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Penguin: My test results are in

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by jb2008, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. jb2008

    jb2008 Senior Member

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    Following on from
    this thread , in which even Matt Cunts himself even says that you may well have to abandon your site if it gets slammed by Penguin, I tried to recover 5-10 of my sites hit by this retarded update.

    Many people are preaching X or Y conclusions about Penguin, but they are mostly guesses. All I have is experiments per site in which I changed 1 variable and considered the results. In other sites I changed multiple variables at the same time to see if the penalty 'trigger' was because of a combination of things (as it can't always be just one thing that is triggering the penalty). As with anything SEO related, my results are provided "as is", and are never 100% certain. No one's analysis can be. If, during any future update/Penguin refresh, any of the sites do change, I will add it on this thread. I began testing almost immediately after the first update around 24 April and so I made it before around 24 May for the next refresh. It appears that Penguin does not slap sites constantly, rather on each refresh, however once a site is slapped, if it is ever to recover, it must wait until the next refresh.

    The results are not very promising. I PMed briefly with Expertpeon regarding the random nature of the update and how it seemed to be very much to do with links (the main constituent of web spam these days) and its overwhelmingly punitive nature. His findings seem to be somewhat consistent with the results I got. Here goes:

    Variables changed:

    1. relevance of backlinks (a. link context, b. page meta tags, h1 etc.)


    ------> result, those sites which have already been slapped simply moved further down after addition of more 'relevant', high quality links. This actually surprised me. However, other sites which were not slapped by Penguin, have maintained their rankings even after the refresh, after I added relevant, high quality links to them as a sort of 'prophylactic' against any future slaps. Nonetheless, this latter result is inconclusive because these other sites may simply not have been slapped regardless of what links I added after the initial update. More curiously, there is no difference in the link profile between slapped sites and non slapped sites. I backlink all my sites in a similar way.

    2. anchor text dilution using SB (99% nofollow links)

    -------> result, this technique definitely does not work. I had heard from many places that too targeted anchor text would cause a penalty, so I made a list of around 50 generic anchors as well as naked urls in different format e.g. http://mysite.com, http://www.mysite.com etc., and slammed them to a 1 million AA list. After the next refresh there was no difference.


    3. building more high quality DF links from different sources (targeted anchors)

    --------> result, this technique did not work. Again, a rumor going round was that link diversity, not just in terms of anchor text, but also the source of the links, was a key requirement for avoiding a penalty. One of my sites had around 700 DF links already. I slammed it with another 1200 from a variety of different high quality sources. There was no difference in rankings for penalized sites. I actually thought this variable would bring my site up to the top again, even if it was penalized, because if I use these kind of diamond links on a fresh site I will shoot to the top for most of my keywords.


    4. decrease on-page optimization (aka on-page pessimization)

    --------> result, after reducing densities of any keywords above 3% down to 1% (absolute max), one of my sites that had been slapped from 500 visitors per day to 0 visitors per day, recovered 10% of its traffic for about a week, before going down to the abyss again. A 'dead cat bounce', hence, this doesn't seem to be the main target of Penguin either. Another site, I reduced keyword density, de-optimized meta tags, h1 tags. Again, no difference even after the refresh.


    5. anchor text dilution using high quality, DF links

    -------
    > result, after slamming another site with similar types of links as in variable 3., but instead with generic anchors and naked urls. Again, surprisingly, no improvements even after the refresh. If anything, the site went down.


    6. dropping links with no context (high quality, DF links)

    -------
    > result, although Matt Cunts is the most notorious bullshit man, I could not ignore the 'examples' of webspam that they were targeting in the original webspam update on 24 April on the G blogspot. Namely the examples of links dropped in completely irrelevant, completely nonsensical, poorly auto-spun context, common amongst second-rate spammers. I changed the link context to be relevant (using not always precise keywords in the content, but rather LSI) in variable 1. above, but I also wanted to test simply removing all the context. Previously this was not very effective at all, but since Penguin was retarded, my thinking was that it might now be effective once again. Unfortunately, this shit doesn't work, just as before!


    7. 301 redirect from penalized domain to new, non-penalized domain

    --------
    >result, site rose to the top as if not penalized, but 1 week later penalty was passed on and fell to the abyss.



