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Penguin & e-commerce

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Mortz, May 4, 2012.

  1. Mortz

    Mortz Registered Member

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    I'm posting this in the off chance it helps someone with more expertise. I enjoy the threads here and just wanted to contribute.

    Pre-Penguin:

    Top 3 converting keywords in Google were all above #5 spot.
    Spammy backlinks with little to no variations in anchor text
    These keywords had landing pages built for them
    Approx. 100-200 backlinks per landing page

    Individual products hovered in the top 10 for their respective keyword phrases
    Spammy backlinks with no variations in anchor text
    Approx. 20-50 backlinks per product page

    Good on-site SEO (usual stuff)

    April 24th (Penguin only, no Panda effects):

    Landing pages drop off and no longer rank higher than misc. product pages
    Product pages fall to sub #80 spots
    The only halfway decent ranking keywords are part of our EMD phrase

    What we did:

    * We spend time cleaning up any errors listed by Webmaster tools. These errors were mostly duplicate content issues on a few product pages.

    * We start dripping original articles (non spun) on a private blog network using a Forum member's service (we'll review his service after it's said and done). These backlinks are rotating 1-2 keyword anchors and are primarily contextual. We only target our main converting landing pages and a small number of our individual product pages.

    * We added less than 50 backlinks from .edus & wikis pointing back to the main converting landing pages.

    * We experiment with some social media linking on a very small basis. We rotate this to all product pages.

    * We leave the majority of our product pages untouched.

    What we're seeing:

    5/3/2012: Landing pages are coming back, 2 out of the 3 top converting keywords are back to normal or slightly higher. One remains 15ish spots below it's original spot. The handful of product pages we linked to are resurfacing with the correct urls but sit deep at the 50ish range.

    Naturally, we're sitting on the edge of our seats staring at our serp trackers (which are buggy as hell at the moment) and we're not sure it will hold up. However, with our site, it appears as though we needed to build more back links and be smarter about how we do it.

    We have not seen a PR change.

    Hang in there and keep posting. Relevant or not, someone might find it useful.
     
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  2. milian

    milian Power Member

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    nice, thanks for that.
     
  3. Mortz

    Mortz Registered Member

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    They're still staying up. I think we will push some links to the product page and diversify our links across the board. We're obviously also expanding into other markets so we're not hit so hard in the future.
     
  4. radarsurge

    radarsurge Regular Member Premium Member

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    Yeah, link to multiple pages. I am running link wheels to my category pages now, seems like sub page is the new home page in eCommerce.
     
  5. Mortz

    Mortz Registered Member

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    It's interesting you say that. We've actually removed category URLs entirely. We use a filtered navigation setup but it routes to the product url only. So:

    wwwrootdomaincom/product-urlcom

    Our site never does: wwwrootdomaincom/category-url/product-urlcom

    However, we strongly believe in creating landing pages for all of our big converting keywords.
     
  6. vb_reader

    vb_reader Newbie

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    Thanks for posting your experience with penquin penalty.
    May I know how many pages are used to link from towards your landing page. I have a e-commerce site which thrown to second page from top locations for major keywords.
    Your response will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  7. kasabian21

    kasabian21 Junior Member

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    Good post.

    I also had an ecommerce site hit badly. Product pages are now ranking higher than the landing page which is still 500+ ranked. I added a new 700 word article on the site (using a structure similar to an article that ranks number 1 for one of my keywords) and that appeared on page 2 so there is some hope yet!

    Where did you get your edu backlinks from? Ive been looking for a good source.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Mortz

    Mortz Registered Member

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    Currently we have about 555 backlinks to the landing page. We're also sending adwords to the landing page (I know this isn't supposed to help but our results show that it adds validity). This would all be relevant to the keyword and competition though, so I don't imagine this will help you much.

    We're dripping 3-4 blog posts on higher PR domains. We're adding more diversity to our back links and also focusing on more anchor text. We're going to pound away at the root domain with links as well hoping that internal links will help boost everything. Moving past the Penguin penalties, we want to focus more exact match url linking to product pages spread out throughout all of our products.
     
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  9. vb_reader

    vb_reader Newbie

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    Hi Martz
    thank you for your response.
    I am currently getting more traffic from my local pages(google places listing) than the organic listings. Will perform backlinks based on your experience. I will update the status.
     
