's fine.
    Churn and burn is a thing as well. It works. Playing churn and burn and enjoying the churn and getting all pissy when the burn comes is not playing the game. You knew what you were doing going in. Making a decent site in this way takes a day if you're crap at it and have to write all the content yourself. Dust off, roll the dice again. I know that's exactly what I'm doing.

    Some sites operate in very small niches and therefore have very little scope for ever becoming authorities.
    A particular brand of a particular product. "Black and Decker Patio Heaters" for example. A few articles, a guide to installation and that's the site.
    Because its scope is small, its requirement for content is small and the need for updates once built is none existent doesn't make it "shitty". It makes it what it is. If it fails to P3, then feck it, build it again.

    However....

    If you blog on your passion, pour your heart into a site in a broader niche, add content regularly, get involved in the surrounding community and that site goes "tits up" you are going to have a very different attitude and the advice you take should be different as well. It's likely that the recovery route is right for you.

    (BTW - a simple disavow after a slap doesn't work - you need to show Google you are reformed, jump through a few hoops, but there are great online services that can help here for a few hundred bucks do most of the work for you)

    So I got slapped? Here's what happened.

    Penguin 3 Destroys 2 Of My Sites

    ? pretty much as expected, and not something I?m particularly concerned about

    Regular readers will know the niches I operate in. 4 main niches, 8 main sites. I have about 12 other sites that bob up and down. These other sites I promote (very) hard for a product or service and take the flak when Google slaps them (if it slaps them) that?s all part of the game. But my 8 main sites I treat very differently. Other than to cross post content to connected social networks, I don?t promote them very hard at all.
    My SEO site is the newest of those 8 and, as you might have guessed, is one of the hardest to rank. I have several other sites in the SEO niche but only one other that I treat carefully and consider a budding authority site

    So how did they all do after Penguin? What can be learned by the update over the weekend of 18th-20th October 2014? Let?s take a look.
    Authority Sites

    Across the board my larger sites rocked it. I mean really rocked it. The niches are SEO, car hire, golf holidays and motorbikes. It might be helpful to list what the common factors are for these.


    • They are all built using 100% unique content. Not a Penguin issue for sure, but worth mentioning just in case.
    • They are all added to frequently. The golf holiday sites now attract perhaps 2000 words a day written solely by visitors to the sites that just needs moderating. The motorbike sites also get by with a lot of user generated content (comments, posts, people who ask to submit a review or whatever) I add the odd article now and then. The car hire sites are updated at least once a month, and the SEO sites are updated at least twice a week.
    • The sites are at least 2 years old. The oldest sites are now almost 18 years old, the newest, (this one) will soon have its third birthday.
    • Volume of written content wise, the car hire sites have the least, but still have over 200 articles or posts and an overall site word count of well over 100,000 This site has a word count of close to half a million , the golf holiday sites, thanks to the huge amount of user generated content, have between 2 and 3 million words on them.
    • They all get traffic for a very wide range of keywords and phrases. No one word or sub niche on any of these sites attracts more than 5% of the total site traffic. demondemon for instance gets traffic from perhaps 500 words and phrases in Google during any particular month ranging in quantity from 1 visit to 5,000 per term, the modal quantity is about 70.
    • The bigger sites all get at least a few user comments added weekly, they get money spent on them in Facebook or Adsense advertising where appropriate and often get shares from places like Linkedin, Google+ etc.
    This clearly works, here are the figures in graph form.
    [​IMG].
    Across the board rises. The golf sites get a lot more traffic than the rest, though it is also the poorest converting in terms of sales of the main affiliate deals on them. Very profitable when someone does book a holiday, golf coaching lessons or an expensive set of clubs, but most visitors are there to chat and talk shop rather than spend. That?s fine with me. The car hire ones have very low visitor levels, it?s a very rare day indeed where one gets 1000 visitors, however they convert like crazy. The only people who go to a car hire site are there to look at spending money hiring a car..
    That said, overall the effect has been fantastic. That?s one side of the coin, now let?s take a look at the downside.
    Sites Hammered By Penguin 3

    About a year ago this site was hit with a negative SEO attack which means Google will no longer rank it for a couple of very profitable SEO products. I built other sites to promote them, got them ranked pretty quickly (inside 6 weeks) and they have happily been turning a profit for 10 months. Until last weekend when they were both hit and de-indexed.
    Common Factors Of These Churn And Burn Sites

    It would be easy to list them,. It pretty much the opposite of the list above for authority sites, but in short.