    Conclusions from the above results:






    • Penguin is a very punitive update. It errs on the side of over punishment, rather than leniency, in order to aggressively combat web spam and reduce the profitability of SEO, possibly in order to compel people to use Adwords to generate traffic instead.
    • Penguin seems to be based on link spam, the collective most dreaded fear of most SEOs at BHW. No matter what you do on page, in order to reduce on page optimization, the penalty is not removed.
    • Despite popular rumor, anchor text diversity doesn't seem to be a large contributing factor. Many of my other sites with higher anchor text %ages and less raw urls, generic anchors etc., remain unpunished. SB dilution does not work, just as higher quality DF link dilution does not. I was surprised by the latter, as I did think SB would probably not work due to NF links not being counted on the link graph.
    • Once you have a Penguin penalty, you cannot move 'up' the search results as you might once have done. It's like a ball and chain being attached to your site. Building over 1000 high quality links to my site which would easily catapult a fresh site to the top positions, had no effect, or even a negative effect, on rankings.
    • Links with no context, e.g. footer links etc., still have low value compared to relevant in context links above the fold.
    • Penalty is passed on via 301 redirect, as with other penalties.


    My Guesses / Misc comments regarding Penguin





    • It is very difficult to get out of the penalty, once you are hit. Even if you CAN get out of the penalty, it will cost you, thereby reducing your ROI. In such cases it may make better business sense to start a new site, as Matt Cunts quite smugly suggested. However, it may not make business sense at all to even try to recover an old site, or even make a new one, especially if it would cost a lot to rebuild it. In such cases, SEOs are screwed.
    • There is a *seemingly* random element to the update. It may or may not be random, but if it is, this greatly diminished SEOs ability to consistently rank for their desired keywords. I put 'seemingly' in asterisks because I don't think it actually is random, but there may be a fine line between penalized and not penalized - because all my sites are done the same way, yet some have been slapped and some haven't. Some really great quality "white hat" authority sites have been slapped, while other crappy thin sites are rising to the top, and vice versa.
    • A huge amount of 'little guys', those who are more likely to link spam due to limited resources, are being removed by this update showing even MORE preference to big brands, in particular amazon. Others include walmart, bestbuy, target, facebook (in particular bizarre cookie cutter facebook notes pages directly linking to amazon via affiliate links), manufacturer pages, even when the search term indicates that the searcher would like more information, reviews, opinions etc. on the product/query, rather than a simple, very thin product page riding on the back of an authoritative domain. Again, this discourages regular guys from even trying SEO due to the reduced ROI (the top 5 positions are really the only places to be, but if they are occupied by amazon, bestbuy and walmart, it's no longer worth it).
    • A lot of completely bizarre results are being observed. New, Thin sites with simple english and no real value in the content, with less than 100 links, are ranking for pretty decent, rather competitive terms, 10k+ exact local, while higher quality sites with 1000s of links all appear to be punished. This leads to confusion as to what exactly DOES make a site rank #1 because so much shit is at the top. But if you yourself make a shitty, thin site with less than 100 links, it is very unlikely you will rank. Again, there seems to be a lot of randomness/ luck in this.
    • Now, instead of 100% of the time more links = higher rankings, on average more links = higher rankings 50% of the time. Either you get links and you avoid punishment for building too many / too crappy links and you win, OR you get slapped into the oblivion. Therefore, links are still very necessary but the ROI of link building is decreased. I am still making OK money every month but ROI has been cut in half for me. Even if you are spamming well, or you are spamming poorly, the average ROI will decrease as a result of this update. That's not to say SEO can't get you a very good ROI even today, but the fat square jawed loser Matt Cunts is tightening his square jawed grip on our balls.


    Disclaimer



    The above is only the result of my own experiments, and my guesses/comments are just that, guesses and comments. The algo again may change at any time in the future. I would also welcome any of your input and findings regarding this update.

    Happy spamming,

    JB
     
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  2. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

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    JB,

    This is great information... I wondered whether you will continue to test your sites or just give up on them?

    If you are giving up, what it your thought around de-indexing the content and then re-posting it onto a new url?
     
  3. chenzen

    chenzen Newbie

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    Thank you for sharing the results of your experiment.
     
  4. carlito

    carlito BANNED BANNED

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    Thanks mate for your researches, hope our sites will reborn like the sphynx one day :)
     
  5. rugbyjack2005

    rugbyjack2005 Power Member

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    Great post and very useful information. I have 1 site that got slapped and i tried similar things to you with similar results. I am now wondering if it is possible to come out of penguin or if it is a time penalty
     
  6. LBrown

    LBrown Senior Member

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    How did you set up the site that you 301'd to? Was it a duplicate of the original penalized site or a whole new site, new content, rebuilt from the ground up?
     
  7. thetraveller

    thetraveller Senior Member

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    Thanks for the top-notch research and valuable share. More than 75% of my income is (still) based on SEO so I feel your pain too. Let's hope we'll all find some creative ways to keep going and prosper.
     