  10. CYP450

    CYP450 BANNED BANNED

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    Thank you for this advice. It seems less is more all-around from what I'm reading about most modifications to tolerate Penguin. I appreciate the attention to detail you've uncovered, along with others attempting to deal with the drop in rank.
     
  11. Mortz

    Mortz Registered Member

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    We always use BHW member's services. The particular package we tried was from: tom4business
    However, you should perform your own review of similar services and choose one that best fits your needs.
     
  12. Mortz

    Mortz Registered Member

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    This is something we see and are continuing to work on. It seems Google is plucking product pages at random to use for various keywords that we used to rank with landing pages. Our two money keywords are slowly coming back. It's hard to hold back from working on the landing page but I think a little more time would be worth it to see what Google is doing. In your case, being buried that deep with the landing page at this stage of the game would make it hard to continue with that page. Are you linking your new article with an internal link to your landing page?

    I should also mention that we ALWAYS rotate new content with an integrated blog. The main difference now is we've adjusted our keyword density (using a smaller percentage) and we're writing for customers only, ignoring conventional SEO wisdom. We also use varying anchor text.
     
  13. milian

    milian Power Member

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    I've been chaging my urls post Penguin. I have a site that isn't actually eCommerce, but I do sell products (customers have to contact us for quotes as its a bespoke product) so have a similar structure to many eCommerce sites.

    Before Penguin

    Code:
    [URL="http://www.bluewidgetsonline.com/products/bluewidget-model-99/"]www.bluewidgetsonline.com/products/bluewidget-model-99/[/URL]

    I felt that maybe i was being penalised for keyword stuffing using the keyword in every product url, they now look like:


    Code:
    [URL="http://www.bluewidgetsonline.com/products/model-99/"]www.bluewidgetsonline.com/products/model-99/[/URL]
     
  14. The Secret

    The Secret Junior Member

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    I had a site hit really bad as well. I have been adding articles to the blog section of my site and now the article pages are the ones that are the pages ranking. It is so strange. Not sure how to get around this
     
  15. leeboi999

    leeboi999 Junior Member

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    since penguin I have seen my ecommerce websites jump alot higher in Google.
     
  16. darkfury

    darkfury Regular Member

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    We we're in a very similar situation, after much research we did the following:

    • Removed or diluted anchor text with diversity in mind
    • 301'd into a subfolder to change the URL structure
    • Balanced out the ratio of home:interior inbound links
    • Purchased and 301'd a number of old relevant domains with decent inbound links
    • Added the "cart" to every page as it was previously modified to only show if something is in the basket
    • Purchased a range of product specific EMD's for use as buffer sites


    And thats where we're currently up to. We're almost back to pre-penguin rankings and traffic, phew! :)
     
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  17. The Secret

    The Secret Junior Member

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    Solid method there. Might have to look into that. One thing i have noticed is the article pages i have added within the last 10 days are already PR3 which is the same as my homepage. Google is strange
     
  18. Mortz

    Mortz Registered Member

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    Our integrated blog is ranking higher than a lot of our product pages too. I think it's important to use some long tail keywords back to the product pages. Diversifying the internal links seems to be helping us out too.

    One thing is for sure, the rankings are still going up and down on a daily basis. This sure does make it hard to figure out what's working the best.
     
  19. radarsurge

    radarsurge Regular Member Premium Member

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    Hey Mortz,

    Thnx for the feedback. I Didn't mean category URL's, maybe I'm not saying it correctly. I meant to say that my subpages e.g www.mysite.com/redwidgets is getting better placement than www.mysite.com for the same phrase. So I'm focusing my energies on optimizing/link building category pages and not as much on the home page. But I have about 20 category pages, result may not be as good with a 1-2 item eCommerce site. Site has managed very well in the light of the penguin. Adding content to my sub category pages and a large professionally written blog (50-60 hand written entries) may have helped... any thoughts?

     
  20. Mortz

    Mortz Registered Member

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    I see. In our case we've never tried to rank the home page. We just started pushing some links from high PR sites to our home page hoping that it helps sub pages along the way. Our sub pages are our money makers and in specific our landing pages are really all we care to rank.

    Like another post in this thread, we're considering the option of buying older domains to use as buffer sites. What's really strange is we've brought back our landing pages within 10-15 spots of where they should be but now our concern is Penguin is just a sweeping algo that will possibly tank us again on it's next pass.