SEO for the Penguin Era
It’s an absolute fact that Google’s Over Optimization penalty has hit hard.
Many sites, months later are asking what the issue is, why they have not yet “rebounded” or recovered in Google, but have not yet done anything in order to accomplish that. In fact, it looks to them as if their site has hit a dead end. The reality is that without some help, your page quite likely is not going to rebound or to bounce back. Taking a good look at the page and finding out more about what may have led to your own private slap is quite likely in order.
No! Google Doesn’t Want All Paid Advertising-No They Are Not Trying to Bankrupt you
Although granted, the simple truth is that paid advertising may be a side effect and a nice bonus of the slap for the Google company and they aren’t saints folks, they are business people. What’s good for you, isn’t necessarily good for them and Don’t Be Evil was just as much BS as anything else. All that being said, the fact is that if you’re still in the sandbox, you aren’t doing what you need to be doing to get out.
Some things that you may have done –and not consequently Undone–that are keeping you in the penalty box include the following:
A vast array of inbound links–particularly multiple links from one site–that are from low quality or inferior sites. If you have a great many links but most of them are from sites which lack authority, chances are that your site took a hit.
Unnatural text links that are essentially all high money keywords. Typically when someone links to you in a natural way, they will use your site url or your domain name. In most cases, thousands of people would not link to you using all the same high paying keyword. If it looks unnatural to you, with a cursory glance, it quite likely looks unnatural to the search engine and will net you a nice penalty. If you can remove them, do so, if you can change the keyword text, accomplish it. If you can’t, then dilute it.
Link or blog networks. In most cases, these are being identified rapidly. Many blog networks actually advertised themselves as such and users took a giant hit because of that. If you’re using a readily identifiable blog or link network that has had even a few sites identified chances are you got hit for that reason. You have the option to hope that your blog network notifies you, but some did not do so. Most of those companies who had their blog networks hit did take them offline so the links will disappear over time, but if yours was not deindexed or removed, try getting the links taken down if you have the option to do so.
Reciprocal linking. If you and a friend are exchanging links, or you and ten friends are exchanging links and you have a high percentage of links like that, you’re going to be penalized for them.
No social signals coming into your site. If you’re supposedly a very popular page and you’ve got a lot of site traffic but you have no popularity off the page and no one talking about you, chances are you’re going to get a little love tap. While that isn’t in the comments that google is giving us, I’ve always felt that Google was looking at social media signals and involvement. If the site has a ton of inbound links, but no one is commenting on it or making comments on the page, it just looks a bit strange. I subscribe to the Barry Schwartz theory that Google is paying attention to that strange look and using it to slap you.
Your On Page SEO
Take a look at your text. Is it filled with high money keywords that are all being used in the text. If so, the chances are very good that you’ve written your text for the search engines, not for your customers. Typically, keep your keyword about one percent and use them in a naturally flowing way, rather than forced into every paragraph. It is very obvious that you’re trying to rank for that keyword term. It may work for a while, but chances are that it won’t.
Your meta descriptions, while they mean a lot less to the search engines, are a good way for people to see what you’re about, but don’t keyword stuff them to the nth degree..
Get all those keywords out of your alt tags and just use them as the alt tags, the descriptive feature they were meant to be.<