  8. assphuck

    assphuck Senior Member

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    As with most penalties, there really is not squat you can do until they expire. And most algorithmic penalties do expire. The last penalty I had before Penguin lasted about three months. When it expired, my ranks were well above where they were before the penalty. Now that site is in the toilet again.

    A good read on Penguin is at http://searchenginewatch.com/articl...egative-SEO-Disavowing-Links-Bounce-Rate-More

    Basically what Google has done is redefine the definition of spam and grouped a lot of "average" websites into the same spam category. The demotion in ranks, for some of my white hat sites, was quite severe. Unless you are a Fortune 500 company, with the financial resources to compete, you will find the deck heavily stacked against you.

    I doubt your current penalty is permanent. It should expire. Don't hack up your content too much or restore it to its pre-penalty state. Otherwise when the penalty is lifted your ranks may be much worse.

    Thanks for sharing your methods and results with us. Every little piece helps us to assemble the puzzle and get a clearer picture of what is going on.
     
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  9. balsagoth007

    balsagoth007 Elite Member

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    I would ask about the number of days/weeks you waited on every step to see the results and make a conclusion ?
    You know, when sending tons of quality links, your site may fell to the abyss like you said but it's maybe a dance and you know a Google dance can last from 2 weeks to 3 months...
     
  10. wpbacklinks

    wpbacklinks Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    just read your theory, subscribed to learn it again..

    THanks!
     
  11. zacamore

    zacamore Registered Member

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    I have a site that got hammered. The only post/page now ranking is a post that I created about 10 days prior to the first penguin. I created the same way as all the other posts, except I have done no backlinking to it at all.
     
  12. qu1ck

    qu1ck Newbie

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    I am actually confused by this update because in some instances I still see sites ranking on purely crap links from xrumer. Guess google just wants you to have to spam even more than before and keep creating new sites so you can spam again, and again, and again instead of just once.
     
  13. naskootbg

    naskootbg Power Member

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    Very good post! Do you try to reduce the keyword density in title and in posts url, because it help my sites. I think that more EMD are hit too and in this case just try to target some long tail keyword. This is what I talk about:
    - I have site on EMD, that was hit by panda and penguin
    1. I reduce the keyword density in the text, remove the keyword from underline text, add more words in bold text
    2. I create new optimized for main keyword post with part of main keyword in title and other part of the keyword in url
    3. I linked this new post on the top of the domain (first sentence) in big bold text with anchor to main keyword
    4. I create few links (link wheel) anchored with the keyword to the main domain (not to the newest post) and few bookmarks to the domain with long tail keywords (with main keyword in it) and few bookmarks to the newest post anchored with main+long tail keywords

    Result:
    A week late newest post was #6 in google.
    2 weeks late the domain was #5 and the newest post #4
    Now (almost 3 weeks) the domain is #5 and the page is on dance (between #8 and #15)

    Before updates the domain was #3 with over 200 indexed backlinks and after updates the domain was out of top 100. The main keyword is with medium competition - ~300k competitor pages and 1600 exact monthly searches.

    Sorry for my bad english.
     
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  14. BigBuddy

    BigBuddy Account Under Review

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    Good one OP.

    After several test done myself, I came to the conclusion, its easy to rank any competitive keywords for new sites, rather trying hard to recover back from penalty. But this is my opinion and other may differ.
     
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  15. MasterZ

    MasterZ Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Excellent post OP.

    I've noticed similar things in the off page seo. It seems best to just build a new site and wait for that penalty to expire. I've heard some people having sucess temoparily with an external 301 redirect to a new site.. That way you can monetize the old traffic while building links to the new domain. If done right, once the penalty passes through the 301 redirect then kill the 301 and you should have enough links on the new domain to rank for your desired keywords.
     
  16. jeromespitfire

    jeromespitfire Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Whilst I find the information in this post partially true.

    I have recovered some sites by purely concentrating on "branded" anchor texts. I think scrapebox links are useless nowadays, unless your comment is low obl and do-follow. I have found contextual links in xrumer forum posts, wiki sites, and private networks(very private!) to be of benefit in recovering when using good content.

    However my tests have only worked on 40-50% of the sites that I've tried to recover that are penalised. I don't think it is worth giving up on a site just because it got slapped, I'm sure over the upcomming months it will return if you continue to build quality backlinks.
     
  17. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    *rubs eyes* no... just no...
     
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  18. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Junior Member

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    So the conclusion is that everything is pretty much hit-and-miss... Guess something in SEO never change :D
     
  19. rugbyjack2005

    rugbyjack2005 Power Member

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    Yep, unless it's a clients site and they don't buy into the idea of starting a new site!
     
  20. lanbo

    lanbo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I think you should just start a new site if you're penalized, if you haven't invested much yet