    • New sites
    • Rarely if ever updated
    • Little content (5000 words average?)
    • Much more heavily promoted with links
    They did however all have unique content, and were sometimes promoted through Adsense or Facebook (Google will take your money ? then ban you quite happily)
    One I over promoted as it was struggling to rank for a few weeks and I just hit it with a ton of links. Fair cop. It made me a tidy sum over the months, far more than it cost to build, so that?s a win It?s not de-indexed, but it?s dropped pages down the ranking.
    The other was hit by a negative SEO attack a few months back. a six figure number of links of all types created over a 12 week period. Some really tasty neg SEO tactics used in there, but the quantity was the give away.
    Of the other 11 sites in this ?churn and burn? category, one other was wiped out in the gambling/poker niche, again, I over promoted. Fair cop. Churn and burn.works this way. The rest either stayed static or went down
    [​IMG].
    Sure, a couple of the sites are slightly up compared with 5 days before the hit, however, I believe that is just natural variation. Overall they remain pretty much unchanged in terms of SERP position and traffic levels taken as an average over time.
    Against that 2 sites wiped out and 2 more severely hit.
    Initial Conclusions

    Google prefer authority sites. Something that was pretty clear all along, and I mentioned this in last weeks post predicting Penguin 3.0 Regularly updated, lots of content and good evidence of social interaction. It?s hard not to come to this conclusion but?
    Churn and burn is still very profitable. Yes I lost 2 out of 12 C&B sites and 2 more were hit, but you know what? In the last 12 months those sites have made me a ton of cash. Balance that loss against the fact that 2/3rds of them are still up, ranking and banking. Also just how cheap, quick and easy ranking churn and burn is. A site a day with maybe an hour a month of upkeep is all they need.
    I?ve already spent a few hundred bucks on new hosting and by the end of October the 4 downed sites will be replaced, by the end of November the replacement sites will likely be ranking. If they get hit in March next year they will have recouped around 40x more than the time and money spent on them cost me. If they last longer than that, the margin just keeps getting bigger.
    So What Are You Saying?

    Same old same old I?m afraid. I wish I could add something new here. Google?s major periodically run algorithms are iterative. Every run they refine and they evolve. They don?t revolutionise to any great degree. They are a great clean up and scare tactic for Google. The fear they generate works a treat.
    If my experience is typical (and if anything, losing 1/3rd of heavily link promoted sites actually seems to be a little higher than the norm if my readings on Warrior, BHW and Traffic Planet are any thing to go by) then so what?
    Spread Your Risk

    Seriously. If you are an affiliate marketer (rather than a product creator or business owner) and you have one site, or several site in just one niche you are taking a hell of a risk.
    I?m not saying you need to spread thin, but one site? Once you know what you are doing you can build a site up with 4 or 5 good articles in a day. That includes buying the hosting, installing the CMS and theme and optimising the onsite factors. One day. Penguin hits once a year (though I suspect once every 6 months from now on) what are you doing for the other 364 days a year?
    If you are building authority sites, add content, if you are building churn and burn, build more sites ? maybe have a mixed strategy of C&B and authority. But don?t put all of your eggs in one basket.
    Here?s another way to look at it. How many people do you know who have had 2 sites wiped out in the last week, yet are making more money this week are relatively unconcerned about it?
    [Hand shoots up] Yup, me for one.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 64
  2. powerboss

    powerboss Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    7
    You summed it up alright with all your years of experience. I wish these Google algo updates really do what they claim they are doing to clean up spam sites.
     
  3. BuildMoreLinks

    BuildMoreLinks Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    Messages:
    1,916
    Likes Received:
    655
    Location:
    17.3660° N, 78.4760° E
    This is really golden piece of advice, amazing post this really gives a lot of new insight.
     
  4. FatPenguin

    FatPenguin BANNED BANNED

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    114
    What matters more with an authority site --

    a) adding more solid links?
    b) adding daily or semi-daily solid, 400-1000 word original content?
    c) social media activity (ugh...such a pain in the butt)?

    If you could pick one?
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. ORM

    ORM Power Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2013
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    675
    Location:
    wealth mastery
    Another helpful post by Scritty. Good job mate!
     
  6. Peter Ngo

    Peter Ngo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,837
    Likes Received:
    1,464
    Occupation:
    I browse BHW for a living
    Location:
    The Internet
    I knew it is gonna be another great post from you scritty.

    After panda 4.0, i have had a lot of problems running C&B strategies, most likely fail than succeed, could you please point us to a more correct direction :( onpage SEO is no doubt must be top notch, but i am still quite unsure about backlinking strategy.

    If you are not comfortable sharing it then it is ok :D.
     
  7. sbndnb

    sbndnb Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Messages:
    480
    Likes Received:
    337
    Location:
    yurop
    You rock Scritty, great post!
     
  8. cocococo

    cocococo Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2012
    Messages:
    911
    Likes Received:
    426
    Nice refreshing post there scritty, It's all about ROI, if you have 10 C&B site making you money, a month before new update, am already creating new replica 10 sites, incase my first batch get hit, they get hit, am clicking the restart button, and changing link round.

    If i lose any of my PBN domain, i have 5 extra to replace it and transfer, SEO is a cat and mouse game.
     
  9. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    4,496
    Occupation:
    Affiliate Marketer
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    For larger sites initially it's content and social
    Over time you can drop social as if it's worthwhile natural will take over (how long depends on the quality and niche of course -might be a couple of months, might be a year or two)
    Links are always required. As you create content create a small number of links for each piece of content. Remember some social ARE links - some aren't - or at best are transient links that will get archived or disappear over time.

    Scritty
     
  10. burglar

    burglar Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    29
    Occupation:
    IM
    Location:
    USA
    Great stuff. Nice to see detailed, actionable information.

    The first reaction for many of us after getting smacked hard by one of G's black-and-white critters is to get pissed and discouraged (been there, done that), but advice like this is what we need to really stay on track and build something that lasts.
     
  11. strangeresults

    strangeresults Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Solid stuff as usual from scritty, each of your posts is worth reading multiple times, lol
     
  12. Vogg123

    Vogg123 Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wish one day I can do all this you write about. Now I am at my way learning and just reading.
    Wish you all the best and keep the good work man :)
     
  13. DarthGambino

    DarthGambino Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    12
    Occupation:
    Entrepreneur
    Location:
    Hogwarts
    So knowledgeable! Thanks for the informative post Scritty! Although none of my sites got hit (No C&B... yet) I still learned a great deal from your post

    Cheers!:clap2:
     
  14. asiansamurai

    asiansamurai Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    35
    Have you written any articles on how to churn and burn?

    If so can you link it please
     
  15. SEO Power

    SEO Power Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    Messages:
    2,637
    Likes Received:
    680
    Occupation:
    Self employed
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I agree with what you said about small sites. A site can be small and still be absolutely helpful to it's visitors. I don't know why some people like to call small sites low quality sites. Perhaps that's what Google made them believe, and now they're spreading the gibberish.
     
  16. Gyuman82

    Gyuman82 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,832
    Likes Received:
    1,120
    Occupation:
    SEO Specialist
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Home Page:
    Scritty!!! Thanks for the info bro.

    Play On Playa...
     
  17. starki

    starki Power Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    152
    Let other ramble about low quality, if 3000 words of content make you $3K/month it's helpful for your bank account. If someone is looking for something specific on Google, you don't need hundreds of scientific articles to make this guy happy and send him where he gets what he wants. Quantity isn't quality, offpage and onpage.

    People calling small sites low quality are often people running large websites they spend months or years on that don't make them enough money to pay their bills. They hate the idea that less, but clearly focussed effort can be more profitable.
     
  18. SpaFles

    SpaFles Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    18
    Occupation:
    Running around
    Location:
    In my head
    enjoyed it and helped a lot. Thx brah!
     
  19. Aty

    Aty Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    5,411
    Likes Received:
    3,698
    Home Page:
  20. FinalBoss

    FinalBoss Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    3
    Occupation:
    IMer, Gamer, Traveler
    Location:
    Final Level
    Thank you Scritty for sharing what happened to your sites.

    I truly like that you differentiate between churn/burn sites and authority ones when discussing the effects of P3. Cheers mate.